Learn about energetic Brittany Spaniel dog breed
The Brittany Spaniel is a medium-sized, elegant and versatile gundog and a perfect family pet. Brittany Spaniels originated from the Brittany province (France) where these dogs were first introduced in the mid-1800s, when French sportsmen crossed land spaniels with English Setters. They needed a dog with exquisite hunting ability and extra strong sense of smell. They were equally capable to work as pointers or as retrievers and were appreciated for their speed and agility. The breed was officially recognized in 1907.
FUN FACT: In 1982, the American Kennel Club Board Directors approved to delete the word “spaniel” from a breed’s name (because these dogs are pointing dogs, not flushing dogs like spaniels). The FCI, however, still uses the Brittany Spaniel name.
Brittany Spaniel - grooming
As already said, the Brittany Spaniel is a medium-sized, compact dog standing 17.5-20.5 inches at the shoulder. The dog weights between 30 and 40 pounds. Brittany Spaniels have slightly rounded, wedge-shaped head, medium in length muzzle, triangular floppy ears that are set high. The tail is also set high and can be naturally short or docked. These dogs are leggy and thus really fast and agile. Their coat is short and smooth, either flat or wavy (never curly). The coat doesn’t require a lot of grooming to look good. Weekly brushing of the coat will be enough to keep it clean, healthy and beautiful. Also, Brittany Spaniels shed moderately throughout the year. The coat comes in a variety of colors, including orange and white, liver and white, black and white, liver tricolor, and black tricolor. Some ticking (small isolated areas of black hairs on a white background) is usually seen and desirable. The coat does not absorb or hold water or dirt.
FUN FACT: In America and in Canada black coat is not accepted. Everywhere else the FCI standard of the breed is respected and that standard accepts black as one of the color the Brittany Spaniel dog’s coat comes in.
The rest is basic care. Trim the dog’s nails when needed, brush the dog’s teeth, check (and clean) the dog’s ears regularly to prevent infections.
Brittany Spaniel - energy level
The Brittany Spaniel is highly energetic and fun loving dog. They are often said to be hyperactive. Because of this, the Brittany Spaniel is not for everyone. They excel in almost any dog sport – obedience, agility, flyball, dock diving, etc. Before getting yourself a Brittany Spaniel think whether you are able to provide him enough plenty of exercise every single day, no matter the weather outside. If the dog doesn’t get enough physical and mental exercise he may become neurotic and destructive. Also, the Brittany Spaniel requires constant attention and often demonstrate separation anxiety. Some Brittany Spaniels tend to whine persistently.
Brittany Spaniels are not suited for apartment living and they do best if they have a large, fenced yard where they can run freely whenever they want. They love to run in open spaces.
The Brittany Spaniel is friendly, affectionate, people-oriented dog, eager to please his family. The dog loves kids and is protective of them. Also, the Brittany Spaniel is usually peaceful with other animals (when socialized properly). Pet birds or other small critters are not recommended to share a living space with this dog that has a strong prey drive.
Brittany Spaniel - training
Of course, early socialization and training are a must. Luckily, the Brittany Spaniels are eager to please, very intelligent and thus highly trainable. They don’t respond well to harsh treatment as they are very sensitive. Be gentle and consistent, but firm. Early socialization is a must to promote a confident temperament because a lot of Brittany Spaniels are excessively submissive so they may urinate when becoming intimidated or over-excited.
Brittany Spaniel - health issues
The Brittany Spaniel has a life expectancy of 12-14 years and usually lives a long a healthy life. The breed is generally healthy; there are only a few genetic health issues they are prone to. These health issues are: hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and hypothyroidism, which is caused by an abnormally low level of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland. The signs of a hypothyroidism are obesity, mental dullness, low energy levels, irregular heat cycles, coarse fur, etc. Hypothyroidism can be treated with daily medication.
Brittany Spaniel - breeders
The Brittany Spaniels are quite pricy. Depending on the breeder their price ranges from $1200 – $3800 USD.
When buying a dog be responsible and never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Buying a puppy from a puppy mill feeds money into the puppy mill industry, encouraging mass production and thus the vicious cycle keeps on going. Read more about puppy mills here. Take your time, consult anyone who can help you, and find a reputable breeder who tests his breeding dogs to make sure they are free of genetic diseases and that they have sound temperaments.
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