The Brittany Spaniel (French Brittany) is the smallest of the French Spaniel dogs. Despite its small size, this canine breed surprises with its vitality and energy, because we are talking about a particularly agile dog and a privileged nose.
This breed is an example of a dog that has traditionally stood out as a hunting dog throughout its history in central Brittany. He is also currently considered an excellent companion dog, which also stands out in various canine sports, such as agility.
In this Pets Feed dog breed sheet, we will talk to you in detail about the Brittany Spaniel, detailing its origin, the most notable physical characteristics, the habitual nature of the breed, the most frequent care and health problems. Read on to learn all about this little French dog, it will captivate you!
Origin of the Brittany spaniel
The Brittany spaniel belongs to the French dog breeds, because it is native to the Brittany region, hence its name. In French, “épagneul” would mean squatting, which these animals do with the greatest perfection in their work.
It is one of the oldest breeds of Spaniels, which is demonstrated by the fact that in 1907 the first breed standard had already been established in Nantes, the Club of the Breton Short-tailed Spaniel the same year. That is to say that at the beginning the breed was called Brittany spaniel short tail, but the qualifier that refers to the length of the tail ends up getting lost, reducing to the Brittany spaniel. The breed was recognized on May 31, 1907 by the Central Canine Society.
The breed comes from the crossing of different spaniel breeds, such as English setters or springers. It is proven that the first litter in which what we know today as the “Brittany spaniel” was obtained and was born in the 90s of the 19th century. The birth was in Fougères, a French city, more precisely it happened in the house of the French viscount Du Pontavice, who was a great breeder and hunter.
The litter was produced by the hybridization of a British female with a French spaniel, the puppies were distinguished by their skills for tracking and searching for prey. These qualities made them valuable hunting companions in the region, the breed spread throughout France throughout the 20th century.
Brittany spaniel Physical characteristics
The Brittany Spaniel dog is of medium size, with a weight range between 15 and 18 kilograms, up to 20 in the case of specimens slightly larger than usual. The height at the cross varies between 44.45 and 52.07 cm, the females being generally smaller than the males. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale puts it in group 7: Pointing Dogs.
His body is compact and robust, the length of the height at the cross will be the same as the length of the hamstrings, that is to say that his body has the same proportions as if it were a square. The back is straight and short, with a lanyard also short and wide. The limbs and loin are muscular and flexible, the legs are wide and the hind legs are a little longer than the previous ones. Its tail is high insertion, having specimens born without it, it is generally suspended or horizontal.
The head, as well as the profile, are round, a key characteristic of the Brittany Spaniel is that the skull is longer than its nasal beak, which is straight, always in a ratio of 3: 2. The muzzle has a stop, which, although it is not drastic if it is visible enough, ends in a large truffle with open holes, the color of which will vary according to that of the coat. The ears are, like the tail, of high insertion, broad and short, of triangular forms, but being their rounded ends, which makes them keep the harmony of the whole face. The eyes are oval, oblique and preferably dark in color, which will harmonize with the color of the coat, giving them a soft appearance which transmits the sagacity of these dogs.
The fur of the Brittany spaniel dog is very fine and can be both straight and with small undulations. It has shorter hairs on the head and spine, but this is long in the tail and the ends, which, along with the belly, have thick bangs. In terms of colors, a wide range is accepted, without the solid colors being accepted, this means that at least they must have two colors, three in case they show spots of fire color in addition to the other two, the combinations the most frequent are: black and white, white and brown, or white and orange.
Brittany spaniel character
The Brittany spaniel is a family dog , calm, affectionate, playful and friendly. Sociable with people and other dogs. Lush, active and energetic, this dog likes large open spaces.
In general, the character of the Brittany Spaniel is distinguished by its great flexibility, that is to say that it adapts without problem to all types of environments and families. It is able to develop perfectly in both rural and urban areas. Of course, it is a very active dog who needs to release energy on a daily basis through walks, games, exercise and mental stimulation.
Given its intelligence, we are also faced with an attentive and perceptive dog, which makes the education and training remarkably easy. Thanks to this, we can achieve not only a fantastic coexistence, but also the perfect dog for various canine sports, the realization of canine skills and coexistence at home. The Brittany spaniel is also a very attached breed, who enjoys spending time with family members and getting their attention.
If we have children or receive visits from children with a certain frequency, it is important to mention the extreme tenderness and sociability that the Brittany Spaniel dog will show, as well as with other animals, provided that we have paid attention to the socialization of the puppy. Likewise, it is also a cheerful and sociable dog with strangers, which is why it has never stood out as a guard dog.
Health of the Brittany Spaniel
As with most breeds of dogs, the Brittany Spaniel is susceptible to certain hereditary diseases, such as hip dysplasia, so we need to pay attention to its family history whenever possible, to be alert and detect in good time. appearance of this pathology or any other pathology. Likewise, we advise you to carry out periodic veterinary examinations 6 or 12 months. In addition, and especially in humid climates, we must keep its ears clean and carry out revisions at home and in the veterinary office, because due to the morphology of its ears, the Brittany Spaniel may be prone to otitis.
On the other hand, it is very important to place the microchip on our dog, to follow the vaccination calendar and to perform a periodic deworming, both internal and external.
With all this, the life expectancy of the Brittany Spaniel is between 14 and 16 years.
The medium length coat is flat and slightly wavy, with longer hairs (fringes) on the front legs and more abundant fringes on the rear legs. Just brush it a few times a week. It is necessary to check the ears every week and to clean them if necessary.
As for the bath, we can do it every one or three months, depending on the accumulation of dirt. We remember the importance of using a specific shampoo for dogs, in no case soap for human use.
