Brittany gun dogs is a modern-day breed that many hunters would want on their side when out on the field. These dogs are energetic, versatile family pets that are also trained to work closely with hunters. Once called Brittany Spaniels, the word “spaniel” was removed by the American Kennel Club in 1982. It became apparent that these works had working characteristics similar to the pointer and setters.
If you’re thinking about getting a Brittany as a field companion, then you should do some research about the breed and get to know them better. Here are six interesting things about these highly-skilled gun dogs.
Brittany Dogs Gets Its Name From Brittany, France
The breed takes its name from a Celtic area in northwest France. It was once an independent kingdom that lies just across the English Channel from Wales. The dog breed was probably a big part of the commerce between the two countries. It is easily noticeable in the coloring and physical characteristics that the Brittany dog and the Welsh Springer Spaniel could have a common ancestor.
These dogs were first documented in tapestries and paintings as early as the 17th century. However, the first records of the modern Brittany gun dogs were in the mid-1800s in the small town of Pontou, Brittany. A cross between a white-orange female canine owned by a French hunter and a lemon-white male canine brought to the area by an English sports hunter produced two pups.
One of the pups excelled in hunting and became a famous stud in the town. Soon, there are bob-tailed pooches that played well at pointing and retrieving with hunters. Local poachers also became fond of them because of their speed, agility and willingness to follow directions.
In 1907, the first French Brittany dog registered in France was a white-orange pup called “Boy.” This breed became very popular in Britain and other parts of Europe. They steadily gained popularity and reached the US in 1931. They registered with the American Kennel Club in 1934. At present, the breed ranks 31st among 155 dogs breeds and varieties registered under the AKC.
Brittany is More of a Setters and Pointers
Because of their heritage, Brittany’s were considered a spaniel breed. But for many years, breeders and hunters who favor these dogs aimed to remove the term “spaniel” from Brittany.
Brittany dogs excelled at pointing and retrieving, which are characteristics displayed by setters and pointers. These dogs are fantastic bird hunters and can work on wetlands and upland hunting. They can quickly adapt to any situation and are appreciated for their smart personalities.
More so, they are very attentive, quick and happy companions. If you get one of this breed, be sure to give them plenty of exercise; otherwise, they will resort to chewing and other destructive behavior. Ideally, you can use their high energy to train them to excel at obedience, agility, pointing and retrieving.
The AKC eventually approved the removal of “spaniel” from Brittany’s name in 1982. But some countries retained their original name.
Brittanys are Gamebird Aficionados
The characteristics of the pointing breed are very prominent in Brittany gun dogs. They are always happy, alert, independent and curious. And while they can be single-minded about birds, they still respond well to their hunting partners and make an effort to please them.
And because they are high-energy and smart, you have to be committed to providing them consistent mental and physical stimulation. These dogs respond well to firm, but gentle training. They can be quite sensitive too, so please avoid being loud and stressed out around them. The situation around them can easily affect how this dog behaves.
Additionally, several things affect its temperament, including genes, training and socialization. Nice Brittany puppies are playful, curious and willing to approach humans. Try to meet at least one of the parents to gauge the temperament of the pup you will get.
Similarly, these dogs also need early socialization. It is best to expose them to various things, people, sights, and experiences while they are young. All these will ensure that your puppy grows to become well-rounded adult dogs. Start by inviting guests to meet them, take them to parks, and walk them around to meet your neighbors to polish their social skills.
For Brittanys, Age is Just A Number
Brittany dogs can live a long and healthy life of up to 15 years if cared for properly. They have a compact build at 21 inches tall and 40 pounds at the age of maturity. They are ideal pets for small dwellings like apartments or suburban homes, but you have to exercise them regularly.
Like other dog breeds, these dogs are predisposed to specific health conditions. And while not all of them will get these diseases, it is best to know about them if you have a Brittany.
So, find a breeder that has an excellent reputation for producing Brittany puppies. They can present health clearances of the parent dogs to ensure that they are tested and cleared of any condition.
