Bracco Italiano Breed Magazine - Showsight


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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O FFICIAL S TANDARD OF THE B RACCO I TALIANO General Appearance: Of strong and harmonious construction, powerful appearance. The preferred subjects are smooth coated, with lean limbs, well-developed muscles, well defined lines, and a markedly sculpted head with very obvious chiseling under the eyes. These elements all contribute to give distinction to this breed. The Bracco is tough and adapted to all types of hunting, reliable, docile, and easy to train. Size, Proportion, Substance: Height at the withers between 21 to 27 inches. Preferred size for males: 23 to 27 inches; preferred size for females: 21 to 25 inches. Weight between 55 to 90 pounds, depending on height. Height at the withers less than 21 inches after 12 months of age is a disqualification. Height greater than 27 inches is a disqualification. The Bracco is a solidly built dog with powerful bone, but without lumber, and without sacrificing balance and harmonious appearance. A dog in hard and lean field condition is not to be penalized. Important Proportions : The body is square or slightly longer than tall. Length of head is equal to two-fifths (40 percent) of the height at the withers; its width, measured at the level of the zygomatic arches, is less than half its length. Skull and muzzle are of equal length. Head: Head - Angular and narrow at the level of the zygomatic arches, its length corresponds to two-fifths (40 percent) of the height at the withers; the middle of its length is at the level of a line that unites the inner angles of both eyes. The upper planes of the skull and muzzle are divergent, i.e.: if extended, the top line of the muzzle emerges in front of the occiput, ideally at mid-length of the skull (down-faced). Dish face (convergence of the planes of the skull and muzzle) is a disqualification. The head and neck are moderate in skin. The head should have a soft fold of skin from the outer corner of the eye, falling down the cheek. When the head is down and relaxed, there is a skin fold across the skull from ear to ear. Eyes - Semi-lateral position, neither deep set nor prominent. Eyes fairly large, eyelids oval-shaped and close-fitting (no entropion or ectropion). The iris is a dark amber to orange or brown color depending on the color of the coat. Wall eye is a disqualification. Expression is soft, gentle and intelligent. Ears - Well developed. In length they should, without being stretched, reach the tip of the nose. Their width is at least equal to half their length; raised only very slightly; base rather narrow, set at level of zygomatic arches. A supple ear with a front rim well-turned inwards to frame the face; the lower extremity of the ear ends in a slightly rounded tip. Skull Region: Seen in profile, the skull shape is a very open arch. Seen from the top, it forms lengthwise an elongated oval. The width of the skull measured at the level of the zygomatic arches should not exceed half the length of the head. Cheeks are lean, the bulge of the forehead and the supra-orbital ridges are perceptible. The stop is not pronounced. The frontal groove is visible and ends at mid-length of the skull. The interparietal crest is short and not very prominent. The occiput is pronounced. Muzzle - Fore- face is either straight or slightly arched. Its length is equal to half of the length of the head and its depth measures four-fifths (80 percent) of its length. Seen from the front, the lateral sides of the muzzle converge slightly, still presenting a fore-face of good width. The chin is not very apparent. Nose - Voluminous, with large well-opened nostrils, protrudes slightly over the lips with which it forms an angle. Color brown or from pale pink to more or less deep fleshy red depending on the color of the coat. A split nose is a disqualification. Lips - Upper lips well developed, thin and floppy without being flaccid, covering the jaw; seen in profile, they overlap the lower jaw slightly, seen from the front, they form an inverted "V" below the nose; the corner of the lips must be marked without being droopy. Teeth - Dental arches well adapted, with the

