from Brittany in North West France, the Brittany spaniel
was developed from at least three different types of
French gundogs including spaniel and setter breeds.
It is the only spaniel breed that is born without a tail
which is a distinct advantage for the dog that is
required to hunt the dense cover associated with that
part of France in pursuit of the woodcock, a favourite
of the Breton sportsmen. Superb in cover,
the Brittany spaniel does not, however, favour water.
of the Brittany is mainly lemon with white or orange and
white. The colouring is an indication of the
breed’s origins with those colours still apparent today
on setting breeds. Indeed the colour and the shape
of the Brittany are not unlike that of the Welsh
springer spaniel and the two have been confused.
The Brittany has shorter ears than the Welsh spaniel and
spaniel breeds it finds, flushes and retrieve game.
Its ability to point or set on game is another clue to
its ancestry. The first breed standards was
established in 1907, but in 1942 the Brittany Spaniel
Club of North America joined with the American Kennel
Club and out of this came a revised set of breed
standards. Used widely in its native France,
the Brittany spaniel is also a popular dog in the USA
origins of this breed lie in the countryside of Northern
France although its modern day popularity lies in Canada
where it is used as a hunt, point and retrieve dog.
The breed is
a descendant of the old and quite large family of French
spaniels, which, over the years, separated into many
different types where hunting style, size and colouring
dictated the final outcome of the breeding. Around
the mouth of the River Somme was, at the turn of the 20th
century, a wildfowlers’ paradise and many English
sportsmen crossed the channel to shoot there.
Because of the quarantine regulations, many English
shooters boarded their setters with locals in the
Picardy area that is at the mouth of the Somme.
Hence the infusion of English setter blood with the
local spaniel bloodlines and the development of the Blue
has the characteristic greyish-black freckled coat with
its skin a blue shade rather than the brown pigmentation
found in other gundog breeds. The dog is excellent
in water, possesses a good nose and has a strong desire
to retrieve game.
French spaniel gained fame in the Middle Ages as a
setting dog for the netsmen, rather like the English
springer spaniel. The French variety had the style
of creeping along and freezing on the scent of game.
It is argued in some quarters that this was the origin
of the modern setter breeds of gundogs.
By the 17th
century the French spaniel had established itself at the
primary hunting dog in the country but, as tastes
changed, it was the influx of English bred dogs that
deposed it as the country’s favourite working dog.
This is a
breed of spaniel that has an undocked tail, is strongly
built and possesses a medium-length coat.
Classified as a hunt, point and retrieve gundog, it is
at ease retrieving from land and water. Owners of
the breed testify to its ease of training and its