John & Ann's Brittany Story
Simply said, we are a retired couple who love God, each other, family, friends, and of course the Brittany. Our story is unique with a very humble beginning. We are just two people who have loved Brittanys for many years. We cannot imagine life without them.
Without any hype we will simply tell you that we enjoy passing on
the genetics of our Brittanys so others will know the joy of living
with a great family hunting companion. We do things right and
stand behind our dogs without pumping up our program because
we don't have to. Our dogs are what we say they are and we enjoy
proving this when we head to the field with them and show you.
They are gundogs because we shoot guns over them. They are bird
dogs because they hunt, point, and retrieve upland game and waterfowl.
They are close working because they hunt for their handler, not themselves.
Acknowledging Gods plan and purpose for all things, the foundation for "J & A's Brittanys" was prepared many years ago. He brought together a hunting heritage, a desire for a Brittany, a breeding background and of course, the love of dogs and in this case the Brittany. We celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary this year with 32 of those years spent with this beautiful and amazing breed.
Our family roots are entrenched in a wonderfully rich Maine hunting heritage. This heritage has been passed down from our grandparents, from our parents, on to us, to our children and now to our grandchildren. This heritage of course, includes the joy of bird hunting. John often hunted birds with his friends who owned Brittany dogs.
While walking through the woods and fields hunting over their Brittany dogs John was impressed with the hunting style of this compact, dynamic, gundog. They hunted at a natural and easy pace, at a range pleasing to him as a walking bird hunter. Easily adapting their hunting to any cover, John also appreciated their elegant and very stylish point. John dreamed of one day having a Brittany of his own.
In 1986 John's dream came true when the beautiful liver and white Brittany named “Cricket” bounced through the front door and took up residence in the heart of our entire family as well as our home. The following year "Freckles" joined us.
Ann's parents were breeders of Boston Terriers. She fondly remembers each dog that was a part of their family. Her parents kept informal notes along with the official AKC records. Ann enjoys looking back at these from time to time, as well as an old AKC stud book or two listing her parents dogs. Ann discovered the intoxicating scent of puppy breath at a very young age and was often found sitting in the whelping box, happily surrounded by a litter puppies. That is still her favorite place to be found.
In 1990, using proven hunting and field lines of Brittanys of the day, we bred our very first litter of Brittany puppies for hunting families and raised them in our home. Our children grew up loving and being loved by a pup from that litter. His name was “Hunter”, an extraordinary hunting dog who was well loved by family, friends, and neighbors alike. Hunter and his canine parents were often hunted together with John and the kids. Our sweet Hunter lived to be 13. Following his death in 2003 we decided to re-establish our breeding program with support from some of New England's best known Brittany breeders.
In 2005 we bred a beautiful litter of hunting Brittanys that share a line back to Hunter and his mother Cricket. Our oldest grandchildren all enjoy hunting. We brought two of them to a youth field trial where they won ribbons for the work they did with the dogs. We've had fun introducing grandchildren to hunting with a birddog, taken them out pheasant hunting, and all 7 at one time or another have helped us out with socializing puppies and/or gun dog training. One granddaughter handles her Brittanys successfully in the field and in the ring, with one dog close to finishing her championship title. Our daughter and her family still share their lives with Brittanys from our program.
We love, live with, train and hunt the very same dogs we breed. This gives us keen insight into their actual abilities and the ease in which they can be trained. To say our Brittanys are naturals at backing or honoring and to say they have strong natural retrieving skills is to say we experienced this reality ourselves. We know what we want in a bird dog and our Brittanys absolutely meet our greatest expectations. We also know what other bird hunters expect when seeking a Brittany and are confident they will find it in ours.
