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All About the Brittany Spaniel Dog Breed

Updated on May 19, 2011

Long legs are a characteristic of this breed


History of the Breed

The Brittany Spaniel, often just nick-named ''Brittany'' was developed in the eighteenth century in France. The name was coined after the large peninsular area located in the north west of France, known as ''Brittany''. Unfortunately, a good part of this breed's history is lost, but it is believed that Brittanys must share the same ancestors with the Welsh Springer Spaniel due to the close resemblance of both breeds. There are chances that Brittanys may have mated with English pointing dogs in the 1900s. Since this breed's hunting skills are more akin to those of a Pointer or a Setter, the word ''spaniel'' was dropped and therefore, this is why they are commonly known simply as Brittanys.

  • This breed is categorized by the American Kennel Club as a Sporting Breed. It was approved by in 1934.
  • Breed Purpose: this breed was primarily bred for hunting birds.
  • Curious Fact: the breed has been depicted in several French and Dutch paintings of the 17th century.

Nose is open to allow scent and deep breathing



  • Size: the Brittany is a middle sized dog, with a shoulder height of about 17 ½ to 20 ½ inches and a weight of about 30 to 40 pounds. Some north American specimens are a bit heavier ranging from 45 to 50 lb.
  • Color: white with orange patches or white with liver patches. Ticking is desirable. Tri-colors are allowed.
  • Proportion: this breed is quite leggy with long legs. His body length is the same as his height when measured at the shoulders.
  • Head: the head of this breed is slightly wedge-shaped . The eyes have a soft expression, and being bred to hunt, its eyebrows are pronounced to protect from the briers. The skull is chiseled in such a way under the eyes to prevent the lower lid from becoming a pocket where seeds, dust and dirt could collect. The ears are triangular and set high, long enough to reach about half the length of the muzzle. This breed's nostrils are well opened to allow easy breathing and detecting scent. The lips are dry to prevent any feathers from sticking. The breed has a true scissor bite.
  • Tail: four inches, natural or docked. Some Brittanys are born with natural short tail, long-tailed Brittanys are docked.
  • Coat: Dense, flat, wavy, but never curly. Front and hind legs may have some feathering. Coat is easy to maintain and sheds seasonally. Requires periodic brushing with a slicker brush to remove dead hair.
  • Gait: upon trotting, hind foot steps into or beyond the print left by the front foot.
  • Life Span: 12-14 years

Health Issues

Brittany Spaniels are generally strong dogs, but some may be prone to the following conditions:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Luxating Patella
  • Eye disorders such as glaucoma, lens luxation, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and retinal dysplasia.
  • Skin allergies
  • Low thyroid levels
  • Cerebellar ataxia
  • Hemofilia A


Active, friendly, all around dog breed that thrives to stay inside the home with its family.

  • Energy Level: High
  • Trainability: Easy, but being sensitive, reward good behavior and ignore the bad.
  • Child Friendly: Yes, but no rough housing should be allowed.
  • House training: having a sensitive nose, make sure you clean up previously soiled areas with a good enzyme cleaning product. This breed may be prone to submissive urination when excited or fearful.
  • Guarding: this breed may bark to alert the owners, but will most likely open up to strangers once invited into the home.
  • Reaction to other pets: Brittanys generally do well with other dogs, but some may chase small animals and cats.
  • Vocalizations: may whine excessively when aroused or stressed

Ideal home: an active owner, who is ready to add a dog that will be part of the family. Hunters will enjoy this energetic breed which due to their size can reach areas other hunting dogs may not. Left home alone, they can get destructive. Under-exercised, they can get hyperactive and nervous. Being a sensitive breed, they do not respond well to harsh treatment and may develop fear and defensive behaviors as a result. A Brittany does not bloom well in a noisy family prone to tension and stress.

Some essentials for this breed

Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush, Large
Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush, Large

Keep your Brittany's hair out of the way



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    • SUSIE DUZY profile image

      SUSIE DUZY 6 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      Brittany Spaniels are really beautiful dogs. Thanks for the hub.

    • twilanelson profile image

      Twila Nelson 6 years ago from Carmichael, California

      Beautiful and detailed Hub. I absolutely love seeing the Brittany Spaniels standards in your Hub. This Hub reminds me of the American Kennel Club Gazette. Thank you

      Do you by any chance have a Hub about the Springer Spaniel ?

    • Susan D Tyndall profile image

      Dianne Tyndall 6 years ago from Sanderson, Texas

      Good hub with interesting information, voted up and useful.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      We have a Brittany and they are a good breed. Excellent hub.