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Brittany

Other names: Brittany Spaniel

Brittany
Brittany
Puppy

The Brittany Spaniel, a French hunting dog, has become wide-spread across the world thanks to his hunting skills and his qualities as a companion dog. Intelligent, docile, dynamic, and sociable, he adapts to all lifestyles. He can just as happily accompany his master to hunt all day as long as he stays at home with his loved ones. However, since he is very dynamic, he needs a very intense daily routine

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Key facts about the Brittany

  • Life expectancy : Between 12 and 14 years
  • Temperament : Playful, Hunter
  • Size : Medium
  • Type of coat : Short
  • Price : Between £580 and £940

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 7 - Pointing Dogs

Section

Section 1 : Continental Pointing Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Brittany

Adult size

Female dog Between 18 and 20 in
Male dog Between 19 and 20 in

Weight

Female dog Between 29 and 40 lb
Male dog Between 29 and 40 lb

Coat colour

Several varieties exist: the coat can be white and orange, white and brown, or white and black. It is very rare, but good fortune, to meet a tricolour Spaniel or a roan coat (white hairs mixed with the dog’s main colour). Unicoloured subjects are not allowed by the official standard.

Type of coat

The hair is mid-length.

His hair is very thin, flattened or slightly wavy. It is not silky, and it should not be curled either.

Eye colour

The eyes’ colour is dark amber.

Description

The Brittany Spaniel is a stocky dog; he is small and elegant although vigorous. His movements are energetic, his appearance is intelligent and his silhouette is square. His head is of medium size, the skull is of medium length, and the muzzle is ⅔ shorter than the skull. The stop is quite accentuated, gently sloping; straight or very slightly convex. The ears are located high, hanging, rather short, slightly rounded and a little fringed. His back is short. The tail is usually quite short and ends with a clump of hair. His limbs are rather feathered.

Temperament

Affectionate

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The Brittany Spaniel is affectionate and loyal to his master but also friendly with strangers. However, if he feels that the time is not right, he will not insist on contact and can distance himself.

Playful

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He is a dynamic dog who loves to spend time with members of his social group, whether small or big. Playing sessions are particularly appreciated by this dog and allow a strengthening of the relationship between the dog and his master, which comes in handy when completing his education.

Calm

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This French hunting dog is quite adaptable: on one hand he can spend a whole day hunting alongside his master with incredible energy; on the other, he can spend long hours sleeping in the company of his master.

In fact, he is a very active dog who knows how to be calm when his needs are met. That makes him a very balanced dog.

Intelligent

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The adaptability of this dog demonstrates his great intelligence. An excellent worker and perfect companion dog, he is balanced, reliable, and docile.

Hunter

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He is a specialist in duck-hunting although he is also used on other types of hunt. He is one of the fastest continental hunting dogs given his excellent aptitude for this activity.

Thanks to his excellent hunting skills, he is the most popular French hunting dog in the world.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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Very friendly, even with strangers, this dog is everyone’s friend so long as he is treated with respect.

Independent

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When he is hunting, he can be self-sufficient and make all the necessary decisions. However, once at home, he is more dependent on his master, without being clingy, we will still do anything to please his owner.

He can either demand a lot of attention or take his distance to rest quietly and let his master go about with his own occupations.

Behaviour of the Brittany

Tolerates solitude

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If he lives in a calm home, and his needs are properly fulfilled, he can handle a few hours of solitude. But be careful, any absence should not be extended because this dog could, due to boredom or frustration, destroy everything he finds in his path.

Easy to train / obedience

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Particularly docile, intelligent, and receptive, this Breton hunter is very easy to educate especially thanks to his enthusiasm to work.

Like many dogs selected for working tasks, he is thirsty to learn and spend time with his master in order to be mentally stimulated.

He may be stubborn sometimes; therefore, it is necessary to find methods adapted to his sensitivity and personality. Brutality cannot play any part in his educational sessions - instead they will have to be based on the reinforcement of good deeds.

With that said, his positive education requires firmness and sweetness as allies. It is important to begin as soon as the Brittany Spaniel puppy arrives at home to prevent him from learning bad habits.

Barking

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This dog is naturally quiet. He may be able to warn his colleagues if he feels a threat approaching, but generally speaking, he is so sociable that he would prefer to seek caresses from a suspected intruder.

Tendency to run away

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Unfortunately, one of the great flaws of this dog is his runaway side. His instinct for predation is such that he can be lead to follow a trail and totally ignore what surrounds him, including his master.

In fact, the environment of this French hunting dog must be secured (solid fence around the garden).

During walks, if he is not 100% trained with the recall command, a lead is recommended to guarantee his safety.

In addition, he will have to wear a tag with his master's number to facilitate the search if he should run away.

Destructive

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If his needs are properly met, and he is respected, the Spaniel will have no reason to be destructive. However, if the opposite is true, he will express his demonic side through acts of wanton anarchy.

Greedy / Gluttony

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Like any good, self-respecting dog, this Breton will never refuse his bowl or a treat as a reward for good behaviour. During his education, this will be a great source of motivation for him.

Guard dog

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The adult Brittany Spaniel can be a watcher but it is not his favourite activity. He will be able to scare away any individual he considers a threat, but he will never show aggression.

