Bracco Italiano

Looking for information on one of Europe’s best gun dogs? Then read on for detailed information on the Bracco Italiano.

Bracco Italiano pointer male lying on rock near waterfall

Height: 21-27 inches
Weight: 25-40 kilos
Lifespan: 10-14 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Check out the below pros and cons of the Bracco Italiano:

Pros:

  • Easy grooming maintenance
  • Highly intelligent
  • Family-friendly pet
  • Great hunting companion

Cons:

  • High exercise needs
  • Not ideal for allergy sufferers
  • Tough to train, not recommended for first-time owners
  • Can’t live in an apartment

Overview

The Bracco Italiano is a retriever and pointing dog native to Italy. Experienced gun dog owners are recommended for this breed. Their stubbornness can make training increasingly difficult, so first time owners should steer clear. The outdoors is where the Bracco Italiano longs to be, so a countryside location would be ideal.

The hunting instincts are strong in the Bracco so do expect a high prey drive. Your garden should have tall, sturdy fences that will prevent this breed from escaping. A Bracco Italiano has high stamina and will require lots of exercise including mental stimulation. If this isn’t met frustration and bad behavior will certainly follow.

Bracco Italiano pointer male lying on rock near watefall

Also known as the Italian Pointing Dog, the Bracco Italiano is mostly used as a hunting partner. Only recently has this dog become more popular as a four-legged companion. Their friendliness and ability to adapt from hunter to family dog is what makes them so ideal. They’re known as one of the best gun dogs in Europe.

A noticeable feature of the breed is their dangling ears. This can cause problems with infections so they should be cleaned once a week and twice weekly in the hot weather. Their fur is short and coat colors only consist of white and orange or white and brown markings.

History

The Bracco Italiano is considered to be the oldest European pointer dating back to at least the 4th BC. Their exact creation is unknown, but it is thought the Asiatic Mastiff and Segugio Italiano are the Bracco’s ancestors. It was in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy where this breed was developed.

At some point after the 5th century, the Bracco Italiano become highly popular amongst the aristocracy. Noble families like the Medici’s and Gonzaga’s were involved in breeding them. The Renaissance period also saw popularity growth in the Bracco Italiano. It wasn’t uncommon to see paintings during this period depicting this pooch.

In the Middle Ages, the breed was known as a net hunter. They would chase game into nets and were sometimes accompanied by falconers to help aid the process. This dog’s hunting history runs much deeper than any other pointer breed. Bracco’s are strong and make ideal retrievers, dragging the kills to their owners.

Breed numbers were on the rise until the 20th century when there was a sudden halt. Cross breeding damaged the athletic build of this dog and they were no longer prized pointers. It was thanks to Societa Amitori Bracco Italiano, a group of breed enthusiasts responsible for saving this pooch from extinction during the 1900s.

This breed is the most popular out of all the Italian gundogs. They are still used out in the fields of Italy to this day. You may see them hunting with other similar gundogs like the Spinone Italiano. The Bracco Italiano is also seen at Italian working dog events.

Related: Are Finnish Spitz dogs good with strangers? How about with other dogs and children? Read our guide to find out.

Personality

The Italian Pointer makes an excellent hunter and field companion, and can also adapt into a family-friendly dog. These traits have held their popularity in place for thousands of years. Gentle and calm this breed desires human attention and will never stray too far from your side when indoors.

Friendliness is a trait that accompanies this breed! A well-behaved pooch is what you can expect from the Bracco Italiano dog, provided they have been trained and socialized in the correct way. Experienced gun dog trainers will be needed for this breed.

Bracco Italiano pointer standing at river with Porvoo famous red houses landscape at background

Are Bracco Italianos Good With Strangers?

Yes, the Italian Bracco is friendly with strangers. They make hopeless guard dogs! This pooch loves human attention no matter who it’s from. A Bracco does not hold aggressive or shy traits by nature.

Are Bracco Italianos Good With Children?

Yes, this breed is friendly and playful with children. They adore the attention received and love to take part in interactive games. Bracco’s are tolerant and can handle a child’s behavior however, they may not be as friendly and willing to play with kids they don’t know. Gentle play is preferred.

Are Bracco Italianos Ok With Other Dogs?

The Bracco dog can get along with other canines but they won’t be overly keen to interact and play. Socialization will be needed to ensure compatibility. Raise a Bracco Italiano puppy with other household dogs from the beginning if you want more than one. A cat and other small household pets should not live with this breed.

Exercise

High in energy, you should expect to walk this canine for at least two hours each day. Bracco Italiano puppies will also need the same but this should be split into multiple walks. If these requirements aren’t met you will certainly end up with a badly behaved, destructive dog.

Strenuous exercise will be needed! Swimming is an activity this dog likes to do, so try and occasionally fit it into your routine. Bracco’s are excellent retrievers so be sure to include some ball throwing games on your walks. Combine this with some mental stimulation and your dog will be happy and relaxed!

Recommended: If you are the type of owner who likes to exercise, then the Giant Schnauzer might be a good fit for you.

Bracco Italiano pointer male dog standing on rock near water at beautiful landscape

Health

Below are the breed-related health conditions seen in the Bracco Italiano:

  • Hip Dysplasia- Poor development in the hip joint leads to lameness, pain, swelling, and inflammation. Arthritis will eventually form.
  • Ear Mites- These are contagious and live in the ear canal. Itchiness and head shaking are two clear symptoms.
  • Entropion- The eyelid rolls inward causing the lash to scratch the surface of the eye. This causes pain, ulcers, and a difference in pigmentation that may obstruct vision.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus The stomach twists trapping the gases and contents inside. This can be fatal so veterinary attention will be needed immediately.

Intelligence & Training

The Bracco Italiano is a highly intelligent Italian gun dog. Their sense of smell is incredibly unique and is always on the search for game. You must remember this dog has been bred as a hunter, whilst they can be trained as a family pet, some underestimate the amount of training required for this.

Recall is very important for this dog. If you can’t get your dog to come back to you, then they shouldn’t be off a leash. Especially with a Bracco’s strong prey drive. These dogs are independent and stubborn so take your time and be patient.

Training needs to take place from as early as possible. If this dog holds onto bad behaviors in their later years, it is incredibly difficult to fix. Professional help from an experienced gun dog trainer is often sought by many Italian pointer owners.

Positive reinforcements are a must when trying to get your dog to listen. Remember, they are people orientated and love to please their owners. Make your training sessions short and different, changing location each time. Add in some food rewards and affection to let your dog know they’re on the right path.

Training won’t be easy and time will be needed. Be patient but most importantly consistent with this dog. All your hard work will eventually pay off. It will all be worth it once you receive the family-friendly, professional working dog you desire.

Recommended: Want to learn some facts about the Norwegian Elkhound? Check out our comprehensive guide at Woof Bark Growl.

Grooming

The Bracco Italiano is easy to groom and won’t require much maintenance or any professional help. Their short coat does shed and may need a brush once every week.

A Bracco should be washed every 4-6 weeks but may need a quick hose down if they swim or play in the mud. Don’t wash them before a month as this could dry out and damage their skin. Make sure you completely remove the shampoo products from their coat. Hairdryers can be used if your pooch will let you, if not just use a towel.

Bracco Italiano pointer hunting dog standing in grass fowling, summer evening

Some skin may fold over preventing air from reaching it. This could make them prone to skin conditions so these areas will need cleaning more often.

The breeds long ears prevent airflow which leads to a build-up of debris. Check them twice a week to keep them clear from bacteria. Nails need to be filed every 8 weeks and teeth should be brushed daily. Grooming is a good way to bond with your dog and should be introduced from as young as possible.

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