It’s man’s new best friend.
The Bracco Italiano was officially recognized on Wednesday as the 200th member of the American Kennel Club, which described the exotic dog breed as “affectionate”, “intelligent” and “enthusiastic”.
The announcement means former Italian bird hunting dogs can now compete for best show at US dog shows, including the world-renowned Westminster Kennel Club event next year.
The powerfully built but sociable bracco Italiano dates back more than two millennia in Europe but was not introduced to the United States until the mid-1990s, according to the AKC. It is sometimes called the Italian pointer or the Italian pointer.
The ideal bracco should be “tough and suitable for all types of hunting, dependable, docile, and intelligent,” while being friendly and not shy or aggressive, according to the AKC standard for the medium-to-large breed.
“It’s very easy to live with and be with them, and yet it’s like a switch – when it’s time to jump in the back of the truck and go hunting, and they have a job, they light up like a Christmas tree,” said owner and breeder Lisa Moller, of Portage, Wisconsin.
The dogs have a deep bark and aren’t afraid to use them to spot backyard wildlife, so “they may not be the right dog for everyone,” Moller warned.
AKC Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo called the bracco the perfect companion for active families who can provide “the love and attention it needs.”
The AKC opened the nation’s oldest dog registry with just nine breeds in 1878. In the past decade alone, the club has added more than 20 breeds, ranging from the little Russian toy to the mighty Dogo Argentino.
The criteria involve the total number and generations of registered dogs nationwide, their geographic distribution, and other factors.
There are still many breeds that are registered elsewhere but not by the AKC, or not officially recognized at all.
Animal rights activists decry dog breeding, and they say adding more breeds only exacerbates the crazy demand for purebred pets and fuels the puppy mills that feed them.
The AKC says it promotes responsible breeding aimed at preserving the characteristics that equip dogs for various tasks and make it easier for owners to find a puppy they can live with and commit to.
With post wires