Posts Tagged ‘Brittany’

The pheasants are stocked, but the bobwhites are native.  And this Brittany’s game is on.


This is from a Kentucky PBS show called Kentucky Afield, which is a hunting, fishing, and conservation show– with its own Youtube channel. It’s where the Turtleman go his start!

Adam Edelen was Governor Steve Beshear’s chief of staff at the time this footage was taken.  He was elected State Auditor in last week’s election.

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An orange and white French Brittany.

A Brittany or Epagneul Breton is a French HPR. It is the smallest of the HPR’s, although in America, it is often thought of the smallest breed of setter. I am uncomfortable calling it a setter. The French have several spaniel-type HPR’s, including the Picardy, Blue Picardy, and French spaniels. The Brittany fits within this family, although it has a little different history.

Poachers in Brittany wanted a small bird dog that could point the nobles’ pheasants and partridge. The poachers would then net the birds and get the heck out. The last thing they needed was a long-quartering pointing dog that would draw attention to the poachers.

The ancestry of the Brittany is not well-documented. The French have a history of short-tailed dogs in their gun dog lines. The Bourbonnais pointer often is born with a naturally short-tail. The Brittany is sometimes born with this trait, so it is often suggested that both descend from some landrace bird dog-type with brachyury.  (The Bourbonnaiss pointer was reconstructed with some Brittany blood crossed in).

The Brittany became a relatively common gun dog in North America following the Second World War. We North Americans adapted it to our style of hunting. We bred them with longer legs and more gracile frames. We bred them to quarter out father afield, although they don’t typically quarter in the same wide range as other “index” dogs. We also don’t breed them to come in any colors besides liver and white, tricolored liver, or orange and white, the most common color.

The French, on the other hand, have maintained the original type. It does not quarter in a wide range at all. It is still a dog that is typically accompanied on foot, and it comes in black and tan tricolor and black and white.

I mistook the first black and white Brittany I ever saw for a springer. Springers, though, don’t point, and most of them like to quarter out really wide.

Now, in North America, we tend to call this shorter-legged and multi-colored dog the “French Britanny,” which is a bit of a redundancy. Brittany (Breton) is in France, and its people speak a Celtic language similar to Welsh and Cornish.  However, because we have a different version of the same basic dog in this country, we have to call them French Brittanys. It is redundant, but it works.


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