Brittany

Table of Contents

brittany dog portrait
If you're looking for a furry friend that's unique, adventurous, and downright lovable, then you need to get yourself a Brittany! These pups are known for their playful personalities, intense loyalty, and endless energy.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Brittany is a perfect companion for active individuals or families who love outdoor activities like hiking, hunting, and camping. This breed is renowned for its energetic and intelligent nature, making it an ideal partner for people who love to explore and be outdoors.

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEBrittany
OTHER NAMESBrittany Spaniel, Brittany Wiegref, Epagneul Breton, French Brittany
ORIGINFrance
BREED GROUPSporting Group
BREED SIZEMedium
HEIGHT17.5-20.5 inches
WEIGHT30-40 lbs
LIFESPAN12-14 years
LIVING SPACELarge
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSModerate
EXERCISE NEEDSHigh
TRAINABILITYHigh
BARKING TENDENCYLow
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELModerate
POPULARITY RANK28th
brittany dog standing on a road
Photo: Tatyana Consaul/Getty Images

Appearance

The Brittany dog is an eye-catching and athletic canine, known for its medium-sized yet sturdy build. With a height ranging from 17.5 to 20.5 inches at the shoulder and a weight between 30 to 40 pounds, Brittanys possess a well-balanced and agile physique that speaks to their hunting heritage.

One of the most distinctive features of the Brittany is its expressive face, which often radiates a keen and alert demeanor. Their heads are medium-sized with a slightly rounded skull, while their muzzles taper gradually towards the nose. The breed’s eyes are typically amber or hazel, framed by dark-rimmed, close-fitting eyelids that contribute to their intelligent and curious expression.

Brittanys sport a pair of high-set, floppy ears that sit slightly above eye level, adding an endearing touch to their appearance. When alert, their ears may lift slightly, showcasing their attentiveness and eagerness to engage in activity.

The breed’s body is compact and robust, with a level topline that slopes gently downwards from the withers to the base of the tail. A unique aspect of the Brittany is the tail, which can be naturally short or docked. In some cases, Brittanys might even be born tailless. This feature was initially intended to prevent injury during hunting expeditions in dense underbrush.

Brittany’s coat is another defining characteristic of the breed. It is dense and either flat or wavy, providing protection from harsh weather conditions and rough terrain encountered during hunts. The coat’s texture is neither silky nor wiry, striking a perfect balance for both form and function.

The breed comes in various color combinations, including orange and white, liver and white, black and white (though not recognized by the AKC), and tricolor, with either clear or roan patterns.

Overall, Brittany’s appearance is a beautiful blend of strength, agility, and grace. Their physical features not only contribute to their attractiveness but also serve as a testament to their hunting prowess and adaptability. With their expressive faces, elegantly set ears, and striking coat colors, it’s no wonder that the Brittany breed has captured the hearts of dog enthusiasts around the world.

brittany dog sitting at the park
Photo: Tatyana Consaul/Getty Images

Temperament

First things first: Brittany is a people-pleaser. This breed is highly affectionate and loves nothing more than spending time with its human family. Once a Brittany has bonded with its owner, it will go to great lengths to make them happy. They will frequently follow their owners around to show them their loyalty and affection. This breed is also great with kids and makes for a wonderful family pet.

But what about when it comes to strangers? The Brittany tends to be friendly towards new people and other dogs, but they can also be cautious around strangers until they’ve had a chance to get to know them. Once they do, however, they are likely to shower them with affection.

This breed also has a sense of humor and loves to make its owners laugh. They have a playful and mischievous side that comes out when they are in a good mood.

One of the most notable traits of the Brittany is its intelligence. They are quick learners and love to be mentally stimulated. This means they are a great breed to train and can be taught to do everything from basic obedience to complex trick training.

They are eager to please, which makes them highly trainable, and they are also known for their problem-solving skills. In fact, Brittany’s intelligence can sometimes lead to them getting bored easily, which is why it’s important to provide them with plenty of entertainment and enrichment.

In terms of energy, the Brittany is highly active. They are a sporting dog breed and were originally bred for hunting. This means they have a lot of energy to burn and love to be outdoors. They require daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy and are great running or hiking partners for owners who are up for the challenge.

Their needs for exercise can sometimes lead to destructive behavior if they are not properly exercised, which is why it’s important for owners to make sure they are getting enough physical activity.

Overall, the Brittany’s personality and temperament make them an ideal breed for active families who want a loving, loyal, and intelligent companion. With their affectionate nature, playful personality, and keen intelligence, it’s no wonder they are becoming an increasingly popular breed among dog owners.

brittany dog jumping in an open field
Photo: chris-mueller/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

Physical Environment

When it comes to the ideal living environment for this breed, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, they do not do well in small living spaces such as apartments or condos, as they require ample space to run and play.

