In 2022, the American Kennel Club (AKC) shared some exciting news: it had chosen the 200th dog breed to grace its ranks! The newest member? The Bracco Italiano. While not a common dog breed, these intelligent, affectionate giants were introduced to the U.S. in the 1990s. Since then, they’ve made a name for themselves as versatile hunting dogs.
Here, one can meet the Bracco Italiano and what inclusion in the AKC’s ranks mean.
The Bracco Italiano: a Rundown
The name Bracco Italiano literally translates to “Italian hound.” Check out its stats:
- Height: 21 to 27 inches at the withers
- Weight: 55 to 90 pounds
- Lifespan: 10 to 14 years
- Affection level: 3/5
- Good with children: 4/5
- Good with other dogs: 4/5
Bracco Italianos are in the sporting group, meaning they assist hunters with retrieving feathered game, such as waterfowl, quail, and pheasant. Other dogs in the sporting group include Spaniels, retrievers, and pointers.
Where Do Bracco Italianos Come From?
As the name suggests, Bracco Italianos were originally bred in Italy. They’re one of the oldest dog breeds, dating back to the fourth or fifth century. They result from crossbreeding two once-extinct dogs: the Segugio Italiano and the Asiatic Mastiff. This combined the stoutness of a bulldog with the senses of a bloodhound.
Bracco Italianos were very popular during the 14th century when they were owned by nobles who used them for sporting. However, by the end of the 1800s, poor breeding had compromised the bloodline, and Bracco Italianos faced extinction. Yet, in the 1920s, the breed’s popularity surged, and responsible breeders restored it.
Bracco Italianos vs. Bloodhounds
When meeting a Bracco Italiano, many comment that it looks like a white-and-red bloodhound. They’re not too far off; both breeds are very similar in size, weight, and disposition. Yet, they differ in that bloodhounds are not bred for retrieving game. Instead, they’re bred to track people down––whether it’s a lost child or a confused senior.
Here's a side-by-side comparison:
|Personality||Smart, affectionate, eager||Independent, inquisitive, good-natured|
|Popularity||Not enough data||50th most popular breed|
|Group||Sporting group||Hound group|
|Weight||55 to 90 pounds||80 to 110 pounds|
|Lifespan||10 to 14 years||10 to 12 years|
What Inclusion in the AKC Means
The AKC has the largest registry of purebred dogs worldwide. Although there are more than 400 international dog breeds, the AKC only lists 200.
When considering a breed for inclusion in its registry, the AKC considers:
- How many of a breed exists. Meet the Telomian. It’s one of the rarest dog breeds in the world, only found in isolated villages in Thailand. While these cuties have unique traits, there’s simply not enough to include them on the AKC’s registry. The AKC says that there must be at least 300 dogs in the country upon registration.
- Interest. Before a dog breed gets selected for inclusion by the AKC, there must be an established club with at least 100 active members interested in having the breed registered. For instance, the Bracco Italiano Club of America was founded in 2007 and since then has advocated for the breed’s inclusion.
- Geographic spread. The dog breed must be spread across at least 20 states.
Bracco Italianos Can Partake in AKC Events
The AKC hosts more than 22,000 events each year. Now that the Bracco Italiano is officially on its registry, it can:
- Attend Meet the Breeds. Each year in New York City, the AKC hosts Meet the Breeds. Here, dog lovers can meet the AKC’s 200 listed breeds––and yes, visitors can pet them.
- Compete in dog shows. The Bracco Italiano can compete for the blue ribbon in various dog shows.
Meet the AKC’s Newest Members
The Bracco Italiano is just one of many dog breeds to find acceptance with the AKC. It joins these breeds on the list:
- Mudi. The Mudi is a fun-loving agile breed that originated in Hungary. They’re in the herding group, meaning they’re trained to herd livestock. Even though they measure a little over a foot tall, they’re fearless.
- Biewer Terrier. The Biewer Terrier has one mission in life: to enjoy itself. Weighing less than 10 pounds, its charming, whimsical personality is enough to put a smile on a bulldog’s face.
- Belgian Laekenois. Many people are familiar with Belgian Malinois, but make no mistake: Belgian Laekenois are different. They’re one of Belgium’s four native dogs, and as part of the herding group, they love rounding up livestock.
- Dogo Argentino. Dogo Argentinos make pitbulls look like pipsqueaks. They were primarily bred for fighting in South America, but that’s no longer the case in many accepted circles. Now, they’re great companions when hunting down large prey, like pumas and boars.
Bracco Italianos and the Future
Bracco Italianos have been man’s best friend for hundreds of years, and they’re not going anywhere. The AKC is a very influential organization with one mission: ensuring safe breeding practices. So, who knows? Maybe someday, Bracco Italianos will overcome French bulldogs as the country’s most favored breed!