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All About Brittany Spaniels

Updated on August 19, 2012

The Brittany Spaniel

The Brittany is a medium-sized, leggy, dual-purpose dog, equally suited for sport and companionship. According to AKC Registration Statistics, it has surged in popularity in the last 50 years due to its talents as both a hunting and show dog. Originally called the Brittany Spaniel, it is now referred to simply as the Brittany, as its hunting style more closely resembles that of pointing breeds. Its dense, flat or wavy coat can be orange and white or liver and white in either clear or roan patterns.

The Brittany

The Brittany
The Brittany

A Look Back

The Brittany was named for the French province where it originated, but records of its development are largely lost. There is a great deal of resemblance between the Brittany and Welsh Springer Spaniel, which leads many people to believe that the two breeds share the same ancestors. It is possible that native Brittany spaniels mated with English pointing dogs around 1900, intensifying their hunting prowess in the process.



The Brittany Spaniel is an adaptable little dog who is traditionally a hunting dog.


Right Breed for You?

The Brittany is strong, quick and agile, requiring exercise and activity to occupy his body and mind. He is a happy and alert dog who possesses willing attitude. Regular brushing is important, but their shorter coats need minimal maintenance.

If you are considering purchasing a Brittany puppy, learn more here.

  • Sporting Group; AKC recognized in 1934.
  • Average size: 30 to 40 pounds and 17 ½ to 20 ½ inches at the shoulder.
  • Bird dog, companion.

© The American Kennel Club, Inc.

Brittanys (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)

Brittanys (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)
Brittanys (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)

Bred primarily as a bird dog, this energetic canine loves the outdoors and makes a fine pet for owners who can give it ample exercise. Barron's extensive line of Complete Pet Owner's Manuals presents information for non-specialist animal owners and prospective owners, with facts about each animal's origins and traits, as well as advice on purchasing, housing, feeding, health care, and much more. Each book is individually written by a trainer, breeder, veterinarian, or other animal specialist.


Brittany Breed Standard

General Appearance

A compact, closely knit dog of medium size, a leggy dog having the appearance, as well as the agility, of a great ground coverer. Strong, vigorous, energetic and quick of movement. Ruggedness, without clumsiness, is a characteristic of the breed. He can be tailless or has a tail docked to approximately four inches.

Bobwhite Quail Hunting Kansas

Size, Proportion, Substance

Height--17½ to 20½ inches, measured from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders. Any Brittany measuring under 17½ inches or over 20½ inches shall be disqualified from dog show competition. Weight--Should weigh between 30 and 40 pounds.

Proportion--So leggy is he that his height at the shoulders is the same as the length of his body.

Body Length--Approximately the same as the height when measured at the shoulders. Body length is measured from the point of the forecast to the rear of the rump. A long body should be heavily penalized.

Substance--Not too light in bone, yet never heavy-boned and cumbersome.

Brittany (Kennel Club Dog Breed Series)

Brittany (Comprehensive Owner's Guide)
Brittany (Comprehensive Owner's Guide)

Developed in France from working setters and spaniels to produce a hunting dog who would be a biddable, loyal and versatile companion, the Brittany has proven itself in both fields. Although bred for function, the Brittany is a natural beauty in his handsomely fringed coat and appealing expression. The breed’s affinity for children and its affection and playful personality have made him a favorite choice as a family pet. For the owners who can provide this energetic dog with the activity, stimulation and training he requires, the Brittany will not disappoint.



Expression--Alert and eager, but with the soft expression of a bird dog. Eyes--Well set in head. Well protected from briars by a heavy, expressive eyebrow. A prominent full or popeye should be penalized. It is a serious fault in a dog that must face briars. Skull well chiseled under the eyes, so that the lower lid is not pulled back to form a pocket or haw that would catch seeds, dirt and weed dust. Preference should be for the darker colored eyes, though lighter shades of amber should not be penalized. Light and mean-looking eyes should be heavily penalized. Ears--Set high, above the level of the eyes. Short and triangular, rather than pendulous, reaching about half the length of the muzzle. Should lie flat and close to the head, with dense, but relatively short hair, and with little fringe. Skull--Medium length, rounded, very slightly wedge-shaped, but evenly made. Width, not quite as wide as the length and never so broad as to appear coarse, or so narrow as to appear racy. Well defined, but gently sloping stop. Median line rather indistinct. The occiput only apparent to the touch. Lateral walls well rounded. The Brittany should never be "apple-headed" and he should never have an indented stop. Muzzle--Medium length, about two thirds the length of the skull, measuring the muzzle from the tip to the stop, and the skull from the occiput to the stop. Muzzle should taper gradually in both horizontal and vertical dimensions as it approaches the nostrils. Neither a Roman nose nor a dish-face is desirable. Never broad, heavy or snippy. Nose--Nostrils well open to permit deep breathing of air and adequate scenting. Tight nostrils should be penalized. Never shiny. Color: fawn, tan, shades of brown or deep pink. A black nose is a disqualification. A two-tone or butterfly nose should be penalized. Lips--Tight, the upper lip overlapping the lower jaw just to cover the lower lip. Lips dry, so that feathers will not stick. Drooling to be heavily penalized. Flews to be penalized. Bite--A true scissors bite. Overshot or undershot jaw to be heavily penalized.



