Bracco Italiano

Bracco Italiano
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The athletic Bracco Italiano dog breed can seem intimidating at first, but they are dogs that are more recently being thought of as wonderful family companions! Originally bred in Italy, this breed of hunting dog is also called the Italian Pointer. There are two types of Bracco Italiano: the Piedmontese Pointer from Piedmont, Italy, and the Lombard Pointer from Lombard, Italy. The Bracco breed has been around since the 4th century B.C.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group:Sporting
Height:1 foot, 9 inches to 2 feet, 2 inches at the shoulders
Weight:55 to 88 pounds
Life Span:12 to 13 years

Bracco Italiano dogs were originally bred in Italy in order to hunt animals like turkey, and their genetics date back to the 4th century B.C. Also known as the Italian Pointer, this breed craves human attention and affection, which is why more people have been using them as family pets rather than hunting companions. They come in three colors; white and orange, brown and white, and white and chestnut. They are easy to groom because they only need a quick brushing once a week.

This breed has a high energy level and is very intense by nature. Their exercise needs are high, so they must have a large space in which to exhaust energy. Going on hikes or runs, hunting, or playing are great ways to exercise this breed. They love to play, so having a frisbee or ball to throw, or any toy, will make their day! Another great thing about them is they don’t tend to bark a lot, but they do have a high prey drive, and will go on the hunt for a turkey or other feathered animal due to their very nature of being bred to do so!

They are highly intelligent, pretty easy to train, and love to be around children and other animals. Having other pets to exercise with can help keep them in shape and form a friendship with other pets, which keeps them socialized and mild mannered. They might be uncomfortable around strangers, so let them meet the new person to sniff them out.

Generally, the Bracco Italiano is a healthy dog, but like most dogs, can develop issues as they age. If your dog is kept on a healthy diet and exercised properly, the longer you can postpone certain health issues. They will need to eat 4 times daily until 12 weeks of age, and from there they will eat 3 times daily until 6 months, when they will eat 2 bowls of food per day. Using a high protein dog food will keep their energy levels up. Braccos also love certain foods like cooked eggs and vegetables. Check with your vet before feeding it human food.

With its sort of sad facial expressions and floppy ears, it is easy to fall in love with this breed and adopt one! Not only are they great hunters, but they are very family friendly and love to play and receive attention. And, they are not afraid to alert you if there is danger! Sounds like a great dog!

Main Highlights
  • This breed weighs between 55 and 88 pounds and has a glossy but dense short coat. The females generally do not grow over 2 feet tall at the shoulder, while males can get up to 2 inches taller in height.
  • There are three colors in which to find a Bracco; white and orange, brown and white, or white and chestnut.
  • Originally bred in the 4th century, these dogs were used in hunting feathered animals. They have a keen skill to hunt and attack prey in any weather. However, they do not deal well with very hot or very cold temperatures for extended periods.
  • They love people and crave attention and love from them, but can be wary of strangers. Also, a great family dog, this breed can play with children safely, though small children should be supervised.
  • Most owners agree that this breed needs a lot of mental stimulation. Many games like ‘Hide and Seek’ keep their brain active, while using their hunting skills like they were bred to do.
  • The owning of this breed picked up steam during the Renaissance era and nearly went extinct by the 19th century but was saved by an Italian breeder named Ferdinando Delor De Ferrabouc for the most part.
  • There are two different variations of the Bracco called the Piedmontese Pointer and the Lombard Pointer, both named after Italian cities.
  • Common health issues for this generally healthy breed include hip dysplasia, ear mites, and hernias. It is also known that this breed is very sensitive to anesthesia.
Breed History

The Bracco Italiano lineage goes back to the 4th centuries where writings have been found about this breed. Most experts believe that this breed is a cross from the Asiatic Mastiff and the Segugio Italiano, both breeds that have stamina and strength and both were hunting dogs. When bred, it is thought that they would have better hunting senses and more stamina.

During the Middle Ages, both types of Bracco Italianos were bred and thrived. The two types of Bracco Italianos are the Piedmontese Italiano and the Lombard Pointer. The Piedmont version has a lighter coat due to living in higher terrain with mountains. During the Renaissance, these dogs were bred by the famously known Medici and Gonzaga family lines.

The aristocracy used the Bracco Italiano to hunt game like turkeys and other feathered animals, however by the end of the 19th century, this breed was almost extinct. However, a breeder from Italy named Ferdinadno Delor de Ferrabouc and others saved the breed, and by the end of WWII, many Italians who bred dogs were primarily breeding the Bracco Italiano and continued to do so.

After many years, the standard for this breed was released in 1949 in Lombardy, Italy and was designated by Societa Amatori Bracco Italiano, which is the Italian society for this breed. The standard was released in England in 1989.


As with many breeds, the females come in about 2 inches shorter, on average, for this breed. The males can stand from 23 to 26 inches at the shoulder, while the females come in at 22 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder. The females also tend to weigh less, but this breed generally weighs in at 55 to 88 pounds, or 25 to 40 kg. Hunting and being active help keep this breed in shape, along with regular exercise.

Personality and Character

The Bracco Italiano breed loves to be around humans. They love having a human friend to tag along with, probably due to its lineage having humans to hunt with. They are generally great as a family dog and love children and pets in the home to play with.

Many Braccos need some obedience training as they can be stubborn, as when they receive reprimands, they tend to respect you less and think they are the boss. But they are not aggressive, and they are always on alert for danger, to protect their family. If this breed barks or growls, it is easy to discern that something is wrong.

