Brittanys are graceful dogs who are about 17 to 20 inches tall and weigh about 30 to 40 pounds. They should not be overweight, which is usually not a problem, because they love to run in large open spaces. Brittanys are energetic companions for active families who can provide plenty of space to run and exercise for their athletic pets. They are happy dogs who will easily incorporate themselves into their owners' daily lives.
Brittanys are best suited to rural life where they have plenty of room to indulge their pointing and hunting instincts. Brittanys are more like hunting pointers than the spaniel retrievers they resemble. They won't be as enthused about retrieving and fetching as they will about sniffing out and tracking down prey. Brittanys are inquisitive, enthusiastic explorers, but if trained effectively, they will always come when called. They have been bred to work for their masters and to please them, so training is not onerous.
These are alert dogs who will appreciate activities that stimulate their minds as well as their bodies. They love to exercise and play with their owners, but they will also enjoy curling up indoors after a hard day of play. Despite their naturally alert personalities, they do not make good watchdogs. They genuinely want everyone around them to be happy, and they enjoy meeting strangers and new friends, so they will not mind the presence of new people in their homes. In fact, they are easily dominated by other dogs, so they should be socialized occasionally to make sure that they do not become submissive.
Their coats are flat or slightly wavy, but they should not be curly or silky. The coat is soft to the touch and not wiry. Dogs are orange and white or liver/tan and white with roan or clean patterns. They color should be deep and distinct, but never black. Brittanys are one of the few dogs with naturally docked tails, and their tails are usually held aloft and alert when the Brittany is pointing. They will appreciate a bath with gentle dog shampoo, and they will need to have their ears cleaned and brushed to make sure they stay clean.
Brittanys do not shed profusely. Their coats are manageable with a daily brushing with either a small pin brush or a soft brush to help their coat grow in a healthy pattern and to remove any debris they collect during the day.
With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.
Breeds with combination coats should be bathed seasonally, or about every three months. Naturally, it can be done more often if needed. The coat should end up fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.
Brittanys' legs and ears should not be too feathered or long, so this hair may need extra trimming to stay a manageable length. The Brittany's hair should be short enough so that he can always move gracefully without getting stuck on undergrowth.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
Eyes / Ears
Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.
It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Small dogs, like Dachshunds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Papillions and Japanese Chins, and dogs with hanging ears like the Saluki, have sensitive ears that need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Small dogs like Papillions and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to developing tear stains around their eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.