Bracco Italiano

The Bracco is a very efficient gun dog but it is not used in the same way as the British gun dogs, which set out to search fields at a fast gallop. The Bracco searches in a long, elastic striding trot, with its nose high in the wind. In Italy the Bracco Italiano is strictly used as a hunting dog, but its spectacular looks, pleasant temperament and eye-catching movement have put it in the showring.


The Bracco Italiano is also called the Italian Pointer. When historians refer to the ancient pointer used for hunting game birds, they mention heavy Spanish hounds. It is believed that the Spanish Pointer, Perdigueiro Burgos and the Bracco Italiano are breeds that most resemble those ancient hounds. The Bracco is said to originate from crossing the Molosser with sighthounds that Phoenician tradesmen brought back from Egypt, some 2,000 years ago.

Others describe a different origin. They see the breed arising much more recently, at the end of the 17th century. They point out that it has the heavy head of a hound and the body of a gun dog. Its temperament, they say, is also a mixture of the two types. Whichever theory is correct, the fact remains that this breed has changed remarkably little over the last few hundred years and retains an impressive "primal" quality and bearing.

As the 19th century was coming to a close, and Italian hunters turned increasingly to imported breeds, their own Italian Pointer nearly vanished. Numbers dwindled alarmingly, but thanks to the efforts of an rapturous Italian breeder, Fernmdando Delor, who was also instrumental in the foundation of the Italian Kennel Club, it was saved from extinction. His efforts in the 1880s established serious breeding programmes which began to rebuild the breed. In the 20th century, the dog slowly gained more support until, today, it is present in reasonable numbers, m both Italy and other European countries.


The short coat is predominantly white, with pale brown patches. Two local colour varieties are recognized today: the orange and white Piedmont Bianco Arrancio, and the chestnut roan Lombardy Roano Marrone. The tail is traditionally docked.

The Bracco Italiano should be about 22-26 inches/55-67 cm at its withers, and its body should be more rectangular than square. There should be hardly any visible tuck-up. The withers and hipbones should be level but the line of the back should be slightly lower. Its head should be fairly long and narrow with a pronounced occipital bone, marked stop and pendulous lips. The ears should be long, folded and set low. The skull and nose ridge should be slightly diverging when viewed in profile. Its coat should be smooth and fine. Acceptable coloring is white with fine speckling, all shades of roan, from lemon to deep orange, usually with large patches on the back and always on the sides of the head and ears. Black pigmentation is a disqualifying fault.


In personality, this sober, pensive-looking dog has a reputation for being obedient, responsive, vigorous and powerful on the hunt, and gentle, sensitive, docile and faithful in the home.

Gallery of Bracco Italiano