This is an article about the Bracco Italiano which was published in the July, 2005 Issue of Dog Fancy Magazine:

 

All-Terrain Dog

 

It's spring break in Telluride, Colo., and Alba, Dino, Mari and Flora - all Bracco Italiano dogs - have houseguests: 32 canine companions staying over while their owners, who run the area's ski resorts, are gone on much-needed vacations after the winter season. The Bracci are expected to be impeccable hosts - no barking, fighting, or displays of domination allowed. The same is asked of the guests, but the Bracci, owned by Lane Conrad and Dan Koon, adhere strictly to the high standards.

"They are so well-mannered," Conrad says. "Even with all the dogs around - and we've had some in heat - they are even tempered."

The Bracco is a classic pointer with an elegant, loping gait and a strong instinct for game. The breed's origins can be traced back centuries. The Bracco developed in Italy, descending from Molossus and Egyptian Hounds. By the Middle Ages, it was a recognized breed, and the dogs' popularity spread during the Renaissance. Today, Bracci Italiani are uncommon in Europe, but even rarer in the United States; fewer than 200 live here, and just a few males are registered as studs for breeding.

Intelligent and devoted to their sporting duty, Bracci also crave human companionship. They enjoy being cuddly lapdogs, despite weighing between 55 and 88 pounds. Yet they also must feel useful, Conrad says. "They need a job. This is not a breed that's content doing nothing." Bracci are happiest in a home where they can channel their energy into regular exercise and activity, such as fieldwork and other canine sports. If not given a task, the Bracco will make up his own fun. Five-month-old Luca, owned by Kristin Buczek of Alexandria, Va., tosses a ball to himself in his backyard if no one is available to play with him.

And Conrad and Koon's Dino, now 5, retrieves nearly anything he sees, often finding stuffed animals or other fuzzy household items - an amusement that has sent Dino to the hospital. "There's a drawback about Bracci for you," Koon says. "Dino has had surgery a couple of times for eating things. I caught him eating a hat a couple of months ago." Potential owners should prepare to vigilantly keep their Bracco safely occcupied with appropriate toys and chews.

The Bracco is loose-skinned with a broad head, straight nose, and long ears. Sometimes mistaken for a hound, it has a nose to rival one. If a Bracco picks up a scent, he is rarely distracted from it. Once he locates game, the Bracco stands point, prepared to flush out the target and retrieve if requested. "They'll chase the pigeons and not the chickens," Koon says. "It's easy to train them to know the difference."

Exuberant, quizzical, and possessing a terrific outline, Bracci rate high on head-turner quotient. "They look regal," Buczek says. "They were bred by the Medicis." She notes she can't go anywhere without people asking about Luca. "I call him my 'All-Terrain Dog.' He's very athletic outside and wonderful to hike and run with, and inside he's relaxed, loving and caring. I'm just crazy about my dog."

 

Patricia Kime is a freelance writer and lives in Arlington, Va. She graciously allowed us to reprint this article.

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