The Bracco Italiano, like their name suggests, is an Italian breed primarily bred as a hunting dog. This is also one of the oldest hunting breeds, and historical evidence places them in the 4th or 5th century BC. They might be bred for hunting, but as hunting started to lose popularity, these dogs have taken a different role - the role of a beloved family pet.
The Bracco, as it is often called, is an affectionate breed that gets along with every single family member. They are adaptable and will quickly get used to all living conditions. Still, they prefer living in households with large, fenced yards that can provide them a safe place for roaming and exploring.
Bracco Italiano owners describe these dogs as:
- Good hunters
- Easy to train
21–27 in (53–69 cm)
55–90 lb (25–41 kg)
The Bracco Italiano is considered one of the oldest breeds globally, and certainly, it is the oldest Pointing breed in Europe. Paintings dated back 2.500 years show dogs that have a similar appearance to the modern-day Bracco. Even some frescoes dated to the 14th-century show these dogs. Canine historians believe that these dogs came to life by crossing the Italian Segugio and the Asiatic Mastiff.
These hunting dogs were extremely popular with the Italian noble families, and their adaptability kept their popularity high. At first, these dogs were used to point, flush, and drive prey into nets and open spaces where hunters could spear them. After the development of firearms, these dogs adapted and were train to retrieve game.
This breed encountered problems in the first part of the 20th century, and their numbers seriously declined. It wasn’t until an Italian breed lover and breeder, Mr. Ferdinando Delor de Ferrabouc, started the “Society of Bracco Italiano Lovers” that their numbers revived. These dogs are not fully recognized by the American Kennel Club, but their popularity all over Europe and the US is back on the rise.
Dog Breed Characteristics
The Bracco Italiano has a harmoniously built dog; it gives the impression of power. These dogs have smooth coats, powerful, long limbs, and well-developed muscles. They have pronounced chisels under their eyes that should be reasonably large, oval-shaped, and amber to dark brown. The dog’s expression should be gentle and intelligent.
Bracchi (plural of Bracco) are relatively large dogs, usually between 21 - 27 inches tall and weigh 55 - 90 pounds. Males are larger than females, and the difference should be clear. Their smooth coat comes in several color combinations, with the basic color always being white. Markings can come in different sizes and can be defined as patches, roan, or ticking. Patches of color should correspond with the rest of the Bracco Italiano coat. Allowed colors of those marking are orange to brown, and some dogs can come without any markings.
The temperament of the Bracco Italiano is that of a loving companion. If you are looking to get a working hunting companion, the Bracco should be high on your list. They are energetic and playful, especially if you can secure them a yard where they can spend their excess energy.
If you are looking for a watchdog, this breed is not the best option. They might let you know if they sense a change in their environment, but they are fairly friendly even with strangers, so a watchdog is not a role these dogs were meant to play. They are also not very vocal, and they barely bark. They prefer staying by your side, and that is a trait watchdogs shouldn’t have.
They are loyal and affectionate and can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone too often for too long. They can also be friendly with kids and other pets, making them well-suited for different households and families.
The Bracco Italiano is widely known as a hunting breed, and their adaptable temperament doesn’t need a lot of adjustment to become good pets. Hunting breeds are usually extremely active, and they need a decent amount of daily exercise if you want them to behave as good family pets. Only when their activity needs are fulfilled are these dogs ready to train and become obedient.
Like with any other breed, the Bracco reacts best to positive training methods. Their natural hunting instincts are always present, and their hunting skills only need to be slightly sharpened. If you train them to become house pets, you will need to include many treats and praises. Make training a fun and interesting experience, and you will start noticing good results pretty soon. Never use punishment as a training method; correct the dog’s unwanted behavior calmly and continue with the training. Negative training methods can result in shy or even aggressive dogs.
When socializing the Bracco Italiano, you shouldn’t have too many problems because these dogs have been working with other dogs for years, and they generally get along great with them. Like any other dog breed, the Bracco should start the socialization process as soon as possible. Dogs that are not well socialized are prone to behavioral problems and might react badly to situations they are not familiar with.
Socialization can even be done at home. Dress differently; wear glasses, hats, and baggy clothes so your puppy can’t recognize you right away. Teach your puppy to stay alone for a while and not make a fuss about it. It is the best way to make sure your puppy will grow up to be a stable, confident, and well-behaved dog.
Bracco and other pets
These dogs are a hunting breed, but they learned to hunt in packs, making them quite tolerable of other dogs; they love having company. The Bracco Italiano was developed to hunt in coordination with other dogs and hunters.
If you are thinking about getting one of these dogs, you should know that they will always choose the company of their humans over the company of other pets. They can learn to get along with smaller pets like cats, rabbits, or even ferrets, but only if they were introduced carefully and socialized while they were still young.
Bracco Italiano and kids
The Bracco Italiano might be a hunting breed, but they can quickly adapt to family living and a beloved family pet’s role. These dogs have become a lot better adapted to house life through selective breeding, and their hunting instincts and working ability haven’t been promoted so strongly.
If they are adequately trained, the Bracco can become as good a pet as any other breed. They will have a lot more energy than your average lap dog, but if you live an active life, you can have a great companion that will gladly follow you on all your adventures. Their high energy levels and their large size allows these dogs to handle the pace of even the most hyped-up kids. They are usually pretty great with children of all ages.
Coat and Care
These dogs have a short and shiny coat that is relatively easy to maintain. They are not double-coated, which means they will not tolerate cold weather really well. Make sure you keep your dog warm during the colder winter months. They don’t shed much, which is a great thing when your dog lives inside the house with you. Make sure you brush them once every week to get rid of dead hair and keep the coat in the best shape possible.
The rest is basic care; trim their nails when needed (if they don't wear them down naturally), brush their teeth weekly to prevent tartar buildup and bacteria development. Regularly check their ears for any sign of redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. You can wipe their ears with the cotton ball dipped into an ear cleaner. The key for your dog to get used to all things mentioned above is to start early with them. Make a positive experience for the dog, full of praises and rewards, and you can be sure that your dog will enjoy all these things when they grow up.
Like any other dog breed, the Bracco Italiano can potentially develop health problems. If you are buying a dog, make sure the breeder can provide you with the necessary health tests and guarantees. Always ask to see the results of tests from the puppy’s parents. The health problems these dogs are associated with are:
- Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
- Entropion - A defect causing the eyelid to roll inward.
- Ectropion - A defect causing the eyelid to roll out or sag.
- Obesity - The Bracco is prone to gaining weight if they are not properly exercised.
- Ear infections - Especially for dogs that love water, you need to check their ears regularly for signs of infections or redness.
The Bracco is generally considered a very healthy breed that can live 10- 14 years.
When getting a dog, the most important thing is to get it from a responsible and reputable Bracco breeder. These dogs are energetic, and getting a poorly bred dog can have catastrophic results. Responsible breeders will breed dogs that don’t only look good but have great characters as well. You must find a good Bracco Italiano breeder that can help you learn about this breed and make an informed choice about getting a dog with these characteristics.
If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.
World Dog Finder team