Dog Discoveries

15 Fascinating Facts About the Brittany Dog Breed

 

There are several facts about the Brittany dog breed that many dog owners may not be aware about. Perhaps many people know that this breed is pleasant looking, has a body built for an active lifestyle and loves spending time in the great outdoors. Those who share their lives with a Brittany also know that these dogs are blessed with a sweet temperament and that they would never change their Brittany for any other dog in the world. What makes the Brittany dog breed so special? And most of all, what is life like when sharing the home with one of these special dogs? One thing is certain, life is never dull with these dogs!

 

15 Fascinating Facts About the Brittany Dog Breed

1) The Brittany dog breed was developed in the 18th century in France. The name was coined after the large peninsular area located in the Northwest area of France known as Brittany. Brittany is located just across the English Channel of Wales, therefore, there was a lot of commercial trading going on between these two countries. Dogs were very likely part of that trade.

2) Brittanys are categorized by the American Kennel Club under the sporting group. Dog breeds grouped under the sporting group comprise dogs that were selectively bred to hunt along with hunters armed with a gun.

3) The Brittany dog breed was primarily bred for bird hunting. Indeed, this versatile gun dog excels in pointing and retrieving downed birds whether in open country or dense cover. They were often depicted in hunting scenes in several French and Dutch paintings and tapestries of the 17th century.

4) Since these dogs’ hunting skills are more similar to those of a setter, rather than a spaniel, they are no longer called Brittany spaniels. The term ”Spaniel” was dropped in 1982, and this is why they are now commonly known as Brittany’s.

5) On top of being used as pointing dogs, Brittanys were especially popular among poachers due to their speed, agility and eagerness to follow directions.

6) Of all the sporting dog breeds, the Brittany is the leggiest of all. According to the American Kennel Club’s standard for this breed, the height at the shoulder is the same as the length of the body.

7) A Brittany’s long legs coupled with its light bones contribute to this breed’s remarkable agility and speed. Brittanys in particular, are known for their very quick ground-covering side movement at the trot. When trotting, a Brittany’s hind foot steps into or beyond the print left by the front foot.

8) Some specimens may be born tailless while others may have their tails docked to about 4 inches when they are just days-old. According to the American Kennel Club standard for the breed, any tail substantially more than four inches will be severely penalized

9) Brittanys boast fairly heavy eyebrows for the purpose of protecting their eyes from prickly shrubs. Their skull is chiseled under the eyes in such a way to prevent their lower eyelid from becoming a pocket where seeds, dust and dirt could collect.

10) Brittanys are expected to have nostrils that are well open so to permit deep breathing of air and adequate scenting. Tight nostrils are likely to be penalized.

11) A Brittany should have tight lips with the upper lip overlapping the lower jaw just enough to cover the lower lip. The lips are expect to be dry, so that feathers would not stick to the mouth. Drooling is heavily penalized in this breed.

12) A Brittany’s skin is expected to be fine and fairly loose considering that loose skin protects from thorns and burrs when working through dense brush.

13) Brittanys come in a variety of coat colors. Desirable coat colors are orange and white or liver and white in either clear or roan patterns. Some ticking is desirable. Ticked coat patterns are characterized by smaller spots of colored hairs on a white background.

14) Brittanys are high-energy dogs who need daily mental and physical exercise. These dogs need at least one hour of exertion (not just dog walking) each day. Due to their high energy levels, Brittanys are not very suitable for apartment life or life with couch potato owners.

15) Brittanys are known for having a rather soft temperament. These sensitive dogs do not do well with harsh training methods and may suffer in households where there is tension and loud voices. They may sometimes urinate when feeling intimidated or out of sheer excitement.

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Adrienne Farricelli

About the author: Adrienne Farricelli is a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant. She is also a former veterinarian assistant, and author of  the popular online dog training course "Brain Training for Dogs." Her work has appeared in several print and online publications including E-how, USA Today, Every Dog Magazine, Daily Puppy and Connecticut Dog Magazine.
Adrienne Farricelli
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