Say “Ciao” [Hello] to the Bracco Italiano

In July of 2022, the Bracco Italiano became the 200th breed to be recognized by the American Kennel Club and began competing in dog shows in the U.S. Since then, this rustic member of the Pointer family has been enjoying a growing fan club.

Bracco Italiano: Is this a new breed?

While the Bracco may be a new arrival to this country, the first dog registered by the Kennel Club Italiano, founded in 1882, was a Bracco Italiano. Early in 1949, a breed standard (the blueprint to describe the ideal specimen, thus encouraging a uniform appearance among the dogs) was approved in Italy, and a national breed club was formed. Canine historians consider the Bracco to be the oldest European Pointer. While precise origins are unknown, documents dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries BC detail a cross between the Segugio Italiano (an ancient Hound breed) and the Asiatic Mastiff that likely began the breed. The Bracco developed as a tough, versatile Sporting breed, and a proficient performer in all types of hunting.

Bracco Italiano: The look of a hound

The Bracco is a solidly built Pointer with powerful bone, but he stands out in the Sporting Group for his sculpted head with loose skin, harking back to his Segugio forebears. The Bracco Italiano Club of America standard describes the breed as having tough but elastic skin, loose around the neck and head. The ears are also long and hound-like, reaching the tip of the nose. The Bracco’s short, dense, glossy coat is white with orange or brown markings, either patched or speckled.

Bracco Italiano named “Axel”

The American dog show community had its first up-close-and-personal exposure to the breed when a Bracco named “Axel,” travelled here from Italy to compete against all breeds and win the 2009 Eukanuba World Challenge, hosted by the American Kennel Club. (It was an international event that allowed for non-AKC-recognized breeds to participate.) Axel’s fast, powerful trot around the ring, with head and tail held high, was a sight to behold, as the crowds cheered. Many predicted that the breed would quickly find fame in this country. For whatever reason, that prediction did not come true and it took another decade for Bracco to begin to flourish here. But Axel remains the breed’s undisputed ambassador. You can witness his heart-stopping performance on YouTube (Axel the Bracco Italiano).

Singual is Bracco Italiano, Plural is Bracchi Italiani

If you want to sound in the know, remember that the plural of the breed name is Bracchi Italiani (pronounced “bra-key”; the “h” is silent).

FAQ Bracco Italiano

  1. Where does the Bracco Italiano come from?


  1. How did the Bracco get its name?

“Bracco” actually means “hound” in Italian, which reveals the breed’s Segugio (hound) heritage, since the Bracco is universally considered to belong to the Sporting Group.

  1. What size is the Bracco?

Height is 21 to 27 inches at the shoulder; weight is 55 to 90 pounds. Life expectancy is 10 to 14 years.

  1. What is the Bracco like?

Gentle in the home; tireless in the field. Reliable, docile, intelligent.

  1. How active is the Bracco?

Very. “Tireless” is the word used over and over to describe the breed.

  1. Is the Bracco good at any dog sports or activities?

Yes, they need lots of mental stimulation and regular activities to keep them busy, so anything from competitive Agility, Rally and field work, to accompanying their owners jogging.

  1. Is the Bracco good at dog jobs?

Yes, they are versatile and adaptable.

  1. What is the Bracco Italiano temperament? Is the Bracco good for first-time owners?

Typically, yes. They are smart, active and very strong. Lots of socialization, regular exercise and training are essential.

  1. Is the Bracco a good family pet?

Great for active families and singles.

  1. Is the Bracco a good apartment dog?

Generally, not. Their energy level and need for exercise is too great.

  1. How easy is it to train a Bracco?

High trainability as they are eager to please.

  1. Is the Bracco given to excessive barking?

Moderate. They are very intense, moderately watchful and have a protective nature.

  1. Does the Bracco make a good traveler?

Typically, yes. Get him accustomed to car travel early. Crate training is essential for safe car travel, hotel and motel stays, overnight visits to the veterinarian, etc.

  1. Is the Bracco easy to groom?

Yes. Groom occasionally, and be prepared for some shedding and drooling.

  1. How popular is the Bracco?

Too soon for AKC registration stats to be available.