A distinctive muscular dog with a short coat, the Bracco Italiano is notable for its pendulous ears and Roman nose. Gentle dogs but with a somewhat intimidating look, Braccos are great with children, get on well with other dogs and are low-maintenance. However, they have a musky odour and can be expensive to feed.
Which breed group is the Braco Italiano in?
Breed group: Gundog
Braco Italiano breed history
The Bracco Italiano is an ancient breed with references to these dogs dating back to the 4th century. Braccos were recognised as a specific breed in the Middle Ages but the precise origins of these dogs are unknown. It is possible that they are the descendants of Egyptian hounds or Persian mastiffs. Their distinctive coat colourings are probably inherited from the Piedmontese pointer and Lombard pointer which may also have featured in their ancestry.
During the renaissance, Braccos were bred by wealthy families and became so prized that they were often gifted to European royals. Hunter/pointers that also retrieved, Braccos were the dogs of choice for the Italian aristocracy. However, they began to fall into decline from the late 19 th century. The breed was saved by the enthusiast Ferdinand Delour de Ferrabouc who created the first breed standard. This was finalised in 1949 by the Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana (ENCI). The breed was introduced to the UK in 1988 by Jonathon and Liz Shaw.
Bracco Italiano breed characteristics
Large, muscular and powerful, Braccos are imposing dogs with distinctive narrow heads and pendulous ears. Their muzzles are long and slightly arched which gives these dogs the appearance of a Roman nose. Their necks are well-rounded and short and their shoulders muscular. Legs are powerful and bodies square with deep chests. Toplines are gently sloping and thighs well-developed. This breed is also distinguished by oval feet with arched toes and low-set tails which are carried down and slightly curved.
The coat of the Bracco Italiano is short, dense and glossy. Acceptable colours include brown roan, chestnut, orange, orange and white, white, white and chestnut, white and orange plus white and amber. These dogs also boast symmetrical facial masks which match their coat colours.
Loyal and gentle, Braccos enjoy interacting with people and have a noticeable affinity with children. They can be a little stubborn and need to be kept occupied. It is important to note that these dogs are very large and only mature at around three years of age. They possess a unique musky odour which some people find unpleasant.
- Lifespan: 12-14 years
- Height: up to 67cm
- Weight: up to 40kg
- Muscular and powerful
- Long, slightly arched muzzles
- Square bodies
- Sloping toplines
- Oval feet with arched toes
- Short coats in a variety of colours
- Good with children
- Good with other dogs
- Distinctive musky odour
Health issues with the Bracco Italiano
Enjoying a long lifespan for such a large dog, the Bracco Italiano is powerful and robust but can suffer from the following conditions:
- Hip dysplasia - DNA test available
- Elbow dysplasia - DNA test available
- Eye disorders - Annual test available
- Glaucoma - rare
- Cataracts - rare
- Entropion ( Eyelids Folding Inwards )
- Ectropion ( Eyelids Roll Outwards )
- Cherry Eye
- Kidney Problems
- Bendy legs
· Ears problems – a Bracco’s ears must be kept clean to avoid infections flaring up
What is the Bracco Italiano bred for?
The Bracco was bred to be a hunting dog and became popular with the Italian aristocracy during the 15th century.
What sort of owners does the Bracco Italiano suit?
For the right households, Braccos can be wonderful pets which are incredibly loyal and affectionate. They are great with kids of all ages and are low-maintenance. Better still, Braccos get on well with other dogs. They can be left home alone, as long as it isn’t for too long and they are relatively easy to train. But these dogs need plenty of space and exercise and they are expensive to feed. They are best suited to active owners with room for a large dog who don’t mind the musky odour. The ideal home for a Bracco would be in the countryside and full of children!