Brittany Spaniel.jpg
Breed Group Group 11: Gun Dog Breeds
Sub-group 11-A: Pointing Dogs
Origin Country France
Weight Males: 30-45 pounds. Females: 30-45 pounds.
Height Males: 18-21 inches. Females: 17-20 inches.
Breed Type Pure
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Brittany Spaniel

Breed Group Group 11: Gun Dog Breeds
Sub-group 11-A: Pointing Dogs
Origin Country France
Weight Males: 30-45 pounds. Females: 30-45 pounds.
Height Males: 18-21 inches. Females: 17-20 inches.
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

Like many modern day spaniels, the Brittany Spaniel is descended from the original old spaniel types whose heritages can be traced further back to the famous bird dogs of old from Spain, known as the Épagneuls (the French word for spaniel). Prior to the 1600s, Spaniels were all considered to be any dog that performed the function of flushing fowl into a net (prior to the invention of the gun), and then into the line of fire (after the invention of the gun).

Brittany, a historical French province in Northwest France, is where the breed derives his namesake from, due to his association with the area. Brittanys are believed to be the oldest spaniels in France, and while many experts agree that all spaniels are derived from the same common stock, the exact origin of the Brittany Spaniel is uncertain. Accounts of small, tailless setters and retrievers can be found as early as 1800s from the town of Pontou. These small dogs were then outcrossed to other dogs around the beginning of the 1900s. By 1907, the first breed standard was proposed and adopted in Loudéac in 1908.

The Brittany Spaniel was first imported to the U.S. around the 1930s. From that point, the American hunters found that they preferred a dog of lighter bone and build, along with longer legs. Once recognized in the United States, the early officiating clubs determined that they would not accept a dog with black coat coloration, or a black nose, but the country of origin allowed for dogs with a white and black coat and black noses. Some organizations consider the dogs from France and America to be so divergent that they are considered separate breeds. However, Continental Kennel Club considers them two varieties of the same breed, with French colors recognized as the standard.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, slightly wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is dry and clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle. The topskull is slightly arched when viewed from the front or in profile. It is somewhat broad, with the width (measured from one side of the topskull to the other in front of the ears) being equal to or just slightly less than the length (measured from occiput to stop). There is a frontal median furrow that starts at the stop, and runs up the skull and disappears toward the occiput. It may be somewhat indistinct to slightly defined. The sagittal crest and zygomatic arches are all moderately defined. The occiput may be indistinct or may be somewhat moderately defined.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and ranging from green, amber, or light brown, to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are set well in the skull, protected by somewhat strong brow, and they may be set slightly oblique. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. They eyes of the Brittany should never exhibit loose or excess skin, exposed haws, signs of entropion or ectropion, or any other eye disorder, disease, dysfunction, or abnormality.
Ears: Somewhat large in size, set high on the skull, well above eye level. Ears are triangular in shape, being broad at the base, somewhat short, with a rounded tip. They hang close to the head, with the inner edge touching the face. They are very expressive and highly mobile. When held forward, the tip of the ear reaches the stop, or to the midpoint of the muzzle. The ears are never long and hound-like, or overly large.
Muzzle: Shorter than the topskull. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed. The bridge of the muzzle is straight, with slight taper horizontally and vertically, appearing almost conical. The muzzle should never appear dish-faced, roman-nosed, overly broad, snipey, or weak.
Nose: The nose is large, broad, well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage, strongly-muscled, with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The sternum is deep, wide, and with very little, if any, taper. The distance from the withers to the brisket is equal to, or slightly less than, one half the dog’s height at the withers.
Body: Both the French and American Brittany are compact, close-coupled, well-knit dogs. The body is short, compact, solid, and of good substance. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set high on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried horizontally or slightly lower when working or moving, but also carried in accordance to the dog’s mood and energy level, never tucked. Tail may be left natural (preferred), naturally bobbed or tailless, or surgically docked short. Natural tails (preferred) range between a medium length (with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down) or shorter to naturally bobbed. Natural tails may be straight or gently curved. Likewise, tails may be surgically docked between to approximately four inches.
Movement: Energetic, efficient, effortless, and springy. Indicative of speed, endurance, and agility. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: Energetic, vivacious, intelligent, and adaptable, the Brittany Spaniel has a can-do attitude. He is sociable, possesses an even temperament, and makes for a wonderful companion. He is naturally and instinctively gifted and passionate in the field, and is capable of hunting, pointing, and retrieving fowl and hare. Although tireless in the field, he is a wonderful and docile companion in the home (so long as his demanding exercise needs are met daily). The Brittany Spaniel is renowned for getting along great with other dogs and children. He is always eager to learn, go for a walk, or do anything, for that matter. This is a breed for a person or family that likes to involve a dog in day-to-day activities. Potential owners should be very active and accommodating to an active dog breed. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 11: Gun Dog Breeds

Proportions: The Brittany Spaniel is the smallest of the pointing breeds. There are some differences between the French and the American varieties of Brittany Spaniels as outlined here. Although both varieties are said to be square in proportion with the length of the body being equal to the height at the withers, the American and French Brittany are each measured differently, and thus “square” in slightly different ways. Therefore, suffice it to say that a Brittany Spaniel may be square in proportions (when measured from point of the forechest to point of the rump) or off-squared, and females may be slightly longer.