You may find clearances issued by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for hip dysplasia or hypothyroidism, Auburn University for thrombopathia and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation to certify healthy eyes.
Brittanys Have Minimal Grooming Needs
These dogs have light feathered coats that are wavier but never curly, silky or wiry. You will notice slight feathering on their legs and ears, but it’s light enough to be bothersome on the field. More so, their skin is a little loose—the loose skin rolls when it comes in contact with thorns and burrs. Thus, protecting them from wounds or punctures.
Their coat colors can vary from the liver with white, orange with white, liver tricolor, black and white and black tricolor. Some have roan patterns which are a combination of colored and white hairs. There are also some dogs with the ticking of colors, meaning, small isolated areas with black hair on a white background. In rare cases, you’ll find a tri-color pup with orange markings on its muzzle, eyebrows, beneath the tail, inside the ears and orange freckles on the lower portion of its legs.
Brittany dogs also have tan, fawn or brownish noses. Their eyes can be hazel or amber depending on the shade of their coat.
Typically, these dogs are straightforward to groom. Brush the teeth regularly and trim the nails as needed. You can brush their fur and bathe them each week to keep their coat in good condition. They are not heavy shedders too. Check the ears for signs of redness, tenderness or infections, especially if you took them out on a bushy or rough terrain.
Ideally, start accustoming your pooch to being brushed, bathed or examined while they are still puppies. Some dogs are touchy when held or checked. Train them to make grooming a positive experience so that veterinary exams will be straightforward when they become adults.
Brittanys Dogs Are Balls of Energy
This dog breed does well in places where there is a large yard or field. They are balls of energy with high demand for exercise and physical activity. They need to run around and spend their excess energy to stay happy and content. These dogs may adapt to apartment living, but you must dedicate time and effort in exercising them and giving them adequate mental stimulation.
Brittany gun dogs do not like hot weather and are more likely to enjoy places where there are winter and lots of water to waddle on. They may be resistant to damp and cold conditions when out hunting, but they need to live and sleep indoors with their people.
These dogs love running around in wide-open spaces; thus, teach them to respond and come when called. They should also be crate-trained while they are young so you can keep safe them when unsupervised. For puppies younger than two years, exercise should only be half an hour at a time. While they are puppies, their joints are not yet fully formed, and they do not have the muscle coordination and focus of the adult dogs.
Similar to other dog breeds, Brittany puppies can be quite destructive in puppyhood. Additionally, they can develop destructive behavior as adult dogs when their physical and mental needs are not met.
FAQs About the Brittany Gun Dogs
What Kind of Dog is a Brittany?
The Brittany Dogs were bred primarily for bird hunting. They are often called the French Brittany Spaniel; however, their working characteristics are more of a pointer or setter. Spaniels are instead good with flushing birds. These dogs might have earned its original name because they have a spaniel lineage and physical characteristics.
RELATED: Best Bird Hunting Dogs for Upland and Wetland
How Much Does A Brittany Gun Dog Cost?
The average costs for most Brittany dogs are at $700. If you want a dog with the top line and superior pedigree, your budget should be somewhere from $1500 up to $6300. Top-notch sports hunters prefer these dogs, and it is only understandable for Brittany puppies to have such a wide range of prices.
Additionally, you may also consider checking out Brittany breed clubs or local clubs that can point you towards a rescue dog for adoption. These dogs are affectionate, but they will require lots of exercises – some people do not understand this need and soon gives up the dog for adoption.
When taking in a Brittany, you should be well aware of the responsibilities of owning one. Some rescue organizations that you can contact to help you find the pup of your life are The Brittany Foundation, American Brittany Rescue and the National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network.
American Brittany and French Brittany: What Is the Difference?
Both the American Brittany and the French Brittany are skilled hunting breeds. They are excellent family companions and are ideal for people with large properties where dogs can run around to exercise. And while both of them are popular hunting companions, there are slight differences between the two.
