Dog show

Italian Spinone dog show this week

(Creative Commons)

By Sarah Brown

lebanon local

A breed of Italian hunting dogs comes to Lebanon to show off their best traits, and a club will be ready to judge the field based on their looks, personality, and hunting skills.

Approximately 90 entrants will participate in the Spinone Club of America’s “Nuts Over Spinone” National Specialty Dog Show, scheduled for May 16-22 at the Boulder Falls Inn Event Center, 605 Mullins Drive and surrounding areas. Dogs and handlers will participate in rally and obedience trials, hunt and water tests, workshops and seminars, a costume contest and more.

According to the SCOA website (, the ancestors of the Spinone Italiano breed originated in ancient Italy, where they were considered reliable hunters in harsh mountainous and swampy terrain and could hunt by smelling the air, following the ground and pointing. The American Kennel Club defines the breed standard as muscular and sturdy, with thick skin and a tough single coat.

“They are one of the few sporting breeds developed by peasants for putting food on the table rather than competitive sport hunting,” said event co-chair Sue Acquistapace.

However, they are also very charming, with temperaments described as sociable, affectionate, patient, and cooperative.

“It’s a docile, gentle breed with a very human expression (which is) a very important part of the breed type,” Acquistapace said. “They are clownish in nature and very versatile, capable of doing everything from hunting to agility to therapeutic work.”

She loves the Spinoni for their intuitive, gentle, and loving nature, and has seven of them at her disposal.

“Like Lay’s potato chips of old, you can’t have just one,” she said.

A drive through Oregon a few years ago inspired Acquistapace and its event co-chair, Rebecca Van Ess, to consider the area for the SCOA’s annual National Specialty.

“We loved the Oregon countryside and thought it would be a great area to host a National,” Van Ess said.

Although Lebanon has no known Spinone breeders or trainers, the SCOA chose the city for this year’s event because Boulder Falls Inn could meet its needs and host the show, and the facilities at nearby offered good hunting test locations, according to Van Ess and Acquistapace.

Founded in 1987, the SCOA is the AKC parent club for the Spinone Italiano breed. Approximately 500 members and five regional clubs across the United States participate in dog shows, field trials, hunt and track tests, obedience and agility tests, and therapy work.

The public is invited to watch the show. Registration for participation is closed. For more information, visit