Is That A Brittany?

American Brittany Rescue is a purebred rescue organization. Unfortunately there are a tremendous number of homeless dogs in this country and with volunteers across the US & Canada, our resources and foster homes are limited, and we can’t even save every purebred Brittany. Some of our volunteers who have the time and room do occasionally rescue mixes, and nearly every volunteer has had to make a determination as to whether or not a particular dog is purebred. Shelters often mis-identify a dog’s breed, and while we have great compassion for dogs of all breeds and we realize that mixes are equally valuable pets, we do not make it a practice to post mixes on our website. We prefer to concentrate our efforts and limited resources on placing as many purebred Brittanys as we possibly can. ABR volunteers are encouraged to network with local rescue groups, including other breed groups and all breed/mixed breed groups. We recommend that Brittany mixes be posted on Petfinder and Petshelter. We hope this page will help you if you need to make a breed determination.


French Brittany standard, unlike the AKC standard, allows for black pigment on the nose and eye rims (even on an orange and white dog) and black coloration in the coat. These are still purebred Brittanys, and some French-bred Brittanys may be indistinguishable from “American” Brittanys.

ABR does rescue French Brittanys, but you may also wish to contact your local French Brittany club to see if they would like to help. If you need help determining whether a Brittany may be French, send photos to Bob & Jill Yoerin .

French Brittany website

Breeds Sometimes Confused With Brittanys


This is the breed most commonly confused with Brittanys, and vice versa. The Springer is a flushing breed of approximately the same size as a Brittany.

Similarities to Brittanys: Both Brittanys and Springers may be liver & white or tricolor, both have tails docked about the same length, and both breeds are approximately the same height. Field-bred Springers may have high-set triangular ears similar to a Brittany’s.

Differences: The major difference is that Springers do not come in orange & white (they can be black/white, liver/white, or tricolored). Their ears are heavier, thicker in the leather, generally longer and/or bigger than Brittanys’ ears, and Springers may carry longer hair on the ears as well as on the body featherings. Springers usually weigh substantially more than a Brittany of comparable height.

Note: We are aware that some “breeders” are producing orange and white Springers, but those are certainly not the norm.

English Springer Rescue America website


The English Setter is a large, elegant member of the sporting group. Its coat is flat with a good amount of feathering.

Similarities to Brittanys: English Setters may be orange/white, black/white (called blue in the setter), or tricolor. Field-bred setters may have a coat and activity level similar to a Brittany.

Differences: English Setters are much larger dogs (approximately 50-70 lbs.) and some may carry considerably more coat than Brittanys. Their tails are never docked. The Setter’s muzzle is usually as long as the skull and more square in shape, and they may have more pendulous lips than Brittanys. The Setter’s head is longer and their ears may be set lower on the head. Their nose and eye rim pigment is dark brown to black.

English Setter Association of America Web Site


The Irish Red and White Setter is a fairly rare breed that narrowly escaped extinction, and there are a decent number in the US today.

Similarities to Brittanys: These setters are exclusively red and white in coloration, and some small female may be only slightly larger than Brittanys (22″ at the withers).

Differences: The Red & Whites are a larger dog in general, ranging up to 27″ at the shoulders (Brittanys average 18-20). Their muzzle is the same length as the skull, the nose and eye rim pigment is dark brown to black, and they generally have a longer, silkier coat than a Brittany.

Irish Red & White Setter Association website


The Cocker is the smallest member of the sporting group, standing about 14″ to 15″ at the shoulder.

Similarities to Brittanys: Cockers may come in orange/white, liver/white, and black/white (all colors which are possible in Brittanys), and have tails docked about the same length.

Differences: Cockers are substantially smaller than Brittanys as mentioned above, and they may also be pure black or black with orange points on the face and legs (both colors not possible in Brittanys). Cockers’ ears are thicker, longer, and set low on the head. Their faces are generally more square or rectangular in build, and they carry considerably more and longer coat over the entire body.

American Spaniel Club website


Two distinct breeds treated as one here for the reason that they are both are large, short-haired, energetic pointing breeds.

Similarities to Brittanys: The German Shorthaired Pointer’s coat is short and flat with a dense undercoat protected by stiff guard hairs making the coat water resistant and allowing the dog to stay warm in cold weather. The colour can be a dark brown, correctly referred to in English as “liver” (incorrectly as “chocolate” or “chestnut”), black (although any area of black is cause for disqualification in American Kennel Club sanctioned shows), or either liver and white or black and white. The American Kennel Club recognizes only a solid liver or liver and white coat.[3] Commonly the head is a solid or nearly solid colour and the body is speckled or “ticked” with liver and white, sometimes with large patches of solid colour called “saddles”. Roan coats are also common, with or without patching. Solid liver and solid black coats also occur, often with a small blaze of ticking or white on the chest. While the German standard permits a slight sandy colouring (“Gelber Brand”) at the extremities, this colouring is rare, and a dog displaying any yellow colouring is disqualified in AKC and CKC shows. The colouring of the GSP provides camouflage in the winter seasons.

Differences: Both breeds are substantially larger than the Brittany (average 50-70 lbs.), with very short coats carrying no fringe or feathering. Pointers’ tails are never docked, and Shorthairs’ tails are normally docked by 2/3 (longer than a Brittany’s).

Pointer Rescue website

German Shorthair Pointer Rescue website


The Australian Shepherd or “Aussie” is an energetic, hardworking Herding dog.

Similarities to Brittanys: The Aussie’s tail is docked or bobbed, and its ears are set high like a Brittany’s. Working-bred Aussies may be of approximately the same size as a larger Brittany. A red Aussie may have similar color to a Brittany.

Differences: Aussies have a much heavier coat all over the body, normally including a “mane” around their neck. Aussies are colored blue merle, red merle, black, or red, all of which can be accompanied by white trim and copper points. Most will not have white on their bodies between the shoulders and tail. One or both eyes may be blue.


The Border Collie is a very versatile, high energy Herding breed.

Similarities to Brittanys: May include liver/white or tri-color, similar size and a higher set ears.

Differences: Border Collies do not have a docked tail, their coat is either smooth or long (not medium with feathering as a Brittany’s), and the most common color is black & white. Their eye rim and nose pigment is black, and their small ears may be pricked, “rose” shaped, or dropped. One or both eyes may be blue.

Border Collie Society of America

Is It A Mix?

The head, ear shape, and earset on this dog are similar to a Brittany, but the color pattern and tail are more similar to a Border Collie, so this dog is likely a mix.

These two appear to be Setters or possibly Brittany/Setter mixes. The dog on the left has a head shaped like a Brittany, but the body style and height are more similar to a Setter. The dog on the right is all white except for orange over the eyes and on the ear tips, which is a common color pattern for field-bred Setters but very unlikely in a Brittany.

This dog has some similarities to a Brittany, but the very light yellow color, long muzzle, and longer coat overall suggest a mix.

What If I Can’t Tell?

If you find a dog that you can’t determine to be a Brittany, mix, or another breed,
try to get pictures and forward them to your State Coordinator for help.