Brittany Spaniel

FCI standard Nº 95

John Miller and Raymond Triquet
Group 7 Pointing Dogs and Setters
Section 1.2 Continental Pointing Dogs, Spaniel type
With working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Friday 19 November 1954
Publication of the official valid standard
Tuesday 25 March 2003
Last update
Monday 05 May 2003
En français, cette race se dit
Epagneul breton
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Bretonischer Spaniel
En español, esta raza se dice
Spaniel bretón
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Bretonse spaniël


Pointing dogs.

Brief historical summary

Of French origin and more precisely, from the centre of Brittany. At present, in first place numerically among French sporting breeds. Probably one of the oldest of the spaniel type dogs, improved at the beginning of the 20th century by diverse outcrosses and selections. A draft of a breed standard drawn up in Nantes in 1907 was presented and adopted at the first General Assembly held in Loudéac (in former Côtes du Nord department, now Côtes d’Armor), June 7, 1908. This was the first standard of the « Naturally Short-Tailed Brittany Spaniel Club ».

General appearance

Smallest of the pointing breeds. The Brittany spaniel is a dog with a Continental spaniel-type head (braccoïde in French) and a short or inexistent tail. Built harmoniously on a solid but not weighty frame. The whole is compact and well-knit, without undue heaviness, while staying sufficiently elegant. The dog is vigorous, the look is bright and the expression intelligent. The general aspect is « COBBY » (brachymorphic), full of energy, having conserved in the course of its evolution the short-coupled model sought after and fixed by those having recreated the breed.

Important proportions

• The skull is longer than the muzzle, with a ratio of 3 : 2.
• Head is in proportion to the body.
• The depth of the chest, from withers to brisket, is slightly less than half the height of the dog.
• The scapulo-ischial length (from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttocks) is equal to the height at the withers (the dog fits in a square).

Behaviour / temperament

Dog adapting itself to any environment, sociable, with an intelligent and attentive expression, mentally balanced. Versatile pointing dog, for any game on any terrain, precocious in revealing its hunting passion. Remarkable in its searching for game, its gaits, its scenting ability, its ranging in the field, its spontaneity and duration of pointing, its retrieving and its aptitude for training.


Cranial region

The features are fnely chiselled. The skin fits tightly.
Slightly rounded as seen from the front or the side. Seen from above, the lateral surfaces are slightly convex. The top lines of the head and the muzzle are parallel. The width of the skull measured between the zygomatic arches is less than its length. The supercilliary arches are not prominent but form a slightly rounded curve. The frontal furrow as well as the sagittal crest are slightly defined. The stop is moderate. The occipital crest as well as the zygomatic arches are moderately defined. 

Facial region

Large, with very wide, humid and well-open nostrils, of a colour in harmony with that of the coat, as is the case of the edges of the eyelids and natural orifices.
Straight, with lateral surfaces practically parallel.
Not loose, not very large, relatively thin and fitting tightly. The lower is discreetly masked by the upper whose contour bends progressively until reaching the commisure, which is not too apparent and tightly closed. The whole is free of depigmentation.
Jaws and teeth
The teeth are set square to the jaws and form a complete and healthy set. Scissors bite.
Not heavy, the skin fitting tightly.
Slightly oblique. With an intelligent, soft and frank expression. Somewhat oval, not protruding, with fine, well pigmented, tightly fitting eyelids. The colour of the iris is in keeping with the colour of the coat, preferably dark. Eye expression coupled with upward movement of the base of the ears gives rise to the true « Brittany expression ».
Set high, triangular in shape, relatively large and rather short, (drawn forward, the tip of the ear reaches the stop). Partially covered with wavy hair, especially in the upper part, the extremity being covered by short hair. Always quite mobile when the dog is attentive or in action.


Of medium length and well muscled, in the form of a slightly curved, never arched, truncated cone. Set smoothly to the shoulders and without dewlap.


