Brittanys, Great Bird Dogs and Pets
My husband and I have a male Brittany and I would recommend these dogs to anyone. Apartment dwellers are the only people that shouldn’t have one. Brittanys need exercise because they were bred to hunt and will chase a ball all day if you will allow it. You’ll never find a dog as loving or willing to please as a Brittany. These dogs are loved by hunters.
The History of Brittanys
The dogs were once called Brittany Spaniels, because they look like a spaniel. They work more like a Pointer or Setter though. Paintings from as early as the 1700’s exist that show the dog. It is believed that the Brittany was developed by breeding two types of English hunting dogs. One may have been the Welsh Springer Spaniel, because the dog resembles it in looks.
Brittanys weren’t brought into the US until the 1920s. They weren’t popular when first brought here, because hunters thought that pointers should have a long tail. Now the dog is one of the most popular hunting dogs. The name Spaniel wasn’t dropped from their name until 1982 in the US.
There are two types of Brittanys, French Brittanys and American Brittanys which are a bit larger. In the US the ones that are liver and white or orange and white are most common. Some are tricolor. You will see a black and white Brittanys once in a while here and some are almost all white or all black, but the black ones are more accepted in France.
What Does a Brittany Look Like?
This dog has dense, flat or wavy hair. Some dogs have feathering.
Brittanys are medium sized dogs that are leggy. The normal weight for these dogs is 30-40 pounds. The American breed can be up to 50 pounds. Their height is 17 ½” - 20 ½“ at the shoulder”.
What is a Brittany's Temperament?
This is a happy dog that likes to please. Our Brittany Beau spends most of his life grinning and wagging his tail.
The dog is a bit shy unless you socialize them. I’ve had Beau hide behind me when a stranger wanted to pet him. When guest arrive, he’ll hide upstairs. We got Beau when he was 3 years old and he may not have been around many people as a pup.
These dogs are said to chew and do destructive behaviors if left alone too long. We have never had this problem.
These dogs are said not to do well in homes with a lot of tension. They don’t like yelling or loud noise.
You should brush their hair regularly, but most of these dogs have a short coat and don‘t require a lot of grooming. This dog is a light shedder.
It is important to clean the inside of their ears. Because they have long floppy ears, they can get infections if you don’t.
Health Issues of the Brittany
The average lifespan of a Brittany is 12-14 years. These dogs rarely have health problems. Hip dysplasia, allergies or eye problems are possible.
Hip dysplasia is a condition of the hip where the ball and socket no longer fit. Your dog will have pain and inflammation and possibly lameness. Medications are available to help treat the inflammation and shots are available to keep it lubricated. In severe cases that don't respond to treatment, the kindest treatment is having the dog euthanized.
If you are purchasing your dog from a breeder, an X-ray is available to see if the dog's line carries the inherited trait for hip dyspasia. If the breeder has had this done, he will have certification to prove it.
An inherited disposition for eye problems can also be checked, but epilepsy can't. A floating kneecap is also possible and won't show-up until the dog is about 6 months old.
It is possible for your Brittany to get any illness that other dogs get, but usually it is rare for them. The breed is a healthy breed.
There are rescues for these dogs. Many have been placed in rescues because the owner has passed away, the owner's have lost their homes, or have become too ill to care for the dogs. The rescues also save Brittanys from bad situations like abuse or abandonment. If you visit these websites, you can choose a dog.
Here are the two that I am aware of:
Our Beau came from the NBRAN rescue. The dog stay at a foster home while they wait for someone to choose them for a permanent home. We liked this, because the foster Mom was able to tell us if Beau had any problems before we got him.
If you are thinking about a Brittany, think about adopting one. These are wonderful loving dogs that make great pets.
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