The Italian Spinone is a very ancient hunting breed, and is part of the Gundog Group.

Within this group there are sub groups made up of Retrievers, Spaniels, Pointers & Setters and HPR (Hunt, Point & Retrieve). The sub groups are designed to group the dogs into the type of work they are mainly bred for.

The Italian Spinone comes under the sub group of HPR (Hunt, Point & Retrieve). As you can see by the name of the sub group the Italian Spinone has been bred to be an all round gundog.

Because game is scarcer in Italy than in Britain, the Spinone has developed a fast trotting gait, enabling him to methodically hunt a large area without tiring quickly, as would be the case with a faster moving hunting dog. However, he is adaptable to any kind of ground. With his thick skin and coarse coat, he will face any cover and is a strong and willing retriever from water. All these qualities, combined with his gentle nature, make the Spinone a great companion for the rough shooter.

Rough shooters value the scenting skills (his nose is second to none) of the Spinone to indicate game at an early stage, allowing the gun an opportunity to get into shooting position prior to the flush.

Spinone within the UK, while principally a rough shooting dog, will also participate in 'picking up' on driven shoots, 'beating' and all important dog work within the shoot such as 'dogging in'.

An HPR should move out maybe 100 - 200yds either side of you in open ground or as close as 10 - 20yds in close cover, hunting for game (quartering the ground). When the dog finds game it will stand very still (on point), the game will also stand or sit still hoping the dog hasn't seen them (it's like a stand off). On command from you the dog will quickly move in to make the game take off (flush) and then stand or sit watching the game fly off. If the game is shot the dog will watch (mark) where the game lands and on command will retrieve the shot game to you.

Throughout the year there are a number of competitions held across the country in which you can compete with your dog (once it has reached the minimum standard). There are two types held under Kennel Club rules - Working Tests and Field Trials.

Working Tests are run from spring to late summer (out of the shooting season) using dummies, and occasionally dead pigeons, or caged game for the dogs to point. No live game is ever shot (blanks may be fired). These tests are organised according to the age and standard of the dogs - Puppy (6 -18 months), Novice and Open; and you would start in the Puppy or Novice and then qualify to move up to Open. Occasionally there is a Graduate or Intermediate test to bridge the gap between Novice and Open.

Field Trials are held throughout the shooting season and represent, as near as possible, a normal day's shooting when live game that the dog has pointed and flushed, is shot and sent to retrieve. Novice trials are the basic standard and Open the more advanced. An All Aged stake is in between the two.

In both types of competition, judges mark you, and your dog's performance. If you are placed 1st in two Open Field Trials your dog becomes a Field Trial Champion. There are also Spring Pointing Tests where young dogs are graded purely according to their hunting ability (Hunting, Pointing and flushing).

Some people use the Working Tests as a stepping-stone to compete in Field Trials and others just enter Working Tests as an end in themselves.