Brittany Care

The Brittany--sometimes called the Brittany Spaniel--is a small- to medium-sized, short-haired breed that originated as a hunting dog in the Brittany region of France. These dogs are smart, enthusiastic, sensitive, and chock full of energy, and are best suited for extremely active families. Overall Brittany care and maintenance will take a moderate amount of work, and will need to include plenty of daily exercise.

Below you'll find lots of details on caring for a Brittany: puppy care and development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more are all covered here. Consider this page your definitive Brittany dog guide--and read on!

Brittany Breed Development

As a smaller medium-sized breed, Brittany puppy development typically spans 16-18 months from birth to full maturity.

Physical Development: Brittany puppies grow rapidly in height and length for the first 6-7 months, then those growth rates slow somewhat while the adolescent "fills out" by gaining muscle mass and fat. Dogs of this breed normally reach their full adult size (an average of 18 inches at the shoulders in height and 35 pounds in weight) at 10-11 months of age.

Social Development: Brittany pups reach adolescence at 5-6 months, sexual maturity at about nine months, and full mental maturity at about 17 months (though most will retain their energetic puppylike behavior well into adulthood).

For further details about Brittany development, refer to the following chart:

Brittany Exercise Needs

These dogs are high-energy, so Brittany exercise requirements are pretty extensive overall. Breed members are best suited for active families who are "high-energy" themselves, because these dogs will require require frequent activities that condition them physically (walking, jogging, fetch) and stimulate them mentally (games, canine sports). Brittanys make good bicycling companions as well.

The typical adult Brittany, depending on its age and overall activity level, will need an hour of proper exercise per day at the very least--and most will be able to handle much more than that! ("Couch potato" owners will definitely need to find another breed, for obvious reasons.) You can start exercising your Brittany puppy at three months of age by taking it on short (5- to 7-minute) walks, then you can increase the walks' length and frequency as the puppy matures. And these early walks are a good opportunity to start teaching your young Brittany obedience, through leash training: have the pup walk beside or behind you on the leash instead of being allowed to lead or "tug" on it. This, in the puppy's mind, establishes you as the leader, and should make training easier as the dog matures.

A few things to keep in mind when exercising your Brittany: first, puppies younger than nine months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running on hard surfaces, or navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. And regardless of age, all Brittany dogs will definitely need to be leashed when in public. These dogs are lively, friendly, and curious, and as hunters they have a naturally high drive--and that combination of traits means they'll instantly run off after small animals or other interesting sights/sounds unless controlled by a leash. Even when exercising in your own yard, the area will need to be securely fenced to keep the dog from running away. And finally: Brittanys are sensitive and needy, and will quickly suffer separation anxiety if left alone, so they'll respond much better to exercise they do together with their people.

Precautions aside, exercising your Brittany every single day is a must. Since they were developed to be active hunting dogs, breed members are used to frequent physical activity--and without it they'll turn destructive, disobedient, and thoroughly unhappy in general. Consistent exercise will be great for both the dog's and your own peace of mind! Here are a few Brittany exercise ideas:

  • Walking/Jogging/Bicycling: Two 30-minute walks (or 20-minute jogs or bike rides) per day is a good target
  • Fetch/Frisbee: Brittanys love chasing a ball, stick, or Frisbee
  • Hide-and-Seek: Good indoor, rainy-day activity;  give the dog a treat when it finds you
  • Canine Sports: These dogs can excel at obedience and agility trials, flyball, and other events
  • Dog Park: If properly socialized, Brittanys enjoy the company of other dogs
  • Hiking: Excellent bonding activity' bonus if you can find a remote area where the dog can be off-leash

When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Brittany access to one or more balls or chew-toys that will allow the dog to burn excess energy--which it'll undoubtedly have plenty of! It's also recommended that you establish a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks, jogs, or bike rides after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.

Brittany Maintenance

In terms of shedding and drooling, these dogs don't need a ton of care. Brittany dog shedding is moderate, and drooling is a minor issue.

Exactly how much does the Brittany Spaniel shed? Well, breed members have short-haired, flat coats that shed moderately all year long--but the hairs are short, so they're not all that noticeable. Owners only need to brush their Brittanys once a week or so to minimize the shedding; hair cleanup--vacuuming the floors and lint rollers on clothes and furniture--will only be necessary from time to time.

And a Brittany might drool a little in anticipation of food, after drinking water, or when especially excited or nervous--but the drooling definitely won't be a constant occurrence like that of a Saint Bernard or Bloodhound. If your Brittany is drooling excessively, it may be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is needed.

Brittany Diet

As such a high-energy breed, the Brittany Spaniel diet will need to include plenty of animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. That means the best Brittany Spaniel food is premium dry kibble, as it contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients your lively little Brittany needs to maintain its health in the long term.

And though premium food can be pricey, the good news is these dogs won't eat too much of it. The typical adult Brittany, depending on its age, size, and activity level, will only need about two cups of premium dry food per day, divided into two meals. Brittany puppies will need a bit less: again depending on age, about 1½ cups per day, divided into three meals (not two) until six months of age. For more info on feeding these dogs from puppyhood through maturity, here's a Brittany feeding chart:

*--Around this time, transition to adult food by first mixing in a bit of adult formula with the puppy formula. Over the course of a week, with each meal add a little more adult food to the mixture, until the dog is eating it entirely.

If possible, try and stick to the above-listed portions. Though this breed isn't especially prone to obesity, if constantly overfed (and under-exercised) they certainly can become overweight--and a fat Brittany will have joint, breathing, and digestive problems, not to mention a potentially shortened lifespan. You can help control your Brittany's weight by establishing consistent feeding and exercise schedules, by not feeding the dog table scraps, and by not leaving food in the dog's bowl all the time, thereby allowing it to eat anytime it wants. It's better to put your Brittany's bowl down only at mealtimes, then pick it up a few minutes after the dog begins eating.

If you're worried your Brittany is overweight, give the dog this simple test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time. Reduce the dog's daily food consumption by one-fourth, and add an extra walk, jog, bike ride, or play period to its daily exercise schedule.