French Brittany: Facts, Traits & History

Photo: Getty Images/daveldman
Last Updated on December 7, 2023 by Dogster Team

The Look of a French Brittany

The smallest of the Pointers, the French Brittany has a square-built, slightly cobby frame—shorter than the American Brittany—covered in a fine, lightly feathered coat. Its rounded head has a tapered muzzle, short triangular ears that hang close and dark, deeply set eyes have an inquisitive and alert expression. With sloping shoulders and excellent poise, the French Brittany exhibits toughness and agility. Its tail is either very short or non-existent, and its flat coat can come in orange & white, liver & white, black & white and other combinations.


  • Intelligent
  • Resolute
  • Polite
  • Energetic but calm
  • Alert
  • Powerful hunting instincts

Ideal Human Companion

  • Families with older children
  • Active singles
  • Retirees
  • Hunters & sportsmen

What They Are Like to Live With

Whether tracking a critter through the woods or playing in the back yard with children, the French Brittany is focused and friendly. Like the Golden Retriever, it can be a gentle, calm and polite member of the household. Like the Labrador Retriever, it can switch easily from high-energy outdoors to relaxed indoors. It loves games—especially “retrieving” games—is eager to please and easy to train. The French Brittany is quick witted and loyal, quickly learning commands and instructions.

The French Brittany gets along with everyone in the family, including children and other dogs. And when guests come over, it knows how to mind its manners. Not the best watchdog, it is quite welcoming to new people. Overall, the French Brittany is a great hunter and an affectionate family dog.

Things You Should Know

The French Brittany can live as long as 12 years with relatively few health concerns. Easy to groom, just brush its coat several times per week, and clean its ears regularly to prevent infection. It is very easy to care for.

The French Brittany is a people-oriented dog. It shouldn’t be left alone inside or out for long stretches of time. A neglected French Brittany might dig up the garden, chew furniture or get into other kinds of trouble. Remember that this canine has powerful hunting instincts. When out on a hike, in a park or out in the countryside, squirrels and other critters can easily distract it. And it loves to wander. So, remember to keep the French Brittany on a leash in public.

French Brittany History

The Brittany, named for the French province where it originated, was bred to be a versatile, all-around bird dog. Today, two types of Brittany exist: The American Brittany (often called “the Brittany,” for short) and the French Brittany (or, the Epagneul Breton). The American Brittany is believed to come from pure Brittany stock crossed with English breeds like the Welsh Springer Spaniel, while the French Brittany is a product solely of France. Today, both breeds are celebrated around the world as successful show dogs, hunters and companions.

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