Bracco Italianos are intelligent, friendly, inquisitive, loyal, and active family dogs. These big pups love people and thrive on human companionship.
Bracco Italiano History
Experts consider the Bracco Italiano, or "Italian Pointer," to be the oldest European pointer.
Its exact origins are unknown. But documents dating to the 4th or 5th century BC details a cross between the Segugio Italiano (Coursing Hound) and the Asiatic Mastiff. Regardless of its actual beginnings, the breed was well-established by the Middle Ages. During the Renaissance, the Bracco Italiano—often shortened to "Bracco"—thrived under the breeding practices of the Medici and Gonzaga families.
In terms of appearance, the Bracco Italiano loosely resembles a cross between a German Shorthaired Pointer and Bloodhound. The breed came to the United States in the 1990s. A versatile gun dog, Bracco Italianos are tireless in the field, yet gentle in the home.
Bracco Italiano Traits
Bracco Italianos have a robust and powerful appearance. Their lean limbs, well-developed muscles, defined lines, and sculpted heads contribute to the breed's distinctive look.
Coat and Coloring
Braccos have a beautiful, short, and glossy coat. It comes in several color variations—including solid white, white with orange markings, and white with brown markings. The markings are of varied sizes (e.g., patches, ticking, or roan). The breed standard is white with patches of orange in various sizes, or orange roan (i.e., speckling).
Distinctive Physical Traits
The Bracco Italiano has an angular head, with a soft fold of skin that starts at the outer corner of the eye and falls down the cheek. When the head is down and relaxed, there is a skin fold across the skull from ear to ear.
Their eyes are relatively large, oval-shaped, and close-fitting. They range in color from dark amber to orange or brown—depending on the color of the coat—and offer a gentle, intelligent expression.
The Bracco's ears are at least half as wide as they are long, reaching the tip of their nose without being stretched. And their equally floppy lips reach down to the lower jaw.
Bracco Italiano Temperament
Bracco Italianos are very affectionate and make great family pets. They bond very closely with their families and thrive as human companions.
They are good with children and make excellent family members and housemates, as long as they get enough exercise. They also typically get along with other dogs and pets.
Because they originated as hunting dogs, they may chase wildlife and bark. Bracco Italianos also have a great sense of smell. And when they catch a scent, they may not be able to resist the urge to investigate if they aren't in a fenced area or on a leash.
Bracco Italiano Care
Bracco Italianos are big dogs that eat a lot. As such, they need a high-quality diet appropriate for their life stage (e.g., puppy, adult, senior). To best meet your Bracco's specific nutritional needs, your veterinarian may recommend a formula made specifically for large-breed dogs.
All dogs have the potential to become overweight or obese, and the Braccos are no exception. Help them stay at a healthy weight by monitoring their food intake closely. You can avoid accidental overfeeding by using a standard measuring cup to measure out meals. And be sure to take treats into account when tracking their daily calorie intake. As a guideline, treats should make up no more than 10% of their calories each day.
The Bracco Italiano's grooming needs are minimal. Their coats typically require only a few minutes of brushing each week.
Because their long ears can be more susceptible to ear infections, Braccos need them routinely checked and cleaned.
All dogs need regular dental care, including at-home teeth brushing and professional dental cleanings. Maintaining good dental hygiene is key to their overall long-term health.
Typical of hunting breeds, Braccos tend to have plenty of energy and require a lot of daily activity. Without enough exercise, they may turn to destructive behaviors.
Allowing them to run in an enclosed yard and taking them on long walks or jogs are great ways to meet their physical exercise needs. They also love to swim, so a dip in a river or lake may be another fun activity to explore.
Braccos also need mental stimulation. Events such as rally or competitive obedience training allow them to work out both their bodies and their minds.
Finally, any activity that allows a Bracco to spend time with their family is a bonus for this people-loving breed.