One of this year’s hot topics is the threat of a breed split between the Epagneul Breton and the American Brittany. The issue has been debated on social media and across the Brittany community and beyond, but what does it all mean?
There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle, so over the next week or so we will release a five-part series outlining various aspects of the topic. This story dates back decades, so we acknowledge that this is a very simplified version; however, we hope this series provides the EB community with a basic understanding of the situation.
We outlined the topic into the following sections:
Part 1 – A brief history of the EB in the US
Part 2 – The American Brittany, the Epagneul Breton and the American Brittany Club
Part 3 – After 100 years, why is this a topic today?
Part 4 – What is the impact of a recognized breed split?
Part 5 – The CEB-US stance
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE EPAGNEUL BRETON
The Epagneul Breton: A Storied Legacy of Versatility and Tradition
Originating in Europe around the 1700s, the Epagneul Breton earned its place as an esteemed all-purpose hunter, adept at pursuing both fur and feathered game. The breed's rich history took a definitive turn in 1907 when it received official recognition in its native France, setting the stage for its enduring legacy.
French Precision: A Standard Unchanged Through Time
The French, meticulous in their approach, set a breed standard for the Epagneul Breton over a century ago, and remarkably, it remains largely unaltered to this day. Our modern-day EBs are, in essence, living replicas of their counterparts that once traversed the French countryside in pursuit of woodcock.
Read more about the breed history: click here.
A Transatlantic Journey: Introduction to the United States
The Epagneul Breton embarked on a new chapter in the 1920s when the first of these remarkable dogs were imported to the United States. Prior to this, the Brittany, as it came to be known in the U.S., was unknown on American soil. The subsequent decades witnessed informal activities and breeding efforts, leading to the establishment of the American Brittany Club (ABC) in 1942.
With the formation of the American Brittany Club, the breed found a dedicated custodian in the U.S., charged with overseeing its development and promoting field trials to assess the capabilities of these remarkable dogs. However, a shift occurred as the breed gained popularity in field trials, with a focus on producing larger, more expansive runners to meet the demands of horseback trials.
FORMALIZING THE EPAGNEUL BRETON IN THE US
Preserving the Epagneul Breton Legacy: A Journey of Dedication
In response to the divergence of the Brittany from its French roots, dedicated fanciers of the Epagneul Breton (EB) in the United States took action to safeguard the breed's heritage. Concerned about potential dilution, these enthusiasts committed to preserving pure pedigrees by importing dogs directly from France and adhering to French standards for confirmation, form and function.
CEB-US: A Guardian of Tradition
Formalizing their commitment in 1998, they established The Club de l’Epagneul Breton of the United States (CEB-US), previously known as the French Brittany Gun Dog Association of America. As the official parent breed club in the U.S., CEB-US took on the responsibility of standardizing the EB based on the French definition.
Recognition by UKC: A Milestone in 2002
Under CEB-US guidance, the Epagneul Breton achieved a significant milestone in 2002 when the United Kennel Club (UKC) officially recognized the breed in the U.S. This acknowledgment solidified the EB's distinction, ensuring it thrives with authenticity and tradition. The establishment of the CEB-US and UKC’s recognition ensured the breed was not only protected but also designated a group committed to promoting the breed based on its authentic definition, creating a thriving community of EB owners in the U.S.
Looking Ahead: Part 2 of the Journey
While this overview captures glimpse of the Epagneul Breton's journey in the U.S., it only scratches the surface of the decades-long dedication and passion that characterize the breed's history. Part 2 will delve deeper into the intricate relationship between the American Brittany, the Epagneul Breton, and the pivotal role played by the American Brittany Club.
Stay tuned for a more comprehensive exploration of the Epagneul Breton's legacy in the United States.
We realize this is a condensed version of a much larger and very important topic. While we aim to educate our members and Epagneul Breton enthusiasts of the basic fundamentals of the variables affecting the breed, a digital newsletter is limited as a medium for delivering detailed information. For more information or to join the conversation, please reach out to the CEB-US.