Meet the Brittany Spaniel, one of the world's favorite sporting breeds.
Brittany Spaniel History
The Brittany Spaniel began its existence over 1,500 years ago in Northern France, the region the breed takes its name from. Although there are no significant records to tell us how the breed was developed, many believe Brittanies are the result of breeding between English Setter breeds and French Spaniels. These dogs certainly display characteristics of both, so the reasoning seems logical.
These dogs were developed to track and capture game. They do their job so well; they rank among the favorite hunting breeds.
What's in a Name?
Although the Brittany was referred to as a Spaniel from the beginning, the name has undergone a slight change in the USA. The American Kennel Club dropped the word Spaniel from the name in 1982 because they felt these dogs resembled setter and pointer type dogs more closely. In this country the name is simply Brittany, although the rest of the world still refers to the breed by its full given name.
The Brittany Spaniel is a solid, medium-sized dog that is square when viewed from the side. The breed is very energetic, but they are sure-footed and typically only clumsy as pups. These dogs may be tailless or have short tails docked to a length of less than four inches where docking is allowed.
There is no true size distinction between dogs and bitches.
- Height: 17.5 to 20.5 inches
- Weight: 30 to 40 pounds
The Brittany's coat may be flat or wavy, and carries some feathering around the legs and rear.
- Orange and white
- Liver and white
- Roan in either color
Freckling is also quite common in this breed.
The typical Brittany Spaniel temperament is good natured and outgoing. The breed loves to spend time with people as much as it loves working in the field.
Brittanies can be very rambunctious and need a great deal of exercise for those long legs, so having enough property to let them run on becomes essential to keeping these dog healthy in mind and body. A Brittany is not a dog that is content to spend long hours cramped in an apartment.
Along with being so good natured, these dogs are also intelligent and naturally cooperative, willing to do whatever you ask of them so long as they understand what you want.
The Brittany excels at:
As with the English Springer Spaniel, you must be careful not to reprimand a Brittany too severely or your dog will become fearful of you. Make sure you are giving your pet clear signals about what you want it to do and there should never be a need for strong scolding. These dogs are eager to please you in every way they can.
This breed has a dense coat, but it is a relatively light shedder so keeping it well groomed is a fairly easy task.
Brushing should take place once or twice a week, or anytime the dog has been in the field. This will help you quickly find and remove any burrs that have attached themselves before they can cause your pet discomfort.
Bathing can be carried out on a bi-monthly basis or as needed and the ears should be cleaned out once a week.
The average Brittany will live a good twelve years if you take proper care of it. These are hardy dogs that do well in all types of weather.
Certain health problems do pop up in this breed, including:
A Word of Advice
Unless you can provide the type of athletic life this breed is meant for, better to pass it by. Brittany Spaniels need plenty of exercise in the open air to thrive.
Keeping them contained in a home situation that might suit more laidback breeds would lead to a great deal of frustration for these dogs and simply wouldn't be fair. Visit a breeder and watch these splendid canines in the field, then you'll understand.