Level to the loins and the beginning of the croup.
Sufficiently mobile and hardly protruding, without being loaded.
Straight, short and rigid, well coupled.
Short, broad and muscular.
Very slightly slanting, broad and muscular.
Let down to elbow level, broad with ribs well sprung but not barrel chested. Sternum wide and scarcely rising towards the rear. The rearmost ribs long and supple.
Slightly rising and short.
Underline and belly
Slightly tucked-up.


Set high, carried horizontally (or slightly lowered), often lively when the dog is attentive or in action. The Brittany Spaniel can be born tailless or with a very short tail. When the tail is docked the ideal length is from 3 to 6 cm, the docked tail should not exceed 10 cm.



Limbs well poised. Joints flexible and sturdy.
Mobile, long (30% of the height at the withers), close to the body with thick muscle. Its slope is that of a galloper, between 55 and 60 degrees from the horizontal. The tips of the shoulder blades are separated by 5 cm (2 ’’).
Upper arm
Heavy, thick and very muscular. It is slightly longer than the shoulder blade. The scapulo-humeral angle (between the shoulder blade and the arm) is between 115 and 120 degrees .
Close to body - neither in nor out.
Muscular and clean. Slightly longer than the arm. It should be practically perpendicular to the ground.
Solid while maintaining a certain flexibility, slightly oblique (between 15 and 20 degrees from the vertical).
Rather round, toes tight, pads firm, toenails short.


Limbs well poised and parallel when seen from behind.
Upper thigh
Important with thick and bulging muscles. It should be slanted between 70 and 75 degrees from the horizontal.
Lower thigh
Very slightly longer than the thigh with clean, bulging muscles. Broad in the upper part, diminishing gradually in size towards its junction with the hock. The angle between the upper thigh and lower thigh is close to 130 degrees.
Solid, nearly vertical when seen from the side.
Clean, with visible tendons.
Hind feet
Longer than the forefeet, while maintaining the same characteristics.

Gait and movement

The different gaits are easy but powerful, even and lively. The legs move straight without exaggerated bouncing of the body and without rolling, the top line staying level. The canter is the most common gait in the field, the strides are rapid and of medium length, the hind legs having little extension to the rear (collected canter).


Fine, tight fitting and well pigmented.


The coat is fine but not silky, lying flat on the body or with a hint of a wave. Never curly. Short on the head and the front of the limbs. The hind part of the latter has a heavier coat, furnished with abundant feathering, diminishing along their length down to the carpus (wrist) or the tarsus (hock), or even lower.
White and orange, white and black, white and liver, with more or less extensive irregular white patches. Piobald or roan, sometimes with ticking on the top and sides of the muzzle or the limbs. Equally, in the case of tricolour coats, with tan spotting (orange to dark tan) on the top and sides of the muzzle, over the eyes, on the limbs, on the chest and over the base of the tail. A narrow blaze is desirable with any colour of coat. A self coloured coat is not allowed.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Males : 48 cm minimum (18,9 ’’) with a tolerance of 1 cm (0,4 ’’).
51 cm maximum (20,1 ’’) with a tolerance of 1 cm (0,4 ’’).
Ideal height : 49 to 50 cm (19,3 ’’ to 19,7 ’’).
Females : 47 cm minimum (18,5 ’’) with a tolerance of 1 cm (0,4 ’’).
50 cm maximum (20,1 ’’) with a tolerance of 1 cm (0,4 ’’).
Ideal height : 48 to 49 cm (18,9 ’’ to 19,3 ’’).


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

General faults

 Character : Timidity, shifty-eyed.
 Head planes : Somewhat divergent.
 Nose : Very slightly depigmented, interior of the nostrils depigmented.
 Teeth : Pincer bite, teeth out of line.
 Muzzle : Pinched or snipy.
 Lips : Heavy, pendulous, upper lip covering the lower either insufficiently or excessively.
 Eyes : Prominent, round or almond shaped.
 Ears : Hung too low or falling away too shaprly.
 Back : Arched or saddle back.
 Croup : Too narrow or falling away too sharply.
 Abdomen : Bulky or too tucked up (whippety).
 Feet : Splayed, too round or too long.
 Neck : Heavy and lacking reach.
 Loin : Long, narrow, weak.
 Flank : Too hollow, often accompanied by a weak loin lacking breadth.
 Limbs : Insufficient bone.
 Out at the elbows, pigeon toed, slew feet.
 Coat : Not heavy enough on the body.

