The American Kennel Club (AKC) has welcomed a new dog breed, the Bracco Italiano, to its registry. Characterized by a striking coat and impressive hunting acumen, the Italian Pointer is the 200th breed officially recognized by the organization at 144 years old.
The oldest pointer in Europe
The Bracco Italiano is known as the oldest European pointer, according to the AKC, with a lineage dating back to the fourth or fifth century BCE. Experts believe the breed is a cross between Segugio Italiano and a Molosser such as the Asian Mastiff.
Despite its ancient lineages, there is no record of the dog breed in the United States before the 1990s, according to the AKC. In 2001, the AKC Foundation Stock Service accepted the pointer into its ranks. In 2007, the Bracco Italiano Club of America (BICA) was formed, with the intention of preserving the breed’s health and hunting abilities. Now fully part of the AKC fold, the Bracco Italiano can participate in AKC events in the Sporting group.
According to Amanda Inman, president of BICA, there are approximately 700 to 800 Bracchi across the United States.
Characteristics of dog breeds
Bracchi come in three color patterns: white, white and orange, and white and brown, and typically measure 21 to 27 inches. They can weigh anywhere from 55 to 90 pounds depending on sex and size, and typically live for 10 to 14 years.
The Bracco is “sweet at home and tireless on the court,” according to the AKC. An “all-purpose hunting dog”, they belong to a group of hunting dogs bred to find and retrieve game. Besides pointers, gun dog breeds include retrievers, spaniels, Portuguese water dogs, and Spanish water dogs, among others.
Exuberant, intelligent and affectionate, Bracchi can make a great addition to all types of households, including those with children. However, according to the AKC, they thrive best with experienced pet parents with plenty of space, as they require proper training and plenty of mental and physical stimulation.