In terms of physical appearance, American Brits are taller and more substantial than the French, while the latter tend to be lower to the ground and weigh less. The most glaring difference between these two is their colorings in the eyes, lips, coat, and nose. American Brittany dogs do not welcome black genes, while it is accepted in the French breed. Brittanys in the French line range from white and liver, orange and white, black and white and tri-colors.
Both these Brittany dogs have high-energy and exercise needs. They will do great in homes with large yards. They can adapt in condo and apartment living, but you need to take them out for walks or runs to spend their excess energy.
The essential quality to know between these two breeds are their hunting style. While both of them are definite bird dogs, most breeders claim that the French Brittany Spaniel has a stronger instinct than the American. The French tend to hunt shorter distances and stay closer to their human companion. On the other hand, American Brittany dogs are longer runners and are faster than the French.
Finally, both the American and French are great pets for families leading an active lifestyle. They are sweet-natured dogs, smart, loyal and always eager to please.
Are Brittany Spaniels Good Hunting Dogs?
Brittanys are very popular as a gun dogs, and it is for a good reason. While they have an overlooked appearance, the softness in their faces is adored by bird-dog lovers. They have high-set ears that indicate their eagerness. Brittanys have beautiful, boldly patterned bodies that are rugged, strong, smooth and clean. They are smaller than setters, but they are quick afoot, eager and versatile.
Apart from their physical traits, their obedience, intelligence and being “soft” in training make them excel as a sporting dogs or a gun dogs. These dogs are the perfect fit for those seeking a flexible and versatile companion to keep up with their outdoorsy, upbeat lifestyle.
What is the Average Lifespan of A Brittany Spaniel?
The average lifespan of Brittany is 12-14 years. This sporting dog breed is generally healthy. They are predisposed to health conditions common to their breeds such as hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism. However, as long as you care for them properly and provide for their needs, these dogs will live a long and contented life with their family. Even in their senior years, these dogs are still high-energy pooches!
Are Brittany Gun Dogs Cuddly?
Yes, Brittanys would cuddle up with you anytime! Although Brits are known for their unlimited energy, and love for the outdoors, these dogs are also very cuddly! Their adventurous nature makes them excellent companions, whether you’re going out for some birds or just running on errands. Brit owners will tell you though, and these dogs love to cuddle as much as they love to hunt.
These dogs are highly affectionate beings that love spending time close to their owners. Despite their medium size, they sometimes think they are lap dogs, and they are always asking for a rub. They are typically jolly and well-behaved. Their light-shedding coat makes cuddling extra fun for pet owners as they don’t leave much hair on clothes.
Are Brittany Dogs Good Family Dogs?
These popular gun dogs are so versatile they also make an excellent choice for families with active kids. Watch out, though, because its high-energy level might be too overwhelming for toddlers and smaller children. It is best to teach your kids how to touch and approach dogs to prevent any accidents. Always supervise interactions between young children and dogs.
Brittanys are active as they are affectionate. They love attention and cuddling with their owners. After a tiring day in the field, they’d love to snuggle and lay by the fire with their owners.
These dogs also go well with other pets and get along fine with cats. Best to introduce them to all kinds of home pets at an early age so they won’t take them as a game.
Dogs are loyal human companions. They have served various purposes for their families and owners. Some breeds worked with their owners on the field to shepherd farm animals, and some have chased out vermins and rodents are industrial setups. There are also capable guard dogs that keep homes safe from wild animals and suspicious individuals. Another fantastic skill that dogs perform is being a hunting companion. And this is where Brittany’s dogs excel. These dogs have poachers for ancestors, thus they have a natural instinct for hunting. They are brilliant, agile, versatile, high-energy and obedient companions that will happily go with you on the field or at home. If you are looking for the perfect hunting companion, there probably is no better choice than these dogs.
Do you have a Brittany gun dog? Have you taken them with you for bird hunting? Tell us more about how they fare in the field or at home by leaving a comment in the box below.