A gundog with oodles of energy, the Brittany spaniel will run you into the ground! This breed is also notable for its acute sense of smell and enthusiasm for work. Brittany spaniels are good with children and other dogs, they are low maintenance and they are very smart. They build strong relationships with people, but those people must be of the active variety to cope with these small dogs that boast such impressive stamina.
Which breed group is the Brittany spaniel in?
Breed group: Gundog
Brittany spaniel breed history
Developed in the Callac region of France, the Brittany spaniel was evolved by crossing French native breeds with English dogs. In the 19th century, English noblemen would travel to France to shoot. They took their pointers and setters with them and often left a few dogs behind to be available for future trips. French landowners began crossing these dogs with spaniels including the Fougeres and the result was the Brittany spaniel. Breeding programmes were then established which initially favoured taller dogs but by the 1930s, smaller dogs were being developed and these became the standard for this breed.
The Brittany spaniel was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1997 and is a popular dog due to its efficacy in the field, reliability and affectionate nature.
Brittany spaniel breed characteristics
Boasting a cob-like build, the Brittany spaniel is a surprisingly light dog with an alert expression. These intelligent dogs are highly regarded for their keen sense of smell and stamina. They possess expressive dark, oval eyes and triangular ears with rounded tips. They carry their ears high, but they flop against their cheeks. Brittany spaniels have reasonably long necks and sloping shoulders which are muscular. Their front legs are also muscular, and these dogs have deep chests and rounded ribcages. Their backs are comparatively short and their toplines slope down to the croup. These dogs also boast muscular hind legs and powerful thighs.
The round feet of the Brittany spaniel feature hair between each toe and these dogs either have no tail or a bob tail which is set high. The Brittany coat is dense yet fine and may be straight or slightly wavy. The accepted colours are white, black and white roan, black tricolour, liver and white, liver tricolour, orange and white plus orange and white roan.
These spaniels exhibit incredible stamina, courage and speed. They are highly active dogs with lively minds. They have strong prey drives and an equally strong desire to please. Easy to train and very smart, Brittany spaniels will impress all who meet them.
- Lifespan: 12-13 years
- Height: up to 51cm
- Weight: up to 23kg
- Cobby build
- Alert expression
- Oval eyes
- Triangular ears
- Long necks
- Sloping shoulders
- Short, dense coat in a variety of colours
- Impressive stamina
- Easy to train
- Like to please
- Strong prey drive
Health issues with the Brittany spaniel
This athletic breed is generally robust but is prone to the following conditions:
- Hip dysplasia
- Hereditary deafness
- Elbow dysplasia
- Luxating patella
- Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE)
- Multifocal retinal dysplasia
- Simple glaucoma
- Cataracts - affecting dogs in their later years
- Certain form of cancer
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Ear problems
What is the Brittany spaniel bred for?
The Brittany spaniel was evolved to be an efficient and loyal hunting dog which could keep active all day.
What sort of owners does the Brittany spaniel suit?
Friendly and adaptable, the Brittany spaniel is a fabulous pet and is great with children. These dogs generally get on well with other dogs too and are low maintenance. But prospective owners must be aware that Brittany spaniels possess huge amounts of energy and need to be kept occupied all day. They are true working dogs which don’t do lounging around at home! They will be happiest with active owners who are at home all day and love spending most of their time in the great outdoors.