|Country of origin:
|AKC FSS, ARBA,
|21 to 26.5 in tall; 60 to
|12 to 14 years
|Firm but fun
This breed is rightly on the crest of a wave of popularity. Once restricted to the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of Italy, where it worked as an efficient tracker, pointer, and retriever, the soulfullooking Bracco is now routinely seen at dog shows throughout Europe. In some ways similar in appearance to the smaller Segugio (see p.184), it may descend from crosses of Segugios and larger mastiff-type breeds. Rather surprisingly considering its relaxed looks, it can be a slightly stubborn breed when it comes to obedience training. In demeanour it is gentle and sensitive, and remains a serious, capable worker as well as a fine family companion.
Breed name synonyms: Italian Pointer & Italian Setter
According to some records, this original Italian breed has an ancient history. There are paintings and writings about it dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries B.C. It is believed that the Bracco is a cross between the Asiatic Mastiff or Molossus and the Segugio Italiano brought to Italy by Phoenician traders. Another belief is that his ancestry goes back to the St. Hubert Hound.
The Bracco Italiano was a popular hunting dog during the Renaissance. His devoted admirers referred to him as ‘’noble’’. A prove of his nobility is the fact that he was bred by the Medici and Conzaga families.
There used to be two distinct varieties of Bracco Italiano, the Piedmontese and the Lombardic. Later those two types of dogs were used to uniform a combination that we now know as the Italian Pointer. The name Italian Pointer is the English translation for the Italian name Bracco Italiano.
Bracchi fit the idea of being dual type of dogs. On the hunt they are obedient, responsive, vigorous and powerful. At home they are gentle, sensitive, docile and faithful.
Bracchi are quite alert of what is going on in their surrounding and usually make good watchdogs. However they lack the aggression to make an ideal guard dog. They are aloof with strangers, but friendly with children, other dogs and smaller pets.
The Bracco Italiano forms incredibly strong attachments with its family and demonstrates extraordinary devotion to them. They want nothing more than to be in the constant company of their families and therefore can develop severe separation anxiety.
Bracchi are large sized, strong and muscular dogs with harmonious construction and powerful appearance. Their coat is short, dense and glossy. The coat is white with patches of varied sizes and colors (orange, amber, brown, chestnut).
Male dogs should measure between 22.8-26‘’ (58-67cm) at the withers and bitches should ideally measure between 21.5-24.5‘’ (55-62cm) at the withers. Weight ranges between 55-88Ib (25-40kg), in proportion to the height of the dog. It is important that the length of the body is the same or a little more than their height at withers.
The Bracco Italiano is very intelligent and trainable dog but not easy to train. The training goes smoothly as long as the training methods are gentle but consistent. Bracchi are gentle and sensitive dogs and if treated with harshness or cruelty they will step back and stop trying. Therefore correction based training regimens, especially harsh ones, should never be used with this breed. On the other hand rewards-based methods prove much more effective.
It should be noted that Bracchi have inherited some of their ancestral hound traits of being single minded and stubborn, so extra patience is needed when handling them.
The Bracco Italiano is a robust and generally healthy breed with an expected life span of 10 to 12 years. However there are a few health issues worth mentioning. Because it is large, deep chested breed the Bracco Italiano is highly prone to gastric dilatation and volvulus (a condition when the stomach fills with air and twists, which causes severe pain and requires urgent treatment). The loose skin folds around the face and neck make the Bracco Italiano susceptible to skin infections and some eye problems (entropion, ectropion and cherry-eye).
Bracco Italianos are known to suffer from some musculo-skeletal disorders such as hip and elbow dysplasia and bendy legs. Some lines of Bracco Italiano are affected by a kidney disease known as amaloidosis.