Brittany vs Springer Spaniel

September 18, 2022

Are you looking for an energetic, fun-loving, and intelligent dog?

If that is what you are searching for two dog breeds you are likely to shortlist will be the Springer Spaniel and Brittany.

But which of these lively dogs is the best fit for you and will fit into your life best? Even though they share quite a few traits, there are some differences that it would be helpful to know before committing to a new dog.

If this is your situation or you are just curious about these dog breeds, this is the article for you. Read on to learn how these dogs are different.


Let's start by taking a look at how the two breeds originated. There are big differences in their backgrounds that influence other characteristics of these dogs.

Brittany History

Brittany's story starts just a few years after they were recognised by the AKC as a dog breed in 1907. It was, of course, around before this time, but there is little information about it.

This dog breed was developed in the Brittany region of France. As you may have guessed, this is where they got their name from. Like many dogs in the Spaniel family, the Brittany was developed to hunt game.

Along with sharing their purpose with many Spaniels, the Brittany was called a "Brittany Spaniel" until the AKC dropped Spaniel from the name in 1982. Though you still can see bits of Spaniel come through when you look at them.

The reason for the name change from Brittany Spaniel was due to the breed being more of a pointing breed than a flushing one. These days this breed is classed as a pointer.

Springer Spaniel History

The Springer Spaniel is the older of the two breeds but only became a recognised breed by the AKC a few years earlier than Brittany's. Springer Spaniels originated in England and became recognised by the AKC in 1902. Their roots can be traced as far back as the 1500s though making this a very old breed.

Springer Spaniels were bred as hunting dogs and are highly skilled at flushing out prey, which was usually birds or small animals. Their name came from their ability to make birds 'spring' from their hiding places allowing hunters to do their thing.

There are two types of Springers today, which are the English Springer Spaniel and Welsh Springer Spaniel. The two distinct breeds were recognised in the early 1900s. Each has its own subtle differences, but both have similar histories.

Physical Differences

Their physical appearance is an easy way to visually identify which breed you are looking at. Let's run over the key differences between these popular breeds.

Size and Weight

The Brittany and Springer Spaniel are quite similar in terms of size and weight though Brittany's can be a bit smaller on average.

Being so similar in size can make it quite difficult to recognise the differences between these dog breeds from a distance. Physical characteristics will be a far easier way to tell the differences between these dog breeds.

Springer Spaniel Stats:

  • Height: 19-20 inches
  • Weight: 18-22.5 kg

Brittany Stats:

  • Height: 17.5-20.5 inches
  • Weight: 16-19 kg

Physical Features

Both breeds have a compact build thanks to being bred as working dogs. But there are a few physical features that give away which breed you are looking at.

A Brittany has a shorter coat while the Springer Spaniel generally has longer and wavy hair with feathering at the underside, though some do choose to cut their coats short too. You won't see a Brittany with a longer coat.

Brittany's ears do hang over in that typical Spaniel way but don't have the same fluffy and rounded shape that Springer Spaniel's ears have.

Another physical difference between these dogs is their tail. Springers have long tails and Brittany's have very short tails. These are usually docked tails due to their prevalence as hunting dogs.


Both of these breeds have happy, playful, loving temperaments, though they do differ a little.

Firstly, both Welsh and English Springer Spaniels are more affectionate towards their families and are better with kids than Brittany's.

All dog breeds we are talking about are great with other dogs too. There are no real differences there. But when it comes to people, the English Springer Spaniel is far more open to strangers than the Brittany is.

It will not come as a surprise to learn that both types of Springer Spaniel and the Brittany are highly trainable, given their working history. Though Springer Spaniels are more adaptable to change.

Coat Colours

Both the English Springer Spaniel and Brittany come in a wide range of colours. The Brittany is available in a few more than the Springer is though.

Brittany's come in 11 coat colours with seven being breed standard by the AKC. All of these are either parti-colour or roan coats.

English Springer Spaniels have nine coat colours but only six are regarded as breed standard coats. All Springer coats are either parti-colour or tri-colour. Welsh Springers are a bit different only coming in one colour which is red and white.