French Brittany: The French Brittany’s square proportions are determined by measuring the body length from the point of the shoulder to the point of the rump. This results in the French Brittany being just slightly longer in proportion, on average, than the American Brittany. The French Brittany exhibits slightly more substance, being slightly greater in mass, muscle, and bone substance, without appearing cloddy or coarse. The French Brittany is more consistent in size and works closer to the gunman.

American Brittany: The American Brittany’s square proportions are determined by measuring body length from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump. The American Brittany is just somewhat lighter in frame, bone substance, and muscle, although never appearing light and racy or weedy. The American Brittany has a larger size range, and tends to be larger and leggier than the French Brittany, covering more ground at fast speeds.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, slightly wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is dry and clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle. The topskull is slightly arched when viewed from the front or in profile. It is somewhat broad, with the width (measured from one side of the topskull to the other in front of the ears) being equal to or just slightly less than the length (measured from occiput to stop). There is a frontal median furrow that starts at the stop, and runs up the skull and disappears toward the occiput. It may be somewhat indistinct to slightly defined. The sagittal crest and zygomatic arches are all moderately defined. The occiput may be indistinct or may be somewhat moderately defined.
Expression: Soft, friendly, and intelligent, yet eager, alert, and anticipatory.
Stop: The stop gently sloping to definite.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 2:3, with the topskull being just longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel.
Muzzle: Shorter than the topskull. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed. The bridge of the muzzle is straight, with slight taper horizontally and vertically, appearing almost conical. The muzzle should never appear dish-faced, roman-nosed, overly broad, snipey, or weak.
Lips or Flews: Lips are clean and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws. Loose flews are incorrect for the Brittany Spaniel.
Nose: The nose is large, broad, well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: The cheeks may be smoothly padded. The cheeks should not appear chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and ranging from green, amber, or light brown, to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are set well in the skull, protected by somewhat strong brow, and they may be set slightly oblique. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. They eyes of the Brittany should never exhibit loose or excess skin, exposed haws, signs of entropion or ectropion, or any other eye disorder, disease, dysfunction, or abnormality.
Ears: Somewhat large in size, set high on the skull, well above eye level. Ears are triangular in shape, being broad at the base, somewhat short, with a rounded tip. They hang close to the head, with the inner edge touching the face. They are very expressive and highly mobile. When held forward, the tip of the ear reaches the stop, or to the midpoint of the muzzle. The ears are never long and hound-like, or overly large.

Body and Tail

General Description: Both the French and American Brittany are compact, close-coupled, well-knit dogs. The body is short, compact, solid, and of good substance. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage, strongly-muscled, with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The sternum is deep, wide, and with very little, if any, taper. The distance from the withers to the brisket is equal to, or slightly less than, one half the dog’s height at the withers.
Topline: Straight, and may be slightly sloped or level from slightly prominent withers to croup. The back is short, broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. The topline is never swayed, roached, or overly long.
Croup: Croup is broad, muscular, and gently sloped.
Underline: Slight tuck is present. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set high on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried horizontally or slightly lower when working or moving, but also carried in accordance to the dog’s mood and energy level, never tucked. Tail may be left natural (preferred), naturally bobbed or tailless, or surgically docked short. Natural tails (preferred) range between a medium length (with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down) or shorter to naturally bobbed. Natural tails may be straight or gently curved. Likewise, tails may be surgically docked between to approximately four inches.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm, or the upper arm bone may be slightly longer than the shoulder blade, with the forearm being slightly longer than the upper arm bone.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The distance from the withers to the brisket may be equal to, or just slightly less than, the distance from the elbows to the ground.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle and bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Forearm may be equal in length to the upper arm bone or slightly longer. Forelegs are always of moderate bone and may be somewhat muscular and of good substance, as in that of the French variety, or cleaner and slightly lighter, as in that of the American Variety. Either type should be capable of tireless, springy, and energetic movement over vast distances in rugged terrain for indefinite amounts of time.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, or with slightly longer lower thigh. The thighs are strong, sturdy, of good bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The skin is tightly fitted throughout and without excess skin or wrinkling. The coat is moderate in length, dense, tight, flat or wavy, and shorter on the head and front of the legs. Back of legs appears feathered. Hair on ears may be somewhat shorter or feathered.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Brittany Spaniel breed: the standard color and nonstandard color variety.
Standard variety: Orange, lemon, black, liver, with white or ticking; black or liver with or without tan points, and with white or ticking; ticked or white with orange, lemon, black, liver, (black or liver with or without tan point markings).
Non-standard variety: Solid-ticked dog, solid-white dog, solid colors in orange, lemon, black, liver, black and tan, liver and tan, all with or without small amounts of white or ticked markings.

Movement

Energetic, efficient, effortless, and springy. Indicative of speed, endurance, and agility. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

Energetic, vivacious, intelligent, and adaptable, the Brittany Spaniel has a can-do attitude. He is sociable, possesses an even temperament, and makes for a wonderful companion. He is naturally and instinctively gifted and passionate in the field, and is capable of hunting, pointing, and retrieving fowl and hare. Although tireless in the field, he is a wonderful and docile companion in the home (so long as his demanding exercise needs are met daily). The Brittany Spaniel is renowned for getting along great with other dogs and children. He is always eager to learn, go for a walk, or do anything, for that matter. This is a breed for a person or family that likes to involve a dog in day-to-day activities. Potential owners should be very active and accommodating to an active dog breed. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.