Neck, Topline, Body

Neck--Medium length. Free from throatiness, though not a serious fault unless accompanied by dewlaps, strong without giving the impression of being over muscled. Well set into sloping shoulders. Never concave or ewe-necked. Topline--Slight slope from the highest point of the shoulders to the root of the tail. Chest--Deep, reaching the level of the elbow. Neither so wide nor so rounded as to disturb the placement of the shoulders and elbows. Ribs well sprung. Adequate heart room provided by depth as well as width. Narrow or slab-sided chests are a fault. Back--Short and straight. Never hollow, saddle, sway or roach backed. Slight drop from the hips to the root of the tail. Flanks--Rounded. Fairly full. Not extremely tucked up, or flabby and falling. Loins short and strong. Distance from last rib to upper thigh short, about three to four finger widths. Narrow and weak loins are a fault. In motion, the loin should not sway sideways, giving a zig-zag motion to the back, wasting energy. Tail--Tailless to approximately four inches, natural or docked. The tail not to be so long as to affect the overall balance of the dog. Set on high, actually an extension of the spine at about the same level. Any tail substantially more than four inches shall be severely penalized.

A Feisty Little Pointing Dog: A Celebration of the Brittany

A Feisty Little Pointing Dog: A Celebration of the Brittany
A Feisty Little Pointing Dog: A Celebration of the Brittany

The Britanny spaniel is first and foremost a gun dog. The breed's skill and antics in the field are wonderfully told in the 26 stories that comprise this tribute.



Shoulders--Shoulder blades should not protrude too much, not too wide apart, with perhaps two thumbs' width between. Sloping and muscular. Blade and upper arm should form nearly a ninety degree angle. Straight shoulders are a fault. At the shoulders, the Brittany is slightly higher than at the rump. Front Legs--Viewed from the front, perpendicular, but not set too wide. Elbows and feet turning neither in nor out. Pasterns slightly sloped. Down in pasterns is a serious fault. Leg bones clean, graceful, but not too fine. Extremely heavy bone is as much a fault as spindly legs. One must look for substance and suppleness. Height at elbows should approximately equal distance from elbow to withers. Feet--Should be strong, proportionately smaller than the spaniels', with close fitting, well arched toes and thick pads. The Brittany is "not up on his toes." Toes not heavily feathered. Flat feet, splayed feet, paper feet, etc., are to be heavily penalized. An ideal foot is halfway between the hare and the cat foot. Dewclaws may be removed.

Welcome Sign - Brittany Spaniel

Welcome Sign - Brittany Spaniel
Welcome Sign - Brittany Spaniel

The perfect gift idea for Brittany Spaniel fanciers. This classic oval Welcome sign features a dog silhouette and the word "Welcome" artfully placed above. This high quality sign looks fantastic at the front door, or place it inside the mudroom for a warm welcome.



Broad strong and muscular, with powerful thighs and well bent stifles, giving the angulation necessary for powerful drive. Hind Legs--Stifles well bent. The stifle should not be so angulated as to place the hock joint far out behind the dog. A Brittany should not be condemned for straight stifle until the judge has checked the dog in motion from the side. The stifle joint should not turn out making a cowhock. Thighs well feathered but not profusely, halfway to the hock. Hocks, that is, the back pasterns, should be moderately short, pointing neither in nor out, perpendicular when viewed from the side. They should be firm when shaken by the judge. Feet Same as front feet.

Brittany Spaniels Hunting in Co Cork Ireland


Dense, flat or wavy, never curly. Texture neither wiry nor silky. Ears should carry little fringe. The front and hind legs should have some feathering, but too little is definitely preferable to too much. Dogs with long or profuse feathering or furnishings shall be so severely penalized as to effectively eliminate them from competition. Skin--Fine and fairly loose. A loose skin rolls with briars and sticks, thus diminishing punctures or tearing. A skin so loose as to form pouches is undesirable.

