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Working Wednesday: The Brittany

The Brittany is a dog in the gundog group and although many mistake it for a spaniel due to looks and their previous name (Brittany Spaniel), it is actually in the HPR category.

They are short, compact working dogs with plenty of style and stamina that are great for hunting through moors.


The Brittany originated in France, from the North-West region of Brittany. They are thought to have been around since around the 17th century as they have been seen on paintings and tapestries, however the first written recording is from 1850.

They were described as bob-tailed hunting dogs that pointed and were excellent flushers and retrievers. Around that time, the original Brittany would have been mated with English Setters to enhance pointing and hunting abilities which are shown in the modern Brittany.

As a breed, the Brittany was first recognised in 1907 when an orange and white dog was registered in France, and the first breed standards were outlined within the same year. In 1982, the 'Spaniel' part was officially dropped from the name as they are HPR dogs.

Brittany Fun Facts:

  • They are very eager to please so are fast learners.

  • They are named after the French province that they originated in (Brittany)

  • They are known as a 'utility gundog' - which means they hunt, point, flush and retrieve game.

  • Brittany's have a thick feathered coat to protect them from harsh conditions.

  • They come in two varieties - the 'tailed' and 'bobtailed'.

Working Brittany

The Brittany is a true HPR breed and loves to be hunting around in large open British moors for tough to find game. They have phenomenal pace that pairs well with their strong nose when looking for game and can hold a steady point once they have winded the scent for game.

A lowland small shoot with plenty of reared birds is not great work for a Brittany, as they prefer to work in large open, testing conditions looking for sparse game.

Due to being bred in France as a Falconer's dog, it is not uncommon to find that some of these dogs don't like to retrieve as they were trained to just hunt, point and flush the game for the birds of prey. Also, due to the Setter being bred into their lines they are not natural retrievers so it has decreased their retrieving instinct even more.

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