J&A's Brittanys easily hunt within shotgun range. They are natural, close working gun dogs who are also easily trained. They will range out at our bidding, depending upon the cover they are hunting in. (While we do not breed or train 'for' big running dogs, when the potential is there we will train for field trialing as well as bird hunting.) Depending on cover we enjoy hunting with just one or perhaps two of our Brittanys together at a time. For a full day of hunting we will give each hunting pair a well deserved opportunity to find birds depending on their age and abilities. We expect our Brittanys to always handle well to whistle, voice, and hand commands, to be obedient and not be a nuisance crashing through the cover and busting birds on their way to the next county.
To say they are very good family dogs is to say we enjoy sharing the couch with them at the end of a busy day. Breeding form to keep function is (we believe) the sign of a sound and healthy breeding program. Our program continues to improve through the years however our approach remains unchanged. Our solid commitment to the Brittany as a hunting dog is derived from years of personal experience and observation.
J&A's Brittanys are desirable to walking upland game hunters because they are selectively bred for their strong natural and instinctive hunting abilities. Unquestionably we emphasize temperament, health, and soundness. Our lifestyle reflects our unwavering dedication to the well being, purpose, and future of the Brittany as a an outstanding, versatile hunting dog.
Our Brittanys shine the brightest when aglow in the field, their entire being radiating with obvious natural hunting ability. It truly is a glorious vision to behold. It is a sight especially gratifying for the devoted owner of such a beloved gun dog and surely illuminates for them the true value and worth of a well bred Brittany that is successful in the woods and the fields. Little can compare to the beautiful Brittany on point, holding steady for an unseen bird while waiting for their owner to flush it.
Titled Brittanys: Our "J&A Title Holders Page" highlights some of the Brittanys from our program who have achieved titles for completing the necessary requirements for a variety of dog sports. Since that page was created, many more dogs have received their respective titles in whatever venue they participated in, performance, working, or otherwise. This list and the list need to be updated!
1 AKC Grand Champion
7 AKC Bench Champions
AKC recognized Flyball Master Excellent Champion
2 AKC titled Senior Hunters
1 AKC Master Hunter
30+ AKC titled Junior Hunters
14+ NAVHDA titled Natural Ability
1 AKC Agility title
Many J&A's Brittany of all ages and their owners actively train for and continue to work towards various hunting titles. We certainly applaud and appreciate the wonderful owners who do give their hunting dogs the opportunity to shine in and out of fields and woodland regardless of the season. Recognizing that all Brittany owners are not active bird hunters, we highly encourage participation in field events!
Field trialing is a dog sport we sometimes participate in for fun and to support the club hosting it. We are not committed trialers but a quick look at the pedigrees of our dogs reveals many legendary national field trial champions. Several Brittanys from our program are "dual pointed" (championship points earned in field trials and dog shows). J&A's Brittanys do have several significant placements in both AKC and American field trials. The Brittany is versatile and can easily succeed in any endeavor a dedicated owner desires to train for.
Exceptional bloodlines have always influenced our breeding choices and will continue to so. With eyes on the future we look to the past, pressing on without compromise and holding to our original goals. Behind dogs that we have bred are numerous Hall of Fame Brittanys, National and Amateur Field Champions, Dual Champions, bench champions, NAVHDA titled dogs, and more notable well known Brittanys. Although our emphasis has always been on the close working gun dog, we understand the absolute importance of showing a dog. It is something that we enjoy doing on a limited basis and usually at local New England dog shows.
We so enjoy this season of our life as a multiple dog family. The connection we have with our canine crew is deep, mutually laced with much love, respect and trust. They are an important part of our daily lives sharing our heart, home, couch, bed, and sometimes dinner with us too. Year round they are actively exercised, run, and trained on a regular basis enjoying ample opportunities to express their innate high energy. "All for the love of the dog, both given and received" has become our motto as we have become "All Things Brittany." One of the absolute greatest joys as breeders continues to be the friendships that develop with those who own Brittanys we have bred.
When it comes to who we are, what we have to say about ourselves and our dogs is pretty much what you see is what you get. We try to keep our priorities straight in all things by remembering: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19 - 21.
God bless you and welcome to "All Things Brittany!" We hope you enjoy your visit. ~ John & Ann Short.