If you're bringing a Brittany puppy into your life, get ready for an energetic, wonderful friend. Formerly called Brittany spaniels, they're really more of a setter or pointing dog. These canines originally hail from France, although they might also be related to the Welsh spaniel. While some of their ancestral history is lost in the mists of time, today's Brittany does well in both the home and out field hunting.
Your lovable little pup with the white-and-liver or white-and-orange coat will quickly become a member of the family. Brittanys love to please their people. They also get along well with other dogs and aren't too concerned about cats. If you have kids, you already know they're your pup's best friend. By this time next year your puppy will weigh between 30 and 40 pounds and stand between 17.5 and 20 inches high at the shoulder, an ideal medium-size dog.
Yes, your Brittany puppy is an active little guy. That's not going to change much as he grows up. This is a dog who requires a lot of exercise, both physical and mental. The sooner you start training him the better. Puppy kindergarten is a good way to go. Brittanys aren't just smart, they also learn quickly and want to please. If you're consistent, your puppy should pick up on housebreaking relatively easily. If you plan to hunt with your Brittany, work with a trainer if you're a novice, but hunting comes naturally to the breed. By the time your pup reaches the age of 6 months, he's eligible for the American Kennel Club's hunting test for pointing breeds.
To crate or not to crate: that is the question asked by many puppy owners. In the case of a Brittany it might be a good idea, especially if he's left alone for long periods during the day. That pent-up Brittany puppy energy needs an outlet, so if he's given the run of all or most of the house, you could come home to some very creative destruction. Give him safe chew toys to gnaw on in his crate, and always make sure he has access to fresh, clean water.
Be sure to purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder, one who offers guarantees on the parents' vision from the Canine Eye Registration Foundation and their hip health from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. That's because Brittanys often suffer from hip dysplasia, a genetic abnormality of the hip joint, as well as cataracts. Other diseases affecting the breed include hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone production by the thyroid gland) and epilepsy. Apart from possible genetic disorders, your active Brittany might end up at the vet's because of the sort of minor or major injuries a dog who loves to run might encounter.
By Jane Meggitt
About the Author
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.