The Brittany spaniel, simply called the Brittany, originated and got its name from the northwestern region of France. A medium-size dog, it stands 47–51 centimetres at the withers and weighs 30–45 pounds. It is a happy and sweet-natured dog especially to its family. However, it can be very hyperactive and requires two hours’ worth of exercise.
Are you thinking of getting a Brittany spaniel? Here is a brief background of this compact and lively gundog.
The Brittany spaniel originated from the northwestern region of France called Brittany. Similar-looking dogs were seen in paintings and tapestries in the seventeenth century. They were developed to hunt, point, and retrieve game. The Brittanys we see today are said to have been crossed with English setters. The first recognised Brittany was a dog named Boy, which was registered in France in 1907. That same year, the first standards were made. The Brittany may have been called a spaniel family, but its working characteristics are similar to pointer gun dogs.
Breeders nowadays often differentiate between American Brittanys and French Brittanys, which are the same breed with the former being taller and quicker. Because of its appealing appearance, as well as its kind and loyal nature, the breed remains one of the most popular gun dogs in France and Europe.
Appearance and Grooming
The Brittany is an elegant, lively, and medium-size dog with an intelligent and vigorous expression. Being one of the smallest gundog breeds, it stands 47–51 centimetres at the withers and weighs 30–45 pounds. It has a slightly rounded head, a tapered muzzle, strong jaws with a perfect scissor bite, and a medium-length neck. Its expressive eyes are brown to dark, and its ears are triangular with slightly rounded tips. This dog is solidly built yet lightweight and moderately well-boned.
The Brittany spaniel has an attractive dense and flat coat that is not curly or wiry. It has a lot of feathering on the ears, abdomen, and back legs. According to the Kennel Club standards, the colours should be orange and white, liver and white, black and white, roan, or tricolour. Grooming is quite easy because it does not have an undercoat, making it less bulky. It does need regular brushing to avoid mats and tangles. It may be necessary to trim overgrown feathering to keep it tidy.
As it is generally a clean dog, bathe your Brittany as needed. Always make sure that your dog’s teeth are brushed twice a week, ears cleaned and dried, nails trimmed, and skin inspected for abnormalities and fleas.
Temperament and Intelligence
The Brittany spaniel is known to be a happy, alert, and sweet-natured gun dog. A well-trained Brittany is an easy-going family pet that forms a strong bond with its family. It is great with kids, but always supervise interactions as its enthusiasm may cause accidental injury. This breed may be better for active older children as its energy may overwhelm toddlers. It does well with other medium to large pets, even cats. Keep it away from birds at all costs or it will be a disaster waiting to happen.
Training is generally easy because it is a people-pleaser and sensitive to correction. As long as it is not distracted with birds, its favourite prey, it will gladly participate and respond in training. If not socialised early, it has a tendency to be shy and aloof to people outside of the household. As an intelligent and energetic dog, it requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
Each breed may have a certain predisposition when it comes to temperament and intelligence. However, this does not mean that your puppy will inherit all these traits. Its upbringing has a huge impact on its overall character.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult Brittany is 1.5–2 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. The amount of food to serve also depends on its age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism.
Typical calorie needs of an adult Brittany spaniel per day:
- Senior and less active: up to 930 calories daily
- Typical adult: up to 1,040 calories daily
- Physically active/working dog: up to 1,200 calories daily
This breed usually has a good appetite, but it may skip a meal when it’s nervous or upset. As an active dog, a large percentage of its diet should be composed of animal meat like beef, lamb, chicken, or fish. Stay away from low-quality dog food with artificial fillers to avoid allergies. Always measure your dog’s meal and avoid free-feeding, especially spayed/neutered adults because they are more prone to obesity.
Health and Exercise
The Brittany spaniel is generally a healthy breed, but can be predisposed to certain conditions. For instance, as an active dog, it is prone to hip dysplasia. It can also have ear problems, epilepsy, discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), and luxating patella.
Because of its high energy, some people think twice because they may not be able to fulfil its exercise needs. This is the reason why this breed is recommended for people with active lifestyles and could spend at least two hours of physically- and mentally-stimulating activities.
Cost of Ownership
A well-bred pedigree Brittany Spaniel puppy costs anywhere from £500 to £700 from a KC-registered breeder. On top of the purchase price, you’ll have to spend around £200 for essential dog supplies and equipment including leashes, collars, crates, beds, bowls, and toys.
Premium-quality dog food and treats will cost you £40-£50 a month. You also have to factor in regular check-ups, vaccination, boosters, flea/worming treatments, and preventive care, which can cost £1,300 a year. As a safety net for unexpected vet expenses, get pet insurance which will cost you £30 a month for basic cover or £50 for lifetime cover.
Brittany Spaniel Breed Highlights
- The Brittany spaniel is a lively, loyal, and alert gun dog.
- It has a short, easy-to-groom coat.
- It is a moderately expensive pet to own.
- As an active breed, it is recommended for people with active lifestyles.
- Early socialisation is recommended as it has a tendency to be shy and unfriendly.
Are you sure the Brittany Spaniel is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.
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