- Breed group — Sporting group (American Kennel Club)
- Height — 17.5-20.5 inches
- Weight — 30-40 pounds
- Coat length & texture — Flat, short hair
- Coat color — Combination of white, orange, and reddish-brown. Brittany spaniels can have either ticked, spotted, or roan markings. Most American Brittanys have an orange and white combination coat.
- Exercise needs — High
- Intelligence — High
- Barking — Occasionally towards strangers
- Lifespan — 12-14 years
- Temperament — Energetic, fun-loving, smart
- Hypoallergenic — No
- Origin — France
Brittany fun facts
- Their name comes from the Brittany region of France. Brittanys are believed to have first originated in north-western France in the 17th century, but they didn’t cross the Atlantic and arrive in America until 1931.
- Sign them up for sports. Brittanys are notoriously athletic and agile dogs. These pups compete in dog sports such as flyball and dock diving.
- They are social dogs. These pups love to be in the presence of their owner or other dogs. Some Brittany owners choose to have two Brittanys so they can keep eachother company.
Brittany spaniel temperament and characteristics
Brittany spaniels were bred for their versatility and physical abilities. These energetic pups were agile hunters in the field while being great companions with loving temperaments. This breed makes a great family dog, and are generally kid-friendly. They also do well with other dogs and pets, as long as they are acclimated at a young age.
Brittanys need space to run and burn their energy. This means daily exercise in the form of hikes or long walks is a necessity. These dogs do not do well in small, confined spaces, especially for long periods of time.
Common Brittany health problems
In general, Brittanys tend to be a healthy and active breed. The American Brittany Club (ABC) does recommend screenings for potential health concerns, such as joint and eye conditions.
- Hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, Brittanys are prone to hip dysplasia, which occurs when the joint socket is misaligned with the femur. The AKC recommends hip evaluations for Brittanys to check for any problems.
- Seizures. Purebred dogs, like the Brittany, tend to experience seizures more often than mix-breed dogs. While considered relatively common , it’s important for pet parents to be aware of how to respond should their dog experience a seizure.
- Eye conditions. The AKC recommends ophthalmologist screenings for Brittanys, as they can experience issues such as glaucoma, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) .
Cost of caring for Brittanys
Pet parents should consider the potential financial costs before committing to a new dog of any breed. Brittanys are genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia, which could mean treatment including vet visits, medicine, and physical therapy. Treatments for hip dysplasia range in cost, but physical therapy for your pup usually averages between $50 and $75 per session after an initial consultation.
Without knowing what health challenges your Brittany could face, some pet owners opt for health insurance. Signing your pup up can help reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Another option is to create a budget that includes a pet savings account. This money, set aside each month, can go towards any medical bills or unplanned vet appointments.
History of the Brittany
As mentioned earlier, the Brittany breed is named for the northwestern region of France where it first originated. There are tapestries showing dogs resembling Brittanys that date back to the 17th century. Bred as hunting dogs for French farmers, Brittanys are skilled in chasing down ducks, pheasants, woodcocks, and other birds native to the region. The Brittany breed was not a dog common in the upper class, but rather worked alongside peasants and poachers to help put food on their tables.
Pointer or Spaniel?
There is some discrepancy as to which category of dog Brittanys fit under. When first arriving in America in 1931, the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered the breed as a Brittany Spaniel. However, they changed the classification a few decades later, considering the dogs to be closer to a pointing breed in working style. The official name was shortened by the AKC to Brittany in 1982.
Caring for your Brittany
Preparing your home for a new puppy can be overwhelming! First, be sure to schedule your first trip to the vet along with your dog’s vaccinations. We can even help you puppy-proof your home and prepare for teething. Here are some other basics specific to Brittanys.
Anyone considering bringing home a Brittany should know they are high-energy, athletic dogs. These pups need space to roam and run, so they are not ideal for apartment living. Your Brittany will be happiest if they get at least one hour of exercise each day. Additionally, Brittanys can acclimate to all kinds of weather conditions and don’t mind going for a long hike on cold and damp days.
Brittanys benefit from a low-maintenance coat. Their fur is generally short and wavy and requires little upkeep other than routine brushing. Use a soft brush to untangle fur around their head or neck, where it tends to be a bit longer. Additionally, pet parents should keep up with regular nail trimming and teeth brushing. And because Brittanys have soft ears, don’t forget to maintain ear cleaning by checking the undersides and wiping clean as needed.
Diet and nutrition
Most importantly for Brittanys is that they are getting enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight. It’s reasonable to assume your Brittany may need more calories to support their active lifestyle, however, most vets recommend 1.5-2 cups of high-quality dog food each day. This amount, divided into two meals, will provide the nutrients and calories they need to stay healthy.
Always talk to your vet about your dog’s specific dietary needs, since every pup and breed is different.
Training your Brittany
Brittanys are highly trainable dogs that are well-suited to participate in sports and competitions. If you want to get your pup involved in dog sports, early and proper training is key to their success. Many Brittany owners choose to have their dogs compete in field trials. These events allow Brittanys to get back to their roots and compete in hunting and chasing competitions. These field trials separate dogs into classes or stakes based on their age and ability.
Breeds similar to the Brittany
Not quite sure that a Brittany is the right dog for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- Cocker spaniel. Like Brittanys, Cocker spaniels are part of the sporting group of breeds. This breed originated in England where they were trained to hunt woodcocks, giving them their name!
- Labrador retriever. Another sporting dog, labs are a popular choice for anyone looking for a fun-loving and loyal family pet. Labs are usually bigger than Brittanys, weighing between 55 and 70 pounds.
- Weimaraner. This hunting breed originated in Germany, and are high-energy dogs, like Brittanys. Weimaraners have a beautiful silver or gray coat which sheds minimally.
Frequently asked questions
Are Brittany spaniels good for apartments?
No, in general, Brittanys thrive in settings where they have space to run and release energy. If confined to a small space for long periods of time, Brittanys may resort to destructive behavior like chewing.
Are Brittany spaniels born with tails?
Usually, yes. However, some Brittanys are born without tails or are ‘naturally docked.’ Docking or removing dogs’ tails is increasingly disallowed in the breeding world today.
Do Brittanys shed?
Yes, Brittanys shed moderately year-round and tend to shed a bit more during the warmer months. Brushing out your Brittanys coat on a weekly basis will help remove excess hair and keep their fur tidy.
Do Brittanys get along with cats?
All dogs have unique personalities, but most Brittanys will get along with cats and other dogs if introduced to them at a young age. Even older, rescue Brittanys have been known to get along well with other pets.