- Activity Level: high
- Grooming Level: moderate
- Trainability: moderate
- Adaptability: moderate
- Kid/Pet Friendly: often
- Average Size: Medium
- Average Lifespan: 10-14 years
- Prey Drive: high
- Watchdog: aware
- Registered?: aca, akc
Brittany Spaniel Breed Profile
Did You Know?
The Brittany Spaniel originated in France sometime between the 17th and 19th centuries. More specifically, they were originally bred as a gun dog commonly used for bird hunting and game retrieval in the French province of Brittany. They are often referred to as a type of spaniel, but, thanks to their birding background, their characteristics and style of working are more similar to a setter or a pointer.
The Brittany Spaniel first appeared in art, tapestries, and writings in the 17th century. They appeared in the Paris Dog Show in 1900. This led to France recognizing the breed in 1907 and outlining the first breed standards. Although they call it the Brittany now, the AKC recognized the Brittany Spaniel in 1934 as part of the Sporting Group.
This dog breed generally has a sweet disposition, make good companions, and are great family pets. Brittany Spaniels are loyal and attached to their families. They’re known for being bright and cheerful with an upbeat and fun-loving nature. They get along well with children and other dogs.
They can get along with other pets as long as they have grown up together, but as a hunting dog, they do have a high prey drive. They tend to have a shy nature if they are not thoroughly socialized early on. Even well-socialized Brittanys will have varying levels of openness and friendliness towards strangers.
The Brittany Spaniel is a moderately adaptable dog breed. They are generally better suited to larger homes with fenced-in yards where they can run. They don’t generally do well in apartments, but can adapt to apartment living if they are given plenty of exercise, attention, and mental stimulation.
They do well in just about any climate. As with many dog breeds, they are sensitive to the heat. Although they are hardy, they are a lighter-built dog, so you may need to wrap them in a sweater or doggie coat to help keep them warm while out and about in colder temperatures. Brittany Spaniels are also attached to their families and are in-tune with their favorite humans, which means they don’t like spending long periods of time alone.
The Brittany is a generally healthy dog breed. As with any dog breed, there are some health conditions to be aware of. In the case of the Brittany Spaniel, these potential health issues include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and canine discoid lupus erythematosus, which is a rare autoimmune disease that affects the skin. Talking to the breeder about the genetic history of the parents and asking to see any health clearances can help allay potential health concerns.
A Brittany Spaniel is highly intelligent and eager to please, which makes them a highly trainable dog breed. They tend to pick up on things quickly and are sensitive souls. This dog breed responds best to praise-based training. Harsh corrections or tones are unnecessary and counterproductive. Because they pick up on things so easily and are high-energy dogs, they are best-suited to dog owners with some experience.
Novice or first-time dog owners can be a good fit for this dog breed, but training classes are usually a good idea to make sure both owner and dog work through an effective training process together. Classes will help first-time dog owners gain the tools and knowledge needed to approach training correctly with a high-energy working dog and ensure the bond established between owner and dog during training sessions is a positive one.
The Brittany Spaniel tends to have a flat or wavy coat. The fur is fairly short and shedding is moderate. It tends to get a little heavier as the seasons change, but not by much. Brushing this dog’s coat a few times a week is sufficient to remove tangles and prevent mats from forming. You can also bathe your dog on an as-needed basis.
In addition to coat care, you will also need to trim your dog’s nails, regularly check their ears, and brush their teeth. Because of how active the Brittany Spaniel is, their nails may wear down naturally. Still, you’ll want to check their nails and trim them monthly as needed to keep them getting too long. Floppy ears, like the Brittany has, are more likely to trap dirt, debris, and moisture, which can lead to ear infections. By regularly checking your dog’s ears and carefully cleaning them as needed, you can help keep your dog comfortable and help prevent ear infections.
Proper dental care for dogs is so important, but it is often overlooked. This is why dental diseases, like gum disease and tooth decay, are one of the most common health issues in dogs. With good dental care, you can help prevent the tartar buildup that causes these dental diseases and protect your dog. Brushing their teeth or using an enzyme toothpaste every day is a great start. You can also supplement your dental care efforts with dental hygiene chews, dental treats, and even a specially-formulated dental care diet.
Generally, it’s a good idea to get your Brittany Spaniel used to having their mouth, ears, and paws handled as a puppy and to reward them throughout grooming sessions. This will help make grooming a much easier and enjoyable process for both of you. Plus, grooming can even become a positive bonding experience that your dog looks forward to!
This is a high-energy dog breed. In addition to daily walks, the Brittany Spaniel also needs at least one hour of more vigorous exercise every day. Many Brittanys require more than that to stay happy and healthy. As the cliche goes, a tired dog is a happy dog, and often a well-behaved one too. Without proper exercise and mental stimulation, the Brittany can potentially become overreactive, hypersensitive, or destructive.
The Brittany Spaniel is a hardy and active dog breed. This, and the fact that they love spending time with you, make outdoor activities a great fit for making sure this dog gets enough exercise. You can take your dog hiking with you or on a swim if they enjoy the water. Brittany Spaniels are also one of the dog breeds that make good running partners. Their light-boned structure, energetic nature, endurance, and agility make them a good fit for both short and long distances. They’re also a good candidate for dog sports like agility, tracking, dock diving, flyball, obedience, and more.
A fully-grown Brittany Spaniel usually stands around 18-20 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 30 and 40 pounds.
A Brittany Spaniel generally lives for 12-14 years.
More Dual Champions have been Brittany Spaniels than any other AKC-recognized breed in the Sporting Group.