The American Kennel Club (AKC) announced on July 6, 2022, that the Bracco Italiano would be the newest member of its roster of dog breeds. The dog breed is now qualified to compete among the Sporting Group in AKC conformation events and at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club.
Gina DiNardo, executive secretary of the club, said in a statement, “we at the AKC are thrilled to welcome our 200th breed to the registry. The Bracco Italiano is a strong, active, and sturdy breed of dog that would make a great companion for active families.”
The AKC recognizes a breed when an active following and interest in that breed is established. The breed should also be well distributed throughout the United States with enough numbers to be accepted by the club.
In recent years, the club has added 20 new breeds to its list, with the tiny Russian Toy and the Dogo Argentino being the freshest additions.
An Ancient Breed
The Bracco Italiano has been around for hundreds of years that goes back well into the ancient Roman Empire. It was introduced in the United States in the mid-1990s and had its first national “Gathering” in 2007 when the Bracco Italiano Club of America (BICA) was established.
This medium to large, powerful dog breed is one of Italy’s native gun dogs or hunting dogs that help hunters find and retrieve game birds, such as ducks, doves, or quails. They locate game and alert hunters by instinctively pointing their noses or muzzle to the quarry.
On the Bracco Italiano Club of America’s website, the breed is described as an active breed that takes its hunting abilities earnestly. “The Bracco knows when it has a job to do and takes it seriously,” it stated.
The breed is also described as very loyal and loving that can get along well with children but can be a bit stubborn when it comes to training.
Physically, its head is more hound-like compared to other gun dogs. Their short coats only require minimal maintenance.
Not For Everyone
Ericka Dennis, a longtime owner of a Bracco, said that the breed is not for everyone, especially for first-time dog owners. She said that it is ideal for an active person or family that likes to go out hunting.
“They need regular exercise and mental stimulation, or they will find other outlets for their energy that are not always positive. Their happy times are when they’re in the field running after birds,” Dennis said.
Another owner and breeder, Lisa Moller from Wisconsin, said that they are easy to live with, but “it’s like a switch – when it’s time to jump in the back of the truck and go hunting, and they’ve got a job, they just light up like a Christmas tree.”
According to BICA, the Bracco numbers are around 700 to 800 in the United States. Due to the small number of dedicated breeders in the country, finding a Bracco puppy to adopt can be a bit challenging and rather expensive, costing up to $3,000.