The Bracco Italiano: A Noble Hunter with a Gentle Heart

The Bracco Italiano: A Noble Hunter with a Gentle Heart

The Bracco Italiano, also known as the Italian Pointer, is one of the oldest breeds of gun dogs, known for its distinctive appearance and versatile hunting skills. This breed combines the passion of a pointer with the endurance of a retriever, making it a favored choice for hunters and active families alike. This article delves into the rich heritage of the Bracco Italiano and provides essential care and training information for prospective and current owners.

Breed Summary

Country of Origin: Italy
AKC Breed Popularity:
AKC Classification: Sporting
UKC Classification: Gun Dog Group
Exercise Requirements: Over 30 minutes/day
Height: Female: 21-27 inches.; Male: 21-27 inches
Weight: Female: 55-90 lbs.; Male: 55-90 lbs.
Physical traits: Large, Well-balanced, Strong
Coat: Length: Short, shiny
Characteristics: Roan markings
Colors: White, White and chestnut, or white and orange
Overall Grooming Needs: Low
Personality traits/Temperament: Affectionate, Intelligent, Enthusiastic
Energy Level: Average
Tendency to Drool: Average
Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Low to Average
Tendency to Dig: Low
Social/Attention Needs: Average to High

Origin of the Bracco Italiano

The Bracco Italiano's origins can be traced back to Italy during the 4th or 5th century BC, making it one of the oldest pointing breeds. It was developed from crossbreeding between the Segugio Italiano and the Asiatic Mastiff, created for the Renaissance nobility to use in falconry and to hunt game with nets. Its popularity flourished in Northern Italy and through the Renaissance period, where it was a favorite among the aristocracy for both its hunting prowess and its dignified demeanor.

Appearance

The Bracco Italiano is a large breed, standing between 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 55 to 88 pounds. It has a distinctive muscular build with a noble and serious expression. The breed features a drooping upper lip and long, floppy ears that frame a solemn yet sweet face. Their coat is short, dense, and glossy, which can be white, orange, or chestnut, often with speckling or roaning.

Temperament

Known for their intelligence and docile nature, Bracco Italianos are affectionate and loyal, forming strong bonds with their family members. They are patient and gentle with children, making them excellent family pets. Their strong hunting instinct does drive them to track scents, but they are equally content to relax at home as part of the family.

Health Outlook

Bracco Italianos typically have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years. They are generally healthy, but they can be prone to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and bloat, common in larger breeds. Skin conditions such as dry, itchy skin can occur, especially in less humid climates. Regular bathing with a premium dog shampoo can help alleviate skin irritations, maintaining healthy skin and a glossy coat.

Nutritional Requirements

The Bracco Italiano's diet should be rich in high-quality proteins and fats to support their energy levels and muscular build. Feeding them a balanced diet that includes a complete healthy multivitamin can ensure they receive all necessary nutrients to support their joint health, digestive health, and overall well-being.

Exercise Requirement

As a hunting breed, Bracco Italianos require substantial daily exercise to keep them healthy and content. They thrive on activities such as running, hiking, and, of course, hunting. They also excel in dog sports like agility and obedience, which can provide both physical and mental stimulation.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Bracco Italiano

Pros:

  • Excellent hunting dog with a keen sense of smell.
  • Gentle and affectionate nature, suitable for families.
  • Intelligent and trainable.

Cons:

  • Requires a lot of exercise, not suitable for inactive owners.
  • Can be stubborn, requiring consistent and patient training.
  • Prone to separation anxiety due to their strong bond with their owners.

Space Requirements

Due to their size and energy level, Bracco Italianos do best in homes with large yards where they can run and play. They are not well-suited to apartment living unless they have access to large, open spaces regularly.

Suitability for Elderly

Their size and exercise needs generally make Bracco Italianos less suitable for elderly owners unless they are particularly active or have assistance.

Suitability for Kids

Their kind and patient nature makes Bracco Italianos great companions for children, though their size may be a concern around very small children.

Cost

The cost of a Bracco Italiano puppy typically ranges from $800 to $2,000, depending on the breeder’s reputation and the quality of the breeding stock.

What Should the Owner Be Like?

Ideal Bracco Italiano owners should be active, engaged, and capable of meeting the breed's exercise and companionship needs. They should enjoy spending time outdoors and be committed to providing consistent training and socialization.

Fun Facts

  1. The Bracco Italiano is known as the "Italian Pointer," reflecting its expertise in both pointing and retrieving.
  2. This breed almost faced extinction after World War II but was revived by dedicated Italian breeders.

Conclusion

The Bracco Italiano is a dignified, loyal, and capable breed that excels in both the field and the home. With the right care, exercise, and training, a Bracco Italiano can be a joyful and enriching addition to any active household, offering companionship and boundless affection.

Are you familiar with the Boston Terrier or have this wonderful breed in your family?

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