It’s man’s new best amico.
The Bracco Italiano was officially recognized on Wednesday as the 200th member of the American Kennel Club, which described the exotic dog breed as “affectionate,” “intelligent,” and “enthusiastic.”
The announcement means the ancient Italian fowl hounds can now compete for top shows at US dog shows, including next year’s world-famous Westminster Kennel Club event.
The heavily built but gregarious Bracco Italiano is more than two millennia old in Europe, but was not brought to the United States until the mid-1990s, according to the AKC. It is sometimes referred to as the Italian Pointer or Italian Pointer.
The ideal Bracco, according to the AKC standard for the medium to large breed, should be “tough and adapted to all types of hunting, dependable, docile, and intelligent” while being friendly and neither shy nor aggressive.
“It’s very easy to live with them and be around, and yet it’s like a light switch – when it’s time to hop in the back of the truck and go hunting and they have a job, they just light up like a Christmas tree,” said owner and breeder Lisa Moller of Portage, Wisconsin.
The dogs have low-pitched barks and aren’t shy about spotting wildlife in the backyard, so “they may not be the right dog for everyone,” Moller warned.
AKC Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo called the Bracco a great companion for active families who “can provide the love and attention it needs.”
The AKC opened the nation’s oldest canine registry in 1878, with only nine breeds. In the last decade alone, the club has added over 20 breeds, from the tiny toy Russian to the burly Dogo Argentino.
Criteria include the total number and generations of dogs registered nationally, their geographic distribution, and other factors.
There are still many breeds that are registered elsewhere but are not officially recognized by the AKC, or at all.
Animal rights activists are decrying dog breeding, saying adding more breeds only exacerbates the fashionable demand for purebred pets and fuels puppy mills that feed them.
The AKC says it encourages responsible breeding that aims to retain traits that equip dogs for various tasks and make it easier for owners to find a puppy to live with and commit to.
With mail wires