English Setter vs Brittany: What’s the Difference?

The Brittany is a famous medium-sized French hunting dog, one of the most skilled and respected hounds in circulation, although still little known outside its territory of origin. 

Thanks to Sir Edward Laverack’s work, the English Setter has become one of the most popular dogs in England. At the end of the nineteenth century, it also arrived in America.  

Leaving their popularity aside and focusing on their traits, in this English Setter vs Brittany comparison article, we will see the difference between both breeds. First, we’ll look at the Brittany and then the English Setter.  

english setter vs brittany
English Setter vs Brittany: What’s the Difference?

The Brittany Spaniel  

With the Pointer and the Setter, or with the Retriever and the Spaniel, this breed has historically always been at the side of hunters. However, it is also an excellent companion dog today. 

Brittany Spaniel Origin and history of the breed 

Some experts consider it as the descendant of the Agasse (a breed brought to France by the Celts). It began to be recognized at the end of the nineteenth century. At first, welcomed with skepticism, but then it saw an unstoppable rise that made it the champion it is today.  

Brittany Spaniel Character 

It is a very bright, polite, and respectful dog breed that loves children and does not like being bossy: in these cases, it gets intimidated. The dog always wants to be in the company of its master and please it. However, if it doesn’t succeed, it becomes demoralized. It is stubborn only when it is not understood. 

Also called the Breton, or Breton Spaniel, the Brittany does not lie down to rest but to prepare for the pursuit of prey. 

It likes the outdoors and, if forced to stillness, it gets bored, becoming sad and melancholic. The dog loves water and diving. With strangers, it is friendly and never wary or suspicious. 

Its being active and curious means that it is easily trained. It is a hunting dog that is not limited to particular terrains but adapts to any conditions. 

Brittany Spaniel’s Physical characteristics 

The Brittany is the smallest of the pointing dogs. It looks harmonious with a solid but not heavy, elegant skeleton. 

The dog is a vigorous breed, with a lively look and intelligent expression. 

The height varies between 47 and 51 centimeters, and the weight between 14 and 18 kilos. These guidelines apply to both male and female breeds. 

The forelegs are flexible but strong. It has the sloping shoulder typical of the galloper. The arm appears broad, thick, and very muscular; slightly longer than the shoulder. The legs are quite round, with closed toes, solid pads, and short nails. 

The hind limbs are parallel, the thigh wide and muscular. The leg is a little longer than the thigh and tapers towards the bottom. The legs are longer than the front ones. 

The withers are sufficiently mobile and not very raised, but not heavy. The back appears short and rigid, closely linked to the loin. The croup is slightly sloping, broad, and muscular. Chest deep, with well-sprung but not cylindrical ribs. The belly is retracted, the side slightly raised and short. 

The tail is kept high and tending towards the horizon or slightly falling; agitated when the dog is in action. Spaniel Breton can be born anurous (without tail) or otherwise. When the tail is cropped, the ideal length is 3 to 6 centimeters, it should not exceed 10. 

Brittany Spaniel Health 

Their health is generally very good but there are a few breed pathologies. Hip dysplasia is one of them. Its average life expectancy is 14 years or more. But do not forget the vaccines and periodic checks by the vet. 

This breed needs 200-250 grams of seared meat, along with 150 grams of boiled rice and vegetables. It has a certain tendency to gain weight, therefore it requires a healthy and balanced diet, administered in the right quantities and it is better if divided into two meals a day. 

English Setter Dog

The English Setter, as its name indicates, comes from England where it was officially selected in 1800 by Sir Edward Laverack. 

The breed of English setters is recognized by the FCI, the International Federation of Canine Breeders Associations, and is included in group 7, that of pointing dogs. 

Setter breed dogs are used both as hunting and working dogs but their particularly docile nature also makes them excellent companion dogs. 

Origin and History of the English Setter 

The origins of the English Setter date back to 1500 when the Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley, began to breed the first specimens of this breed. 

