Brittany or Brittany Spaniels are hunter, pointer and retriever dogs that were developed in the Bretagne region of France. Their history is not exactly well known but they might be descendents of English Setters and French Spaniels. In 1982, the AKC dropped the word Spaniel from their name and hence, in United States at least, the breed is known only as Brittany. In the rest of the world, they continue to be known as the Brittany Spaniel. Another name of Brittany is Epagneul Breton. Let us study some cool facts, physical characteristics and other things every potential dog owner must know about owning a Brittany.
Brittany dog facts
- Brittanys belong to the gun dog or sporting dog category.
- They were mainly developed not for killing game but retrieving it.
- Today, the Brittany is celebrated as a sporting breed, gregarious and obedient.
- The English springer spaniel is a close relative of the Brittany.
- Brittanys are beautiful dogs combining the elegance and beauty of Setters and Spaniels. They are medium sized dogs with strong athletic and muscular legs.
- The coat is flat and dense, fine and wavy. Brittany spaniel coat colors vary from orange and white to liver and white. In USA, having black color is a disqualification from shows. Tricolor Brittanys are acceptable but not preferred in AKC shows.
- Tails are short and docked and some dogs are naturally tailless.
- Their eyes are their most adorable features. They are shaped as marbles and come in amber or hazel color in sync with their coat colors. Some Brittanys have dark, deep set eyes.
- Nose is fawn, tan, brown or deep pink.
- Female Brittanys stand at 17 to 21 inches at withers and weight about 30 to 40 lbs. The male counterparts are taller and heavier.
Where to find a Brittany dog
The best way to get healthy Brittany puppies is through registered breeders. You can visit the Brittany Club of America website here for this purpose. Always talk to several breeders and ask to see the litters in person. Meet the dam to ensure she has a good temperament. Good breeders will have a long waiting list; so be prepared to wait for several months or even up to a year to bring your pet home. Once you have shortlisted several breeders, try to get an insight into their nature. Is this someone you can call if you have questions about raising your Brittany puppy? Good breeders will also be concerned about their pets and would want to ensure that they get good homes. So be prepared to answer several questions from the breeder about your household. Price of Brittany Spaniel puppies can range anywhere from $700 to $1200 depending on the breeder and the dog’s bloodline.
Adopting a Brittany Spaniel rescue
You could even consider adopting an older Brittany. While this can avoid many problems of puppyhood, you need to understand that an adult Brittany may have developed behaviors not suitable to your household. Therefore, if you plan on adopting a Brittany spaniel rescue, try to do it on a trial basis.
Brittanys are hunting dogs having incredible tracking and hunting skills. They make excellent pets for active families. Brittanys get along well with children and other pets. Never shout or scold your Brittany; s/he could become shy and easily frightened. Brittanys do best with active owners who can spend time with them. They are good natured, lively and energetic dogs that are easy to train and very intelligent. These friendly pets love spending time outdoors. A hunter or an outdoorsy person is an ideal owner for this dog. They are keen to please their owners and work well in the fields. The affectionate and intelligent Brittany is able to hunt, point and retrieve. Brittany dogs usually prefer the country life. Devotion to its owners is a key characteristic feature of Brittany spaniels. They are especially affectionate towards the children in the family. Well behaved toddlers will find that a Brittany is a patient playmate who can even be relied upon to invent games.
Here is a summary of temperament and personality characteristics of Brittany dogs:
- Alert, fun loving, gay
- Friendly, loyal
- Great watchdogs
- Good with children
- High trainability
- They do have a tendency to bark a lot.
- Brittanys have a tendency to run and chase prey so only let him out in a fenced yard if off leash.
The Brittany was bred to work all day long; so exercise and outdoor activities are key features of his life. A well exercised Brittany can live happily even in an apartment but you need to ensure that your pet is never left bored or un-exercised. A confining environment can be especially bad for a bored, un-stimulated Brittany who is highly likely to participate in destructive behaviors. In short: give your Brittany a job or work to do, lots of walking or running and he will be a happy dog. To summarize:
- Start slow, with any exercise you choose
- Be careful in hot temperatures
- Never force puppies to exercise
- Hunting, agility, flyball, and obedience activities can exercise your Brittany’s mind and body. His eager nature and willingness to please its owner makes this versatile dog a willing participant in a wide range of activities.
Training your Brittany
Early obedience training and socialization are very important for a Brittany spaniel. If you start with an even tempered puppy and give him time, patience and some carefully executed lessons; you will reap the rewards of that training for years to come. To train your Brittany, you can enroll him in obedience classes. These will also help you understand why your pet behaves the way he does and also teach you how to communicate with your pet. Dogs respond well to positive, happy training. Never train your pet when you are angry or tired. Your mood will rub on to your pet and he will forever learn to fear or resent his training sessions. Praise your Brittany for every good or wanted behavior. He should want to obey you not just for a treat but simply to please you.
Brittany dogs hardly need any clipping or trimming. Regular thorough brushing and a bath when needed are the only grooming activities you need to do. Dry bathe your Brittany by sprinkling some baby powder in the coat and then work it out with thorough brushing. This will keep your Brittany smelling great between baths. When it comes to Brittany spaniel shedding, it is moderate, making him an ideal pet for owners who do not want to spend too much time in grooming or cleaning.
Health issues in Brittany Spaniels
Common health issues in this dog breed are hip and elbow dysplasia, patella luxation, spinal muscular atrophy and cleft palate. Epilepsy, heart defects and PRA are also common. Brittany spaniels have an average life span of 13-14 years.