Breed Group: Sporting

Temperament and Behavior

Brittanies are happy, alert, active dogs who love all family members, are great with children, and though some are wary of strangers, most greet them heartily. They are rated about average with other dogs only because males can be testy with other males. But with their hunting background, they should not be trusted with small squeaky animals that run or flutter. Although social dogs with a strong need for human interaction and approval, Brittanies also have an independent streak. Indicating their above average need for exercise, they are playful and active inside then become highly active when outside. If left alone without at least an hour of heart-pounding exercise daily, a Brittany becomes hyperactive or destructive. Brinaties use their voice more than the average dog. That, coupled with their speed, love of family, and attentiveness, make them above average watchdogs. But with their love of people, that bark is one of welcome rather than warning so should not be relied on to protect home and hearth. Some are prone to submissive urination.
Physical Characteristics
An average size dog, the Brittany is the smallest of the pointers. They average 17.5-20.5 inches in height and 30-40 pounds in weight. The Brittany is quick, playful, and light on his feet. A Brittany’s medium-length coat is flat or wavy and may be colored orange and white, liver and white, or tri-color. His ears are natural while his tail is docked or naturally bobtailed. They prefer moderate temperatures disliking extremes in either direction. A Brittany’s medium-length coat sheds only lightly and takes almost no effort to keep in good condition.
Trainer's Notes
Brittanys require both mental and physical exercise on a daily basis. Since some Brittanys tend to be timid or excessively submissive, early socialization is also important. Given their sensitive nature, gentle, positive training methods are needed. They bond closely with their trainer, learn quickly, and are eager to please. Because of their activity level, they are poorly suited to small apartments and people who expect their dog to be happy all day while they are at work.
Photo © by Pharaoh Hound available under the CC BY-SA 3.0
Although just over 15% are prone to Hip Dysplasia Brittanies are generally a healthy breed. Patellar Luxation, Lip Fold Pyoderma, and Epileptic seizures are also sometimes seen. They live to about 12 years of age.
The Brittany ranks 30th in popularity with about 8,000 dogs registered each year by the American Kennel Club. This breed is especially popular among millions of hunters because of its moderate size and ease of transporting. Because of its good nature, the Brittany is also popular as a companion dog.
Breed History
This breed was developed in the French province Brittany in the mid-1800s, possibly from crosses of a French spaniel with English Setters brought to France by British hunters. One of the most popular pointing breeds for bird hunting, the Brittany was originally known as the Brittany Spaniel because of its spaniel-like size and heritage. In the US, the “Spaniel” was dropped in 1982 in recognition of the dog’s hunting style, which resembles that of a setter more than a spaniel. The first Brittany was brought to the US in 1931, where it became popular as a versatile hunting dog whose friendly and eager-to-please disposition made an ideal family pet.
Additional Information
The Brittany is one of the lesser known gems in the dog world. With more than 600 dogs earning the distinction, there are more Dual Championship Brittanys in conformation (excellence in appearance) and field trial (excellent behavior in the field) than all the other sporting breeds combined. The National (US) Breed Club is the American Brittany Club, Inc.

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