The Bracco Italiano is a large-sized, strong, muscular, active dog with a fine, short coat. They have a distinctively shaped head, long ears and well-developed jowls. They can be orange and white, orange roan, chestnut and white or chestnut roan in colour. Adult males are 58-67cm and females should ideally measure 55-62cm. Weight ranges between 25-40kg, in proportion to the height of the dog.
This dog is an ancient breed, and has been noted in paintings and writings from the 4th and 5th centuries BC. It is thought to have come about from crossing a mastiff-type dog with an Egyptian coursing hound. In the 1700s Italian hunters developed the Bracco Italiano dog breed for hunting, tracking and pointing game. Before guns were used for hunting, these dogs were used to drive game into the hunters' nets. The first of these dogs arrived in the UK in the late 1980s and today they are still few in number.
They are intelligent, faithful and loving dogs, which are able to get on well with both children and other dogs. They are ideally suited to an active country-dwelling lifestyle and will happily be both family and working dogs in one. Though they are eager to learn and to please, it should be remembered that this dog is sensitive and training should be carried out in a gentle manner. They are not the best breed for a novice/first time dog owner.
As with many breeds, the Bracco Italiano can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip and elbow dysplasia (joint conditions that can be painful and lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
The Bracco Italiano is a country dog at heart, enjoying long walks and runs in the countryside. They love to swim and retrieve and if they are not given enough exercise they can be boisterous! Two-plus hours of exercise is advised daily for adults.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The Bracco is prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
The coat of the Bracco Italiano is smooth and short and therefore low-maintenance. Any dead or loose hairs can be removed using a grooming mitt every week or so.