Brittany Dog: Characteristics, Origin, Temperament & Lifespan

The Brittany dog is a breed of gun dog which was bred primarily for bird hunting. It’s working characteristics are more akin to those of a pointer or setter than a spaniel. It is also known by some other names such as Brittany Spaniel, Brittany Wiegref, Epagneul Breton and French Brittany.

The Brittany dogs were developed in Brittany, a province in northwest France. And it was developed between the seventeenth and nineteenth Centuries. And the breed was officially recognized early in the 20th Century.

The breed’s name ‘Brittany’ is taken from the Brittany region in northwestern France, from where the breed originated. The French hunters developed the breed hundreds of years ago, today that is considered one of the world’s most versatile bird dogs, capable of working on duck, woodcock, pheasant, patridge and just about anything with feathers.

The Brittany dog breed first comes into historical focus in paintings and tapestries of the seventeenth Century. The frequency with which Brittany-type dogs appear in the portraits and pastoral scenes by French, Flemish, and Dutch masters of the period suggest that liver-and-white pointing dogs were quite common in Western Europe.

The Brittany was introduced to America in 1931. The American Kennel Club (AKC) registered it’s first dog of the breed in 1934, then called the Brittany Spaniel. (In France, the breed is still known as “l’épagneul Breton,” or Brittany Spaniel.)

During the 20th century, American and French lines diverged. By mid-century, the U.S. breed fancy considered their Brittanys more pointers than spaniels in working style, and the AKC breed named was shortened to Brittany in 1982.[1]

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Brittany Dog Characteristics

The Brittany dogs are of medium size and are very beautiful. They are typically quite athletic, compact, energetic and solidly built without being heavy. Their heads are of average size with floppy ears, expressions usually of intelligence, vigor, and alertness, and gait elastic, long, and free.[2]

Most Brittany dogs are born with naturally short tails, yet others are rarely born with long tails, which are docked to a length of 1.2 to 3.9 inches.

The breed’s coat color is varied: orange and white coat or liver and white are most common in the American Brittany; other colors include orange roan and liver roan, all of which are acceptable in the show ring. The American Brittany Standard specifies an acceptable tri-color of liver, orange, and white with very specific color placement.

The Brittany dogs are medium in size. Their average height is between 17 and 21 inches at the withers. And their average live body weight is between 14 and 20 kg.

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Temperament

The Brittany dogs are happy and alert. As a pointing dogs, they are curious and independent, but respond well to their people and want to please them.

They can be singleminded when it comes to birds, but when they are not focused on their feathered prey, they enjoy spending time with their people, especially if they are doing something active.

They are not only energetic, but also smart. So, they will require lots of exercise and mental stimulation daily. When it comes to training, be consistent but never harsh.

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Although, temperament of the Brittany dogs is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them.

Like many other dogs, the Brittany dogs also need early socialization. Exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences are great ways to socialize them, especially when they are young.

Lifespan

Average lifespan of the Brittany dog is between 12 and 16 years.

Feeding

How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food.

The Brittany dogs are medium in size, and they are very active. So, their diet should be formulated for a medium sized breed with high exercise needs. You can consult with a vet in your area for better feeding recommendations.

Caring

Taking very good care of the animals is very important for raising Brittany dogs. They are very active, both indoors and out. They do best if they have a large yard or, better yet, some acreage where they can run off some of their excess energy.

They are not best suited to apartment life or city living, unless you truly have the time and dedication to provide them with the amount and type of exercise they need.

The Brittany dog is resistant to cold and damp conditions when hunting, but should live indoors with the people they love. Like other dogs, they should be confined to a safely fenced yard when they are not being supervised.

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Health

The Brittany dogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions.

Their common health problems include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasa, hypothyroidism and epilepsy. Always try to keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Breed Name Brittany
Other Names Also known as Brittany Spaniel, Brittany Wiegref, Epagneul Breton and French Brittany
Breed Size Medium
Height Between 17 and 21 inches at the withers
Weight Between 14 and 20 kg
Good as pets Yes
Climate Tolerance All climates
Color Orange and white, liver and white, black and white (not universally accepted), tricolor, orange roan, liver roan, black roan
Lifespan Between 12 and 16 years
Good for children Yes
Rarity Common
Country of Origin France