A home with a large yard or access to a park would be the best choice. They also do well in homes with a fenced-in yard to ensure their safety and prevent them from running off.

Climate Adaptability

When it comes to climate, Brittanys are adaptable to most climates, but precautions should be taken during extreme weather conditions. They have a thick coat that is tailored to withstand cold weather, but they cannot tolerate heat as well. It’s essential to keep them hydrated and ensure they have access to shade during the summer months.

Ideal Owner

The ideal owner for a Brittany is someone who leads an active lifestyle and can provide the dog with plenty of exercise. This breed thrives on activities like hiking, running, and playing fetch, so they would do well with an outdoor enthusiast. Additionally, they are social dogs that crave companionship, so they do best with owners who can spend a lot of time with them and include them in family activities.

Other Pets

In terms of other pets, the Brittany breed can get along well with other dogs if they are socialized early on. However, they possess a high prey drive and may not do well with small animals such as cats or birds. It’s important for pet parents to supervise them when around other animals, especially if they’re meeting for the first time.

brittany dog jumping for a treat
Photo: chris-mueller/Getty Images

Grooming

When it comes to grooming your lovable Brittany, you want to make sure that they are well-cared for in all aspects. This breed’s coat is all about the no-fuss natural look, which makes these dogs very easy to maintain. Nonetheless, like any other dog breed, Brittanys need to be groomed and cared for regularly.

Coat Care

Brittanys have smooth and dense coat that covers their entire body, often in orange and white colors. The colors of the coat can range from orange and white, liver and white, or black and white. The coat is so dense that it is waterproof, which is ideal for outdoor activities like hunting and hiking.

Basic grooming for Brittanys consists of three main elements: bathing, brushing, and trimming. You should only bathe your Brittany when they are truly dirty or smelly. These dogs have natural oils that keep their coats healthy and shiny, and over-bathing them can lead to skin irritation and dryness.

Brushing should be done once or twice a week with a slicker brush to remove any loose hair or debris from the coat. Trimming the hair around their eyes, ears, and feet should be done with scissors or clippers every few months to keep them looking neat and tidy.

Dental Care

Dental hygiene is an essential part of the grooming routine for every dog breed. Brittanys are no exception. You should brush your dog’s teeth regularly and give them dental treats. Providing them with chew toys also helps to promote oral health, and prevents bad breath and tooth decay.

Nail Trimming

Trimming your Brittany’s nails is also important to prevent them from getting too long and causing pain or discomfort. If you are not comfortable trimming your dog’s nails, you can always seek help from a professional or a veterinarian. Be sure to check their nails regularly to ensure they are at an appropriate length.

Ears & Eyes

In addition to the basic grooming, Brittanys also require some attention to their ears and eyes. The ears should be checked weekly for signs of redness, swelling, or infection. Use a damp cloth to wipe the earflaps, but do not insert anything into the ear canal. Brittanys have a tendency to get ear infections, so it is vital to keep them dry and clean.

The eyes should also be checked frequently, and any discharge wiped away with a damp cloth. Brittanys are prone to eye problems, such as cherry eye and cataracts, so it is important to monitor their eyes and seek veterinary care if necessary.

brittany dog sitting outdoors
Photo: Ralitsa Racheva/Pexels

Exercise

Exercise Amount & Types

The Brittany needs at least one hour of exercise every day. It’s important to engage them in activities that will challenge them physically and mentally, which can include games, walks, jogs, and runs. They are known for their hunting instincts and thrive when given the opportunity to track scents and explore new environments.

One of the best kinds of exercise for Brittanys is running. They have a lot of energy and need a lot of space to run around. They’re also great at fetch, which helps them develop their hunting and retrieving skills. It’s essential to keep them active and engaged, as a bored Brittany can become destructive and unhappy.

Dog Sports

Brittanys are also known for excelling in dog competitions, such as agility, obedience, and hunting competitions. If you are interested in participating in these competitions, it’s important to start training your dog at an early age to get them used to the rigorous training required.

Exercise Precautions

Finally, when it comes to providing exercise for your Brittany, it’s vital not to push them too hard. They are incredibly athletic, but they also need to take breaks and rest occasionally. Keep in mind, just like humans; they also need to drink enough water, especially after a lot of activity.

brittany dog running in the garden
Photo: przemyslawiciak

Training

When it comes to training a Brittany, you’re in luck! These dogs are known for being highly trainable due to their natural athleticism, intelligence, and eagerness to please their owners. With consistency, positive reinforcement, and plenty of patience, you can successfully teach your pup a variety of commands and tricks.