Brittany Coat Care Grooming Kit FREE BONUS

Brittany Coat Care Grooming Kit FREE BONUS
Brittany Coat Care Grooming Kit FREE BONUS

Now caring for your dog's beautiful coat is easier than ever! We have bundled our best selling items for Brittany owners in one simple package! Each item is hand picked by an award Winning Certified Master Groomer, perfect for your BREED! Here's what you will receive: 12 oz Kelco Premium Formula concentrate Shampoo; 12 oz Kelco Premium Formula concentrate Conditioner; 12 oz Ready to Use Finishing Spray; Karla's FAVORITE Brush and Comb, chosen with your pet's grooming needs in mind! The concentrated formulas are a great value! BUY NOW and we will include 2 FREE Measure Mixin' Bottles a $9.98 VALUE~ Yours FREE!! You will LOVE the show dog results at this unbeatable price!



Orange and white or liver and white in either clear or roan patterns. Some ticking is desirable. The orange or liver is found in the standard parti-color or piebald patterns. Washed out colors are not desirable. Tri-colors are allowed but not preferred. A tri-color is a liver and white dog with classic orange markings on eyebrows, muzzle and cheeks, inside the ears and under the tail, freckles on the lower legs are orange. Anything exceeding the limits of these markings shall be severely penalized. Black is a disqualification.

The Ultimate Guide to Bird Dog Training

The Ultimate Guide to Bird Dog Training: A Realistic Approach to Training Close-Working Gun Dogs for Tight Cover Conditions
The Ultimate Guide to Bird Dog Training: A Realistic Approach to Training Close-Working Gun Dogs for Tight Cover Conditions

"Follow Jerry Robinson and your path to glorious and golden upland gunning over a great dog will become clear. Here, in one book, you will find everything you need to save time, money, and aggravation in developing the hunting companion of a lifetime."

--Lamar Underwood, former editor-in-chief, Sports Afield and Outdoor Life


Let's Go Hunting!

Let's Go Hunting!
Let's Go Hunting!


When at a trot the Brittany's hind foot should step into or beyond the print left by the front foot. Clean movement, coming and going, is very important, but most important is side gait, which is smooth, efficient and ground covering.

Training Pointing Dogs

Training Pointing Dogs
Training Pointing Dogs

Sage guidance and backwoods wisdom make this a valuable source for training bird dogs.



A happy, alert dog, neither mean nor shy.


  • Any Brittany measuring under 17½ inches or over
  • 20½ inches
  • A black nose
  • Black in the coat

Let me know you visited today...

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      One thing that it doesn't say is that they can get hip dysplasia, seizures, and breast cancer.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      One thing that it doesn't say is that they can get hip dysplasia, seizures, and breast cancer.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've enjoyed your lens very much. I love spaniels.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Dylan our Brittany is a loving member of our family, a beautiful, intelligent dog who has been fantastic with the children as they have grown up.

      Dylan has been a wonderfully healthy dog, unfortunately the years are starting to catch up with him, at nearly 13years he has cataracts and his hearing is poor, suffering stiff legs mostly in the evening. However at times Dylan can still have the energy of a puppy! A great dog! Thanks Dylan love you xx

    • Xine profile image


      6 years ago

      I have four brittanys and know very well how wonderful this breed is. Nice lens.

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image


      7 years ago from Rhode Island

      beautiful dog

    • Adriana Daniela profile image


      7 years ago from New Market

      I have a Brittany Spaniel: she is the best dog ever!

    • Philippians468 profile image


      7 years ago

      such a lovely dog! thank you for sharing this information! cheers

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful breed. Nice lens.

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 

      8 years ago

      Cool lens. Look like nice dogs! We got a husky/collie mix this year. I wrote a lens about her (Viva). Merry Christmas!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens show casing this beautiful dog. I see Brittany's are wonderful for the bird hunter's among us and need plenty of exercise. This is a dog that would not be happy in an apartment for sure even if it is a great companion. I want a dog real bad and am researching for the day I'm able to have one again. I have lensrolled to my I Want a Dog lens, thank you.

    • JJNW profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      What charming dogs! Thanks for the lovely visit!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I think the Brittany Spaniel is beautiful and so is this lens. Thank you for all the great info.

    • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

      Tiddledeewinks LM 

      9 years ago

      I love dogs! I had a beautiful Old English Sheepdog who died much too young last year, which left me heart-broken.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Our britany we recused from a shelter in Las Vegas. She won Miss Congenality at our dog park in AZ. She also is the best soccer playion dog I have ever seen. A real Sweatheart...

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Beautiful dogs! Congratulations Giant Squid! lensrolling to a Dog Named Blue

    • singaporehosting profile image


      10 years ago

      Extremely lovely dogs, too bad it is not suitable for my environment. Love to have one of those when I can but frankly they don't really look like hunting dogs to me.....too cute to be hunting dogs.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great job on describing the Brittany Breed! 5*s and a winner of the purple paw award!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      10 years ago

      Those puppy faces are too adorable!


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