Also known as the Italian pointing dog or the Italian pointer, the Bracco Italiano is well known for its hunting skills. Bracco Italiano is a native of Italy, but a rare breed in the United States.
The Bracco Italiano is one of just two native Italian gun breeds (the Spinone Italiano being the other) and is grouped as a versatile hunting breed. This means that the Bracco Italiano is considerably skilled in all aspects of hunting; it can sniff out birds in the field, point them out, and also collect downed birds to the hunter.
The Bracco Italiano can come in a variety of beautiful colors, which include orange; orange with markings; white with pale orange; white with chestnut markings; and chestnut with white mottled.
These amazing breed loves to hunt. More-so, Bracco Italiano’s drive to hunt is so imprinted that providing them with an environment to hunt is almost a criteria for owning them.
The dog is a methodical and slow hunter. With its exceptional nose, it can sniff and retrieve games. Bracco Italiano is also known for its very soft mouth, “a hunting term used to describe the dog’s ability to recover and get birds in its mouth without causing any damage to them).
The soft nature of Bracco Italiano helps to form firm bonds with their human families and increases their chance of being included as part of a family.
Not only that, but they also get along just fine with other dogs and other house pets. They are equally good with children, and they do well to monitor and protect their owners and children, as well as other pets.
- Group: Sporting
- Height: Can get from 21 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder
- Weight: Can weigh from 55 to 90 pounds
- Coat: Glossy, dense and short
- Color: Orange, white with chestnut or orange patches, solid white, chestnut or orange roan
- Life expectancy: Can live from 10 to 14 years
- Affection Level: High
- Kid-Friendly: High
- Friendliness: High
- Pet-Friendly: High
- Trainability: Medium
- Energy Level: High
- Playfulness: High
- Exercise Needs: High
- Tendency to Bark: High
- Intelligence: Medium
- Amount of Shedding: Medium
History of the Bracco Italiano
The Bracco Italiano is a native of Northern Italy. It has been recorded as an official breed with a written breed standard since the year 1949, but the breeds’ roots date farther back to the 4th and 5th centuries BC.
Naturally, two types of Bracco Italianos existed simultaneously; the white-and-orange that dominated the Piedmont area and the rain-and brown variety that dominated the Lombardy area.
When the Bracco Italiano was threatened by extinction in the late 1800s, dedicated breeders help maintain their existence by bringing the two varieties together to form one breed.
The first Bracchi Italiani (the correct plural spelling of the dog name) wasn’t found in America until the 1990s. The national parent club for the breed, the Bracco Italiano Club of America, wasn’t formed until the year 2007.
The breed is also a part of the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous Class, which is a fixing point in the direction toward full recognition with the AKC, though it is the closest to the Herding Group. The United Kennel Club also recognizes the Bracco Italiano, where the breed is also part of the GDG (Gun Dog Group).
Care for the Bracco Italiano
A boar’s hairbrush or hound glove can be used to get out loose hair. This is most effective in the short, glossy fur of Bracco Italiano at least a few times a week. Their long pendulous ears should be frequently examined and should be carefully cleaned with a pet-safe ear cleaner when necessary.
This breed isn’t ashamed to drool recklessly, so this may not be the best choice for fussy dog owners.
The Bracco Italiano is very loyal and ready to please. Asides being occasionally stubborn, they are quite trainable. They also don’t relate well to harsh training methods: repetition, positive reinforcement, and gentle delivery yields far better results.
You may have to start early training with plenty of bird exposure if you plan on hunting with your Bracco Italiano. Furthermore, this breed excels at tracking, field trials, and nose-work.
When left in the field, these massive, active dogs have the strength and endurance to work all day. Still, with regular exercise (preferably hunting, but jogging, long walks, and swimming is also significant physical exercise), the Bracco Italiano is calm and compliant in the house.
They may become destructive in the house if left without proper active life (activities that engage their skills like hunting and running).
Common health issues
The Bracco Italiano is a naturally healthy breed. Nevertheless, like most purebred dogs, the Bracco Italiano has a few known health complications, which would include kidney disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts, ectropion (this occurs when the eyelids roll outward leaving the inner surface of the eye exposed), and entropion (this happens when eyelids roll inward, and rub against the eye and cause irritation).
Breeders would usually test adult Bracchi Italiani for any health complications before breeding them in order to avoid passing on health problems to their young. It would be helpful to request for tests results from breeders on the parents of the litter when adopting a Bracco Italiano puppy.
Diet and nutrition
Plenty of food is needed for a large-sized Bracco Italiano. Active Bracchi that engage in plenty of exercise and hunting may find it challenging to maintain the required weight for their massive frames. A high-quality diet rich in calories can help with this setback.
However, Bracchi Italiani that do not engage in plenty of exercises should be carefully fed, so they don’t become overweight. Joint problems like hip dysplasia and severe health complications like diabetes can be caused by excess weight.
- Excellent hunter
- Attractive and unique
- Very agile and alert
- Loving and very loyal
- Pet and family-friendly
- Calm (with plenty of exercises)
- Barks a lot
- Drools a lot
- Needs lots of space to hunt
- Requires plenty of activities
- May be destructive if it doesn’t get enough exercise and physical engagement
- Scarce breed (especially in the U.S.)
Where to adopt or buy a Bracco Italiano
If what you’re looking for is a unique, beautiful, and exceptionally skilled hunting breed, the Bracco Italiano might be the right choice for you. People who choose to adopt a Bracco Italiano into their homes find unmatched love, loyalty, and affection.
Finding a breeder of these rare hunters in the United States may be difficult, but not impossible. You can narrow your search down to the Bracco Italiano Club of America, which collects a list of breeders located in the United States, including a rescue page on its website.
Do you have a Bracco Italiano? Have you seen one in hunting action? What do you love most about this dog? Share with us in the comments.