Interesting facts about Brittanys (dog breed)

The Brittany is a breed of gun dog bred primarily for bird hunting.

Although it is often referred to as the Brittany Spaniel, the breed’s working characteristics are more akin to those of a pointer or setter than a spaniel.

The Brittany was originally bred as a hunting dog and noted for being easy to train and sweet-natured.

A happy and alert dog, the Brittany is a rugged, high-energy breed that will require daily exercise, including frequent outdoor adventures, or extra long walks every day.

The average lifespan of the Brittany is 12 to 13 years.

Of medium size but with relatively long legs, it stands from 44.5 to 52 cm (17.5 to 20.5 inches) and weighs 13.5 to 18 kg (30 to 40 pounds). Most are naturally tailless or short-tailed, and longer tails are docked to about 10 cm (4 inches).

Its coat is flat, with a small amount of feathering on the ears, underside, and legs.

The breed’s coat color is varied: orange and white coat or liver and white are most common in the American Brittany – other colors include orange roan and liver roan, all of which are acceptable in the show ring. The American Brittany Standard specifies an acceptable tri-color of liver, orange, and white with very specific color placement. Some Brittanys may have a dark brown coat, which is rare.

The name “Brittany” is taken from the Brittany region in northwestern France where the dog originated. Brittany is a peninsula, historic country and cultural region in the west of modern France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and then a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as a separate nation under the crown.

Images of orange and white Brittany-like dogs hunting and retrieving game were first seen on tapestries and paintings from the 17th century.

Legend has it that the first ancestor of the modern Brittany was bred about the mid-1800s in a town in the Valley of Douron.

The first written and verifiable record of Brittanys comes from a hunting description written by Reverend Davies in 1850. He described hunting with small “bobtailed” dogs who pointed and were excellent retrievers.

A pointing breed that was designed to become a versatile gundog, the Brittany was adept at both pointing and retrieving, which made these dogs well-suited to working in an array of country environments.

Though few records were kept on this breed, it’s believed that the dogs that contributed to the Brittany’s development were the English Setter, Welsh Springer Spaniel, and possibly some other French spaniel breeds.

The Brittany’s skills as a bird dog soon made the breed in-demand with hunters in other countries.

The Brittany was first recognized as a breed in 1907 when an orange and white male named Boy was registered in France. As a result, the first standards were outlined in the same year.

America recognized the Brittany in 1931 and the breed was approved by the American Kennel Club in 1934.

In 1982 the “Spaniel” was officially dropped from the name.

Many breeders differentiate between “American” Brittanys and “French”-style dogs. Although generally recognized as subsets of the same breed, there are recognizable differences between the two. The “American Brittany” is typically larger than the “French Brittany” and a bigger running dog, while the smaller French Brittany generally works more closely to the guns, but will work according to the local terrain.

The breed is generally more sensitive to correction than other hunters, and harsh corrections are often unnecessary.

Brittanys can become very shy if not thoroughly socialized at a young age, and even among well-socialized dogs there is significant variation in levels of friendliness.

A happy and alert dog, the Brittany is a rugged, high-energy breed that will require daily exercise, including frequent outdoor adventures, or extra long walks every day.

Bird dog lovers and families alike appreciate the “softness” of the Brittany’s face and its high-set ears, as well as its high energy level and eagerness to please.

A Brittany puppy is likely to cost between $500-$1,050 with the average price being $750.