To obtain the current characteristics of the English Setter, it was necessary to wait until 1800 when Sir Edward Laverack dedicated himself to perfecting all aspects. 

The aspect that mainly interested Laverack was the hunting ability of the English Setter in tracking down prey. This was precisely the main use of this breed and in which it had to be improved.  

The name of the breed derives from the verb “one that sets” which means to aim. 

In 1825, once it moved to the countryside, Laverack bought a pair of English setters named Ponto and Old Moll trying to crossbreed to create a more docile, gentle, and sociable breed than the dogs the breed is descended from. 

Thanks to Laverack’s work, only forty years later, the English Setter became one of the most popular dogs in England. At the end of the nineteenth century, it also arrived in America.  

English Setter Character 

The English Setter is a dog with a very docile, sweet, and affectionate character with its family but without being morbidly attached to its master. 

The specimens of this breed are sociable and love to be in company playing and running in the open air. 

Despite this, however, it must be remembered that these dogs do not like to be alone for too long, a situation that should be avoided in order not to make them suffer from depression or separation anxiety. 

They are lively dogs suitable for people who like to always be on the move, perhaps in the countryside or in the mountains or any case in places where the setter can vent all its energy. 

The setters tend to bark, but this is due to their nature as pointing dogs, to warn of the arrival of people or strangers.  

English Setter Physical characteristics 

The legs of the setter are long-limbed but with strong musculature and bone. 

The English Setter features a broad chest with strong pectoral muscles. 

The weight of the English Setter fluctuates between 20 and 30 kilos while the height at the withers is between 56 and 63 centimeters. 

The head is slightly elongated with dark and wide-apart eyes. It is constituted by ears that hang down to the cheeks. 

The tail is long and straight when the dog aims at its target without curling around itself. It is also entirely covered with fur that hangs in fringes. 

The fur is long, fine, streaked, and silky with a length between 5 and 6 centimeters. 

The colors allowed according to the standard are black and white, tending towards blue, white, and orange, white and brown, or, finally, tricolor. 

English Setter Health 

The English setters are robust and long-lived dogs but they can undergo specific diseases so it is good to know before buying one.  

Like most dogs, this breed can also suffer from hip dysplasia, a condition caused by a poor hip joint that can cause pain and a limp. 

The English Setter is a medium-sized dog with a life expectancy of around 10-12 years. 

English Setter vs Brittany: a side-by-side comparison 

 Brittany English Setter 
Etymology It takes its name from its homeland, Brittany From “to set” 
Longevity 14-15 years 10-12 years 
Size  Medium-large  Medium-large 
Use  Companion dog, hunting dog Hunting dog, guard dog 
Hypoallergenic No No 
For children? Yes, it’s a perfect playmate Yes, with them, it will be playful, affectionate, and protective  
For the elderly? No No 
With other dogs? Yes, it’s sociable and active  Yes, it’s sociable with its fellows, it often hunts with one or more companions 
With cats? Very tolerant, when gotten and trained as a puppy If it grows up with them, it will appreciate their presence, but due to its hunting instinct, you have to pay attention anyway. 
Noisy? Moderately Moderately, it usually barks when hunting 
Sport Agility, hunting Exercises that stimulate its sense of smell 
Price  between $1,000 to $3,500 between $600 to $1,400 
english setter vs brittany
English Setter vs Brittany

Final Verdict  

The English Setters are dogs who like to be outdoors so if you have a living space with a garden, that’s the ideal situation. However, this does not mean that they cannot live in an apartment, precisely because of the bond it manages to establish with its family.

However, the setter who lives in the apartment must never miss daily walks so it will always keep fit, not get bored, and socialize with other animals and with other people. Another ideal solution for an English Setter is living in a home with access to a fenced yard where it can play. A fence will prevent it from digging and wandering in search of birds or other prey. 

The Brittany, however, was not born as an apartment dog, but it could adapt thanks to its temperament provided it goes out regularly to exercise. It is a small athlete who loves to run freely, and the owner will have to take particular account of these needs. It may be a suitable breed for a sportsman.

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.