First dog

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Intelligent, balanced, docile, gentle, and reliable, this dog is a perfect companion, both for hunting or just to be at home. He is suitable for many owners and he adapts to almost all lifestyles as long as his needs are fulfilled.

Lifestyle

Brittany in a flat

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This spaniel can live in a city apartment, because one of his greatest qualities is his adaptability. However, he will need to be taken out several times a day and he needs to practise regular sporting activities to be fully fulfilled.

Of course, a life in a house with a garden is more suitable but in any case, daily outdoor walks should be offered to him. The garden should never be a pretext for not walking your dog.

Besides, even if he loves to be outside, this dog still appreciates the comfort of a warm home.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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This working dog is a great sportsman, if he does not hunt with his master, he will have to practice another regular physical activity to be properly fulfilled.

This can either be long daily walks or canine sports such as Cani-Cross, flyball, tricks, or tracking.

Travelling / easy to transport

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Trips are not very complicated with this medium-sized dog who can adapt to many environments, especially if he has learnt proper socialisation during his youth.

Travelling by car or airplane, he will need to travel in a suitable transport box.

In public transport, he must be kept on a leash and wear a muzzle.

Compatibility

Brittany and cats

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Despite his instinct for pursuit, the Brittany Spaniel has a personality that fits well with that of a cat. Cohabitation will therefore be possible and easy, especially if they have been accustomed to their respective presences from an early age.

Brittany and dogs

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Very sociable, this French hunting dog gets along very well with his comrades.

However, this does mean that he doesn’t need to learn socialisation as a puppy. From his first months, it is important to develop and strengthen his canine codes and for him to experience the maximum of positive experiences.

Brittany and children

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Cheerful and playful, he is a very good companion for children. However, ground rules will have to be introduced and respected by the children so that cohabitation is healthy and safe.

Brittany and the elderly

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Older people could adopt a Brittany Spaniel but only if they are still sufficiently sporty and dynamic to meet the needs of this very active dog.

Under no circumstances can he coexist with sedentary people and settle for simple outside walks in the garden or in the neighbourhood.

Price

The price of a Brittany Spaniel varies depending on his origin, age and gender. An average of £940 are asked for a dog registered with the Kennel Club. 

With regards  to the monthly budget, between £35 and £45 will be necessary to support the physiological needs of this hunting dog.

Grooming

The maintenance of this hunting dog is not complicated. He does not need to be groomed, even if it is very dirty, because he tends to self-clean. Simple regular brushing will help maintain the quality and beauty of the coat.

However, it is necessary to monitor his ears which are easily irritated in the presence of foreign bodies, especially after a long walk in the forest or a hunting session.

Hair loss

His hair loss is moderate but accentuated during the annual moult periods in the autumn and spring.

Nutrition of the Brittany

The Brittany Spaniel must have a diet that is balanced and adapted to his physical condition, age, weight, and state of health.

A veterinary follow-up is recommended for young puppies during their growth, but also for athletes or working dogs.

Croquettes can be offered but they must be premium quality. These are more filling, so avoid large sizes.

Be careful not to upset the stomach of this active dog by exercising him directly before or after eating. A buffet arrangement is to be avoided, partly for this reason.

One meal a day is enough or two if preferred (one light in the morning and one more copious in the evening).

Health of the Brittany

Life expectancy

His life expectancy is estimated at 13 years.

Strong / robust

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This is a very sturdy dog that has no major health problems. His lifespan also testifies to his great resistance.

Withstand heat

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Watch out for heatstroke, especially if this dog is working or practicing a regular sport. It is better to avoid intense activities during hot periods!

Given the fact that he is always eager to please his master and spend energy, this dog could easily push himself to exhaustion without noticing.

Withstand cold

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His double coat and great resistance allow this Breton dog to be very well protected against the bad weather. He can live outside without problems, but he still prefers the comfort of a basket in the house.

Tendency to put on weight

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The great energy of this dog allows him to always keep trim. However, it is still necessary to offer him enough physical exercise to meet his needs. He cannot be overfed because, like any self-respecting dog, he will never say no.

Common illnesses

  • Coxo-femoral dysplasia
  • Median patella dislocation
  • Cystinuria

Good to know

He is particularly liked and widespread in France where you can find very good puppies. We must be careful, however, because some breeders, more focused on the results of their work, do not pay enough attention to the looks of the subjects. This is a mistake that could end up "splitting" the breed in two.

Also to note: this dog can sometimes be born without a tail (Anuran) or with a very short tail (brachyuran).

Origins and history

He originates from France, and more precisely from the centre of the Armorican Peninsula, as his name implies. Numerical statistics show that this dog is the most popular French hunting dog in the world. A first official standard of the breed was presented in France in 1907 and adopted in 1908. But it could be said that this breed is much older than that since this Breton may be the oldest of the Spaniel type dogs. One of his ancestors is likely to be the “Chien d' Oysel” and other breeds of setters or Springers have ended up improving this race in a fortuitous or voluntary way.

Names

Good names for a Brittany dog: Biscuit,  Helix, Opal, Silk

Find out more dog name ideas here