Basic Obedience

One essential training aspect for Brittanys is obedience training. This includes commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “heel.” These commands provide foundational skills for more advanced training and ensure that your pup is well-behaved and safe in any situation.

Brittanys are quick learners and typically pick up on these commands with ease, especially when training begins at a young age. Positive reinforcement, such as treats and verbal praise, is an effective way to encourage your dog to follow your commands consistently.

Specialized Training

In addition to obedience training, Brittanys thrive in specialized training, such as fieldwork and agility. These dogs were originally bred as hunting companions, so they have a natural instinct to retrieve and track game. Teaching your dog hunting skills through fieldwork training can provide a fun and challenging outlet for their energy and intelligence.

Agility training, on the other hand, focuses on developing your dog’s athleticism and coordination through obstacle courses. This can be a great way to bond with your pup while also keeping them mentally and physically stimulated.

Additional Training Tips

While training your Brittany, it’s important to keep in mind their unique traits and tendencies. For example, they can be sensitive to harsh training techniques or scolding, so positive reinforcement is key. Additionally, Brittanys tend to have high energy levels, so incorporating plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation into their routine can help prevent destructive behaviors.

brittany puppy lying on grass
Photo: animalinfo/Getty Images

Diet & Nutrition 

As a beloved member of the family, providing the right diet and nutrition for your Brittany is crucial to their overall health and wellness. Understanding the right type of food, how much to feed, and when to give treats will ensure that your furry friend is getting all the nutrients they need to lead a happy and healthy life.

What to Feed & How Much

When deciding what type of food to feed your Brittany, it’s important to choose something that follows the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. This will ensure that your dog is getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals to thrive.

Dry food is often considered the best choice for dogs as it provides them with the nutrients they need and is also convenient for pet owners. Wet food is also a good option as it can provide additional nutrients and hydration to your dog’s diet. If you prefer to feed your Brittany raw food, make sure to do your research and consult with a veterinarian to ensure that they are getting all the necessary nutrients.

The amount of food your Brittany needs depends on their age, weight, and activity level. Puppies require more frequent feeding and smaller portions, while an adult Brittany typically needs two meals a day. It’s important not to overfeed your dog as obesity can lead to health problems.

Treats

Treats should also be given in moderation and not as a substitute for meals. Choose treats that are made with high-quality ingredients and don’t contain any harmful additives.

Water

Just like humans, dogs need access to plenty of clean, fresh water throughout the day. Make sure to provide clean water in a bowl that is easily accessible to your dog. It’s important to replace the water frequently to ensure that it stays clean and fresh.

brittany dog on the field
Photo: KatPaws/Getty Images

Health

The Brittany is known for its energetic and lively nature, making them excellent companions for active families. When it comes to the health aspect of these adorable dogs, they have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. However, like any other breed, they are prone to certain health issues.

Here are common health issues associated with the Brittany:

Hip Dysplasia: This genetic condition occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and pain. To minimize the risk, make sure you choose a reputable breeder who tests their breeding dogs for hip dysplasia.

Epilepsy: Brittanys can be prone to epilepsy, which causes seizures. If your dog experiences a seizure, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian immediately to determine the cause and discuss treatment options.

Ear Infections: Due to their floppy ears, Brittanys are more susceptible to ear infections. Regular ear cleaning and checkups can help prevent infections and catch them early if they do occur.

Hypothyroidism: This is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, leading to weight gain, lethargy, and hair loss. A blood test can diagnose hypothyroidism, and it can be managed with daily medication.

Allergies: Brittanys can suffer from various allergies, including food, contact, and inhalant allergies. Identifying the cause of the allergy is crucial, and your veterinarian can help you with diagnosis and treatment options.

To ensure your Brittany stays healthy, provide them with a balanced and nutritious diet. High-quality dog food, whether commercial or homemade, should meet their nutritional needs. You may also want to consider adding supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health.

Regular veterinary checkups are essential for maintaining your dog’s overall health. Your vet will monitor your Brittany’s weight, check for any signs of illness, and administer necessary vaccinations. Vaccinations protect your dog from various diseases and can help prolong their life.

brittany dog at the park
Photo: Tyler Motes/Getty Images

History

The Brittany has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the 17th century in the northwestern region of France known as Brittany. This versatile and spirited breed was initially bred as a hunting dog, specifically for bird hunting. The Brittany’s keen sense of smell, agility, and boundless energy made them perfect for the task.

It is believed that the breed’s origin can be traced back to the crossing of native French spaniels with English pointing dogs brought to France by English noblemen during their hunting expeditions. The result was a breed that possessed the best qualities of both its parent breeds – the exceptional scenting abilities of the spaniel and the strong pointing instincts of the English pointer.

