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The Brittany dog is best for active pet parents and families who live in homes with large yards and include the dog in their activities. They do well with other dogs and, if properly introduced, cats as well.
What makes the Brittany a Brittany? Let's find out how they stack up.
The Brittany dog is a friendly, affectionate pet who loves spending time with their people. A true companion dog, they want to be with you all the time and would really prefer to be in your company than anywhere else.
Bred to be a versatile hunting dog, they are intelligent, adaptable and ready for action at a moment’s notice, whether competing in a tracking event or taking a walk in the park. And these high-energy pups enjoy a lot of activity, so plan on them running with you every morning. Just be prepared for shouts of “Pretty dog!” and “Go, puppy, go!” Your friendly pup will manage a cheerful smile and a butt wiggle without missing a step.
Though playful and energetic, Brittanies are not fans of homes with a lot of chaos. These pups are truly sensitive souls who want harmony in the home, and raised voices—even if you’re shouting at a referee on TV—may cause the dog stress.
Brittany dogs aren’t known for aggression or biting. Born to be a bird dog, they have a “soft mouth,” like a Labrador Retriever, which means they can control the strength of their bite. They’ll even gently carry their favorite toy around the house. Their happy-go-lucky personality means they’re happy to share that toy with their two and four-legged family members. Hope you’re ready for a few games of fetch with a slobbery tennis ball!
How to Care for a Brittany
Overall, Brittany dogs’ care needs are moderate. Their grooming routine is minimal, and bathing is made easier because of their short coat. As a bonus, these pups are easy to train. And let’s face it, either activity will fill the attention meter and make your pup content. Their biggest need will be enough exercise, so make sure you have the time to give it to them.
Thankfully, the Brittany breed suffers very few major health issues or genetic defects. And with an expected lifespan of 12 to 14 years, your fluffy friend should be with you for a long time. While they have relatively few health issues, here are a couple you should watch for.
- Obesity: Brittany dogs are active, and when they don’t get enough exercise or too much food, that is a recipe for obesity. Your dog should have a trim, muscular form that tapers from the ribs to the hips. If your dog doesn’t have a defined waist, talk to your vet about how to lose weight and still get the nutrition they need.
- Thyroid Disease: If your dog is overweight, it increases their risk for thyroid disease. The thyroid produces hormones that regulate their metabolism. If it stops working correctly, your dog might experience weight loss or weight gain, hair loss, a dull coat and an increased risk for other illnesses. Treatment is a hormone-replacement pill.
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a growth defect in the hip joint that leads to tendon problems, arthritis and pain. Symptoms include decreased activity, range of motion and “bunny hopping.” Hip dysplasia is diagnosed with X-rays and is treatable with surgery, medication, weight management and physical therapy.
- Eye Disease: Eye disease such as glaucoma is another potential health issue. Monitor your pet for any changes in eye color or shape or any difficulty seeing. Schedule an appointment with your vet if you have any concerns. Eye disease is often treatable with medication and sometimes surgery.
The Brittany breed’s origins come from the Brittany region of France, likely in the 17th century. We all like to show off our fur babies, and the people of that time were no different. Hunting dogs who resemble the Brittany breed show up in paintings and tapestries from around that time, like their close relatives, the English Setters.
In the 1600s, only nobles and wealthy landowners had enough money to keep entire kennels of dogs specialized for different types of hunting. Commoners, and sometimes poachers, needed all-purpose dogs who could point, flush and retrieve. The Brittany, like the German Shorthaired Pointer, is a versatile hunting pup. The Brittany was also bred to be an adept bird dog.
The American Kennel Club recognized the breed, then known as the Brittany Spaniel, in 1934. The breed first became popular in the United States in the 1940s, and today is No. 26 on the AKC’s most popular dog breed list. Their versatility is part of what makes them so popular. Unlike many breeds, Brittanies are considered to be a dual breed, meaning they excel at both conformation competitions and field trials. In fact, the Brittany breed has the most dual champions of any AKC Sporting breed. (Sporting dogs were bred to work with hunters.) To be a dual champion, the dog must be a finished show champion and a field champion of record.
Are you looking to buy a Brittany puppy? You can find a list of reputable breeders on the AKC’s website. Prices for a Brittany puppy range from $700 to $1,000. But for that price, you likely get a pup who’s been screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. Would you rather adopt a Brittany in need of a home? Check out the American Brittany Rescue, or keep an eye out for the pup at your local animal shelter.
Do Brittany dogs shed?
Yes, Brittany dogs shed a little year-round. But with a weekly brush, you can keep their shedding at bay.
Are Brittany dogs good family dogs?
Yes! Brittany dogs are excellent family dogs—when they get enough exercise and attention. With proper training and socialization starting in puppyhood, your Brittany will become the social butterfly of the neighborhood.
Do Brittany dogs bark a lot?
Brittany dogs are not excessive barkers; they only bark when they feel it’s necessary, either when someone comes to the door, a squirrel’s in the backyard or while playing.
Are Brittany dogs aggressive?
Brittany dogs are not known to be aggressive. In fact, they tend to make friends easily. As with all breeds, proper socialization and training will set the tone for your Brittany.
How big do Brittany dogs get?
The Brittany dog is a medium-sized dog and doesn’t get very big. Brittanies weigh between 30 and 40 pounds and are shorter than 21 inches at the shoulder. They are small enough to ride in the car with you comfortably when you run out for coffee, but not so small that you have to worry about losing them in tall grass.
What are the most common Brittany mixes?
The most common Brittany mixes include:
- Brittany-Greyhound mix
- Brittany-Whippet mix
- Brittany-German Shepherd mix
- Brittany-Golden Retriever mix
Brittany dogs, also known as the Brittany Spaniel, are superstars in the show ring, in field competitions and in your own backyard. This versatile dog can do a bit of everything, and they’ll look good while they’re doing it!