The Epagneul Breton, otherwise known as Brittany, is a breed of bird dog that is primarily bred primarily for hunting birds. Though it is commonly regarded as a spaniel, its working attributes are more like of a setter or a pointer. These hunting dogs were developed in the province of Brittany in France between the 17th and 19th centuries, and has become officially recognized in the early 20th century.
Trainability & Hunting Style
The Epagneul Breton is a very intelligent bird dog who can learn very quickly, and by having one, you would be amazed in how it can think for itself. It will also help if you reward it during training so that it can easily adapt and understand the activity you want it to learn. As for hunting style, it is a Hunt Point Retrieve (HPR) style of bird dog which means the Epagneul Breton can hunt game and point to it, as well as hold while waiting for the owner to flush the game.
Typically, the Epagneul Brittany is quite, but is energetic, athletic and solidly built with its light weight. It has a head of average size with floppy ears, gait that is free, long and elastic, and expressions that usually show vigor, intelligence and alertness. Epagneul Bretons are born with naturally short tails, but others have long tails that are docked to a length of 3–10 centimeters. For its coat color, it is varied, with “liver and white” and “orange and white” as the most common and orange roan and liver roan in fewer cases, which is still acceptable in dog shows. In the American Brittany Standard, the specified acceptable color is a combination of orange, liver and white, with a particular color placement. Males can weigh from 30lbs to 45lbs and females can weigh from 30lbs to 40lbs.
Originally, the Epagneul Breton was bred as hunting dogs and has been noted for being sweet-natured and easy to train. Generally, it is more sensitive to corrections than other hunting dogs, which means a rough correction is often unnecessary. This hunting dog can be very shy if not properly socialized while young and can have a significantly different level of friendliness even among well-socialized dogs. But if it is well-socialized, an Epagneul Breton can be an all-around sound hunting dog that can excel as a field dog, family pet or companion. Always friendly and eager to please, it can learn quickly and is attached and loyal to its owner.
For this hunting dog breed, you need to regularly brush its medium-length, flat coat to keep it in good condition. It is necessary to give it a bathe or clean it with dry shampoo when needed. Carefully check its ears, especially when it has been out in a brushy and rough terrain. Although this is a light shedder and a low-maintenance breed of hunting dog, careful trimming will be necessary if you want to bring it to shows and win competitions. As an energetic bird dog, the Epagneul Brittany needs at least one hour of vigorous exercise daily, with some even needing more than an hour. As you may know, some hunting dogs will be hyper-sensitive or over-active mostly because they lack exercise and training.
The Epagneul Breton is a generally hardy and healthy breed of hunting dog, with a median lifespan of 12.6 years and about 1 in 5 Brittanys dying of old age at an average of 14 to 15 years. Diseases found in Epagneul Bretons include hip dysplasia, with 14.9 percent of them tested by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals to have had the condition and a lesser rate of 10.3 percent for those born between 2003 and 2004. Also, the breed is found to be among the hunting dogs that usually acquire canine discoid lupus erythematosus. Aside from these diseases, epilepsy is also found among Brittanys.
Official Breed Standard