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Brittany

 Photo of Brittany
Photo: Sh Ch Fosscott Hautain, courtesy of Anne Massie

Brittany Books

Group: Gundog - Breed Standard

History

The breed started life in an area of France called Callac. In the village of Callac itself there stands a statue of a French Cob horse, upon which the Brittany is reputed to be based. In the 1800's it was usual for the landed gentry in England to shoot partridge and snipe in France and, of course, they took with them their best gundogs, mostly setters and pointers. These were often left with the French landowners from one season to the next, and resulted in a number of matings between the popular Fougeres, a very high-spirited spaniel from the area, and these English Pointers and English and Gordon Setters and the Brittany born. Contrary to some opinions, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is not generally regarded as being related, even though the colouring is similar to the orange and white version of the Brittany. It was such a popular combination of dog that by 1900, the animals produced from planned matings had become more or less typified. The Brittany has a very strong nose, is an excellent hunter, and can sometimes be spectacular in pointing game, since it works the ground at a great speed, and may suddenly stop or leap on to point. First imported into the UK in 1982, the breed is becoming increasingly popular in this country, particularly with those sportsmen interested in rough shooting and falconry in its various forms. It is a very stylish dog in field trials and is also popular in the show ring. The Kennel Club granted Challenge Certificate Status in 1997.

Description

Ideal height at withers: Dogs: 48-51 cms (19-20 ins); Bitches: 47-50 cms (18½-19¾ ins).

An energetic medium sized, compact dog that is intelligent, affectionate and eager to please. The head is of medium length with a well defined stop. Eyes are brown to dark brown depending upon the coat colour and should never have a hard expression. The short drop ears are set high and lightly fringed with wavy hair. Their dense coat is fairly fine and slightly wavy. Their coat colour can be orange & white, liver & white, black & white, tricolour, or roan of any of these colours.

Character/Temperament

The Brittany has a character like no other dog. Brittanys are fast and fabulous! All other gundogs are zombies by comparison. However, they do need firm but considerate handling. A Brittany can be highly offended by you one minute, then totally besotted by you the next.

The iron rod in the padded velvet glove is what is required. The Brittany has been termed a 'high-spirited hooligan', if your Brittany decides to go, it goes - and fast! . The French Club has the motto "un maximum de qualites pour un volume minimum" - the best in life comes in the smallest parcels, one might say, but the French phrase literally means that this breed carries a maximum of quality in a minimum volume. Whilst they are good with children, they can be a little boisterous for families with babies and small children, but it is all play.

Breed Health

The Brittany has a number of health problems and breeders are working hard in order to improve the health situation, and indeed trying to eliminate from the breed as far as possible. Hip Dysplasia - Breeders should have their dogs hip-scored and breed only from those with low scores.

PRA - Again, breeders should have their dogs' eyes checked every year. Epilepsy - whilst epilepsy is not always inherited and could be acquired due to environmental factors, it is safer that breeders do not breed from any dog that has been known to fit. Heart disease - It is easy to pick up any heart murmur and also other congenital defects at a puppy's first visit to your Vet, so it is good practice to introduce your new pup to your Vet within a few days of taking it home. Reputable breeders should already know of any disease prevalent in a breed and adjust their breeding programme accordingly, so it makes good financial and emotional sense to find one from whom to buy your next hunting companion.

Breed Care

Their reasonably short coat is easy maintenance, and a good brush once a week will keep it in a good healthy condition. For showing they may need a little trimming.

Exercise

The Brittany is a true working breed, full of energy, and thus requires a considerable amount of exercise, preferably free running. However, it must be remembered that as a breed their instinct to hunt is very strong! They are a breed that would definitely benefit from being worked, be it as a gundog, in obedience or agility.

Training

An intelligent dog that tends to be easy to train if started young. Whilst certainly biddable, they require firm but considerate handling - the iron rod in the padded velvet glove is what is required! The Brittany needs to know who is boss in the partnership early on in life, but he also needs to think it was all his own idea! The most important thing to remember is that Brittanys more than most breeds have a relatively short memory gap and you may need to spend considerable effort in re-enforcing commands. Always be sure that you are being consistent - use one syllable words, and always use the same word for a command. Tthe Brittany responds well to a cool situation, but a raised or panicking voice can exacerbate a Brit's excitement. See our books on training


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Last link added: 12 Mar, 2008