• Shannon Chapman

The Brittany

Updated: Feb 10

A Champion Hunting Companion


What To Expect From A Brittany Spaniel


My grandfather was an avid bird hunter who hunted with his pedigreed Brittany Spaniels for as long as I knew him. I’m not sure why he was so dedicated to The Brittany Spaniel breed, other than the fact that he loved to hunt duck and pheasants with them, and to him, there was no better bird-dog on the market.


Origins

A Brittany Spaniel is a show dog originally from the Brittany Region of France, hence its original name in French, The Epagneul Breton (epagneul means: “crouching” which is something this animal does quite well. Although they’re called a “spaniel”, a Brittany is more akin to a “pointer” or “setter”. The first written and verifiable record of Brittany's comes from a hunting description written by Reverend Davies in 1850.


lithograph of earlier version Brittany Spaniel
Lithograph from 1850's France

Physical characteristics of a Brittany Spaniel


Brittany Spaniels are smaller than typical Setters but leggier than regular Spaniels, standing about 20 inches from the shoulder to ground. Their beautiful, boldly patterned coat comes in combinations of white and vivid orange or dark brown and white. They are rugged and strong but smooth, clean, and quick afoot. The face has the “softness” prized by bird-dog lovers. They have light-colored eyes varying from golden to corn-husk blue and have high-set triangular ears conveying the breed’s essential eagerness. A Brittany Spaniel is an all-purpose hunting partner with boundless energy; their legs are excellent for springing into action as they’re longer than front.




Personality & Temperament


They love to play with children with a kind and patient nature. Sociable and smart, they enjoy long walks in the forest and countryside which offers them mental stimulation and a chance to practice what comes naturally to them: foraging and running. They also love to be at home in their favorite corner near the family. They seem to be cheerful and sociable dogs, even with strangers.


A Brittany Spaniel requires balanced attention: as a puppy, they'll chew constantly, so if neglected by the family they’ll stir into action; annihilating home, cushion, and clothing. Alternatively, they’ll rebel if they haven’t space to adequately stretch in a healthy outdoor environment.


puppy feels neglected tears up bathroom in retaliation
Guilty as charged

Brittanys are bred for bird hunting. Usually akin to a Pointer or a Setter, they’re amazing at pointing snout towards a recent duck fall until master arrives. Natural instincts kicking in a Brittany will retrieve the upland game-bird with tenderness between its teeth without having the inclination to maul and tear into it. Their sharp eyes and keen sense of smell with their cold noses make them natural coursers. Quick and dexterous, lively and loyal, a Brittany was specifically bred for sniffing out fowl on land as well as water.


Maintenance


In terms of care, your Brittany will need about 2 or 3 brushes to keep the hair off the furniture as they shed. They shed a lot!


You'll get your cardio in as they’ll need about 3 walks a day or 2 acres of room in a large, fenced backyard to run and play, as well as plenty of trees to weave in and out of as their environment requires room for the mental stimulation necessary in raising a healthy Brittany. That said, being throughout forestry makes them highly prone to ticks and fleas, so unless you want a house full of hopping fleas (like my grandfather's house - yuck!), it is suggested to provide them with a necessary flea and tick bath at least once a month.


Since they are most comfortable exercising in prairie and nature, don’t be surprised by the occasional skunk spray that can be a regular casualty. If this is the case, make sure and have de-skunking shampoos for around $10 on hand gently massaging into the affected area leaving the treatment on for about 20 minutes.


skunk looking for trouble
skunk on the rampage

Mind their nails regularly and you’ll be surprised how they enjoy being clipped with a pair of buzzers! Watch this video for Brittany’s reaction to basic grooming. They just love attention.



So...are you a game hunter?


If so, do you favor Pointers, Retrievers or Setters best?


Comment below letting us know which hunting dog you’re most dedicated to!



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