- Dog Breed:
- Breed Group:
- Sporting group
- Sociable, athletic, loving, affectionate, intelligent
- 17.5-20.5 inches
- 30-40 pounds
- Life Span:
- 12-14 years
- Coat Colors:
- Liver, black, orange, or roan with white. Markings may be roan, spotted, or ticked.
- Area of Origin:
- Best For:
- Active families; families with children
About The Brittany
A versatile sporting dog
Great for active families and families with children
Happy and playful
The beautiful Brittany carries itself with a distinctively regal charm. The breed was originally intended to serve as a gundog and excels at assisting its owner on hunts for winged prey. However, the Brittany’s skills aren’t limited to tracking birds. They are also well skilled at pointing and retrieval work, making them highly prized as hunting companions.
Originally referred to as a Brittany Spaniel, this dog’s name was changed in 1982 when the term “spaniel” was dropped entirely. Breeders sought this amendment because this dog type does not hunt in the same manner as more traditional spaniels.
An extremely high energy dog, the Brittany is at home enjoying time with its family and out in the field on a hunt. The breed is not well suited to homes where the family prefers a more sedentary lifestyle. Vigorous exercise on a daily basis is an absolute must for this highly active and energetic dog. Failure to provide this may result in a dog that is destructive or neurotic.
The Brittany is a dog that likes to have a job. Because they are highly intelligent dogs, they do not do well when left alone for long periods of time, particularly if they don’t have anything to do in the absence of their family. Since the Brittany needs room to stretch its legs in running and play, the breed is not suited to life in an apartment. A home with a fully fenced yard is best to keep the Brittany healthy and happy.
The Brittany is available in two different varieties: the American and the French. There are only slight differences between the two. The American Brittany stands a little taller and is known for running at greater speeds than its French counterpart. The French Brittany is a little smaller in size and prefers to work in close proximity to its owner when out in the field.
Brittanys are very tenderhearted, and as such, they respond very poorly to harsh words or aversive training methods. The breed is quite smart and learns quickly, eagerly seeking to please its family. For best results, the Brittany should be trained using positive reinforcement with all training sessions liberally sprinkled with praise and treats.
A very sociable breed with an exceptionally kind nature, the Brittany enjoys the company of all people, including children. The Brittany also gets along well with other animals, making it an excellent choice for multi-pet homes.
A dog breed prized for its versatility, the loving and affectionate Brittany excels at many different sports. Among the activities the Brittany enjoys are agility, flyball, conformation, obedience, tracking, scent detection, field trials, hiking, jogging, and much more.
The Brittany’s high prey drive makes the breed unsuited to first time owners. In addition to this, their need for vigorous exercise on a daily basis means this dog is best in the home of families that enjoy being very active. The Brittany is recommended for families that enjoy a busy and active lifestyle.
Brittany Breed History
Developed in Brittany, France
A cousin to the Welsh Springer Spaniel
Originally intended to serve as a gundog
The Brittany hails from the region of France for which it is named: Brittany. Brittany is situated directly across from Wales, separated from the country by the English Channel. For many years, Wales and Brittany shared commercial goods and trade services, linking the two countries together. It is believed that the Brittany and the Welsh Springer Spaniel may share common dogs in their pedigrees in past generations.
17th century artwork shows images of dogs that greatly resemble the Brittany, indicating this dog has been around for hundreds of years. Over the years, the Brittany’s conformation was further refined in the 1700’s in a French village named Pontou. It is believed that at Pontou that a mahogany and white female dog was bred to a lemon and white male. Each of these dogs carried different functions: the female was a prized pointing dog on the hunt for partridge and the lemon and white male an exceptional gundog that assisted with retrieval work. The resulting offspring provided dogs that were more versatile hunters and that possessed a unique bob-tail.
The Brittany was prized by hunters of the day not only for their ability to both point and retrieve, but also for their quick movement, flexible bodies, and partnership driven work ethic. The Brittany’s intelligence and drive were great assets in the field.
During this period, the Brittany made its first appearance in the show ring, excelling at this discipline as well. In 1917, the breed achieved official recognition in its native France. 1931 saw the breed’s appearance in America where it immediately became popular amongst both families and hunters.
During World War II, French breeders ceased all breeding plans, resulting in a small gene pool from which to draw when they attempted to breed again. To help solve this problem, these breeders permitted dogs to be used in their breeding programs that were both black and spotted. This introduced new colors and traits to the breed. Black is an accepted color in all countries with the exception of Canada and the United States.
Brittany Size & Weight
Heights range from 17.5-20.5 inches
Weights range from 30-40 pounds
Not suited to families that are not highly active
Brittanys are highly active dogs that excel at athletic pursuits. Their height and weight assist them with their function, and the breed standard provides a template for what these measurements should ideally be. In height, the Brittany should stand between 17.5-20.5 inches when measured from the shoulder to the ground. The Brittany’s ideal weight range is from 30-40 pounds.
