Brittany Dog

brittany spaniel dog lying on the grass
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The Brittany Dog is an agile, energetic gun dog that was originally bred as a stylish bird hunting dog on both sides of the Atlantic. A versatile sporting dog, the Brittany is known to make an intelligent, affectionate, and playful pet for families, while also eager and tireless out in the field—as such, it’s a breed that requires a great deal of exercise, and that will enjoy every active moment with its family.

Bird dog lovers and families alike appreciate the “softness” of the Brittany’s face and its high-set ears, as well as as high energy level and eagerness to please.

Breed Overview

  • Group: Sporting Group
  • ​Size:
    • Weight: 30 to 40 pounds
    • Height 17.5 to 20.5 inches
  • Coat: Dense, flat, or wavy
  • Colors: Combinations of white and orange or reddish-brown; clear or roan patterns
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

Characteristics of the Brittany Dog

Affection LevelHigh
FriendlinessMedium
Kid-FriendlyHigh
Pet-FriendlyHigh
Exercise NeedsHigh
PlayfulnessHigh
Energy LevelHigh
TrainabilityHigh
IntelligenceHigh
Tendency to BarkMedium
Amount of SheddingMedium

History of the Brittany Dog

Although Brittany Dogs have a physical resemblance to spaniels, the Brittany actually has more of the working characteristics of a pointer or setter, and the American Kennel Club dropped the word “spaniel” from this pointing breed’s name in 1982. Brittany Dogs earned their name because they were developed in the Brittany province of France between the 17th and 19th centuries; they were officially recognized as a breed in 1907.

A pointing breed that was designed to become a versatile gundog, the Brittany was adept at both pointing and retrieving, which made these dogs well-suited to working in an array of country environments. Though few records were kept on this breed, it’s believed that the dogs that probably contributed to the Brittany’s development were the English Setter, Welsh Springer Spaniel, and possibly some other French spaniel breeds.

This breed ranks 30th among those registered by the American Kennel Club, and this position has remained steady for a decade.

The Brittany’s skills as a bird dog soon made this dog very in-demand with hunters in other countries. The Brittany Dog came to the United States in 1931, and since then they have also become popular family dogs because of their medium size and affectionate, friendly personality.

Brittany Dog Care

A happy and alert dog, the Brittany is a rugged, high-energy breed that will require daily exercise, including frequent outdoor adventures or being taken for extra long walks every day. Their convenient size and athletic build helps them thrive in homes of people with active lifestyles, whether its going for hikes or playing rigorous games of fetch. If the Brittany Dog does not receive ample exercise, they are likely to develop behavioral issues, ranging from barking and hyperactivity to destructive chewing. The Brittany Dog’s wash-and-wear coat will need just a weekly brushing to control shedding.

A sensitive dog with a softer temperament, the Brittany will respond best to gentle, calm training, and they are not likely to do well in tense, stressful home environments or situations.

Fortunately, the breed is smart and eager to please, so they aren’t particularly difficult to train. Brittany Dogs also crave companionship are susceptible to separation anxiety when left alone for more than a few hours. Some Brittany Dogs become anxious, which they will express by chewing and barking. Like most breeds, the Brittany also needs proper training and socialization; when well socialized, most of these dogs will become gentle and peaceful with both people and other animals.

Some Brittany Dogs may be timid and submissive—and they have a tendency to whine—so early socialization will help them develop a more confident, easygoing temperament. Adolescents can be particularly submissive, so they may urinate when becoming over-excited or intimidated, such as when an adult is standing over them or reaching over to pet them; this issue can also be corrected with time and training.

As a family pet, the Brittany is friendly and playful, and very loving and protective of children in the home. This breed tends to be more wary of strangers than other sporting dogs, so they make superb watchdogs.

The versatility and trainability that make Brittany Dogs such excellent hunters are often used to compete in dog sports ranging from agility to dock diving to obedience. The Brittany can be the perfect fit for anyone seeking a hunting partner, a teammate, or an eager companion who is able to keep up with your active, outdoorsy family lifestyle.

Common Health Problems

The Brittany is generally a very healthy breed, but is prone to some genetic health issues, such as hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joint. The breed can also be impacted by the seizure disorder epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and adult cataracts. Some Brittany dogs are born with a cleft palate. Due to their high levels of activity, Brittany owners may also have to have their dogs treated for physical injuries that can happen while playing or working outdoors, such as lacerations, broken bones, or ligament tears.

Diet and Nutrition

The Brittany Dog will perform well with any high-quality dog food. As an especially active breed, they may require more water than the average dog, and will also likely thrive on a higher-protein diet.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

When determining if the Brittany Dog is the right dog for you, be sure to research all aspects of the breed and consult other Brittany Dog owners, breeders, and rescue groups to learn more. Be sure to check out these other dog breeds: