Brittany

Breed History

Brittany Dog

Brittany is a medium size gun dog that is powerful and full of energy. You will see them with their heads held high with the tails docked and they’re truly a beautiful dog.

Region of Brittany in West France is where these dogs got their name. Although they don’t go by the name Brittany Spaniel that is what they were before they became just Brittany.

Older dog breeds come from the European area, but no one can say where this dog comes from due to lack of documentation during their first existence.

They come from a poor area of the country that didn’t see much development until the 1900’s. Cold weather, rough terrain, and a lot of vegetation are what they had to be tough enough to deal with.

Crossbreeding Spaniels and Setters is some of the few things we know about the beginning of this dogs’ origins. Even this information is something that isn’t in agreement pertaining to which dogs were in use to crossbreed.

19th century is the first-time clear documentation is given in description about the dog without any debate. By the 20th century the Brittany Spaniel is all over the region of Brittany and gaining a lot of popularity.

Coming over to North America in Mexico as an import in the 1920’s. After World War II they would suffer like most dogs and were in need of Black Spaniels to help the population.

American imports never were in need of making this change and now we have the American and French style of Brittany in different countries.

Registration

In 1934, the Brittany receives recognition from the American Kennel Club. They were in the country for about a decade before, so the American Brittany Club did a great job of working through the proper procedure to get recognition quickly.

Top 25 in popularity, we can expect them to remain popular as they have for many decades in the United States. There are very few dogs that have more registration, so the Brittany is very popular.

Sporting Group, or Gun Dog, in every major Kennel Club in America you can find. Here is are the major Kennel Clubs and their breed standards for this breed.

Brittany Size

Male Height: 17-20 inches

Female Height: 16-18 inches

Male Weight: 30-40 pounds

Female Weight: 25-35 pounds

Litter Size

6 puppies are the average litter size for the Brittany. Breeders should be aware of how many to expect to care for up to eight weeks of age before selling.

Mothers don’t have any known health issues when giving birth, unless in the case of an emergency. They should be able to delivery naturally.

American Brittany vs French Brittany

American – they are larger than the French and don’t feature all the coat types due to World War II.

French – Smaller and stockier than the American they have an additional coat color which is black that was not apart of the breed when they came over from France before the World Wars.

Crossbreeding is a common activity when numbers start to become too low to bring the number of dogs to a more respectable level. That is what gave birth to a black color that didn’t exist in the breed before.

Colors

  • Liver – white, roan, orange
  • Orange – white, roan, white
  • Black – white, orange
  • Markings – spotted and ticked

Black nose or a black coat is a disqualification in America but acceptable in other Kennel Clubs.

Price

$1,000-$4,000 is the average price for a Brittany. Prices vary depending on multiple factors that can drive to price up or down given the different circumstances.

Location, supply, demand, quality of bloodline and other factors can change the dynamics in the pricing situation. With papers you can expect to pay a premium in comparison to a dog without papers.

Without papers you can expect to pay a few hundred and you will experience a lot of crossbreeding throughout the generations. At some point one or more of the parents weren’t allowed to receive papers.

Grooming

Brittany Spaniel Puppy

Before each grooming session you should take the dog on a long run or walk and then prepare them for the grooming as soon as you get home. Setting the dog up for success in a calm manner is 90 percent of the battle. Keep a leash on until the dog shows great behavior that would promote them to have it off.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

You want to brush the coat at least once per week on average. Taking the time to brush them especially around the neck area can be time-consuming.

Combing the coat should happen once a week as well. Whether you are combing, or brushing get a tool that can get all the hair starting from the root.

Bathing the dog will be much easier if the dog just came from a long run or walk and needs to cool down. Add the leash in and you will have a calm dog that is enjoying a bathe.

Ears can be prone to infections so you should try to clean the ears at least once per week. Going longer will put your dog in jeopardy of getting an ear infection especially if they get dirt inside of them often.

Trimming the nails should happen during daily exercise, which we recommend. If you don’t exercise, which we don’t recommend, you will need to take cut them with nail clippers.

