It takes a real love of the game for a thirty-pound dog to retrieve a fifteen-pound goose through corn stubble or snow,” says gun-dog trainer Jake Bartells, describing his French Brittanys. Indeed, an oft-quoted tagline by Gaston Pouchain, former President of the Club de lÉpagneul Breton, defines the French Brittany as having un maximum de qualités pour un volume minimum, which translates to “a maximum of qualities in a minimum of volume.”
Keeping that package in mind, Bartells refers to French Brittanys as “out-of-the-box” dogs. “By that I mean with very little training and a lot of exposure (to birds), you can have a dog that you will thoroughly enjoy. Start with a well-bred dog, and what it becomes will be largely a product of its environment.”
His French Brittanys have adapted their skills to efficiently hunt ruffed grouse, sharptails, pheasants, Hungarian partridge, quail, puddle and diving ducks, and Canada geese. He admits that their love of fur (rabbits, squirrels, and groundhogs) is so strong that he has to limit how many of those types of animals he shoots for them.
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