Serious faults

 Behaviour : Sluggish .
 Skull : Zygomatic arches too prominent, stop very pronounced, superciliary arches too prominent.
 Eyes : Light, mean look, haw-like expression.
 Neck : Excessively long, distinct dewlap.
 Gait : Poor mover.

Disqualifying faults

 Any fault in temperament such as : snapping, aggressiveness towards dog or man, excessive shyness.
 Lack of type : Insufficient breed characteristics, which means the animal on the whole doesn’t resemble other samples of the breed.
 Height : Outside the limits defined by the standard.
 Head planes : Marked convergence.
 Abnormal markings : White spot on the ear or eye in a white patch.
 Eyes : Very light in colour, heterochromia (eyes of different colours), squinting entropion, ectropion.
 Jaws : Overshot or undershot mouth.
 Teeth : The first premolars of both jaws and the last molars of the lower jaw are considered without importance.
 Can only be admitted the absence of 2 PM2 or 1 PM2 and 1 PM3.
 Contiguous absence of these two teeth (PM2 and PM3) is eliminating.
 Absence of any other tooth is eliminating.
 Pigmentation : Distinct unpigmented areas on the nose or eyelids.
 Presence of dewclaws, even if rudimentary.
 Serious morphological anomaly.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.



Detailed history

While most French-born detainees have suffered greatly from competition from foreign races, especially British, the Breton Spaniel is an exception. The most popular hunting dog in France, the Breton Spaniel is also one of our national breeds, which has been the best exported. His success has also been indignant to some. "The French, who were able to create this race, could not maintain their ancient races. It's absurd! We read in the pen of a specialist. In fact, many French sniper dogs have survived, some even flourished, but it is true that among them, the dominance of the Breton Spaniel remains insolent.

Originally, however, there was nothing to distinguish this dog from the numerous and obscure "country" Spaniels, whose naturalist Buffon pointed out, at the end of the eighteenth century, the modest size. In the very heart of Brittany, the ancestors of the Breton Spaniel formed a fairly varied population reminiscent of that of the Spaniels of Great Britain. In Finistère, for example, there was a small dog, with a thick coat and a round skull, the "choupille", which, by its way of hunting, by "stuffing" the game, its "swarming" paces like its small size, was not without evoking the Cocker. In the Côtes du Nord, the type was of a larger size, but compact, similar to that of the Springer, which did not prevent him from having good provisions for stopping.

It is in "Pays gallo" (Brittany not "Breton", roughly Ille-et-Vilaine) that the Epagneuls had the morphology closest to that of the French Spaniel, while being lighter.

The qualities that would eventually promote the Breton Spaniel are primarily related to the natural environment in which this dog has evolved. From time immemorial, Brittany, of which certain territories were particularly wild; Was not it one of the last refuges of the wolf in France? ; was characterized by its richness and diversity cynegetic. In this country of dense grove, alternating with multiple undergrowth and vast uncultivated barrens, shelter of many game and also soil of election of the woodcock, so popular with hunters, it is not surprising that the many skills of the local Spaniel bloomed.

Brittany naturally became a favorite hunting ground, not only for the French, but also for some Britons, who came there accompanied by their dogs, even leaving them on board the farms according to the constraints imposed, since 1901, by the quarantine . There is no doubt that the presence of these Springers, Spaniels or Setters resulted in crosses with native dogs. But these involuntary alliances are not to regret because one of them gave birth to a new breed, the Breton Spaniel.

