For more than seventy-five years, The Complete Dog Book has been the premier reference on purebred dogs. Now in its twentieth edition, this treasured guide is an essential volume for every dog owner and owner-to-be.
Comprehensive and thoughtfully organized, The Complete Dog Book features all 153 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, the official breed standards, breed histories, and photographs. Also included are the twelve most recently recognized breeds: Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Black Russian Terrier, German Pinscher, Glen of Imaal Terrier, Havanese, Lowchen, Neapolitan Mastiff, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Parson Russell Terrier, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Spinone Italiano, and Toy Fox Terrier.
Along with AKC registration procedures and current forms, The Complete Dog Book includes sections on
* choosing the dog that's right for you
* responsible breeding
* canine first-aid
* joining a dog club
* Canine Good Citizen(r) program
* every AKC sport: Agility, Conformation, Coonhound, Earthdog, Field Trials, Herding, Hunt Tests, Junior Showmanship, Lure Coursing, Obedience, Rally, and Tracking
Concluding with an extensive glossary of terms and line drawings, The Complete Dog Book is a reference that dog aficionados will turn to again and again.
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January 30, 2006
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Excerpt from The Complete Dog Book by The American Kennel Club
Named for the French province in which it originated, the brittany was first registered by the American Kennel Club as the Brittany Spaniel in 1934. Although called a spaniel, by its manner of working game the Brittany belongs with the pointing breeds. In appearance, the breed is smaller than the setters but leggier than the spaniels, having a short tail and characteristic high ear-set. On September 1, 1982, the breed's official AKC name became Brittany, to more correctly identify their hunting style.
Though it is generally conceded that the basic stock for all bird dogs is the same, most of the facts concerning the development and spread of the various breeds are lost in antiquity. The first accurate records to pinpoint the actual Brittany-type dog are seventeenth-century paintings and tapestries. The frequency with which these appear suggests this type of dog was fairly common. Paintings by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755) show a liver-and-white dog pointing partridge. This same type of dog is common in Flemish paintings from the school of Jan Steen. Still other artists show this type of bird dog, so it would appear that it was common throughout the northern coast of France and in Holland.
Still, there is nothing written before 1850 that can be unequivocally interpreted as a reference to the Brittany. In that year, the English clergyman Reverend Davies wrote of hunting in Carhaix with small, bobtailed dogs. They were not as smooth as the Pointer, but worked well in the brush. They pointed, retrieved game well, and were particularly popular with poachers, as the nature of that occupation required that the dogs be easy to handle. The description fits the Brittany to perfection.
It was speculated, and in at least one case confirmed, that around 1900 some native spaniels of Brittany were mated with English pointing dogs, whose owners vacationed in France, for woodcock shooting. These matings intensified the pointing qualities of the breed while the basic features remained essentially Breton. The Brittany was an all-purpose dog, a family pet, and a guard dog as well as a hunting dog for the thrifty French peasant. This certainly influenced its shape, size, and disposition. The climate, the nature of the terrain hunted, the manner of hunting, and even its popularity with poachers all had an effect on the type of coat, keenness of nose, and retrieving ability that was developed over the years.
Legend has it that the first tailless ancestor of the modern Brittany emerged in the mid-1800s at Pontou, a little town in the valley of Douron. It resulted from a cross between a white-and-mahogany bitch owned by a hunter in the region and a lemon-and-white dog brought to Brittany for woodcock shooting by an English sportsman. Of two tailless puppies in this litter, one proved outstanding. His work in the field has been described as wonderful, and he became a popular stud. All of his litters produced puppies either without tails or with short stubs.
The Brittany became a recognized breed in 1907, when Boy, an orange-and-white, was registered in France as the first l'�pagneul Breton queue courte naturelle. This name was soon shortened to l'�pagneul Breton, or Brittany Spaniel. Before 1907, Brittanys had competed in classes for Miscellaneous French spaniels.
In the same year, an outline for the first breed standard was written. This early standard required that the tail be short at birth and that, in order to discourage further crossbreeding, black and white be disqualified. The requirement for the natural bobtail was soon dropped.
The breed was introduced in the United States in 1931 and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1934. The first standard was a direct translation from the French and not particularly comprehensible. The first major accomplishment of the American Brittany Club after its formation in 1942 was to replace the original standard with a clear and concise one.
An early gain in popularity was due largely to the Brittany's merits as a shooting dog. A superb nose and desire to please, coupled with relatively small size, endeared the breed to rural and urban hunters alike.
The last fifty years have seen a tremendous growth in both field trials and hunt tests sponsored by the American Brittany Club under the auspices of the AKC. Brittany competition in AKC dog shows has grown equally, and the majority of Brittany owners and breeders are today dedicated to the Dual Champion (field and show champion). Now, seventy years since first recognition, more than 500 Brittanys have gained the ultimate title, that of Dual Champion.