Bracco Italiano added to American Kennel Club's roster of breeds

Organisation says the dog should ideally be 'tough and adapted to all types of hunting, reliable, docile and intelligent'

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US dog lovers, say “benvenuto” to the bracco Italiano.

The ancient Italian bird-hunting dog is the 200th member of the American Kennel Club's roster of recognised breeds, the organisation announced on Wednesday.

That means the handsome, powerful but amiable pointers can now go for best in show at many US dog shows, including the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club event next year.

The bracco goes back more than two millennia in Europe, according to the AKC. It is sometimes called the Italian pointer or Italian pointing dog.

The ideal bracco should be “tough and adapted to all types of hunting, reliable, docile and intelligent", while also friendly and neither shy nor aggressive, according to the AKC's standard for the medium-to-large breed.

“They’re very easy to live with and be around, and yet it’s like a light switch — when it’s time to jump in the back of the lorry and go hunting, and they’ve got a job, they just light up like a Christmas tree,” said owner and breeder Lisa Moller of Portage, Wisconsin.

The dogs — the proper plural is “bracchi Italiani” — have a deep bark and readily use it when seeing backyard wildlife, so “they may not be the right dog for everybody", Ms Moller said.

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 dog registry with a mere nine breeds in 1878.

In the past decade the club has added more than 20 breeds, ranging from the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen to the powerful dogo Argentino.

Criteria involve the total number and generations of registered dogs nationwide, their geographical distribution and other factors.

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