The count of Kermadec, one of the great specialists of the race, tells us the event: "Chance, to a certain extent, contributed to hasten the realization of the work undertaken: there was a fortuitous alliance with the guard of the Viscount of Pontavice of a Breton Spaniel and an English Setter of a repressed model; we kept a family with short tails, reinforced frame and size and finally full of qualities. This group of dogs caused a sensation by its homogeneous type. Shortly afterwards, their success at the trials was the beginning of a popularity that has never been denied since then. This lineage, it is believed, is the basis of the current Breton Spaniel, but it is likely that other breeders reiterated this kind of crossing whose results seemed so promising. The Breton Spaniel, officially recognized around 1900, appears at a time when, in the field of domestic animals, the concept of race is relatively new and sometimes still covers that of regional variety. The desire to value the local resources helping, the most influential personalities of our provinces still choose, often abusively or restrictively, the name of a canine type according to its terroir.

In the case of the Breton Spaniel, however, this decision is fully justified, because this dog comes from a country with strong traditions, well-rooted particularisms. Its general conformation as well as its temperament include many features typical Breton; small in size, but hard to the task, it is compact and ratcheted without having a heavy frame. Noted for these qualities, the Breton Spaniel owes its fortune to its originality. This dog is bigger than a Cocker, so more versatile, and above all it has the advantage over Spaniels of larger size to stop the game. By distinguishing himself from other breeds across the Channel, despite the British blood supply, he can face their competition successfully.

The first Breton Spaniel; a tricolor subject; was exhibited at Paris, in 1896, by MM. Combourg and Pontavice. In 1904 Mr. Patin presented a white and brown specimen, and the following year Mr. Trentel exhibited his dog Mirza. In 1907, the batch presented in Paris by Dr. Gastel and M. du Pontavice made a very big impression.

The success of the race led to the regrouping of its followers, who formed in 1907 in Loudéac, under the presidency of an attorney.Me Enaud, the "Club of the Brittany Spaniel with a short tail", such was indeed the one of the most noticeable features of the first specimens. That same year, a first standard of Breton Spaniel was written in Guingamp under the aegis of Dr. Grand-Chavin and presented by Dr. Megnin to Me Enaud. On May 31st, the new breed was recognized by the Central Canine Society. A tricolor male named Boy, born February 1, 1901 and owned by M. du Pontavice, was the first Breton Spaniel recorded in the LOF.

The Breed Club was officially affiliated with the SCC in 1908. However, the very new "formula" of the Breton Spaniel was going to be the subject of long trial and error, which resulted in many adjustments to the standard of the breed. . Thus, in 1923, at the initiative of the new president, Mr. Lessard, the notion of naturally short-tailed race was abandoned to the extent that this particularity was far from being a general rule. Moreover, few races possess it by birth; it comes most often, whether Bobtail, Schipperke or Spaniels, an intervention performed on very young puppies to make anoures (no tail) or brachyoures (short tail).

The controversies concerning the size of the dog knew, they, several episodes: in 1912, the partisans of a very small size (from 40 to 45 cm) tried to make prevail their point of view, but the supporters of the type "Spaniel of the ferns" "(Partisans of a height at the withers between 45 and 50 cm) carried it; in the years 1937 - 1938, the controversy re fl ected and the lower and upper limits of size were definitively fixed at 48 and 50 cm for the males and 47 and 49 cm for the females.

The characteristics of the head gave rise to another debate: some amateurs wanted it to be round with short ears and chamfer, while others felt that its proportions should be closer to those of the French Spaniel. Finally, in 1938, under the impetus of M. de Kermadec, an intermediate solution was adopted: "The skull should be of medium length, rounded, the lateral walls marked and rounded, the stop with depression quite sensitive although sloping soft. The ear is planted high, rather short and slightly rounded."

We can thus say that the Breton Spaniel, in a certain way, is a "young race", whose development was only effective towards the end of the 1930s, a period which marks, moreover, the beginning of a national broadcast of the breed. Already in 1923, Paul Mégnin notes that the Breton Spaniel "acclimates perfectly in all the regions of France and can render great services in all the terrain cut by hedges where, the game being rare, the hunter must have an animal beating the cantons very quickly ". The interest for the race is reflected in a very significant increase in the number of members of the Club, from fifty to two hundred and fifty in the course of the thirties. From 1930, a section of the Paris Club, led by M., Mottet, contributes greatly to make known the Brittany Spaniel in the whole of the Hexagon.

