Brittany Guide

Sporting Dog Breeds

The leggiest of the sporting breeds, the Brittany is square-proportioned, the height at the shoulder equaling the length of the body. It stands slightly higher at the withers than at the rump. It is medium-sized with light bone. The combination of long legs and light bones endows the Brittany with remarkable agility and speed. In fact, the breed is very quick and is noted for its ground-covering side movement at the trot. The Brittany may be born tailless or have the tail docked to about 4 inches. The breed's coat is far less profuse than that of spaniels and is either flat or wavy. An overly profuse coat is detrimental when hunting in briars and is considered a severe fault. The Brittany's expression is alert and eager, but soft. The eyes are protected from briars by a fairly heavy eyebrow. The Brittany is an extremely athletic, eager dog that should be ready and able to run in the field for extended periods.

The Brittany is quick and curious, always on the lookout for birds or fun. It loves to run, scout, hunt and play. It has an independent nature, befitting any pointing breed, yet it is sensitive and
very responsive to human direction. The Brittany makes a good house pet, as long as it receives daily mental and physical exercise. If not given sufficient exercise, it can become destructive.

AKC RANKING 30

FAMILY gundog, setter, pointer, versatile hunting dog

AREA OF ORIGIN France

DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION pointing and retrieving

TODAY'S FUNCTION pointing and retrieving, pointing field trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 17.5-20.5 Weight: 30-40

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 17.5-20.5 Weight: 30-40

OTHER NAME epagneul Breton, Brittany spaniel

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Energy level High energy

Exercise needs High

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Very affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly

Ease of training Hard to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

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The Brittany is generally a hardy dog that requires little maintenance. Its major requirement is for abundant exercise, at least an hour of exertion — not just walking — every day. For this reason, it is not suited for apartment life. It can live outdoors in temperate weather, but it is a social dog that needs human interaction. Its coat is not particularly thick or long, but it does require brushing once or twice weekly.
• Major concerns: CHD
• Minor concerns: epilepsy, lipfold pyoderma
• Occasionally seen: spinal paralysis
• Suggested tests: hip
• Life span: 12 – 13 years
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In the mid-1800s, French sportsmen crossed their small land spaniels with English setters in attempts to produce a dog better suited for their needs. Some of the offspring were tailless, and their descendants continued to be tailless or stub-tailed. More importantly, they were excellent woodcock hunters with strong noses. These dogs soon became popular not only with the French gentry but also with poachers, because they would both point and retrieve and were extremely obedient — essential qualities for the clandestine activities of the poachers. The first Brittany (or "epagneul Breton") was registered in France in 1907. The Brittany came to America (Mexico) around 1925 and was AKC recognized in 1925. The breed took a while to be accepted, mostly because hunters expected a pointing dog to have a long tail. When the dogs were given a chance, however, they proved their mettle and have since become the most popular of all pointing breeds at field trials. In fact, registrations eventually soared to place the Brittany among the top 20 in popularity, no doubt because of its bird-hunting abilities, close-ranging hunting style, small size and tractable nature. Although registered as the Brittany spaniel with the AKC from 1934, the word spaniel was dropped in 1982 in recognition of the dog's hunting style, which is more like that of a setter than a spaniel.
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