The American Brittany is a compact and solidly built medium sized dog that averages between 30 to 45 pounds depending on height that generally ranges from 17 ½ inches to 20 ½ inches at the withers. The most common coat colors are variations of orange and white and liver and white. Other colors include orange roan, liver roan and tri-color of liver, orange and white. The Brittany is not a heavily coated dog, but is lightly fringed with just enough coat for protection in the brush but not enough to catch burrs. The Brittany’s coat sheds dirt and mud when allowed to dry. The Brittany can be born tail less or have a docked tail of approximately four inches which is an asset in the field. The French Brittany is generally a bit smaller with a more compact body and black pigmentation on the nose. French Brittany’s are commonly a black roan color but can have coloration similar to the American Brittany.
Energy and Exercise
The Brittany is athletic, energetic, strong and vigorous. This leggy dog can cover ground with agility and move quickly over both open fields and through thick cover. Many Brittany owners find that one or more hours of vigorous exercise a day is ideal for the Brittany to find release for its storehouse of energy. The energy and agility of the Brittany can be channeled into a variety of dog sports. Field trials, obedience, agility, flyball, dock diving, barn hunts – the energetic Brittany can excel at them all.
Temperament and Trainability
The Brittany typically has a friendly disposition and is very willing to please. These bright, upbeat and fun-loving dogs do best with patient, consistent and encouraging training. Brittany’s are alert, intelligent dogs often up for a little bit of mischief. They are loving and loyal which makes them an excellent choice for a family dog in addition to a hunting companion.
The Brittany is a pointing dog breed, a very popular gun dog used for bird hunting. This is what the Brittany was originally bred to do and is generally very enthusiastic in the field. With great instincts and keen nose, the Brittany is naturally adept at pointing. With training, the Brittany can excel at holding, retrieving and swimming. The Brittany finds birds with drive and purpose making an excellent upland game hunting companion. In Maine, native Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock are popular quarry. In York and Cumberland Counties, stocked pheasants are hunted at pheasant release sites.
Successful field trial dogs earn an FC (Field Champion) title in front of their names on AKC records. Dogs can also earn Amateur Field Championships (AFC) in Amateur Stakes. (“Amateur” refers to the dog’s handler.) Dogs with both a show Championship (CH) and an FC title earn the distinctive title of Dual Champion (DC). Brittany’s have more Dual Champions (dogs which are both Field Champions and finished Show Champions of record) than all Sporting breeds combined. We celebrated our breed’s 600th Dual Champion in April 2012!
Brittany’s are equally at home in the ring as they are in the field. Brittany’s compete in both All Breed Shows and Specialty Shows restricted to the Brittany breed. Brittany’s are shown in the Sporting Group when they win the breed. To be eligible to compete in an AKC dog show, a Brittany over the age of 6 months and registered with the AKC must be between 17 ½ and 20 ½ inches tall, not be spayed or neutered and must not have any black in the coat or nose. Since this disqualifies the French Brittany from entering AKC dog shows, many owners choose to show their French Brittany’s in UKC dog shows instead.
The first Brittany was registered with the AKC in 1934 and is named for the French province where it originated. From 1934-1982, the Brittany was registered by AKC as Brittany Spaniel. On September 1, 1982 its official name was changed to Brittany because its manner of working game is more setter-like than spaniel-like.