About the Breed
Brittany used to be referred to as the Brittany Spaniel, but the Spaniel portion of his name was dropped because his hunting style resembles less of a spaniel and more of the pointing breeds of dogs. He is a bird dog primarily, and his job is to point the bird, hold the bird, and then retrieve him.
The breed originated in France and is named for the province there. Written records of the breed’s development have largely been lost, so it is not fully known how the breed was created. It is suspected that he shares ancestors with the Welsh Springer Spaniel due to a resemblance between the breeds, but it is also possible that some English pointer dogs were added to the mix helping to fix Brittany’s hunting style.
The Brittany is still heavily used as a hunting companion that is also a nice house dog. His size is perfect for the hunter wanting a smaller hunting buddy but one that still possesses great ability in the field.
The Brittany is a compact, medium-sized hunting dog that stands at just 17 ½ -20 ½ inches tall and only weighs about 30-40 pounds. Males are slightly larger than females. He should be light on his feet and slightly leggy (which gives him agility and quickness) and strong but not overly muscled.
His single-layer coat is dense and can be either flat to the body or slightly wavy. He does have a bit of feathering on his legs where the hair is a touch longer. The coat comes in two color combinations: orange and white or liver and white. Occasionally there is a tri-color which is a liver and white dog with some orange markings, but this is not a preferred coloration.
In the United States, the Brittany most frequently appears with a docked tail.
Brittany is known for his hunting abilities, and he has an excellent nose for the job. He works in shorter ranges than larger pointing breeds, but he is very good at not missing any birds in the field.
While he does have a good deal of energy, and he does require daily exercise to expend it through walks, playtime, or running, he makes an excellent home companion. He does well in the house when properly exercised, and he is very nice family pet. He is good with all ages of people and is both tolerant and fond of children.
The Brittany is a dog that likes to be with the family, and they are the perfect addition to an active family. He is generally quite friendly with all he meets. At times if not well socialized he may be a little shy at first with new people but warms up quickly. He is a more sensitive breed of dog that doesn’t do well with harsh corrections and instead aims to please his handler.
He can do well with other dogs or pets in the household as long as he has been raised and properly socialized to them. It is important to note that he is a hunting dog and a bird dog, so very small animals or birds may not be the best mix for a Brittany.
The Brittany is an easy to train breed of dog that takes easily to commands and learns quickly. He is an eager learner that tries hard to please his handler. He doesn’t handle harsh corrections and instead learns things well via a positive format.
Many novice hunting handlers find him to be a good dog to work with as the skills come naturally to a Brittany.
As the breed can sometimes be a little shy if not well socialized, it is important during his formative youth to expose him to new dogs and people to avoid any shyness.
Shedding & Grooming
The Brittany is pretty much a wash and wear breed of dog. His coat is not fancy and only has light feathering which can be easily maintained with a light brushing each week. Burrs and weeds from the field don’t catch as readily in his coat, and if it does, it is easier to remove.
Overall he sheds very little due to his single coat layer.
As with many downed ear dogs, it is important to routinely inspect his ears for signs of infection including odors, buildup, redness, or swelling. His ears also need to be regularly cleaned.
The breed doesn’t require frequent bathing and is fairly clean. Only bathe when necessary. Otherwise, regular nail trims and tooth brushing are all that is required.
Health & Life Expectancy
The average lifespan of the Brittany is 12-14 years of age. The breed has only a few health issues to be familiar with:
- Hip dysplasia
- Canine discoid lupus erythematosus
- Retinal dysplasia