Page 2 of 3 teeth square to the jaw. Bite - scissor or level. Any deviation (overbite or underbite) should be faulted in accordance to its severity. Neck, Topline, Body: Neck - Powerful, in truncated cone shape. Length of the neck is at least two-thirds but not greater than the length of the head. Well detached from the nape. The throat shows a soft double dewlap. Excessive skin with exaggerated wrinkling or single dewlap is faulted. Topline - The upper profile of the back is made up of two lines: one, almost straight, slopes from the withers to the 11th dorsal vertebrae (mid-back); the other is slightly arched, joining with the line of the croup. Body - Chest is broad, deep and well down to level of the elbows, without forming a keel. Ribs well sprung, particularly in their lower part, and sloping. Wide lumbar region. Loin is well muscled, short and slightly convex. Croup is long (about one- third of the height at the withers), wide and well-muscled; the pelvic angulation (angle formed by the pelvic girdle with a horizontal line) is 30 degrees. Underline - Lower profile almost horizontal in its rib cage part, rising slightly in its abdominal part. Tail - Thick at the base, straight, with a slight tendency to taper, hair short. When the dog is in action and especially when questing, is carried horizontally or nearly. Docked - Should be docked 6 to 10 inches from the root. Undocked - Carried horizontally; length of the undocked tail is to the hock. May be slightly curved but never held high or carried bent over the back. Forequarters: Withers are well defined, with the points of the shoulder blades well separated. Shoulder strong, well-muscled, long, sloping, and well laid back, very free in its movement. The upper arm sloping, fitting to the rib cage. Forearm strong, straight, with well-marked sinews; the point of the elbows should be on a perpendicular line from the rear point of the shoulder blade to the ground. Metacarpus (pastern) well proportioned, lean, of good length and slightly sloping. Feet strong, slightly oval shaped, well arched and closed toes with strong nails well curved towards the ground. Color of nails is white, yellow or brown, of a more or less dark shade depending on the color of the coat. Foot pads elastic and lean. Hindquarters: In balance with the forequarters. Thigh long, parallel, muscular, with the rear edge almost straight when viewed from the side. Strong limbs; hocks wide, metatarsals (rear pasterns) relatively short and lean. The feet, with all the characteristics of the front feet, have dewclaws, the absence of which is not a fault. Double dewclaws are tolerated. Coat: Skin - Ample skin, tough but elastic, well separated from the tissues underneath; fine on the head, the throat, inside the elbows, and on lower part of the body. The visible mucous membranes must be a corresponding color with the coat, but never show black spots. The mucous membranes of the mouth are pink; sometimes with light brown spotting. Coat - Short, dense and glossy, fine and shorter on the head, the ears, front part of the legs and feet. Color: The base color is white. The colors acceptable in this breed are: solid white, white with orange markings, or white with brown markings. The markings are of varied sizes (patches, ticking, or roan). A symmetrical face mask is preferred, but the absence of a mask is tolerated. The orange color can range from a dark amber to rich orange. It is not lemon or yellow. The liver. A metallic sheen is appreciated in brown and white dogs. Disqualifying colors - Tricolor, or with tan markings, fawn, hazel. Any trace of black on coat or mucous membranes. Any solid color other than white. Albinism. Gait: Extended and fast trot, with powerful reach and drive. Head raised, nose held high in such a way that, when hunting, the nose is

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Temperament: The Bracco is tough and adapted to all types of hunting, reliable, docile, and intelligent. Friendly, not shy, never aggressive, and readily makes eye contact. Extreme shyness is a fault. Aggressiveness is a disqualification. Fault: Any departure from the foregoing constitutes a fault which when judging must be penalized according to its seriousness and its extension. Disqualifications: Height at the withers less than 21 inches after 12 months of age. Height greater than 27 inches. Dish face (convergence of the planes of the skull and muzzle). Wall eye. Split nose. Tricolor, tan markings, fawn or hazel color. Any trace of black on coat or mucous membranes. Any solid color other than white. Albinism. Aggressiveness.

Approved October 8, 2018 Effective July 3, 2019

BRACCO ITALIANO BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY BY BRACCO ITALIANO CLUB OF AMERICA T he Bracco Italiano has been called the oldest European Pointer, and its history reaches back to the fourth or fifth century BC. While the exact ancestral origins are unknown, it is generally accepted that the Bracco Italiano has both Segugio Italiano and the Asi- atic Mastiff in its ancestry. The breed was developed in Northern Italy, with two distinct varieties known to Pied- mont and Lombardy, respectively.

By the medieval period, the breed was well established and the Italian aristocracy exported the Bracco across the Old World. This dissemination of dogs throughout the fif- teenth century gave rise to new sporting breeds as the Ital- ian Pointers cross-bred with local dogs, especially in France where similar breeds did not yet exist. The English Pointer, Brittany, German Shorthaired Pointer, and Portuguese Pointer have all been speculated to be descendants of the Bracco Italiano.



