To start we must point out that if you follow any American Brittany pedigree back far enough all you will find are French (European) dogs. Like every other breed the differences come from the breeder desires and directions taken with the breeding. The American Brittany disallows any expression of the black gene. The French embrace the black gene with even the orange and white dogs a darker pigmented, often black nose. The European dogs often have the black in the coat including black tri color dogs, black white, liver tri color, liver and white and the standard orange white combinations. Often the orange white is a richer red with the European blood and many refer to this color chestnut and white.
There have been and continue to be rumors about the breeding of both the European dogs and the American dogs. The one side points to the larger sized American field trial dog and states that the dogs have obviously been bred to a pointer to get that size, ranginess and hyper temperament. While others claim the European dogs have been out bred to black setters to strength the black. it is not that breeders without scruples could have done those very things, but I must say I believe little of either rumor. Having been around this breed for over 50 years, having known many breeders of not only this breed but others, the ones I know have had one thing in common. That is the absolute love and commitment for that specific breed, directing their breeding program to produce what they specifically desire in their dogs over years of breeding. I must say I have never known a breeder that would have considered even for a moment, cross breeding, and then registering those pups as pure bred animals. I personally found these stories to be little more than fabrication and exaggeration for the incorrect purpose of providing a negative marketing tool when the opposite breed is mentioned or differences are questioned. Breeders that compete on any level would have no problem with outing another competitor for even the slightest doubt that the lineage and breed had been messed with. Breeders are now and have always been the best form of breeder police ever for ensuring breed purity.
The folks that stay true to the European breeding have for the most part a smaller, calmer, closer working, more field manageable and more people bonded dog. Closer working in this vernacular indicates a dog that remains in shotgun range the vast majority of the time.
The American Brittany bred for field trial and all age trials are without a doubt exceptional ground covering dogs. some within the American Brittany breed feel that to breed less than to range, speed and field aggression of than all age dog would be to dumb down the breed.
We with the pure French mentality are sure that breeding to one extreme characteristics of the breed while denying the observance of the great family companion and the close working dog is less than desirable. the definition of what is being dumber down, what that statement is applied to well may be in question. Is one side right and one side wrong. Absolutely not! There are people that would be extremely unhappy with the slower pace and smaller size of the French Brittany while others would be frustrated trying to walk behind a larger, farther ranging, more nervous dog that is less likely to meld well as a house dog and companion. Here we have the direct result of breeding differences starting from the same genetic stock. When Europe stayed to the smaller multicolored dog some in North America headed into the direction of producing a larger dog with vastly different field manners. No matter the breed you look at there will be vast differences within the dogs registered in that breed.
The French Brittany is the AKC registered as Brittany here in the US. Can anyone disagree that the American Brittany Club was not the first US Brittany Club formed and were they not formed with foundation stock that was directly from Europe. Can we not agree that for some the correct choice is the American style dog and for some the correct choice is the European style French dog. There are distinct differences that will allow each, though different, be embraced by a certain segment of the dog loving population.
We believe the only Club in America to truly represent the entire package of the French dog is the International French Brittany Club of America. We support this Club because they have remained true to the French style dog. The IFBC of A does not hold field trials. While other Clubs have discussed changing the conformation standards from the accepted International standard by allowing dogs over height to compete and be acceptable, the IFBC of A has remained committed to the original standard.