The Brittany is a breed of gun dog bred primarily for bird hunting. Although it is often referred to as a Spaniel, the breed’s working characteristics are more akin to those of a pointer or setter. Brittanys were developed in the Brittany province of France between the 17th and 19th centuries, becoming officially recognized early in the 20th.
The name “Brittany” is taken from the Brittany region in northwestern France where the dog originated. Images of orange and white Brittany-like dogs hunting and retrieving game were first seen on tapestries and paintings from the 17th century. The first written and verifiable record of Brittanys comes from a hunting description written by Reverend Davies in 1850. He described hunting with small “bobtailed” dogs who pointed and were excellent retrievers. It was around the same time that the modern Brittany is rumored to have been bred by mating with English Setters.The Brittany was first shown at the Paris Dog Show in 1900.
The Brittany was first recognized as a breed in 1907 when an orange and white male named “Boy” was registered in France. As a result, the first standards were outlined in the same year. America recognized the Brittany in 1931 and the breed was approved by the American Kennel Club in 1934. In 1982 the “Spaniel” was officially dropped from the name.