Professional is a soft recommendation for owners who don’t have the time or energy to deal with the grooming maintenance.

Life Span

12-14 years is the average lifespan for a Brittany. They live a decent lifespan for any dog and any future owner should understand the long-time commitment they are committing to when owning one of these dogs. Great dog for adoptions due to their long lifespan.

Health Issues

Hip Dysplasia – hips are a problem for most breeds and the parents of the dog you buy should have a hip certification which maintains that the hips are healthy. Bad hips are genetic and when the parents have good hips the chances of the puppies getting good hips are high.

Elbow Dysplasia – growth on the elbow can cause a lot of discomfort while exercising the dog. Getting an examination of the elbow region will show you the extent to how bad the elbow is when you can see growth on the outside.

Eye Exam – eyes should get an examination from a specialist. Cataracts, cherry eye, or glaucoma are some of the diseases a dog can develop. Some conditions are simply an eye sore while other can lead to partial or complete blindness.

Patellar Luxation – kneecaps are an issue for small to medium size dogs in general. Partial or complete dislocation of the kneecaps will require surgery and a recovery process.

Breed Group

Proud member of the Sporting Group, or Gun Dog. These dogs are Setters, Pointers, Retrievers, and Spaniels and they all have one thing in common. They will retrieve other animals of different sizes on land or in the water.

One of the great qualities about them is that they will retrieve a different animal with a soft mouth. That means that they will never cause additional damage before bringing them back.

Here are some of the dogs in the Sporting Group

Exercise Needs

Yes, Brittany dogs need a lot of exercise and they need it daily for the best results in relation to staying calm and listening to the owner. Needing to put in a daily session or two will take your dogs good behavior to another level.

When you don’t exercise the dog, the dog will find a way to exercise themselves. This will turn into undesirable behavior quickly and will make the relationship harder to co-exist.

Digging, barking, jumping, biting and nipping are all the beginning of a long list of problems. Animals use these behaviors to compensate for a lack of exercise and boredom.

Once you begin to meet the exercise needs these bad behaviors will start to go away. Use this recommendation as an outline and starting point

Morning: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 min (run, walk, or treadmill)

Younger dogs need a lot of runs and walks and when the energy is out of control two sessions per day will start to drain the excess energy. After a while the dog will not need two sessions, but I would start here and scale back after a while.

Adult dogs when they start to become 3 to 5 years of age, they will start to decline in energy levels. At this age they will start to need a balance of walks and runs while starting to require one session a day most of the time.

Senior dogs, seven years or older, need almost no runs and will walks only. A walk around the block will be enough for some of the other dogs. Again, around this age the dog will decline even further in energy levels.

Training

  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Exercising is the first part of the training program you need to install. Getting to this early and often will change the dynamics of the relationship. Making your dog follow rules during the walk will result in killing two birds with one stone. First your dog will listen to you for 365 to 700 hours per year when you make sure they don’t walk in front of you and follow instead of leading. Secondly, when they exercise for 365 to 700 hours per year you can imagine how low the energy levels will be after a certain amount of work.

Commands are a smaller part of the training, but it is very important as well. Have the dog sit, stay, or lay when doing a lot of regular activities. Coming out of the cage, eating, drinking water, or coming out of doors should all come after they sit, stay or lay.

Socialization should happen after exercise. When giving two sessions a day you can socialize at any time because the dog is going to be calm all the time. When you do only one session a day make sure that session is done and then let them meet friends, family, or other dogs. Vet visits and dog parks should feature a long exercise session as well.

Correcting the dog should happen verbally, on leash and off leash by hand. Timing and follow through are the two best methods you can use because dogs use them. Dogs growl before you get to the bowl and so should you. Don’t wait until the dog ate it all to correct do it before.

Do Brittany Dogs Bark A lot?

No dog should be in the bark a lot category because this is only a symptom of the bigger issue. Dogs who are not giving enough stimulation suffer from boredom and the owner should focus on exercising daily for one to two hours. Only after you are doing your part can you start to examine how much the dog barks. Long story short you will realize the dog will rarely bark when you are doing your dog as an owner.

Additional Resources