The Brittany’s popularity grew as word of their hunting prowess spread throughout France and neighboring countries. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the breed started to gain recognition in dog shows and field trials. In 1907, the first official standard for the Brittany was established in France, which helped solidify the breed’s identity and characteristics.

In popular culture, the Brittany has been featured in various forms of media, showcasing its hunting skills and friendly disposition.

For example, the breed has been depicted in artwork by renowned artists such as Jean-Baptiste Oudry, who painted a Brittany on a hunt in his piece “Chasse à la Bécasse” (Woodcock Hunt) in 1742. Additionally, the breed has appeared in literature, such as in the historical novel “L’Ancêtre” (The Ancestor) by Jules Amedée Barbey d’Aurevilly, published in 1851.

The Brittany’s journey to the United States began in the early 20th century when American sportsmen discovered the breed’s remarkable hunting abilities during their travels to Europe. The first Brittany known to be imported to the United States was a male named “Boi” in 1931.

The breed quickly gained popularity among hunting enthusiasts in the U.S., who admired their compact size, athleticism, and exceptional scenting and pointing skills.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) first registered the Brittany in 1934, and the breed was initially known as the “Brittany Spaniel.” However, in 1982, the AKC dropped “Spaniel” from the name to better reflect the breed’s distinct characteristics and hunting style, which is more akin to pointers and setters than spaniels.

Since then, the Brittany has continued to grow in popularity, both as a hunting companion and a family pet. The breed’s friendly, intelligent, and energetic nature has endeared them to dog lovers worldwide. Today, the Brittany excels not only in hunting but also in various dog sports such as agility, obedience, and rally.

Parent Club

The official parent club for the Brittany in the United States is the American Brittany Club (ABC). Founded in 1942, the club is dedicated to promoting and preserving the breed’s qualities, supporting responsible breeding practices, and organizing events for Brittanys, such as field trials, hunting tests, and conformation shows.

The American Brittany Club also provides valuable resources for Brittany owners. Visit their webpage to learn more about the club.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed.

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Brittany’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

brittany puppies playing in the park
Photo: animalinfo/Getty Images

Acquiring

Acquiring a Brittany can be an exciting experience, but it’s essential to be well-prepared before bringing one home. Start by researching the breed’s characteristics and needs to ensure they’re a good fit for your lifestyle.

If you choose to buy a Brittany, make sure to find a reputable breeder who prioritizes health and temperament. Ask for health clearances and meet the puppy’s parents to get an idea of their disposition.

Alternatively, consider rescuing a Brittany in need of a loving home. The American Kennel Club and the American Brittany Club can provide resources and assistance in finding rescue organizations and available dogs. Rescuing can be a rewarding experience, as you give a deserving dog a second chance at a happy life.

Before welcoming your new Brittany, prepare your home by setting up a comfortable space, acquiring necessary supplies, and planning for proper socialization and training. With love, care, and patience, your Brittany will become a cherished member of your family.

FAQs

What type of dog is a Brittany?

Brittanys are medium-sized, athletic dogs originally bred for hunting birds. They are part of the sporting group and are known for their exceptional scenting and pointing abilities. Their energetic and friendly nature makes them popular as both hunting companions and family pets.

Are Brittanys good family dogs?

Yes, Brittanys make excellent family dogs due to their friendly, affectionate, and intelligent temperament. They are great with children and enjoy being part of an active family. However, they require consistent exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

Are Brittanys rare?

While not as common as some other breeds, Brittanys are not considered rare. They have a dedicated following among hunters and dog enthusiasts who appreciate their versatile abilities and charming personality. The breed’s popularity has remained steady over the years.

Are Brittanys smart?

Brittanys are highly intelligent dogs, which makes them quick learners and eager to please their owners. Their smarts, combined with their natural hunting instincts, make them excellent at various canine sports and activities, such as agility, obedience, and rally.

Do Brittanys require a lot of grooming?

Brittanys have a low-maintenance coat that requires minimal grooming. Regular brushing can help minimize shedding and keep their coat healthy. Bathe them every few months or when they get dirty from outdoor activities.

How do Brittanys behave around strangers?

Brittanys are generally friendly and sociable dogs. However, early socialization is crucial in ensuring they’re comfortable and well-behaved around strangers. Proper socialization helps prevent fear-based behaviors and allows them to be more confident in new situations.

Can Brittanys be left alone for long periods?

While Brittanys are relatively adaptable, they thrive when they’re included in family activities and given plenty of attention. They may develop separation anxiety or boredom-related behaviors if left alone for extended periods. It’s essential to provide mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys or interactive games, to keep them entertained when you’re not around.

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