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American Brittany Breed Description

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Breed Organization

The American Brittany Club

Native Country

Other Names
Brittany, Brittany Spaniel, Epagneul Breton, Brittany Wiegref

Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-15 Years

Litter Size
Average 5-10 Puppies

Breed Group
AKC - Sporting Group

General Description

The Brittany is a breed of gun dog bred primarily for bird hunting. Although the Brittany is often referred to as a Spaniel, the breed's working characteristics are more akin to those of a pointer or setter. A Brittany is typically quite athletic, compact, energetic, and solidly built without being heavy. Other characteristics include long legs and floppy ears. Their expressions are usually of intelligence, vigour, and alertness. Their gait is elastic, long, and free. Some Brittanys are born with naturally short tails and others with long tails. If born with a long tail it is normally docked to a length of 1 to 4 inches. Brittanys come in a variety of colors: orange and white coat or liver and white are most common in the American Brittany; other colors include orange roan and liver roan, all of which are acceptable in the show ring. The American Brittany Standard does specify an acceptable tri-color of liver, orange, and white with very specific color placement which is also acceptable in the show ring.

The AKC reclassified them in 1984 as just Brittanys, since they are pointing dogs and have less genetically in common with Spaniels, and more in common with Setters, which are pointing dogs. The breed's working characteristics are more akin to those of a pointer or setter than a spaniel. Brittanys were developed in Brittany, a province in northwest France, between the 17th and 19th centuries, becoming officially recognized early in the 20th. There are French Brittanys as well as American Brittanys. French Brittanys are used for upland birds and rabbits, whereas the American Brittanys are used for upland birds hunting exclusively.

Breed Standard

Head: Round. Rounded skull. Gently sloping stop. Straight nosebridge. Thin lips.
Ears: Set on high, fairly short, slightly rounded, covered with wavy hair.
Eyes: Dark amber, matching coat color.
Body: Square build. Neck medium in length. Deep chest. Fairly rounded ribs. Short, broad loin. Tuck-up. Short back. Slightly receding croup.
Tail: Straight or hanging down (unless the animal is tailless). Always short, about 10 cm in length. Often slightly twisted with a tuft at the tip.
Hair: Not too fine, fairly flat or very slightly wavy, never curly.
Coat: White and orange. White and brown. White and black. Tricolor (white, black, and tan) or roan (colored hair mixed with white).
Size: Dog: 48 to 50 cm (19-20 in). Bitch: 47 to 49 cm (18.5-19 in).
Weight: Dog: 15 to 18 kg (33-40 lb). Bitch: 14 to 15 kg (31-37.5 lb).


The Brittany Spaniel is one of the descendents of the Chien d'Oysel, a breed trained in the Middle Ages for netting game birds. He is the product of the initially accidental nineteenth-century crossbreeding of Brittany farm dogs;short, broad-backed, hardy, and used on woodcock;with English Setters, English Pointers, and English Springer Spaniels left in France during the off-season by British hunters in order to improve the new breed's nose and speed. The Brittany Spaniel became increasingly popular. Mr. de Pontavic and Mr. de Combouz presented the breed in 1896 in Paris, and a breed club was founded in 1907 in Lond ac. The first standard was adopted in 1908 and revised in 1938. The Brittany Spaniel is the second most popular dog in France, and the most popular French breed abroad. He is one of the most common pointers in the United States.


This hardy, enthusiastic, tireless dog with a fighting spirit can hunt on any type of terrain. (Maximum quality for minimum size) could be the motto of the breed club for this lightweight dog. With an excellent nose, he tracks rapidly, points firmly, and is a very good waterfowl retriever. A multi-purpose dog, he hunts game birds, preferring woodcock and snipe. Even-tempered, gentle, intelligent, and good-natured, he is a delightful pet. He needs gentle training.

He can adapt to apartment life as long as he gets long, daily walks to let off steam. He requires brushing once or twice a week, as well as regular attention to the ears.


Hunting Dog, Companion Dog.


Brittanys are relatively healthy dogs. Possible health concerns include hip dysplasia, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), skin problems by allergies, heart defects and epilepsy. If the dog is poorly bred it may result in temperament problems, such as nervousness or anxiety.

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