Description & History

The Epagneul Breton or Brittany is an ancient French breed whose ancestors are probably of Spanish descent. Although recognised in its own country and gundog circles worldwide, it is not generally known in the British Isles, as it is a comparative newcomer having arrived in the nineteen eightees.

The Brittany originally worked as a spaniel and, like all spaniels, excelled in thick cover and dense undergrowth. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, an infusion of pointer and setter blood into the breed changed its role. Nowadays it is classified as a hunt, point and retrieve breed and has joined a group of dogs which are gaining in popularity owing to their ability.

The Brittany is a vivacious breed and because of this some dogs can be difficult to train - and life, as a result, can become exasperating! The more difficult members of the breed show great enthusiasm when hunting but little or no interest in retrieving. On the other hand, some dogs conform ans are no more of a problem with their training than the average gundog, and become reliable workers and good companions.

The Brittany shows great enthusiasm in the field. A gun who owns one of these dogs can get great pleasure watching his dog at work. They are ideal for anyone who participates in rough shooting or wildfowling – they are quite happy working in thicket, heather moors, fields and stubble; and they are not shy of water.

The breed has been popular in the United States for more than half a century, and in 1931 was recognised by the American Kennel Club. It received recognition in the British isles in 1986.

Rosamund Walters.

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