The French Brittany Spaniel History
The Brittany takes its name from the province in northern France where it originated, While there is no consensus on the origins of the breed, many experts believe the dog is a product of interbreeding between English pointers and spaniels native to Brittany. The strong historical ties between Brittany and southern Britain lend strong support to this theory, as frequent interaction between merchants, politicians, and hunters could easily have resulted in pairings between English and French hunting dogs. Depictions of dogs bearing a strong resemblance to the Brittany can be found in paintings and tapestries dating back to the 17th century, in which one sees the dog being used to locate and capture game, much as it is used today.
The Brittany as we would recognize it today, however, traces its
origins back to the mid-19th century. The first written account of a
Brittany (or a dog very much resembling one) dates back to 1850,
when an English clergyman by the name of Reverend Davies wrote about
hunting with small, bobtailed dogs that pointed, retrieved, and
worked well in the brush. Around this time, it is said that a local
hunter in the small French town of Pontou bred his
white-and-mahogany bitch with a yellow-and-white dog owned by an
English sportsman who was in Brittany on a hunting trip; the
resulting litter produced two tailless puppies, arguably the first
of the Brittany breed.
With the kind help of both the French Kennel Club and the official
Brittany Club of France, “Club de L’Epagneul Breton”, Monsieur
Leon Le Louet (President) and Mme Odile Queffeulou succeeded in
obtaining the four initial ( completely unrelated) foundation stock
on behalf of Stanley Smith. Two dogs and two bitches in 1981.
The first litter born in England in 1982, of four dogs and four bitches from the initial pair, proved an exceptional start to the Brittany activity in Great Britain.
The Brittany Spaniel in Ireland
During 1981 (the year in which the first Specimens came to England), Two dogs and two bitches were imported into Ireland from France, eventually taken over by
Mr. George Kingston of co. Cork. These were of particularly good breeding.
1. Black/white dog; Phebus de Saint Lubin
2.Black /white bitch 'Perlez de Kerryvann;
3 Orange/white dog 'Tr. Orius de Saint tugen
4 Orange/white bitch 'Rouez de Saint Tugen
The first litter born in 1982 . Phebus / Perlez produced both orange/white and black/white puppies
This was followed by a repeat mating of these bloodlines. A mating between Phebus and Rouez proved very satisfactory. Then, misfortune struck, when Orius was injured in a road accident and was later proved to be sterile.Mr George Kingston then imported the orange/white dog Serry de sous les Viviers from Brittany, to replace the loss Together with further imports from England the breed is now going from strength to strength in Ireland. The late Mrs Kathleen Bride, President of the Brittany Spaniel Club of Ireland, had a super dog from the Phebus /Rouex mating, Cradenhill Timon, and had maintained the Phebus /Perlez line by some judicious line-breeding, and has produced some very good youngsters. Mr Brian MacDiamada had the black/white bitch Cradenhill Silk from the first litter born, together with her sister from the second. He had also the orange /white roan dog Dorvalstan Vagabond from England. He had bred an exceptional litter from these connection, Serry has proved to be a very good stud force
The Brittany is now an accepted breed by the Irish Kennel Club, and Green Stars are being awarded at their Shows and Field Trials.