Brittany – The Historied French Gundog Breed

Equally adept at fetching you a pheasant or your slippers!

Brittany – The Historied French Gundog Breed

Brittany – Gundog

epagneul breton

Image: JoshWhitcomb/

Name Brittany - Gundog
Size Medium
Grooming Easy
Training Easy - Moderate
Exercise  2 hours a day
Origins France

The Brittany, One of France’s best known native gundogs

The Brittany

The Versatile French Gun Dog

If you are a game shooting fan or just fancy yourself as the country lady or gent but don't blow our feathered friends out of the sky from August onwards then this historied French Bird Hunters dog might be for you. They do need a bit of exercise, however, this is balanced up by the fact they need little in the way of grooming to keep them spick and span. Anyway read on and see if they fit into your lifestyle.

Brittany Gundog

Image: Serova_Ekaterina/

Quick Overview

Name:                                                                  The Brittany, the Brittany spaniel

Size:                                                                       Up to 22 inches tall

Weight:                                                                Up to 45lb in weight

Grooming:                                                           Minimal

Temperament:                                                 Friendly and intelligent, hyper- focused

Exercise:                                                              Will need two hours a day or more

Training:                                                               Extremely eager to please you

Lifespan:                                                              Up to 16 years

Origins:                                                                 Brittany Region of France

Breed Type:                                                        Gundog


A little Brittany History

The history behind The Brittany is as illustrious as it gets. Brittany is actually a region of France and the dogs were so prevalent in this area that they were named for the region. You will find Brittany near the English Channel with the Bay of Biscay to the south. The story goes that French hunters wanted bird hunting dogs that would be able to retrieve prey even if it fell on the water. So it came to be that the Brittany breed was developed, in order to hunt and retrieve things like pheasants and ducks.

We know that the breed existed as far back as the 17th century because it has been depicted in tapestries from France dating to that era. Also, both the Flemish and Dutch masters of the period used dogs of strikingly similar appearance to the Brittany in their works. It is believed that their original roots lie in the peasantry of France during the Middle Ages.

The Brittany became popular after the French Revolution where it spread across France. It would later go on to spread across Europe, crossing the seas to Britain before the start of the 20th century, and reaching America in 1931. Although originally branded a spaniel, US breeders eventually developed the idea that the Brittany was more like a pointer, simply because of the way it works to bring in the birds. Say what you will about the Brittany, there is no denying that it is an excellent gundog.

Of course, the traditional gundog is dying out across the land. Nowadays you will find the Brittany is a friendly and loving, devoted companion dog. They make excellent pets due to the boundless energy and loving nature, but if you don’t keep them occupied there is a risk that they will chew your table legs. Be sure to spend plenty of time with your Brittany and cherish it as any good owner should.

Fun Facts about your new Brittany Gundog

Here at Five Minutes Spare we like to dig out the dirty about every dog breed that we come across. The Brittany is no exception to the rule and is just as fun as all the others. To prove it, here are some of the Five Minutes Spare favourite fun facts regarding your new Brittany pup. Enjoy!

  • If you own your own Brittany pup you are now qualified to join the Brittany club of Great Britain. This is a fairly exclusive club for which there is only really one entry requirement… The love of all things Brittany dog.
  • The Brittany can be found in detail in the American kennel club, the United kennel club, and the UK kennel club, as well as many other local kennel clubs around the world. Each kennel club has its own breed standard, but you will be happy to know that they are all strikingly similar.
  • From 1934 until 1982 the Brittany was noted spaniel class according to the AKC. It wasn’t until 1982, when a steadily growing rise in popularity of the Brittany in the United States of America, that it’s worth as a gundog was finally appreciated.
  • The Brittany is known natively as Epagneul Breton

So there you have it! We bet your new Brittany pup was more exciting than you thought. Don’t forget that you can join us over at the Five Minutes Spare forum, if you have any other fun facts to add about your Brittany.

Is the Brittany Dog Breed Difficult to Train?

Your new Brittany pup will be exceptionally eager to make you happy. They will want nothing more than to make their master smile. Whether this be by bringing you a dead duck on occasion in line with their history as bird hunting dogs or lying casually in front of the fire enjoying some head claps, depends entirely upon which type of mastic you are. Either way, the Brittany is a dog breed that will make you want to be worthy.

Is the Brittany Hard to Groom?

The Brittany was bred to be a gundog whose coats are pretty much impervious to mud and rain and as a result, they don’t tend to need much in the way of grooming time.

What you will need to do (as you do with any dog) is brush their teeth, at least once per week. You should also keep an eye on the claws, in particular the dewclaw which does not touch the ground. You should trim the claws whenever it is necessary to do so and take them to a vet if you are uncomfortable trimming the nails yourself. Their floppy ears can attract moisture though so give them a quick clean if you have bee out in the rain.

Do they require much exercise?

As a gundog, the Brittany was bred to be comfortable running alongside a man or a horse for hours on end throughout the day. This means that they are fairly high energy and have quite a lot of exercise to burn. Avoid feeding them too much if you have bought your new Brittany pup as a companion dog. That being said, if you are looking for a dog that you can take to work with you and that will last all day long, the Brittany is a great perfect choice.

Where can I buy a Brittany puppy?

Regardless of what type of dog you are getting, your first stop to buy it should always be your local shelter. It is possible to call local shelters and request that they alert you when certain types of breed become available. You can even do this with puppies, should you wish to reserve a puppy whenever it arrives at the shelter.

Failing this, you should be able to buy a Brittany puppy through breeders that are registered with your local kennel club. Kennel club breeders are all vetted and registered. They are able to give you familial history for your puppy, which can help you when it comes to their health. Using kennel club breeders is the best possible way to ensure that you don’t buy your puppy from a puppy farmer.

Are they healthy dogs?

Even though the Brittany has a long history and a reasonably small gene pool, they have very few genetically passed on health issues. Over the years, responsible breeding has allowed kennel club members to eliminate most of the health problems that might once have plagued this breed otherwise. That being said, you should always get your new dog checked out by the vet anyway and be on the lookout for hip dysplasia with this breed and they are somewhat prone to the skin disorder Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE), don't worry though is not as serious as it sounds and can be easily treated.

Not the right dog breed for you?

Then why not check out some other French Breeds or Gundogs in general.  Whatever here at Five Minutes Spare we have numerous dogs detailed in our dog directory. Whether you have your eye on a lovely Boxer or prefer a Bracco Italiano, we have them all. Anything is possible when you have five minutes spare… Why not pop along to our pages and see for yourself?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar