Brittany Dog Breed
Nicknames: American Brittany, Epagneul Breton, Breton Peasant’s Hunting Dog
|Right Breed For You?||The Brittany is a highly energetic dog and needs plenty of exercise. Therefore it is essential for the dog to have lots of space to run. However, they will adjust to living in a house with a fenced yard as long as they have time to run and play daily. The Brittany can destructively chew things when left alone for long periods of time so it would be helpful for the dog to be caged while they are home alone. The dog will adjust if it is started at an early age. They are highly active dogs and therefore apartment life is not recommended. They are companion dogs and therefore it is recommended that they are purchased in pairs.||Discount Pet Supply Recommendations|
|Height:||17.5 – 20.5 inches|
|Life Span:||10 to 12 years|
|Litter Size:||1 to 11 puppies|
|Color:||Orange with white, liver with white, roan patterns, or tri-colored. Tri-colored dogs are described as a liver and white dog with orange markings on the eyebrows, muzzle, and cheeks.|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
Many breeders do make a differentiation between the American Brittany and the French style Brittany, however, they are considered subsets of the same breed. There are some recognizable differences found. For instance, the American Brittany is taller and faster whereas the French Brittany is more “spaniel-like” in its smaller stature and tends to work more closely with the guns.
The Brittany has a very athletic appearance and should never appear to be heavily built. Their appearance is to be elegant, compact, and long-legged. Brittany’s can be born with either short or long tails. Long tails are typically docked to the length of about 1 to 4 inches. In countries where tail docking is illegal, long tailed Brittany will carry their tails level with their back or slightly lower.
The Brittany is a hunting dog. This gives them their agility and stamina. The Brittany although smaller, is still a very muscular dog without appearing to be heavy set. They have been well adapted to working in the field and this appears in many of its characteristics. There are heavy eyebrows and deep set eyes to protect the eyes from briars. They have a deep set chest and well-sprung ribs which allow them to have endurance for a day of hunting. The Brittany has extremely muscular thighs and substantial angulations to allow them to propel quickly through brush and trees to find and search for birds. Their skin is also loose enough to roll so that puncture wounds and skin injury are lessened when the dog is running through the brush. The Brittany is still commonly used as hunting dogs because of their moderate size. This makes them easily transportable. They are used especially for hunting woodcock, partridge, and hare. They are highly energetic and rarely tire.
The coat of the Brittany is slightly wavy and dense coat that lies flat. The Brittany is a single coat dog. It is not curly but some feathering on the legs does occur. Minimal feathering is preferred over excessive feathering. Excessive feathering on the legs can eliminate them from being able to appear in competition. The texture of the coat should not be wiry or silky. Some fringing does appear on the ears as well.
Orange can also appear in the inside of the ear, under the tail, and some freckles on the legs. Black is a disqualifying color. The American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club do not recognize black as an acceptable color.
The origin of the Brittany is somewhat unknown. There is speculation of it being the cross of an Orange and White Setter and some not clearly identified French dog. The dog is suggested to have originated in the French province of Brittany. The Brittany was first shown in 1896. It is one of the most popular pointing dogs for bird hunting. It is considered to be the smallest of the gun dogs. The Brittany to this day is still used widely for its work as a hunting and gun dog.
The Brittany is a highly intelligent and obedient dog due to its history as a hunting dog. They are eager to please and have a very loving and gentle personality. However, they are highly independent and are considered to be free thinkers. They are consistently happy and enthusiastic. This makes them very good natured and easy to care for. However, it must be noted that the Brittany must be raised around children from puppyhood to be well mannered around them. Some are also known to be very nervous and hyperactive. Typically the Brittany has a very jolly personality and makes a very good companion dog.
The Brittany is not a dog for everyone. They tend to become hyperactive and experience separation anxiety when left alone. This can make them destructive around the home. They also tend to whine and bark excessively when excited or stressed. They are very inquisitive and enjoy sniffing and therefore will follow their nose until they are completely out of sight. They are also known to show some fearfulness towards people when they are not properly socialized from a young age. The Brittany is also very sensitive to stressful situations. For instance, if people in the home are arguing or there are family troubles the Brittany will pick up on it and become very nervous. This is when the dog will become withdrawn and anxious and start to whine or bark. Brittany dogs deserve to be in a calm, harmonious, and loving home.