After the Second World War, the continuation of the irresistible rise of the Breton Spaniel in our country is attested by the number of births which, for example, estimated at 854 in 1935, reached 1,663 in 1949. In 1956, one last revision is made to the standard of the race since we admit from now on the white and black dresses. That same year, Gaston Pouchain was elected president of the Club (he later became president of the Central Canine Society).

The Breton Spaniel has also rapidly crossed our borders. His arrival in the Americas, in the thirties, is indebted to J. Pugibet, a French resident of Veracruz (Mexico) who undertook the import of several specimens to hunt in the Yucatan. Another of our hobbyist compatriots in Mexico, Louis Thébaud, living in New Jersey, got in touch with a French Canadian, E. Chevrier, who resided in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with the intention of planting the breed in North America. North. Chevrier was in fact specialized in importing European hunting dogs, and he helped to introduce the little Breton to American hunters.

In 1936, the first American fans of the Brittany Spaniel, which they called "Brittany", founded the Britanny Club of North America. Another club, the American Brittany Club, took over in 1942, thereby underlining the success of Breton Spaniel across the Atlantic, as Stanley Dangerfield told us in The International Encyclopedia of Dogs: "It has become one of the most popular American hounds. The Americans, it is true, especially appreciate this dog for its many qualities. It brings a "more" on the Spaniels who, not stopping, must necessarily work in a limited radius within range of rifle. In addition, its modest size does not prevent it from having a large quest, conducted at a good speed, not inferior to that of a Setter or a Pointer.

A favorite in the United States, the Brittany Spaniel has also been exported throughout Europe: in Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, as in Germany, Denmark, Norway and Yugoslavia, it is encounter on hunting grounds. The fortune of this young race has not ceased to grow, even among the English, who, after having long ignored it, have at last received it. As a result, this dog, with many qualities and very versatile abilities, is the greatest achievement of our national dogs.

The Breton Spaniel is the sportiest and fastest of the French stop dogs, but also the smallest breed of stop, although this difference is minimal. With his 15 kilos, he is not ridiculous against his competitors in the field-trials, which, for the most part, weigh little more than 20 kilos. Competitive subjects are obviously only a fraction of the hunting dog population, but they nevertheless show an inevitable evolution: every kilogram, every centimeter must have their reason for being and the big templates are over. Although evolving into a different category, one can compare the Breton to the Springer, which, of barely larger size, is currently one of the most famous hunting dogs.

The Breton Spaniel did not fall into the trap of specialization. It is ideal for a hunter who does not necessarily have the means to have an ideal subject for each phase of the hunt and each type of territory. Most professional trainers consider it the best dog to adapt to the different terrains of the regions of France. This king of the woodcock hunt does not hesitate to sneak, thanks to its small size, under the thickest cover in search of the "mordorée". Hence his reputation for being a perfect dog for the hedgerow and the wood, which does not prevent a trainer from the north of France to swear by the Breton Spaniel to navigate the huge soggy fields of his region: this dog compensates for his least physical means by his intelligence and his energy, according to a law of nature applying to small jigs. And in the garrigues of the South, it shows an equal efficiency, because its sense of smell remains excellent despite the heat.

Like all Spaniels, he is comfortable in the water and makes an honorable swamp dog: a pond tail will not repel him. However, he will be at a disadvantage if he has to swim a lot. Regarding the report, G. Pouchain emphasizes that it is "a born retriever, able to search and bring back all the pieces in all terrains". Despite its small size, it can actually bring a big capuchin. It could be compared to these small cars that, having under the hood a "turbo", compete with prestigious and powerful sports cars, both in competition and on the roads. The "turbo" of the Breton Spaniel is his heart to the book, his will, his dynamism.

The Breton Spaniel is easy to train. Some have reproached him for being stubborn or cabochard, and it is true that, the race being very widespread and sought after, one finds naturally very unequal subjects; it is the ransom of his popularity. In this regard, we will take care to acquire a puppy with his "papers", in this case a birth certificate attesting his registration (provisional until confirmation) to the Book of French origins. While waiting for a hunter subject, we will pay attention to the mentions of "trialer" and other rewards or titles of work noted in his genealogy.