The breed’s popularity peaked during the Renaissance, when they were bred by the Medici family of Florence and the Gonzaga family in Mantua. During this time, they were known as “bracchi of the net,” for the practice of hunters throwing a large net over a covey of birds. Historically, two variations of the breed existed— the Piedmontese Pointer and the Lombard Pointer. The Bracco remained at healthy numbers until the turn of the twentieth cen- tury, when they faced a sharp decline. By the end of the 1800s, the Bracco Italiano faced extinction. Over the years, crossings with hounds and poor breeding [prac- tices] resulted in dogs that were too heavily built to perform their work, and the breed suffered from various health problems. At this time, Ferdinando Delor de Ferrabouc (who was also important in the history of the Spinone Italiano) rose to prominence by recon- stituting the Italian Pointer through diligent breeding, selection, and care. In the 1920s, it was decided to unify the two variations of the breed in order to preserve genetic diversity. This decision did not come without criticism. In order to fully understand the history of the breed, and to be able to appreciate the Bracco Italiano’s confor- mation and hunting ability, one must understand the two varieties that contributed to its ultimate composition. First, the Piedmontese Pointer was a dog of lighter construc- tion and color. It originated in the Piedmont region of Italy, as its name suggests. This dog was used for work in the mountains, which its conformation and temperament reflected. The Piedmon- tese dog was slighter than its counterpart in Lombardy, and its hunting style was reminiscent of some Western European Point- ers, as it traveled with a jaunty gallop. One notable breeder of the Bracco Piedmontese was the Aschieri family. This dog was primar- ily white, with or without orange markings. On the other hand, the Lombard Pointer was a rich brown roan and had a heavier body type. This dog was used for hunting in the marshy lowlands, and it was a trotting breed. These big dogs were bred for both their eye appeal and their natural hunting abil- ity. The Ranza family from Piacenza, whose dogs exhibited a most elegant and efficient trot in the field, were marked breeders of the Bracco Lombardo in the early 1900s. Let it be noted, however, that the breeding of two “light” Bracchi could produce “heavy” bodied dogs, and vice versa. Also, “light” and “heavy” refer strictly to the dogs’ morphological char- acteristics, and not to height, as it was not uncommon for Pied- montese dogs to be as tall as those bred from Lombardic stock. Therefore, when the types were merged, the height chosen in the new standard spanned from the minimum height of the “light” Bracco to the maximum height of the “heavy” Bracco. In 1923, the conformation standard was drafted by a commit- tee with the aid of Guisseppe Solaro (who has written extensive commentary on the breed’s conformation). The Bracco’s confor- mation standard had existed in oral history for over a century prior to this undertaking. In 1949, the Societa Amatori Bracco Italiano was founded. When the Italian conformation standard was pub- lished in 1949, it incorporated aspects of both breed types, result- ing in noted variability within the standard. The Bracco Italiano was brought to the United Kingdom in the late 1980s. However, the United States did not experience the Italian Pointer until approximately 1994. In 2001, the Bracco was accepted into the AKC Foundation Stock Service. In 2005, the first national “Gathering” was held, and the Bracco Italiano Club of America was founded in 2007. The breed entered into the AKC Miscellaneous Group in 2019 and will join the AKC Sporting Group in 2022.




The Bracco Italiano Club of America is committed to education. BICA will be offering breed seminars to those who desire to learn more about the Bracco. AKC is excited about promoting this breed in the coming months in a variety of ven- ues, at shows, and in various publications. There are a number of Judge’s Education Seminars scheduled, and enrolling, at shows near you! In celebration of being the 200th breed accepted into full AKC recognition, BICA is offering judges education at no fee for the first 200 judges who attend. If there are regions where there are cluster breed seminars taking place in which there is not a seminar offered for the Bracco Italiano, please let the person organizing the Judges Education offerings know that you would like to request a seminar for this breed. You may also reach out to me, Lisa Moller, via email at, or call 608-617-9666 for assistance with getting a seminar scheduled. We will work together with various events and organizations to spread the word and assist with mentoring others in our wonderful breed. The Bracco Italiano Club of America welcomes your inquiries, appreciates your admiration of Bracchi Italiani, and invites you to join us on this continued journey!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Lisa Moller has been involved in purebred dog breeding since the mid 1980s. Involved with milking cows on the family dairy farm, she was initially involved in breeding Australian Shepherds for the purpose of herding the cattle. In 1986, Lisa obtained her first Chinese Shar-Pei, joined the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America (CSPCA), and committed to Obedience competitions. She then became interested in showing in the Conformation ring about a year later, which led to attending the CSPCA National each year. Learning the value and importance of doing health screenings, OFA X-rays, and additional breeding compatibility testing, Lisa has been a successful breeder of Chinese Shar-Pei since 1988. As an owner- handler, she has finished the Conformation championships of, and has ranked, many dozen Chinese Shar-Pei over the last 30+ years. Lisa is always up for the challenge of handling dogs for other people/friends/ colleagues, no matter the breed. It’s making “the connection” that motives her. She is also involved in the Judges Education Program as a presenter for the CSPCA.