The Brittany tends to get bored very easily and needs to have consistent mental and physical entertainment. It is important for the dog to have both mental and physical stimulation in order to prevent destructive chewing and excessive barking. This rambunctious behavior can become intolerable so it is important for the owner to ensure that the dog receives enough mental and physical stimulation. The best physical stimulation for the Brittany is a long run in a field or swimming playing fetch.
They also exhibit a natural softness that can cause problems as well. It is important for the Brittany to be socialized at an early age so that the softness does not turn into fearfulness or shyness. Brittany’s are also known to have dribbling and urination when they become overly anxious or excitable.
It should be mentioned that the Brittany can have a range of personalities and therefore all the above temperament positives and negatives may or may not apply. Some can be very lovable and timid. These are the Brittany’s that could never be used as a hunting or gun dog because they will react to loud noises. Others are very outgoing and playful and love to be around people.
- Glaucoma: Is an increased pressure within the eye. The drain in the eye becomes closed or clogged but the eye continues to produce fluid. This can cause the eye to stretch and enlarge. Glaucoma can be both a genetic problem and a secondary problem when another eye condition causes the increase of fluid.
- Spinal Paralysis: Can cause hind leg paralysis. There has been recent research to show that cells in the spinal cord can be redeveloped.
- Hip Dysplasia: Can cause joint stiffness and pain. It resembles arthritis like symptoms. This is a genetic condition and therefore if it is not found in their line of breeding, they will not develop it.
The Brittany’s level of grooming can be noted as minimal or moderate. The medium length flat coat needs to be brushed on a regular basis to keep it in good condition. Brushing should be done twice weekly. The Brittany is light shedder.
Regular bathing is necessary for the Brittany as well. The dog should be washed with a specialty dog shampoo. It is important to avoid using human shampoo or liquid soap because this causes skin irritation. Bathing should occur about once a month or whenever necessary. Over bathing can cause skin dryness. It is also important to rinse all the soap thoroughly to avoid skin irritation from the soap residue. Bathing the Brittany can be easily done at home in the bath tub due to its smaller stature.
If the dog is being used for hunting or spends a lot of time out in the brush, it is important to check the ears thoroughly for matter or debris. The dog’s love for water can cause them to get mucky or dirty faster and therefore bathing may be more frequent than with other breeds. In addition to this, it is extremely important for the dog to be checked over for ticks with particular attention to the eyes and ears.
Professional grooming of the Brittany may be necessary if the dog is for show. There are very specific requirements for show ring grooming of the Brittany. Otherwise the Brittany is a very low maintenance dog for grooming.
Brittany is a highly energetic dog and needs a high level of activity. It is essential that the dog gets daily activity consisting of running, walking, or biking. They also love to be in the water. They are the perfect pet for a very energetic person or family. They are also the perfect pet for a hunter who can have the dog for its working purpose.
The Brittany adapts to different terrain consisting of hills, woods, or plains. This allows them to go on family outings or hikes and because of their endurance they can keep up easily. However, they are resistant to the cold and damp conditions. One of its favorite things to do is retrieve things from the water. This makes them an excellent dog to take to the lake on family outings. Their history as a gun and hunting dog and their love for the water makes them excellent fetching dogs. Fetching in water is a great way for the Brittany to get its exercise.
The Brittany does have softness about their nature and therefore it is important for the dog to be socialized at an early age to prevent fearfulness or shyness from developing. Puppies should be brought to new places and around new people from a very early age. This will allow them to become comfortable in new circumstances. If the dog is going to be kept in a dog kennel or cage when the owners are not home, it is important to train the dog from an early age to be quiet in the cage. The Brittany is prone to excessive barking and therefore this should be handled from a very young age.
They are also a very excitable and rambunctious breed so it may be necessary as well to train them about having proper house manners. Get the dog used to knowing what is and is not acceptable behavior when it comes to jumping, barking, and chewing. They can become destructive when left alone for long periods of time so manners training can be very important. The Brittany’s obedience training should be motivational and gentle. This breed responds best to love and they are eager to please so any training that is harsh or domineering is counterproductive.
Because the Brittany is a hunting and gun dog there are some specifics to training them for this purpose. There are several organizations that can professionally train the Brittany as a gun dog. There are also several books and articles that can help as well. However, more than likely if you are using the dog as a gun dog or hunting dog you have experience in the area and are capable of training the dog yourself. Professional help is always available when needed. However, it is important to note that Brittany’s can have several different ranges of personality and some that are very timid and shy may react to loud noises and cannot be trained as a gun or hunting dog.