The Italian Pointer or Italian Setter, is commonly believed to be one of the oldest hunting dogs in the world. This hardy and good-natured dog was favoured by the Italian nobility since at least the period of the Renaissance. For centuries it remained mostly obscure outside its native Italy but today it’s gaining more and more followers in the United States and other countries.
There are multiple versions concerning what breeds were used in development of the Italian Pointer. The highest likelihood carries the suggestion that a variety of a coursing dog (sight hound) was interbred with a type of Molosser or Mastiff in order to create this breed. A sight hound was most probably the Segugio Italiano that has been imported to the Italy some 3000 years ago. A group of scientists also assumes that the Italian Pointer originated directly from the ancestors of the Sengugio Italiano, which have been brought to the region by the Phoenicians or Greeks. The highly possible dogs among the Mastiff/Molosser that were used in breeding of the Italian Pointer are hunting Cane Corsos or the ancient Molossus, though the Neapolitan Mastiff, English Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, and Great Dane are also suitable for this role.
In the last decade the other opinion prevailed and it states that the breed resulted from interbreeding a scent hound with a sight hound or a Molosser, or all three types of dogs were used. It’s a common view, that among scent hounds the Saint Hubert Hound (Bloodhound) is the most probable candidate since it looks very similar to the Italian Pointer. Nonetheless, it’s also likely that a few other scent hounds participated in creation of the breed.