Breed of the Month: Brittany

Brittany spaniel pointing

Description: Body Structure:  Is described as leggy. Brittanys have a square shape as they are as tall as they are long. Head: Round and wedge shaped but, not as wide as it is long. Ears:  Short and triangular, the ears are set high on the head. Eyes: Expressive eyes come in multiple colors depending on the color of the coat. Dark brown, amber and hazel are the colors for eyes with a preference towards dark brown. Muzzle: Medium length and slightly tapered. Tail: Naturally short or docked at around 4 inches. Feet: Small with well arched toes and thick pads. Legs: Front legs are longer than the rear legs. Coat: The single coat is dense and wavy. Comes in white and orange, or white and liver are common in clear or roan.

History: Named after the French province, Brittany, the Brittany is likely the result of smaller spaniels and larger setters. The first Brittany was registered in France in 1907 after it first appeared in a dog show in Paris in 1900. The Brittany was recognized by the AKC in 1934. Some places in the world refer to this breed as the ‘Brittany Spaniel.’ In the United States in 1982, the ‘spaniel’ part was dropped due to its hunting nature being more like that of a setter; now the dog is simply called a Brittany. As their origins come from bird hunting dogs, Brittanys are still one of the most popular bird hunting dogs even today.

Size: Males: 17–20 inches at the withers, weighing 30-40 pounds. Females: 17–20 inches at the withers, weighing 30-40 pounds.

Temperament: The Brittany is alert, friendly, a good watch dog, and loyal to their family. These dogs can be sensitive, are very loving, always want to be with their family, and are always up for playing. If the owner is firm, consistent, and calm in teaching the Brittany, the dog will train easily as it is eager to please. If raised with them, Brittanys will coexist well with others animals and small children. Since the Brittany is very active indoors and has very high energy requirements, these dogs are not well suited for apartment life. Brittanys also have a tendency to roam when off leash.

Grooming: The Brittany is a light shedding dog with relatively few grooming requirements. After a Brittany has been outside, its a good idea to check their ears and clean them if necessary. These dogs only need to be brushed approximately every other week.

Health: The Brittany is a fairly hardy dog but, still has ailments common to the breed. Hip dysplasia and epilepsy are major health concerns for this breed.

Exercise: The Brittany has very high exercise requirements and needs at least an hour of exercise a day. Brittanys would benefit, not only from a daily pack walk but, a long jog or run. Mental and physical exercise is very important for this breed due to ability to become destructive if bored. Sufficient exercise is vital for having a happy and well behaved dog.

Lifespan: About 12 to 15 years.