The Spinone Club of America or SCOA is a relatively new organization. It is a non-profit club that helps promulgate breed conformation awareness for the Spinone Italiano breed. It also acts as an official registry for Spinone sires, dams and their offspring. The SCOA was established just recently, 1987 to be more specific. As of late, it is considered as the largest registry for the Spinone dog breed in the United States. It is also duly recognized by the American Kennel Club or AKC. This accreditation for SCOA was given on February 2000.
The primary objectives of this club include: The promotion of the breeding, exhibiting, owning and training of purebred Spinone Italiano dogs; and that Purebred Spinone Italiano dogs must conform to the accepted standards issued by the Spinone Club of America and of the American Kennel Club.
Dog breed standards refer to the general conformation or physical appearance of the dog: from its height, weight, coat coloration, coat length and general appearance, overall health, training, versatility in the field, versatility as retriever-hunter-pointer, etc.
The SCOA's mission statement declares the club's duty to encourage, foster, improve and promote the Spinone Italiano as a versatile hunting dog in North America. This can be done through such "appropriate" activities like conducting tests and trials in the hunting field. These tests are usually associated with the Spinone Italiano's supposed inherent skills and further training in hunting, pointing and retrieving small game.
SCOA also aims to acquaint sportsmen and the general public with the history of the dog breed. Although teaching history may seem like an unlikely duty for such an organization, the club believes that only through education can Spinone Italiano breeders of today correct the mistakes of the past; from inbreeding to too much mixed-breeding of the breed.
SCOA educates people on the undiminished value of a trained Spinone Italiano as a companion and as a hunting dog when it comes to the fair pursuit of game. Lastly, the club wishes to promote honorable conduct and etiquette on the part of the human handlers in the show ring and in the hunting field.
The SCOA's mission statement comes in light of the Spinone Italiano breed almost becoming extinct on the onset of the Second World War. During that time, war had taken a devastating toll on the Spinone Italiano, and very few litters were being born from purebred dog parents. Also, Italian hunters started using different breeds for their hunting expeditions like pointers, setters and spaniels. Before the war, Spinone Italiano was the hunting dog breed of choice. Another contributor to the near decimation of the Spinone Italiano population was that the breed was being mixed with other breeds like the Boulet, the German Wire-haired Pointer and the Wire-haired Pointing Griffon. In which case, the Spinone Italiano was in danger of being bred out.
Thankfully, with such efforts from SCOA and other Spinone Italiano enthusiasts, this noble hunting companion is slowly coming back from the brink of extinction. Careful and selective breeding is making sure that the breed line maintains its standard conformation, and that diseases and other undesirable inherent qualities are eradicated (or at the very least, minimized).