What is the temperament of the Bracco Italiano? The Bracco is laid-back, intelligent, slightly stubborn, energetic when working, calm when in the house, especially with obedience training, and definitely needs a mental job. This dog generally has a high drive, and needs mental activity to keep focused and happy. Regular physical exercise is important – a walk every day is good – but hours of exercise daily is not necessary or recommended (by us.) They are happiest being with you – not happy alone – in fact, separation anxiety is something that should be anticipated, and therefore training should be done during puppyhood to prevent this. Braccos are also, being Italian, quite a dramatic breed and often tend to “overreact.” If Serena gets bumped too hard by Silva when they’re playing, she’ll cry as if she broke her leg just to make sure I see what happened. But – when she had a serious ear infection, she never said a word until I saw it myself. They are natural pointers, and are best doing what they were bred to do – hunt.
If I don’t use my Bracco for hunting, what other things might he be good at? Possible jobs for the Bracco include Agility, Obedience, Search and Rescue, Therapy Dog, and similar activities. Hunting Braccos excel in many of these activities as well. However, if you are considering a Bracco but do not want to hunt, you should honestly ask yourself why you would consider a Bracco as an appropriate breed for your lifestyle. Is it fair to the dog? And, if you aren’t going to hunt, is it reasonable to expect that this breed will be a good match for you?
Is the Bracco good with children? Yes, very good.They are a kind and gentle dog who seem to instinctively gravitate toward kids. (See our photos of the boys asleep with their dogs.)
Is he good with other animals? Yes, again with appropriate training. Generally Braccos are good with other dogs, but tend to point and chase other animals, like cats, rodents, etc.
Are they good guard/protection dogs? Our Braccos alert any time there’s a suspicious sight or noise. Some Braccos will be more aggressive than others, but it would be very unusual to find a Bracco that will bite.
What sort of home should the Bracco ideally go to? In a perfect world, the Bracco would go first to a home where he can be hunting, and also live in the house with the family. Contrary to some opinions, being in the house will not ruin the Bracco for hunting; in fact, the bond you and he will have will make him want to please you more, making him a better hunter. The yard should be a reasonable size, and fenced. He would go to work with you, and be alone a fairly small amount of time – not left out in the yard to develop bad habits like digging and barking.
Should I breed my Bracco? Breeding takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and money (to do it well.) We support anyone who is dedicated to being a good breeder, but this is not easy. We strongly support spaying and neutering, and do not require the owner of one of our puppies to keep the dog intact in case we might want to use the dog later on. Neutering or spaying will not change the hunting drive of a Bracco – if it’s there, it’s there. Ask yourself why you would want to breed your Bracco – honestly, an intact male or female dog wants sex – and one that’s neutered doesn’t – and it’s a bunch easier to neuter! If you are not going to breed, neuter or spay. An intact male dog can develop serious prostate problems (we lost one of our breeding males due to that) and if neutered, problems like that just don’t come up. An intact female dog can develop both mammary gland tumors and also a life-threatening uterine infection called pyometra, necessitating emergency surgery.
What genetic problems does the Bracco have? The Bracco does not have many genetic problems, largely because it is not a popular breed, and has not been ruined by backyard breeders, unlike so many AKC recognized breeds. We screen for hip dysplasia, which is in some lines (our dogs rate excellent or good.) Entropion (turned-in eyelids) and ectropion (turned-out, or sagging eyelids) is present, as in many loose-skinned breeds – Braccos’ eyes should be checked (CERF) before breeding, as ours are. Bloat, or stomach torsion is also thought to be genetic. See the link to our breeders (di Ala D’Oro Kennel) on our “links” page to the health page which Tina Steffens has made. We decided not to try to duplicate something already so well-done!
How quickly can I get my Bracco puppy? From us, it might take a year or two. There are, perhaps, 5 litters per year in the United States at the moment. This means you may need to wait a while.. but good things come to those who wait!
Do you keep a waiting list for puppies? We do. The more you’re connected with us, the quicker you’ll get a pup. Essentially, those people who educate themselves prior to getting a puppy and stay in touch with us a lot are the people that we will get to know well. These folks are willing to wait and will get a puppy from us. We give preference to those who come to meet us and our dogs and see our breeding set-up.
Do you ship your puppies? No, we don’t. The shipping process can really cause permanent psychological problems when an 8-week-old puppy is involved – and honestly, the only reason a breeder would do this is to make it more convenient to sell a puppy over the internet. Imagine sending a one-year-old human baby as jet cargo? You can, however, fly out and take your puppy back in a Sherpa bag under the airplane seat – this works very well. Sometimes we can meet new puppy owners in Denver or Salt Lake City, also. In addition, we think it’s important that we meet you and that you see our breeding practices (that we are not a puppy mill or backyard breeder) and that we match you with the puppy with the temperament that is best for you. For that reason, we will take note of your desire as to color and sex of the puppy, and will match that, as much as possible, in conjunction with the puppy’s temperament.
Can we contact you with questions after we get our puppy? Absolutely! In fact, we are told by many of our puppy owners that we stay in touch with them far more than any other breeder they’ve used. We feel it’s our responsibility to help your relationship with your puppy be a success. Since we’re both obedience, hunting and behavior trainers, we have a wealth of experience that we want to share with you. In addition, as one of the earliest Bracco breeders in the U.S., we’ve been keeping track of the Bracco breed – its health and behavior issues – since 2000. Our veterinarian has the most clinical experience of any in the U.S., and we’ve been collecting anecdotal and veterinary records since then as well.