There was a study on dog intelligence by canine psychologist Stanley Coren that included both Springer Spaniels and Brittanys. Using this study as our method of measuring, we can say that the English Springer Spaniel is smarter than the Brittany.

The English Springer placed 13th while the Brittany came in 23rd. These are both very impressive placements on the list. The Welsh Springer Spaniel didn't fare quite as well coming in 41st.

Overall these are all respectable results seeing the list was out of 138 breeds! This means any of these dogs will sail through any basic obedience training and have no problem with more challenging activities such as dog sports either.

Grooming Needs

Both Brittany and Springer Spaniels will need regular grooming to keep their coats in good condition and save your home from shedding which they all receive a 3/5 rating for from the AKC.

No matter which of these dogs you bring into your family regular brushing, the odd bath, and a dog groom every eight to 10 weeks will be needed. This can be a little worse for the English Springer Spaniel given the length of their coats though.

Neither breed is hypoallergenic, unfortunately for you allergy sufferers.


There are a few ways to measure the popularity of these dog breeds. Let's first take a look at AKC's dog rankings and then at a little data about the general interest in these dog breeds which highlights a few key differences.

AKC Breed Popularity Rankings

Going by the most popular breeds the English Springer Spaniel are almost equal with the English Springer Spaniel taking the 26th spot and Brittany right behind in the 27th.

Welsh Springer Spaniels are a different story ranking all the way down in the 126th position!

UK English Springer Spaniel vs Brittany

UK Popularity

In the UK the gap is far larger than one spot on a dog popularity ranking would suggest with the English Springer Spaniel being vastly more popular than the Brittany.

This could be due to the Springer Spaniel originating from England though. This would make sense and if you look at the data from France you can see the charts are the opposite in favour of Brittany's.

USA English Springer Spaniel vs Brittany

USA Popularity

Even though they are only one spot higher than the Brittany on the AKC's list of popular dog breeds the English Springer Spaniel has quite a bit more interest online than Brittany's do.

Interestingly, there are a few states in America where Brittany's are more popular.

These are:

  • Utah
  • Wyoming
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Hawaii
  • Oklahoma
  • Kansas

Exercise Needs

It won't come as a surprise to learn that these two gun dog breeds have high energy levels and need a lot of exercise to stay in good health.

A Springer Spaniel will need around two hours of exercise per day to stay in shape while a Brittany will just require around an hour and a half in contrast. This is a very important consideration to make before choosing your dog breed.

Given the high energy level which these dogs have paired with their keen minds, you have a w wide range of options available for either of these breeds when it comes to the type of exercise.

This could be a typical dog walk, throwing the ball in the park, running with you, or even more physically taxing sports such as canicross or bikejoring if you are feeling adventurous.


While all dogs are prone to some general health problems, there are often some which are more likely to be found in a specific breed. Let's take a look at some of the conditions you are more likely to find in Brittanys or English Springers.

A few conditions you may find in Brittanys include Otitis Externa, which is an ear inflammation, thyroid cancer, or primary lens luxation, which is an eye disease.

Springers have their own list of specific conditions too. Some of these are elbow or hip dysplasia, which is a joint problem and progressive retinal atrophy, which is a degenerative eye disease.

Life Span

Brittanys and Springer Spaniels both have a life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years. It's also possible for these breeds to beat this guideline with the right diet, plenty of exercise, and a bit of luck.

Both breeds have their oldest known dogs living many years past this age range.


While the Brittany and Springer Spaniel are both quite similar dogs there are many differences that would be worth considering before getting one as a pet.

Both of these sporting dogs are known for being excitable, energetic, smart and affectionate. As they are highly active dogs, they do work best in very active families but are known to be good house dogs too, providing they get enough exercise. If not, you may see a little destructive behaviour out of boredom.

They make a great canine family member if you are looking for a new one. No matter if you choose a Brittany or an English Springer Spaniel, you will be bringing a lot of fun and adventure into your life.

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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