PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial on Jun. 30, 2009

The Brittany is a medium-sized dog with long legs and a dense, flat or wavy coat that is orange and white or liver and white in color. Although it was originally named a Spaniel, it’s simply called a Brittany now because of its hunting style, which resembles a pointer. 

Physical Characteristics

Physically, the Brittany is athletic, which helps it run quickly and for long distances. It possesses dense eyebrows, long legs, light bones, and a square-proportioned body. If a tail is present, it is generally a maximum of four inches long.

Personality and Temperament

The Brittany is a great runner, and is always very quick in pointing its target and retrieving. Hunting is one of the dog’s favorite activities. It is important for the breed to get at least one hour of exercise every day, as lack of physical exercise can lead to restlessness. These dogs have a very independent spirit, and respond very quickly to commands. They are sensitive by nature.


Mental and physical exercise are very important for the Brittany, as the breed is strong and tough by nature. One need not spend a great deal of time on coat maintenance, though. Brushing a Brittany dog once or twice a week is all that is needed. Brittanys are also quite adaptable to living in temperate weather outdoors.


The Brittany, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 13 years, is prone to major health concerns like canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and less sever health issues such as hypothyroidism and epilepsy. To identify these issues early, a veterinarian may recommend thyroid and hip exams for the dog.

History and Background

Named for the French providence in which it originated, the Brittany was bred to have a keen sense of smell and an ability to easily point out prey during a hunt. For this reason, this particular breed has been especially popular among poachers.

The modern Brittany is believed to have been produced by French sportsmen who crossbred smaller land spaniels with English Setter during the mid-19th century. By 1907, the first Brittany (also known as Épagneul Breton) was registered in France.

In 1925, Brittany dogs began entering the United States. Originally referred to as "Brittany Spaniel," which was later simplified to "Brittany" in 1982. Thanks to their outstanding capability in bird-hunting, the Brittany still remains popular today.

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