In their native Italy, the Bracco Italiano is known as a hunting dog breed, but they’re also gaining notice as a sweet and affectionate family companion. With their long ears, droopy lips, and soulful expression, the Bracco Italiano has a distinctive look. They’re believed to be an ancient breed, dating back to the fourth or fifth century B.C.
The Bracco Italiano goes by a number of other names, including Italian Pointer, The Italian Pointing Dog, and Bracco. If this dog breed interests you, then you may find these adorable pups in shelters or breed specific rescues. Remember, it’s always better to adopt and not shop!
These smart dogs have endless amounts of energy and do best in homes with yards. The Bracco is also well suited for all households, from single individuals to large families with children. Though they are not watchdog material, they will let you know if they sense a change in their environment. If you want an energetic dog who will keep you on your toes and love you unconditionally, the Bracco Italiano may be the right dog for you!
Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog.
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easy-going. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Health And Grooming Needs
If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool here!
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Sporting DogsHeight:22 to 26 inchesWeight:55 to 90 poundsLife Span:10 to 14 years
More About This Breed
In their homeland of Italy, the Bracco (plural is Bracchi) is primarily a hunting dog, but people are starting to discover that this attractive dog with the noble appearance and pleasant personality is also an excellent companion and show dog.
Also known as the Italian Pointer, the Bracco is capable of all types of hunting and both points and retrieves. In the home, they’re calm and sweet. Train this intelligent dog with gentleness and consistency, and they’ll always aim to please, but sharp corrections will cause them to stop trying. Ever alert, they’ll probably bark when people approach the home, but they’re too gentle to make a guard dog. The Bracco is accepting of other people and dogs, children, and even cats if they’re raised with them.
- The Bracco’s short, dense, shiny coat can be white; white with orange or dark amber markings; white with chestnut markings; white with speckled pale orange markings; or white with roan-chestnut markings.
- These dogs have high energy levels. Make sure your dog gets at least one good half-hour- to hour-long walk per day with a few good, active play session and shorter walks mixed in.
- Dogs of this breed are not made to be watchdogs as they do not bark often. They’re generally calm and will stay by your side most of the time.
- Because the Bracco Italiano is a large dog, they can handle the play of overly excited children. Even then, these calm dogs prefer children or adults who know how to play with them gently.
- It’s best if they get used to other pets early. However, the Bracco Italiano prefers the company of their human families instead of with other smaller pets.
The Bracco Italiano is a large dog breed originating from Italy and is considered the oldest European Pointer. Paintings that depict dogs resembling today’s Bracco Italiano date all the way back to the 4th and 5th centuries BC, and frescoes of dogs that look like this breed appear from Italy during the Renaissance in the 14th century. Some historians believe the Bracco Italiano was originally a cross between a Segugio Italiano and the Asiastic Mastiff.
These hunting dogs were popular among the Italian noble families, as they were bred by the Medici and Gonzaga families. Their original job was to drive game into nets or flush birds and other prey from falconers. Later, when firearms were used by hunters, the Bracco was used to retrieve game.
The population of the Bracco Italiano dwindled in the early 20th century. An Italian breeder named Ferdinando Delor de Ferrabouc revived the breed and founded the Societa Amitori Bracco Italiano. Today, the breed is popular in Europe and the United States, and can still be seen as hunting and working companions.
In 2006, the United Kennel Club (UKC), recognized the Bracco Italiano as a purebred dog. A year later, The Bracco Italiano Club of America formed to encourage the American Kennel Club (AKC) to fully recognize the breed, as well. The AKC has included this breed in their Foundation Stock Service since 2001 and allowed them to compete in certain events since 2010, but so far, they have not granted the breed full recognition.
Though the Bracco Italiano is an old dog breed from Italy, there are still some standards when it comes to its size. You can expect the Bracco Italiano to be on the large side.
Most weigh in at 55 to 90 pounds and range in height from 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder. That said, many can be smaller or larger than normal.
The Bracco Italiano loves their human counterparts. They are known to be great hunting and working companions if you live in the countryside, but they are also great and affectionate at home where they like to snuggle and relax. They have high energy and love to play games, especially in the yard. They’re fairly easy to train but need a strong and confident trainer.
The Bracco Italiano is also great with meeting new humans. They have a strong prey drive due to being originally bred to hunt and chase game. They’re not made to be watchdogs as they do not bark often. These dogs are generally calm and will stay by your side most of the time.
These large and beautiful pups are also loyal and loving to their human families. They will sometimes get separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. It’s best to take them on long walks in order to expend their large amounts of energy. These dogs are well suited for households of all sizes.
The Bracco Italiano might be predisposed to the some of the same conditions that most dog breeds in the pointing group also face. While most are generally healthy, some may be prone to a few health issues, which is why it is important to maintain good care and regular veterinary checkups.
Some of the more common health problems the Bracco Italiano suffer from include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Umbilical hernias
- Ear mites
As with all dogs, you should keep up with your Bracco Italiano’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your dog healthy.
Bracco Italianos are prone to weight gain, and they have high energy levels. Make sure your dog gets at least one good half-hour- to hour-long walk per day with a few good, active play session and shorter walks mixed in.
Check their ears for debris and pests daily and clean them as recommended by your vet. Trim your dog’s nails before they get too long—usually once or twice per month. They should not be clicking against the floor. Your groomer can help with this.
Your main concern when it comes to your Bracco Italiano’s care will be maintaining their oral health. You should brush their teeth daily, as many dogs are prone to dental issues. Your veterinarian can instruct you on how to brush your dog’s teeth properly.
An ideal Bracco Italiano diet should be formulated for a large breed with high energy. They have a tendency to gain weight if they are overfed, so you should stick to a regular feeding schedule and not leave food out during the day. Limit their number of treats, as well.
As with all dogs, the Bracco Italiano’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your Bracco Italiano’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs—including weight, energy, and health—to make a specific recommendation.
Coat Color And Grooming
Bracco Italiano coats be white or white with markings that can be orange, amber, or chestnut. The markings can be larger and prominent or speckled and pale. Grooming is fairly easy because their coats are short and dense. Us a grooming mitt once a week to keep them looking their best.
Because they tend to have shorter coats, Bracco Italianos aren’t particularly suited for extreme weather. Prepare accordingly when bringing your dog somewhere extremely cold or hot.
Children And Other Pets
Because the Bracco Italiano is a large dog, they can handle the play of overly excited children. Even then, these calm dogs prefer children or adults who know how to play with them gently. That said, for children who learn early how to properly approach and play with a large dog, the Bracco Italiano can make a great, active companion.
When it comes to other pets, the Bracco Italiano can get along with other animals if they are introduced slowly and calmly, and early socialization will help this go smoothly. It’s best if they get used to other pets early. However, the Bracco Italiano prefers the company of their human families instead of with other smaller pets.
Still, many dogs of this breed get along just fine with other dogs and cats, so it really comes down to training, socialization, and the luck of the draw.
Because the Bracco Italiano is a somewhat rare breed, it may be difficult to find a breed-specific rescue. However, you can always check with your local shelter, and you may want to try a rescue that caters to all types of dogs. You can take a look at the following:
- Wright-Way Rescue
- Angels Among Us Pet Rescue