The Bracco Italiano, one of Italy's two hunting dogs, is considered to be the oldest European pointer and were given as gifts to Spanish and French nobles from the Italian government during the Renaissance era. This large hound-like pointer is an ancient breed that descended from dogs that were brought by ancient Phoenician traders from Egypt during the 4th or 5th century B.C. and it is believed that they could have resulted from crosses between the Segugio Italiano, an Italian coursing hound, and the Asiatic Mastiff. Commonly referred to as the Italian Pointer, they were bred to be used as a sighthound and also saw work driving prey into nets or flushing birds into falconers. Once hunters started using firearms, the Bracco Italiano was used to point and retrieve the game, showing the versatility and adaptability of the breed over the years.
Having a hound-like appearance, deep chest, and well-balanced body, the Bracco Italiano is the definition of a well-built gun dog. Their coat is short, dense, glossy, and comes in a few colors such as the most recognized white and orange or white and chestnut. The breed has two known varieties that include the Piedmont Pointer and the Lombard Pointer. Piedmonts are lighter and smaller to work in mountainous terrain rather than marshy lowland areas like the Lombard. Bracco Italianos have fairly large oval-shaped eyes, moderately-lengthed ears that can reach the nose when pulled forward, and a straight muzzle with a brown or pale pink nose. The natural tail of the breed is carried horizontally or slightly curved, but the tail may also be seen docked.
Like most hunting breeds, the Bracco Italiano bonds strongly with their owners and are known to be very affectionate and loyal to their families. These gentle giants have a reputation for being good with children of all ages and tend to get along fairly well with other dogs because of their pack mentality. Widely recognized for their versatility and adaptability, the Bracco Italiano is considered to be fairly easy to train because of their determination, intelligence, and eagerness to please but they can have a stubborn side. Patience and positive-reward based training are the best for this sensitive breed. These gun dogs live for the hunt and you would probably catch them pointing at anything that catches their attention but regardless of their hunting background, they can be calm and well-behaved in the home. This particular breed can be companionable with other dogs and tolerant of cats if they have been properly socialized or raised with them from puppyhood. Braccos are fairly active dogs that require only half an hour of daily exercise to remain content but will gladly accept more. Loyal and responsive, an obedient and well-socialized Bracco Italiano can be a great lifelong companion and hunting partner that loves their human more than anything in the world.