Brittany

Breed At A Glance

Classification
Sporting

Personality
Sensitive, sweet-natured and easy to train

Life Expectancy
10-12 years

Average Height
17-21 inches

Average Weight
30-40 lbs

Also known as American Brittany, Brittany Spaniel, Epagneul Breton

General Temperament

The Brittany is an intelligent breed capable of independent thought but easily trained and eager to please. They are alert and enthusiastic, and can adjust to almost any terrain in the course of the hunt. It’s moderate size makes it easily transportable, adding to it’s popularity as a working gun dog. Gentle and affectionate, they also make wonderful family pets.

Brittanys are even-tempered and sweet, and are good companions for children. But they can also be very energetic and exuberant, and can unknowingly injure small children. The Brittany was bred to hunt in packs and therefore usually gets along well with other dogs. In fact, many enthusiasts of the breed suggest that they be a part of at least a two-dog family.

Training a Brittany is an easy task as they are very eager to please, although owners should be aware of this breed’s sensitivity. It takes little more than a strong tone or even a stern look to discipline a Brittany.

The Brittany is a very energetic and active dog that likes to roam, and will function best in a house with a large yard, or better yet, a farm or ranch with plenty of acreage. They make fantastic companion pets as long they are are sufficiently exercised and mentally stimulated, otherwise they can become destructive. If destructive behavior becomes an issue, it may be wise to get a canine companion for your Brittany.

Breed History

The Brittany is named for the Brittany province of France, where they have been used for centuries as a sporting and gun dog. The timeframe for the development of this breed is somewhat unclear: the American Kennel Club believes the breed to go back as far as 150 AD, although the first clear representation of the modern-looking Brittany appears in 17th century paintings. The physical resemblance of the Brittany to the Welsh Springer Spaniel, coupled with the fact that Wales and France conducted extensive commerce, suggests that the two breeds are related. The first verifiable written record of the Brittany surfaced in 1850 with the writings of Reverend Davies.

After undergoing many cross-breedings through the years to improve it’s sporting ability, the Brittany breed standard was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1934.

Body Structure and Composition

The Brittany is a compact and solidly-built dog with long legs and a long and free gait. The skull and muzzle are both medium length, and the ears are set wide on the head and are carried flopped forward. The nostrils are wide open to accommodate scenting. The back is slightly sloped down to the hindquarters and the chest is deep but not broad. Some Brittanys are born with short tails, while others are born with long tails. Those with long tails are generally docked shortly after birth, although this practice has been banned in many countries.

Medical Information

The Brittany is a healthy breed plagued by very few inherited diseases. on e exception is Hip Dysplasia, when the head of the thigh bone no longer fits into the cup provided by the hip socket, causing lameness and arthritis-like symptoms. Patellar Luxation (also known as “Slipped Stifle”) can also be a problem for this breed, occurring when the kneecap slips out of place and often requires surgery. Reputable breeders will have their breeding stock evaluated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals to help prevent spreading these diseases.

Other medical conditions common in this breed include epilepsy (recurrent seizures), skin allergies, and various eye problems.

Relatively little grooming is required for this breed; occasional brushing will do the trick. Be sure to check your Brittany’s ears regularly to prevent infection or parasitic infestation, especially after the dog has been on the hunt or roaming in the brush.

Anecdotal Information

Although they are considered subsets of the same breed, many breeders differentiate between the “American” and “French” Brittany. The American Brittany is usually taller and faster, having been bred to cover more ground and hunt wide open spaces. The French Brittany is smaller and more spaniel-like, working closer to it’s human hunting companion.

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