Life expectancy: 12 - 13 years
Temperament: Stubborn, Affectionate, Loyal, Companionable, Playful, Trainable
Colors: White, Orange & White, White & Chestnut, White & Amber
Height: Female: 55-62 cm, Male: 58-67 cm
Weight: Female: 25-40 kg, Male: 25-40 kg
The Bracco Italiano, sometimes called an Italian Pointer, is one of Italy's two native hunting dogs, the other being the Spinone Italiano. Dogs of this type are found in paintings and writings from as far back as the 4th and 5th centuries BC and were popular hunting dogs for the nobility during the Renaissance. The Bracco has something of a hound-like appearance, including a deep chest with a long, angular head, serious expression, and ears that hang low and close to his head.
True to his ancestry, the Bracco usually loves to hunt. If given an outlet for this desire, he can also be an excellent family dog. He is usually calm with children and tends to get along with other dogs. However, he may chase cats and other critters if not trained to leave them alone. He will often alert you to anything unusual, but he's generally friendly toward people, even strangers.
The Bracco tends to do best when he has plenty of interaction with his family. This is a dog for people with an active lifestyle who can have a Bracco with them while they work, whether it's in a dog-friendly office or on a farm or ranch. As a rule, he loves to hunt but doesn't require it on a daily or even weekly basis as long as you provide him with other physical and mental activity.
The Bracco is described as jaunty but gentle. Typically, he's a do-it-all dog, capable of tracking, pointing, and retrieving birds and other games on land and from water. As a hunting companion, he tends to be methodical and efficient. Hunting is what Bracco is known for. If you don't take him hunting, you will probably find him pointing to butterflies, lizards, or anything else that catches his eye or nose.
Channel his skills by teaching him to find his toys or competing in nose work or agility competitions (overall health permitting, of course).
When he's not hunting, he tends to be a calm and sociable dog. Of course, when he's still a puppy, it helps to teach him that indoors is the place to be restful and outdoors is the place to be active.
Bracco has a strong desire for human companionship and is often affectionate and devoted to his family. Whether you work at home or in an office, he'll probably be content to lie quietly beneath your desk, waiting until you can enjoy a lunchtime walk together. When you're watching television, he'll snuggle next to you on the sofa, ignoring the fact that he's not exactly lap-sized. You will probably want to draw the line at letting him beneath the covers with you in bed but don't be surprised if he makes himself at home there.
With children of any age, the Bracco has a reputation for being kind and gentle. That doesn't mean he's a babysitter. Young children and dogs should never be left alone together, no matter how well they get along.
A Bracco can be companionable with other animals if raised with them. Puppies raised with cats usually respect them. Otherwise, it may take some time for them to learn to get along with a new cat or not to chase outdoor cats. Pocket pets and birds may always be viewed as prey, so it's best to keep them separated. If you have chickens or other poultry, your Bracco can learn not to chase them, but he will probably always point them.
The Bracco Italiano is a generally healthy breed with an expected life span of 10 to 12 years.
That said, all dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit the disease. Health problems that have been seen in the Bracco include hip and elbow dysplasia, kidney disease, entropion (eyelids that roll inward), and ectropion (eyelids that roll outward). Because of his deep chest, the Bracco is among the breeds that can be prone to bloat and gastric torsion. They may also be sensitive to certain types of anesthesia.
Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on her puppies, who claims that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
The Bracco's coat is short, dense, and shiny. The hair on the head, ears, and front of the legs and feet usually has a finer texture.
Spend a few minutes once or twice a week brushing the coat with a hound glove to keep it shiny and clean and remove dead hair
Bathe the dog as needed. He might not need a full bath very often, but you may want to clean the ends of his ears regularly. They often get wet when the dog drinks and may pick up dirt when he's outdoors.
These dogs can be droolers, although they don't produce as much spit as a Mastiff or Saint Bernard. Keep a hand towel nearby to wipe your dog's mouth after he eats or drinks.
Check his ears weekly to make sure they don't smell or look red or dirty, which could indicate an ear infection. Clean them only if they look dirty.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails every week or two or as needed. Brush the teeth often with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.