Lisa acquired her first Bracco Italiano in 2018. Having also bred Labrador Retrievers in past years for upland game hunting, she was intrigued by the pointing dog from Italy but knew nothing about hunting with a pointing dog nor the AKC and NAVHDA field testing of a pointing breed. Lisa is not nearly as comfortable in the field training aspects as she is in the Conformation ring, but she has accomplished two hunting titles on her five-year old male and three hunting titles on her three-year-old female Bracco. It fascinates her so much to watch these dogs use their innate natural ability that she will not only continue to hunt her dogs but also continue to stay curious and challenge herself to learning as much as she can about the training and competition of additional field titles. Lisa has been very active in the Miscellaneous Class and FSS at Conformation shows with her Bracchi Italiani for the past four years and loves the attention and questions that the breed gets from judges, other exhibitors, and spectators. She is on the BOD for the BICA, is the Lead of the Judges Education Program, and is on the National Planning Committee, among other additional tasks that come with being a committed and dedicated member of the parent club For 25 years, Lisa and her husband, Dale, built and operated a boarding, training, and grooming facility in Portage, Wisconsin, Caring for customers’ dogs as if they were their very own was their specialty. Lisa’s passion for learning anything new related to dogs (and all animals) has been a constant since she was a small child.




W hen first asked to write on the Bracco Italiano I thought about relating some of the issues that most “new” breeds have. We have had the conflict within a club, second club forming, and so on. The Bracco was first registered in 2001 but no real efforts to move forward until 2014-15. The main reason was fear. Fear that we would become a divided breed- show and field. Little by little, as breeders and owners became more learned some started to realize these great dogs can be both and that WE control this—not AKC, and we

started to move forward. So, I thought instead I’d relate a little about the dog and the people involved with the breed. The Bracco is a glorious, sweet, silly, intelligent stubborn animal! First, and most important, it is a dual breed. When you see 6 and 8 week old pup- pies on point you know it’s a trait that has to be acknowledged. They are truly born to hunt! Known for their strong, fluid, effortless appearing trot, they can take your breath away in the field and the ring. Structured hunt tests do not always show the trot to the best as, while a Bracco is looking down their

Roman nose and doing their elegant trot, the other pointing breeds will blow right by them with a grin on their face. So they blast off with the best of the other breeds. However, when they have used a lot of energy or are bringing the bird back on retrieve; you will see that trot! They are great bird dogs and we are getting more dogs competing in AKC hunt tests all the time. Showing is “new” to many Bracco owners and, although the breed is will- ing, unless you are young and/or fit, they not easy to keep up with. Three steps and I become a land anchor and



©Lauren Till


get a really disgusted look from my dogs. Most people want to stretch them out but they are to be stacked square. We have had a National Specialty each year for a while—even when two clubs were doing one. The Spinone Club of America has been incredible and included us in their Nationals each year. April Burchfield, who bred Black and Tan Hounds for years has her first Bracco and commented: “Before getting my first Bracco, I did a lot of research on the breed. When I saw a video of a Bracco hunting in the bird field exhib- iting the incredible “trotto,” it actually gave me chill bumps! They are beauty in motion. I’ve now had that first dog for almost two years and am amazed at how true to the standard he is: noble, gentle, serious

sometimes, comical others, loyal, driv- en, and exceptionally smart and bid- dable. The drive is a huge part of their temperament and should not be under- estimated. They must have a job or they, and their owners, will not be happy!” Long time breeders and hunt train- ers in other sporting breeds, Tony and Kristi Libertore stated: “We have been involved with the Bracco Italiano breed for the past seven years. We are excited to see that this very old breed which is recognized in so many other countries is finally moving towards full AKC rec- ognition, but we need the support of the entire dog community. This is an ancient, beautiful Sporting breed that deserves recognition, but hasn't gotten the full push here in the US. We think that the move to MISC is a great step

and look forward to introducing this breed to others.” Most breeders and exhibitors and hunters are excited about moving up to Miscellaneous July 2019. Still have many hoops to jump and hope fanciers will look us up, give us a boost, and meet this ancient breed.

©Lauren Till



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