If our Brittany Spaniel walks or exercises in rural areas, it will be necessary to check its legs and pads for possible injuries or foreign bodies, such as spikes or splinters, which can trigger a dangerous infection. We will also check its coat, to find out if a tick or flea has parasitized it, because sooner we will eliminate them will be better, because these parasites can spread fairly serious diseases, so it is advisable to protect our pets with the use of repellents, pipettes or pest control collars.
The main points in caring for a Brittany Spaniel, in addition to feeding, of course, are:
- Regular brushing;
- A long evening walk with the opportunity to run off a leash;
- Games with an animal;
- Regular preventive examinations by a veterinarian.
It should be understood that the Brittany Spaniel is an attentive and quite active dog, of course, this animal will be happy to watch a movie with the owner, lounging on the couch next to him, but before that you will have to walk with him for a couple of hours, and possibly go for a run or ride a bike.
As a city dweller, this animal will be an ideal friend for those who go jogging and generally try to play sports in the fresh air.
Comb out the coat 2-3 times a week, paying special attention to the combing, since it is on them that tangles most often appear and thorns and grass are entangled in them.
The dog should be bathed as needed, but not more often than once a month.
Ears. Weekly inspect and clean the auricles from wax and dust with a cotton pad dipped in a special product or peroxide.
Claws. With regular active walks, the Bretons’ claws are grinded to the required length on their own. If this does not happen, they must be shortened with a guillotine claw cutter every 3-4 weeks – this prevents the so-called “unbundling” of the paws.
Eyes. Wipe every morning with a lint-free napkin dipped in tea leaves or chamomile broth.
Teeth. To prevent the appearance of plaque and calculus, your pet’s teeth need to be cleaned weekly using a special toothpaste and a brush for dogs. You should also give the Breton treats and gummies to aid in mechanical cleaning of the teeth.
Being a very vital and dynamic dog, the Brittany spaniel needs long walks, which include a time of relaxation, in which it can sniff and do its needs, as well as games and physical activity. The ideal is to offer a minimum of three walks per day between thirty minutes and an hour minimum. Having at least fifteen free minutes without a strap will also be highly recommended. A good option for the breed are the games of smells, which stimulate one of its most privileged senses, because it greatly appreciates those activities that involve an olfactory enrichment.
A good idea is, if we have children, to bet on common activities, which will delight the little ones and our animal at the same time.
Most breeders prefer to feed their dog commercial dry food because it is convenient and does not take a lot of time to prepare the food. In addition, dry food contains all the necessary minerals and vitamins, and the special composition with which the granules are processed helps to clean the teeth.
It is important to choose only high-quality foods that do not contain chemical flavors, flavor enhancers and colors. The most suitable rations for representatives of this breed are made by the brands Acana, Orijen, Happy Dog, Royal Canin, Arden Grange, 1st Choice, Artemis, Almo Nature, Brit Premium, Canidae.
Natural feeding gives the owner the opportunity to independently choose the freshest and highest quality products for the dog, and the fact that all the nutrients in them are of natural origin improves their assimilation by the pet’s body. A significant drawback of this type of food is that it takes a long time to prepare food for the dog every day.
If a decision is made to feed the Brittany Spaniel with natural products, it should be noted that the nutrition must be balanced, and the diet must include:
- Sea fish (cod, pollock, pollock, flounder, mullet, trout, hake);
- Lean meat (beef, veal, turkey, chicken);
- Porridge (rice, buckwheat, oatmeal);
- Offal (heart, liver, lung, scar);
- Seasonal vegetables and fruits (carrots, pumpkin, bell peppers, zucchini, apples, bananas, pears);
- Boiled eggs (no more than 2 pcs per week);
- Low-fat dairy products (cottage cheese, kefir, natural yogurt).
You should also give your pet a small amount of vegetable oils, which are beneficial for the quality of the coat, and cartilage and tendons, which are good for bones and joints.
The list of prohibited foods includes:
- Fat meat;
- River fish;
- Smoked meats and sausages;
- Fried and salted foods;
- Tubular bones.
Brittany Spaniel Fun Facts
They have won more doubles than any other breed. That is, they can be used not only in natural conditions, but they also perform in the ring.
Despite the fact that they can work at a great distance from the hunter, they never let him out of their field of vision. This makes training the Brittany Spaniel dogs very easy. They follow any order. A person only needs to indicate the direction, and the dog will tirelessly “iron” the field in search of prey. Neither thorny grass nor other smells are able to distract him from what he loves. To say about the sense of smell of these dogs that it is wonderful is to say nothing. About a man with excellent intuition in France they say that he has a nose like an Epagnol.
They can, as the hunters say, “catch the smell” at a great distance. In the open area, they smell a flock of birds at a distance of almost 70 meters. They have a very sensitive nose that turns them into real hunting machines. It is large, wide and open. Allows you to breathe deeply and smell more. The Bretons have a sense of smell 25 times stronger than humans.
Brittany Spaniel Dog Breed Highlights
- A Brittany Spaniel thrives in a family environment.
- It is good with children of all ages.
- It is a very social dog by nature and generally good with other dogs.
- It requires little maintenance on the front of the grooming.
- The Brittany Spaniel dog has a lot of energy and likes all kinds of canine activities.
- It loses moderately throughout the year.
- The Brittany Spaniel likes to work and is never happy when it has nothing to do.
- It has a strong prey being first and foremost a hunting breed.
- The Brittany Spaniel thrives on human company and does not like being alone, which can make it suffer from separation anxiety.
- It is not the best choice for first time dog owners as it should be trained and handled by people familiar with its needs.
- The Brittany Spaniel thrives on being a “real” working dog.