By Martha Townley
Brittanys are the pranksters and heartbreakers of the canine world. A human only has to look into those amber eyes, and his or her soul will surrender to a tender softness it has never quite known before.
More sensitive than most breeds, Brittanys have high energy levels and require intensive, daily exercise. They love to jog or go on long walks. They are known to be excellent pointers and great retrievers of quail, dove, pheasant, and grouse in the hunting field. Their ability to point is instinctive. Properly trained, Brittanys also provide stiff competition at dog shows.
Brittanys are usually orange and white or liver and white. Consistent obedience training is essential to forming a sound canine-human relationship. As with any breed, Brittanys need to know the owner is in control at all times. Since that control will be tested again and again, the owner must be persistent in establishing firm guidelines with no wavering.
These 4-paws laugh. No kidding. I call it the “snaggle tooth smile.” I can usually tell when our Brittanys smile or laugh by the way they curl their upper lip on one side of their mouth to show one or two upper teeth. After their evening meal, all these guys have been known to turn into spastic clowns. They run in circles up and down the hallway until their energy gives out. Then they like to settle in for reruns of Mr Ed, the talking horse, or The Adams Family.
Cooks in the family, beware! These amber-eyed angels love to counter surf. For example, I have put a steak out to marinate on a platter, carefully choosing the kitchen counter where it could rest in peace far away from canine robbers. Well, apparently it wasn’t far enough. I went out of the room for a few minutes, and when I came back, I found Dover, one of my Britts, contentedly gnawing away on a juicy, raw steak with no guilt at all.
His punishment was the forfeiture of his privilege to watch Mr. Ed and Elvis Presley reruns for three nights. He tried to persuade me to change my mind by looking more adorable than usual, but I stood firm, even though it was killing me inside.
These dogs are very affectionate (as you have probably guessed already) and love to cuddle. Sometimes, when I’m exhausted, I can’t tell the difference between a Brittany and a pillow. Upon waking up, I discover a pink eraser nose breathing into my face with an ear flopped over one of my eyes. At this moment, I remain still because if this is heaven, I don’t want it to go away.
Brittanys are loyal and caring, even when sick. Several years ago, Dover, my second Britt, was sick with kidney failure. In the evening when I came home, he walked down a long hallway to greet me at the back door while in a great deal of pain. I’ll never forget it. This brings tears to my eyes every time I remember.
If you like to exercise, and are willing to give the time and love, then a Brittany may be the dog for you. For more information on this breed please go to www.nbran.org.
National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network