Selecting a Brittany

Choosing a Brittany

The Brittany is the smallest of the French spaniels and excels as a retriever, pointer and tracker. The breed also makes a great friend and companion.

History and Origin

The Brittany, named for the French province in which the breed originated, has been known and bred in France for over 400 years. Based on artist renderings and tapestries from the 1600s, it seems these dogs were quite popular. And, like many other members of the sporting breed group, the true history of the dog is unknown. It is thought that the native hunting dogs of Brittany were bred to English pointing dogs, brought to Brittany by vacationing hunters. This helped improve the pointing abilities of the native dogs. In 1907, the first breed standard was written.

By 1931, the Brittany was imported into the United States, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1934 as the Brittany spaniel. Although the breed was designated as a spaniel, his hunting technique was more like a setter. The breed’s popularity took off in America since the dog was an excellent pointer and retriever and easy to transport due to his smaller size. In 1982, the American Kennel Club changed the name of the breed from Brittany spaniel to Brittany.

Appearance and Size

The Brittany has a rounded head with a nose that is brown or a dark shade of pink. The eyes are round and dark, set high on the head giving an expressive look. The Brittany has short, rounded ears that are feathered and a sturdy body. The tail is typically about 4 inches long and is often docked. The coat is medium-length, thick and wavy with feathers on the ears and legs. The hair coat comes in white and orange, white and liver, black and white, and tri-colored.

The adult Brittany stands 17 to 21 inches from the shoulder and weighs 30 to 40 pounds.


The Brittany is an energetic and obedient dog. They have a keen sense of smell and are enthusiastic about their work and pleasing their masters.

Home and Family Relations

The Brittany is a friendly and loving breed. They love children, even those that love to play rough, and never seem to tire. The Brittany gets along well with other household pets, but must be taught not to chase them. Due to their loving, gentle nature, the Brittany does not make a very good watchdog. They adapt to all terrain and weather for the sportsman and stay close during fieldwork. The Brittany makes an excellent sporting dog as well as companion.


The Brittany is an intelligent breed easily trained in fieldwork, hunting and as a show dog. The breed does well in basic and advanced obedience classes. They will do anything to please their owners.


The Brittany needs daily brushing of the hair coat to keep it free of burrs and tangles after hunting or roughhousing.

Special Care

The Brittany is an active breed that needs plenty of exercise to keep him occupied. If allowed to become bored, destructive behaviors may surface.

Common Diseases and Disorders

In general, the Brittany is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

Life Span