The misunderstanding of the driver can also explain this criticism sometimes formulated against the Breton Spaniel, as said a famous trainer: "There are no cabochards dogs, but only misunderstood. Indeed, this dog, who is less than the others, is often required to have similar results; from where sometimes this personality a little voluntary or this impulse, nervous with flower of skin.

The Breton Spaniel is a bit, in the bunch of stop dogs, what were, among the cycling champions, a Robic or a Hinault (two pure Bretons!): Not the most impressive athletes, but "winners" ", Knowing how to grit their teeth, using their intelligence as much as their legs, experts in tactics. The tactic of hunting, the Breton Spaniel has it in the blood. He shows a remarkable spirit of initiative and knows how to thwart the tricks of the smartest game. That said, a "well-born" subject has no problem with dressage. One will refrain from encouraging him to "stuff" on the hair, because then he would be tempted to imitate his ancestors the tumblers who, formerly, often led the hare aloud.

The Breton is fast, a little less than a Setter, despite its slightly jerky pace. It is nevertheless considered as the quickest French dog (which has still made great progress in this area, as can be seen in competition: French is no longer synonymous with debonair). In the championships, he trustees the first places. Only the German Pointer and, to a lesser extent, the Korthals Griffon can hold him high (remember that continental races compete separately with British races).

The Breton Spaniel also owes some of its popularity to his pet dog skills. There was a time when the vast majority of pleasure dogs were chosen from hunting breeds because "real" pet dogs were very rare luxury animals. Thus, like the Cocker or the Fox Terrier, the Breton Spaniel has often been converted into a city companion. "0 poor Spaniels, accustomed to repent at La Sevigne, sad on the Parisian sidewalk, where the horn of your soles dries and splits, so friend of the swamps and dark ditches that grow the veronious little oak. With her unmistakable style, Colette already complained of the unfortunate hunting dogs, whose only daily exercise is sometimes to go around a block.

The little Breton is the best companion of the city hunter: not bulky, it costs little to feed, and his dress requires only moderate care. He is a sociable dog, little barker, great friend of children with whom he knows how to be very patient and, moreover, obedient. Of course, it is not exclusively reserved for hunters. But his love of nature and the outdoors, his vitality will make him choose, preferably, by masters who love walks in the countryside and the woods, wishing a sporty companion, solid and not snobbish.

A very legitimate thing is the nostalgia that makes one dream of acquiring such a dog, to the memory of some uncle hunter recounting his exploits, or to that of cousins farmers whose dog you, welcomed with an overflowing affection. But, if the Breton Spaniel can restore all the charm of these simple and unforgettable moments, it is nonetheless a big star: first breed of hunting in France, it is also among those which are most fertile, and c is still the most popular French breed in the world. In the field of competition, he is constantly at the top of the table, if not in the first place. At "Canine Olympics" it would be, without a doubt, our best chance of medal.

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    Japanese Bobtail Translation Francis Vandersteen Origin The Japanese Bobtail is a breed of cat native to Japan. This cat is characterized by its short, curled tail. A brief historical overview The breed, when tortoiseshell and white, is known as the Mi-ké (three hairs = three colors) in its native Japan, where it is considered a symbol of...
  • Kuril Bobtail

    Kuril Bobtail Translation Francis Vandersteen Origin The Kuril Bobtail is a cat breed from the Kuril Islands in Russia. This cat is characterized by its very short pom-pom tail, the result of a natural mutation. The breed exists in shorthair and longhair varieties. A brief historical overview This natural breed originated on the Kuril Islands, on the...
  • Russian blue

    Russian blue Translation Francis Vandersteen Origin The Russian Blue or Russian is a cat breed with controversial origins, usually considered a natural breed that originated in cold countries such as Russia and Scandinavia. Often described as a calm breed that is very attached to its master, the Russian Blue is well suited to life in an...