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Why the bracco Italiano has real flair and all-round working ability

David Tomlinson reports on a reader with two working braccos

The bracco Italiano

Bracco Italianos Digger and Dozer in the snow

Though the bracco Italiano is one of the most visually striking of gundogs, it is also one of the most rare.

I was delighted to receive an email from Michelle Ansell, who told me that she has two braccos, both of which work. The older of the two, Digger, is now coming up for seven. He was also her first HPR. Digger is a regular on shoots in Staffordshire, working on partridges, pheasants and duck. He goes grouse counting on moors in Lancashire and Yorkshire, the Derbyshire Dales and in Wales. Her second bracco Italiano, Dozer, is rising three, but last season’s stop-start nature robbed him of his introduction to the shooting field.

Where does the bracco Italiano work best?

Michelle reckons that braccos are at their best on moors, where they “just go all day and love it”. There’s no moorland, of course, in their native Italy, but this is a breed that clearly relishes working in broad open landscapes where a wide-ranging dog like a bracco can perform at its best.

Michelle admits that the bracco isn’t the easiest dog to train, but once they have learned what’s expected of them “they are amazing dogs as their effortless trot and their ability to cover so much ground makes them ideal when game is scarce”. Couple this with a fine nose and you have a dog that is a great game finder. Michelle and her partner Robin’s enthusiasm for the breed has also taken them to Italy several times, where they have met many of the leading breeders and seen braccos working in their homeland. They also had the chance to compete in a raduno, a weekend event, starting with showing on the Saturday and concluding with a field trial on quail on the Sunday, “all held in the beautiful Trentino mountains”. I gather that the food and wine were memorable, too. Digger has won four open HPR working tests, an impressive achievement, competing against everything from GSPs to vizslas, so he is clearly an accomplished performer. I love Michelle’s photo of Digger and Dozer in January’s snow.

Find more information on the bracco Italiano breed here.