Since the Brittany is exceptionally energetic, this breed is not prone to weight gain if sufficiently exercised and fed an appropriate diet in the correct proportions. The cost to keep this busy breed satisfied may be quite high since this dog type burns a lot of calories each day.
Owners that are not committed to an active lifestyle should consider a different breed as the Brittany will not thrive if not properly exercised every day.
Brittany Personality & Temperament
Eager, alert, and happy
High prey drive
Loves all people and dogs
A breed with a sweet and happy disposition, the Brittany is a true joy to be around. The breed is alert to its surroundings, eagerly exploring new territory when enjoying active pursuits. A natural people pleaser, the Brittany delights in spending time with those it loves most. A dog that enjoys a true partnership, the Brittany enjoys learning new things and willingly engages in training exercises.
A dog with an exceptionally high prey drive; particularly around birds, the Brittany should be kept leashed when on outdoor adventures. A fully fenced yard is best for this dog. Since the Brittany is a very active dog, it is not suited to life in an apartment.
Because the Brittany is highly intelligent, it is important that this breed receive not just adequate physical stimulation but also mental. A bored Brittany will invent its own fun, and this dog usually turns to things that its owner wishes it hadn’t. Brittanys left alone too much can become neurotic and destructive.
The Brittany is a dog that loves the company of people of all ages. Though they are patient and kind with children, all interactions between kids and dogs should be carefully supervised to ensure the safety of both parties. Children should also be taught to treat the Brittany with gentleness and to respect the dog’s boundaries. Because the Brittany is highly active and can easily knock over small children with its exuberant and playful behavior, it is recommended that this dog breed join families with older kids.
The Brittany is a friend of other dogs and can live peaceably with cats though experts suggest any Brittany that will be living with a feline friend be introduced to it as a puppy. To help successfully integrate a Brittany into a home, initial introductions should occur on neutral territory.
A dog that enjoys the great outdoors, the Brittany loves time outside in all seasons but is not a fan of extreme heat or cold. This dog should be housed inside with its family.
Brittany Health & Grooming
Low grooming requirements
A heavy drooler
The athletic Brittany is a dog that is typically known for excellent health. However, as with all dog breeds, there are a few genetic conditions this breed can be predisposed to developing. These include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and hypothyroidism. For potential puppy buyers, it is a good idea to seek a Brittany breeder that is committed to the appropriate health testing to help promote optimal health and wellness in the breed.
The Brittany’s coat is fairly light in texture and volume. Its locks may be flat or wavy but should never be curly or overly soft. The breed does have some feathered hair on its ears and legs, but it is not as dense or full as the Golden Retriever’s. A unique trait of the Brittany is its loose skin, a characteristic that provides protection against injury for the dog when out on a hunt.
A dog with very low grooming requirements, the Brittany should be brushed once per week and bathed on an as needed basis. The breed sheds moderately. Its ears can be prone to trapping items like burrs when out on a hunt, so owners should inspect their dog’s ears regularly to ensure they are free from debris or harmful objects. Nails should be trimmed once per week and teeth brushed daily for optimal health and wellness.
Because the Brittany is highly active, weight gain is typically not an issue with this breed. Surprisingly, the Brittany can be a very heavy drooler.
Easy to train
Prone to wandering
Responds well to positive reinforcement
Brittanys are known for their exceptional intelligence. When coupled with their high energy levels and their intense desire to please, there is no end to what the Brittany can learn to do. A dog that enjoys working with a partner, the Brittany can easily master the basic obedience commands in as little time as one month with consistent practice and a patient owner.
The Brittany is a very sensitive dog and does not do well if treated in a harsh manner. Positive reinforcement techniques yield the best results with this soft and sensitive breed.
Not particularly mouthy, the Brittany should still be taught to use its mouth appropriately. This is best achieved through a redirection of the dog’s mouth to a toy or bone if it attempts to nip or bite.
The Brittany is not particularly vocal but does have a high prey drive and will roam if permitted to do so. A secure containment system is an absolute must for this breed.
Brittany Exercise Requirements
Easy to train
Prone to wandering
Responds well to positive reinforcement
The Brittany is a highly energetic dog, requiring a minimum of one hour of vigorous exercise per day. In addition to daily walks or hikes, the Brittany takes great pleasures in running in large, fenced spaces. For this reason, a house with a fully fenced yard is ideal for this active breed.
Naturally playful, the Brittany enjoys having fun with its family as often as possible.
Brittany Diet & Feeding
Puppies should eat puppy food
Suggested serving sizes can be found on the food’s packaging
A high quality diet to support athletic breeds is important
A moderately sized dog, the Brittany must eat a high-quality diet in correct proportions to maintain the lean muscle mass that is so important to the breed. These types of diets will cost more; however, the dog will need to eat less to feel satisfied, thus maximizing the food’s value.
Puppies should eat a puppy formulation to ensure an appropriate rate of bone growth and the ideal calorie count to support optimal health and wellness as the pup grows. Portion sizes can be determined through the suggesting serving sizes provided on the bag’s packaging. These can be adjusted until the appropriate serving per meal is found.