All About Brittany Dogs (2024)

Brittany dogs are one of the most versatile breeds of hunting dogs around. These long-legged creatures will enthusiastically chase down ducks all day.

They also make great family dogs on top of their popularity with sportsmen. Anyone who’s looking for outdoor companionship should consider adopting a member of this affable, handsome breed.

Characteristics of Brittany Dogs

Body size.Brittany dogs are a medium-sized breed. The males and females are all approximately the same size.

The average Brittany dog size is between 17.5 and 20.5 inches tall. Their average weight is 30 to 40 pounds. Talk to your veterinarian, though, if you're worried that your pet is too far under or overweight.

This medium size makes the Brittany dog a decent travel companion. They’re not too big to fit into your car and are eager to go wherever their family is.

Body shape.Brittany dogs are a medium-sized, large-boned breed. These bones are covered with muscle for a well-balanced effect. They’re very sturdy animals.

Their main distinguishing characteristic is their long legs. Their legs should be as long as their entire body.

Normal Brittany dog characteristics include their deep chests, which reach down to their elbows. Their graceful necks support rounded heads that are slightly wedge-shaped and longer than they are wide.

They have moderately large muzzles, about two-thirds the length of their heads. These taper slightly as they approach the nose.

Their ears are short, triangular, and high on the head. They should lie flat and close to the skull.

Their tails can be anywhere from nonexistent to about four inches long. Some owners choose to dock or cut off — part of the tail, but this isn’t necessary or particularly helpful for the breed.

Lifespan.As a medium-sized dog, the Brittany lives longer than the average large dog breed, usually lasting well over a decade. An average Brittany dog lifespan ranges from 12 to 14 years. This means that you should plan for a long life with your dog — especially if you get them as a puppy.

Fur.Brittany dogs have double coatswhich means that they have two coats with unique properties. The overall effect is of a short, wavy coat. It can also tend toward straightness but is never curly.

Specifically, the under and outer coats combine to form a dense, protective barrier that helps keep the dogs safe while they run through fields. The overall texture is halfway between wiry and silky.

The coat feathers out around their ears, and there should be slight fringes coming from their four legs as well. These give fanciful flairs to an otherwise short coat.

They’re a rather colorful breed, with 11 recognized color combinations. Examples include:

  • Black and white
  • Blue roan
  • Liver and white
  • Orange and white
  • Black, white, and orange

These colors come in three different marking patterns:

  • Ticked
  • Spotted
  • Roan

Eyes.Their eyes are set deeply under their bushy eyebrows. Their general placement should keep them well-protected from briars and other dangers while they hunt.

Their irises tend to be amber in color. The breed standard favors darker hues — but most pet owners won’t care.

Personality.Brittany dogs are affectionate creatures that make for delightful and spirited companions. They’re rugged and strong. They’ll hunt with you all day and maintain a happy and eager demeanor the entire time.

These dogs make for fantastic companions wherever you happen to go. They’ll explore the world around them with enthusiasm and curiosity.

They’re playful, upbeat, and all-around good-natured pets. Just keep them entertained, and they’ll show you unending loyalty.

In general, Brittany dog temperament is happy and alert, not shy or timid in any way.

Caring for Brittany Dogs

Grooming.Brittany dogs need very little grooming. Quickly brushing their coat with a soft brush or glove will be enough to keep them looking shiny and healthy.

They don’t need regular cuts, but some owners choose to trim their coats to even out the dog’s look.

Check their ears frequently for any dirt or debris and clean them when needed.

Trim their nails and brush their teeth daily to finish up their grooming routine.

Feeding.Make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times.

Brittany dogs do well on diets of high-quality dog food, rich in energy. You can find a brand that your dog likes or make some at home. Just be sure to consult your veterinarian about all of the necessary nutrients to include in your at-home mixespecially if you’re feeding a growing puppy.

The amount of food you give your dog will depend on their age and size. You should consult your veterinarian for your particular pet’s needs.

In general, Brittany dogs like some routine in their lives. It’s best to stick to a feeding schedule once you’ve figured out one that works for both you and your pet.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation.Brittany dogs were bred to be a very enthusiastic, high-energy breed. They need a lot of exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

Long, fast-paced walks and hikes are good, and runs are even better. Bring them with you on days spent hunting or wandering some trails with the family.

Outdoor games and play will keep their minds occupied as well as their bodies. They need mental stimulation, or they’ll develop problematic habitslike barking and chewing.

