The epagneul breton dog breed, or more simply breton, is essentially a hunting dog and is particularly renowned among stationary dogs. It originates from France and more precisely from central Brittany, and is probably one of the oldest epagneul-type dogs.
Its origins are not certain, there are several hypotheses. Some believe that this breed was born and developed in France from a cross between the orange-white setter and the d’oysel dogs, and that the name derives from the verb espanir, which in French means to crouch. There are also theories about the name, for some it would be an alteration of the word espagnol, believing that this dog originated in Spain. Dog experts, however, think that its ancestor was a breed that has now disappeared: the epagneul de fougeres.
However, this breed is relatively young, although Breton hunters were already using it in the early 19th century. This breed was used for hunting woodcock. In fact, this dog was able to do everything on its own: set the game in motion, locate it, catch it and bring it back to its master.
It was first shown at a dog show in Paris in 1896 and the breed standard was defined in 1908, but over the years it has undergone numerous modifications, the last one a few years ago. It is well known and appreciated especially by hunters, in France, but also in Italy and in various parts of the world. It is currently also considered an excellent companion dog.
Character of the epagneul breton dog breed
The Breton has a truly excellent character; it is a lively and very intelligent dog, docile and obedient, playful and very affectionate. With children it has a lot of patience, loves to play and is also quite affectionate with strangers, so it is not really suitable as a guard dog.
It is an intelligent dog and training it is very easy, just don’t be severe and authoritarian towards it, because it is easily intimidated. In fact, it is recommended for those who are new to dogs, as it always wants to please its master. It is curious, cheerful and expansive, perfect for living in a family, but being a hunting dog, this dog loves the open air and needs constant movement because it is very lively. He can also live in a flat but needs to discharge his energy with long walks and runs.
He likes water very much and never misses an opportunity to dive into ponds or streams. He also loves mud, so it is a good idea to give him a good bath before returning him to the house after such a walk.
It gets along well with other dogs and animals, but is very jealous of its owner, so if another animal is adopted into the house, it can cause problems and have misbehaviour or aggression towards the newcomer. It does not like to be alone, if forced to stand still it gets very bored and becomes sad and melancholic.
Appearance of the epagneul breton dog breed
The Breton is a medium-sized dog. The height at withers for a male is around 50 centimetres and weight around 15 kilograms. The female usually a little less. It is the smallest of the stationary dogs. Its body is harmonious and muscular and overall elegant. Its bone structure is solid but not heavy. It is morphologically categorised as a Braccoid. A dog of solid construction and excellent proportions. Its tail is very short or completely absent.
The head is proportionate to the rest of the body, with rounded lines and the muzzle is not elongated. The truffle is broad, as are the nostrils, which give it a very well-developed sense of smell. The ears are triangular, very hairy and pendulous; they are constantly in motion following the dog’s actions. The eyes are slightly oblique, with an intelligent, sweet and sincere expression and a beautiful dark amber colour.
The coat is smooth and very fine, not silky and flat, slightly wavy on the body, semi-long. On the head it is shaved and on the front of the limbs, while on the back it is abundant with fringes. The coat may be bicolour or tricolour, the basic colour being white, spotted with brown, black or orange.
Care and health of the epagneul breton dog breed
The Breton has very good health and breed diseases are rare. Hip dysplasia is one of them. There are no other specific diseases and this dog has a very high life expectancy, easily reaching 15 years and even more.
It does not require any special care with regard to the maintenance of its coat, just an occasional brushing and a bath if necessary. Ear cleaning, on the other hand, must be at least weekly.
It has a certain tendency to put on weight, especially if it does not do as much exercise as it needs, which is really a lot, so it needs a healthy, balanced diet in proportion to its physical activity. It tolerates colder temperatures well, although it must have shelter.