They are excellent hunters! It is in their blood to hunt, literally! They love being active, catching wild game with their owner, and staying active. Also, they are very smart and willing to learn tricks and games such as ‘Hide and Seek’. Keeping your dog active physically and mentally is key to their well-being.

Health and Potential Problems

A healthy Bracco Italiano can live 12 to 13 years on average. They generally do not have many health issues, but an owner must be aware of common problems that may arise. Keeping your dog active and checking their body regularly can help to avoid health issues in the future. Regular vet visits are necessary.

  • Hip Dysplasia: This condition is common in dogs, but it doesn’t have to define them. Hip Dysplasia is a condition in which the bone in the thigh does not fit correctly into the hip joint. One way to tell if this is hurting your dog is to check for pain and lack of use of that area. While this condition is hereditary, it can be attained from other factors like diet, falling, or any injury. A veterinarian can help to provide comfort for a dog with hip dysplasia.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: This condition is also common in dogs, and it occurs when the cartilage does not naturally develop, which then leads to terrible arthritis and overall pain in the affected area.
  • Allergies: Suffering from food allergies can be avoided if they are eating a proper dog food. Check with the vet before you switch foods to make sure it will be helpful to your dog. Contact allergies could be from shampoos, powders and other chemicals in the house. Also, inhalant allergies can affect your dog because of pollen outside or dust and mildew. Medications can be helpful for their allergies but it is not life threatening.
  • Diabetes: Like humans, dogs can have diabetes, which is the body being unable to process sugars correctly. Check for the symptoms which include increased appetite, being really thirsty, and going to the bathroom a lot. A dog will live with diabetes for the rest of its life so it is important to get them on insulin shots and control what they eat.
  • Ear Infections: It is very common for dogs to get infections or have odors in their ears. Checking the ears is a must during regular grooming. Causes include allergies, mites, yeast and other bacteria. Signs of an infection can include an odor, yellow or brown discharge, bleeding, scratching, and swelling. Regular cleaning can help prevent the infections, which is done by gently cleaning the dog’s ears with cotton swabs and using ear cleaner when needed. If an infection is apparent, see the vet and they will prescribe medication. If the issue is persistent, surgery will be needed.
  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea is common among dogs, cats, humans, and other species. But if your pup gets diarrhea, make sure to keep them hydrated. Generally, something could be wrong if this lasts more than 24 hours. If diarrhea comes with vomiting, dark stool or fever, get your dog to a vet. Causes of this include Parvo, parasites, food problems, and stress, and many other types of infections or diseases. Pay attention to your dog’s symptoms in case their issue is more pressing.
Care Features

In order to keep your Bracco Italiano happy and healthy, be sure to walk them and engage in exercise with them every day. They love walks, playing fetch and running around the dog park or fenced yard! Have your children tag along so they all burn-off energy! They also love being taught tricks and games, which keeps their brain sharp.

While they love attention and having their family and other pets around, they can do well on their own for a while. However, if they get bored, they can do some damage. This can be curbed with proper training. If your dog has anxiety, take a trip to the vet to check him over.

There are several foods that this breed cannot eat. These include but are not limited to: caffeine, grapes, old food, onions, chicken, turkey, salt, yeast, and garlic. Be careful when feeding your dog human food. An allergy test can be helpful in determining what your dog’s body cannot handle.

When training, you should start out with the basics like “sit”, “heel”, “speak”, and “come”. They are recommended to be crate trained at first and use a carrier when in the car until properly trained, so they do not chew up your things! Once the basics are learned, they can begin learning how to shake, and other tricks and games that keep them sharp and active.

Since this dog breed loves to be outdoors, always be aware of fleas and ticks. Check your dog frequently for fleas and ticks when they go hunting or are outdoors for a while. Using flea and tick shampoo and having a flea collar can be of great help. When checking for them, look deep into their fur and into their ears, and check for eggs.

Feeding Schedule

The feeding schedule for a Bracco Italiano between 8 and 12 weeks would be 4 bowls of food per day per the serving on the dog food bag. They need to be fed 3 times per day from 3 to 6 months and from 6 months to a year they will go down to 2 bowls per day. By one year of age, they will eat once per day.

Be sure to use a high protein, high-quality dog food to keep your dog in top shape for hunting and exercise. Leave plenty of water out to drink anytime, and be sure to have cold, fresh water in the summer time.

Coat, Color and Grooming

This breed’s coat is glossy and short. Their dense fur tends to be less on the ears, legs and feet. They do shed twice a year and brushing them weekly will help keep the fur down. There are three colors in which this breed comes in; white and orange, chestnut and white, and brown and white. They will have patches of color all over their body.

Besides brushing their fur once a week, they should have their teeth cleaned monthly and have their body checked for sores or other health issues. They can take a bath a few times per year, and their nails should be clipped one a month. Other than that, they are easy to maintain!

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

This breed loves children to play with! While small children should always be supervised around dogs, this breed loves to be active with children and play in the yard. As far as other pets, this breed loves to interact with other animals as well! They can get along with most animals and love playing with them, too!

In the end, the Bracco Italiano is a versatile dog that can be a great companion to their owner and family. Their sweet face and demeanor make them easy to love and care for! They are great guard dogs and protectors and love to be around their owners and children for attention and love. These hunting dogs are great to take on a trip to hunt turkey or other feathered game. They love to hunt and were bred to do so, having an excellent track record. Overall, the Bracco Italiano can be a welcoming addition to most families to love for many years!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.