They’re fantastic at most canine sports like agility and dock-diving. They can learn just about anything if given the chance.

So, make sure you have the time and energy to devote to this breed's needs before adding one to your family.

Veterinary visits, medications, and immunizations.Your veterinarian is the best person to determine all of the vaccinations that your pet needs, but every dog should get a core set.

This includes vaccinations for:

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Adenovirus
  • Parainfluenza virus
  • Rabies

You can sign puppies up for these as early as six weeks of age. There are also other non-core vaccinations that you can discuss with your veterinarian.

Your dog will be exposed to more diseases if you use them as a hunting dog. You should specifically talk to your vet about tick prevention and a vaccination for leptospirosisa disease caused by bacteria that live in soil and water.

Prescriptions for flea and tick medications are based on your dog's weight. Oral and skin-based applications are available from your veterinarian or other distributors.

Many of these medications can be effective against a variety of pests and parasites, so talk to your veterinarian to figure out the best one for your dog. Year-round heartworm medication is now recommended in every U.S. state.

Health Problems to Watch For with Brittany Dogs

Brittany dogs areon average very healthy and don’t carry many genetic diseases in their bloodlines, but they can be susceptible to a few conditions. These include:

  • Hip dysplasia.This is a common condition involving abnormal cell growth. Your veterinarian can test your dog for signs of this condition.
  • Elbow dysplasia.This is a comparable condition to hip dysplasia.
  • Eye disease.These are common in the breed. Your dog should have an annual eye exam from the ages of two to eight years old.
  • Patellar luxation.This is a condition that can affect your dog’s knee joints.

Experts also recommend having your dog’s heart and thyroid checked occasionally or if you suspect any issues.

Special Considerations for Brittany Dogs

In general, dogs are known for their fantastic sense of smellbut the Brittany dog’s nose is one of the best around. They can sniff out birds in particular with astonishing ease. Plusonce they’ve found the feathered creature — they can pursue them with graceful skill.

Some interesting Brittany dog information is that they were bred to hunt all kinds of birds, including:

  • Duck
  • Woodco*ck
  • Pheasant
  • Partridge

With proper training, they can take down most small prey. This also means that they tend to mistake all small animals as prey including other people’s pets. Off-leash, you need to be careful and make sure that they don’t sprint off in pursuit of a squirrel, pigeon, or someone’s chihuahua.

They can make fantastic family dogsfor an active and outdoorsy family in particular. They can be quite good with small children and other dogs, but it can take them longer to warm up to strangers.

They rarely drool. Some individuals, though, can bark a lot.

Do Brittany dogs shed? Yes. They can shed quite a bit depending on what time of year it is.

History of Brittany Dogs

Brittany dogs are the creation of French hunters in the Brittany regionthe westernmost part of France. They were bred hundreds of years ago, but no one knows exactly when.

By the 17th century, they were spread throughout western Europe. They appear in many tapestries and paintings both in France and beyond starting in this era.

They were loved most by the peasants and game hunters in the middle ages. For poorer people, a dog that could do practically everything was more valuableand far more practicalthan an entire pack of specialized dogs.

The breed first arrived in America in 1931. It was added to the AKC in 1934, where it was first designated as a Brittany spaniel.

The French and American versions of the breed grew apart during the later parts of the 20th century. They took on distinct characteristics with the American lines becoming more of a pointer-type dog than a spaniel. This caused the AKC to drop the word spaniel from their name in 1982.

They’re currently the most popular field dog in the U.S. There are more double championsvictors in both show and field skills — from this breed than any other in the country.

All About Brittany Dogs (2024)


What are Brittany dogs known for? ›

The Brittany is lively and smart and has an upbeat, willing disposition. The energy, versatility, and extraordinary working ability that make Brittanys shine as hunting dogs can be channeled into dog sports. Field trials , obedience, agility, flyball'¿you name it, this trainable breed is up for it.

What is the temper of a Brittany dog? ›

The Brittany is a friendly, bright dog who is full of energy. His sweet disposition is good for children and he usually does not mind some roughhousing. Eager to please, Brittanys enjoy being taught basic obedience and they are quick learners.

What to expect from a Brittany puppy? ›

Characteristics of the Brittany Dog

A versatile sporting dog, the Brittany also makes an intelligent, affectionate, and playful pet for a family, while also eager and tireless out in the field. A Brittany craves companionship, so it's susceptible to separation anxiety when left alone for more than a few hours.

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