(aka: Italian Pointer)
The Bracco Italiano is a large, tall canine that has striking coloring features. They can be brown and white or orange and white, with freckles all around. They are muscular with a thin face, and wrinkled hanging skin around the chin and neck. Their noses can be from brown to pink, and they have a smooth, fine coat of fur. The dog is squarely built, with a tapering tail (that is often docked at half its length) and a deep wide chest. Their ears are long and drooping, but perk up a bit when they are listening.
Bracco Italiano's were originally considered two separate breeds based on whether they were brown and white or orange and white, but are now considered the same breed. They are affectionate and easygoing, easily distinguishing work from play. They can be avid workers, and peaceful home pets.
The Bracco - or Italian Pointer- should be athletic and powerful in appearance, most resembling a cross between a German Shorthaired Pointer and a Bloodhound, although it is nothing like them in character. It has pendulous upper lips and long ears that create a serious expression. It should be "almost square", meaning that its height at the withers should be almost the same as the length of its body. It should not however be actually square as this would render its famous rear driving push off and front/rear extension to be compromised, thus losing much of its powerful grace.
The tail can be docked, mostly due to the strong possibility of injury in rough/dense terrain when hunting, however there has been a sea-change in Italy, with some now working the breed with full tail.
Bracco Italiano Temperament
These dogs are known to be affectionate, easygoing, and intelligent. They can be stubborn and sensitive, but are athletic and powerful in appearance. They are able to make strong distinctions between work and play, and know when each is needed. The Bracco Italiano can be a strong worker in the field, but rest easy with a docile temperament at home. Italian Pointers are also obedient and loyal, doubling from easygoing pet to avid worker in an instant. They are very much 'people dogs', as they love to be around them. They enjoy a strong bond with their owners, and are more satisfied the closer the are to them.
The breed requires no difficult maintenance to keep its coat at its best. A hound glove is essential for the grooming of a Bracco. A boar's hair brush can also come in handy (this type of brush bring the oils to the top of the coat, making it shiny). A few minutes of brushing each week should keep the coat in good condition. The tips of the ears tend to get dirty, since they are long enough to get in the dog's water when he drinks. Scrubbing the ends with a wet rag usually does the trick, but sometimes a mild soap is needed to dissolve the dirt. Being a breed with large lips they are prone to drool a lot.
Italy Based on fourteenth century frescoes made in that era, the Bracco Italiano is thought to have been around since then. These artworks depicted a similar looking dog to the Bracco, and the Bracco is thought to be a very old breed. Some say the breed evolved from crosses with the Segugio Italiano and Asiatic Mastiff, while others say it is a descendant of the St. Hubert Hound, so famously the ancestor of hounds such as the Bloodhound and Beagle.
The breed originated in two different places, thus creating the names Piedmont and Lombardy for the different colorings. One originated in Piedmont, known as the Piedmontese Pointer, while the other came from Lombardy, known as the Lombard Pointer. The Bracco Italiano sufficiently thrived during the Renaissance era, bred by the Medici and Gonzaga families. They lived mostly among the wealthy, as hunting dogs. But their popularity soon slowed down in the 18 and 1900s, when they almost became extinct. But thanks to the efforts of Italian Breeder Ferdinando Delor de Ferrabouc, the breed lived on.
The standard was created in 1949, and finally made its way to England in 1988. The breed is hardly known outside its home country, though a few supporters reside elsewhere.
These dogs are very sensitive to the tone of voice and respond well to kind training methods. When trained in the right way, they pick up things quickly.
The most common genetic health disorders in the breed are hip dysplasia (HD), elbow dysplasia (ED) and gastric dilation/torsion (bloat).