The Brittany, formerly known as the Brittany Spaniel, was bred to be a gun dog used for hunting birds. They are named after the Brittany province of Northwestern France where they were commonly found. This French hunting breed can trace their heritage back to spaniel-type dogs from Spain called Epagneuls, meaning "spaniels" in French. They were developed by crossing retrievers and small tail-less spaniels to other native hunting dogs during the beginning of the 1900s. It is believed that the Brittany is one of the oldest spaniel-type breeds in France, but their exact origin is uncertain. Some theorists believe that they are a cross between a white and orange setter and others think that they were crosses between English Setters. Even though they have a spaniel appearance, the word Spaniel was dropped from the breed name due to these dogs being more of a pointer or retriever.
Smaller in size than setters but leggier than spaniels, the Brittany is a compact, medium-sized breed that was made for the outdoors. They have a dense, flat, or wavy coat that is never curly and comes in a variety of colors, most commonly being orange and white or liver and white with or without roan patterns. Strong, energetic, and quick, these high energy dogs are cherished by avid bird hunters. Brittanies have dark-colored eyes, floppy triangular-shaped ears, and a medium-long length muzzle with a fawn, tan, brown, or deep pinkish colored nose. The tail of the breed can be either up to about four inches long or some dogs can even be born without a tail.
Like typical hunting dogs, Brittanies are curious, intelligent, and have a can-do attitude but unlike many sporting breeds, they can be a little wary of others, making them a good watchdog. They are naturally instinctive and passionate during the hunt and you will even catch them pointing at birds or squirrels out in the yard as puppies. Even with a personality ranging from sensitive to stubborn, the breed is widely considered to be easy to train with consistency and positive reinforcement from a gentle owner, responding to any command given to them at any time. Upbeat and good-tempered, the Brittany absolutely loves human companionship and makes a great playmate for children of all ages and other pets, but cats and other small animals should be supervised due to their high prey drive and hunting background. Although requiring plenty of daily exercise alongside their favorite human, these energetic dogs will participate in many different activities besides hunting such as dog agility, flyball, and obedience. The Brittany is very docile, even-tempered, and sociable in the home, making them a great companion and family pet for someone who can handle their exercise needs, or even better, take them hunting.