The Brittany is a gun dog from Brittany in northern France. It was developed by crossing small spaniels with English setters to produce a dog suitable for pointing, hunting, and retrieving. Many of the offspring were born tailless or with a stub tail, and these were then selected for further breeding. The dogs excelled at woodcock hunting and were prized for being quiet and obedient. They were first registered as a breed in France in 1907.
The Brittany is a lively, happy dog who thrives on being outdoors, exploring the countryside. They have an excellent nose and will run, hunt and play for hours, yet are very receptive to human direction. They like being part of a family and fit in very well. Being good with children, pets and other dogs makes this breed an ideal, sweet-natured family pet, but they do need a lot of exercise.
Brittanys make good watch dog, being very alert, but bad guard dogs, as they are happy o meet and greet anyone who comes near them. They were bred to be outdoors working, and that is still how they like it. A quick walk around the block will not suit a Brittany, and with insufficient exercise they will display behavioral issues and could turn destructive indoors. They are easy to train, though, and thrive on close contact with people. They will want to please you and dislike harsh words or treatment. A gentle approach is best as they can be timid at times. Good socialization when the dog is young will help with shyness issues. Once trained, their recall is perfect and they are a joy to watch in the field. Their friendly nature and alertness makes them great walking companions, but this close connection with humans means they dislike being left alone. Boredom and loneliness are major causes of stress for a Brittany, and as such they need to work outdoors or be at home with someone for most of the day. Field competitions, agility, and Flyball are all well suited to the breed. Their love of human contact and running around wins them many competitions across the world and gives them the mental stimulation they need.
Grooming is minimal in Brittanys, but their coats need brushing a couple of times a week to remove dead hair, and a trim is in order when it gets too long. They are hardy and suffer from few ailments.
Brittanys are calm and curious. They can sometimes be shy, so it is important to introduce them to other dogs in early puppyhood to avoid timidness. They love long walks and exploring the countryside, indicative of their roots as a gun dog.
If left alone without enough exercise, they are likely to turn destructive indoors, out of boredom.
Brittanys are prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and epilepsy. The Brittany does well for a breed and rarely suffers many problems. Also, with their long floppy ears, ear infections are more common than in other breeds.
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 years
- Weight: 35 - 50 lb
- Height: 18 - 21"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Medium
- Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
- Town or Country: Country
- Minimum Home Size: Small House
- Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
- Breed Type: Gun Dog
- Size: Medium
- Energy Level: High
- Exercise Required: Over 2 hours