Breeding Program 101
PUPPY AVAILABILITY - We receive inquiries about on a regular basis and are always in the process of 'screening' for the best suitable family and home. Most of the time a planned litter is fully reserved prior to the actual breeding itself. This helps to assure a well prepared foundation is laid for the first day of the rest of the life of a new puppy. There is usually a wait involved as we only breed occasionally.
WHO GETS A PUPPY? Primarily, we are sought out by experienced bird hunters who love this breed. Likewise, we actively seek and give preference to active bird hunting families with prior Brittany experience. Additionally, we are most often reached through word of mouth referrals. We place a high value on loving pet homes! We will not discriminate against inquiries seeking a Brittany for a pet only as long as our other criteria is met. A Brittany is not suitable for apartments. It is not always the best choice for the first time dog owner. Although Brittanys and children go together like peanut butter and jelly parents absolutely MUST be prepared to not only supervise all interactions between the two but to be fully responsible to train the puppy AND the child. We know that a Brittany puppy simply may not be the best choice for a very young child or family with a baby and a decision to wait may be in order. We'll consider your neighborhood and your work schedule giving the time you have available to devote to a new puppy the most utmost consideration. We do not respond to generic, random inquiries. We request references that we will follow up on. In over 30 years we have only shipped puppies once. We will meet each serious inquiry in person. We are easy to work with, enjoy answering questions, and although we do have criteria in place you will find we're also flexible. A loving family home is above all the best home of all as far as we're concerned!
BEYOND HUNTING Obviously, our primary focus is providing you with a healthy, beautiful, well balanced, sound and outstanding bird dog for the walking upland hunter but it can be quite enjoyable to see your Brittany succeed in other venues. We welcome, encourage and support competitive homes. It is for the enjoyment, well being and mutual benefit of both dog and owner to give one or more of recognized dog sports a try. Especially if you are not a hunter, your Brittany will benefit from any number of the really fun dog sports! As much as a Brittany loves down time snuggling with their family they were never meant to live their entire life as a couch potato or lap dog. If this is your interest please consider another breed. It thrives on activity.
SHOWING The Brittany is a "dual dog". While we are not 'show dog breeders' in each litter there are pups who clearly stand out with have clear potential to do well if shown and finish their AKC championship title. When an interest in showing exists please tell us when you first contact us. We will encourage you and guide you and help set you up to succeed in this venue. Early breed handling classes are a must. If you decide not to show your dog yourself we are happy to refer you to our own professional handler. A commitment to show a puppy is a commitment to follow through on. It is so worth it though! There are currently 7 AKC J&A's show champions from our program including a Grand Champion and others still working towards their respective titles. Even so, the fact of the matter is that most of our very best 'show prospects' are never seen in the show ring but are champions of the heart of those who love them.
NO STRINGS BUT... Although our Brittanys are extremely versatile on many levels and can succeed in many ways we will NEVER insist or put pressure on our puppy people to take paths they have no interest in taking. Even so, we have a minimum requirement and request pups from our program will prepare to be tested at a very young age for natural hunting ability in either AKC Hunt Tests or NAVHDA Natural Ability or both. We also encourage entering a field trial at the puppy and/or derby level. Puppies from our litters are usually nominated for the American Brittany Club Futurity which takes place when pup is 2 years old.
EVALUATION Every puppy born here is evaluated for temperament and personality using a modified version of Volhard's Puppy Aptitude Tests (PAT) at 7 weeks of age as well as Pat Hasting's "Puppy Puzzle". Our pups are introduced to gamebird scent before the age of 5 weeks. From the day they are born we utilize the S.M.A.R.T puppy biosensory techniques. We also follow the "Rules of 7" regarding what pups experience and are exposed to. Depending on the time of year our pups are always introduced to live birds for informal field evaluation, plus it is fun. The socialization process for puppies is ongoing long after the time they leave the breeder.
EXPERIENCE COUNTS A well seasoned bird hunter with years of experience hunting upland game over their dog already knows what to look for in a future hunting companion. Likewise, as breeders who actively hunt our Brittanys we know who we hope to attract about a future puppy! We enjoy demonstrating the hunting ability of adult dogs related to a prospective pup by going to a nearby field to shoot a couple of birds over them. This provides opportunity for new puppy owners to witness first hand a complete sequence of hunting, pointing, honoring, retrieving. No hype. It's not needed.
TRAINING IS ONGOING John remains as a valuable resource for our puppy people regarding training and knows the best path to a finished and happy Brittany gun dog. He's not a pro-trainer, he simply knows this breed and how to bring the best out in them. His methods utilize the 'slow but steady wins the race' approach. Friends call him the 'Brittany dog whisperer'! John can recognize the precise timing of each level of training according to an individual dog's readiness. We are never in a hurry and do not encourage rushing through any process. Not a fan of force training or harsh methods, John counts on praise of the dogs to be the best motivator. Pleasing their owner is a Brittany's reason for living so that is not too hard to figure out. John will teach and share his years of experience of training Brittanys. Perhaps the biggest takeaway here is to remember it takes time and there are no shortcuts on the road to a well mannered, finished gundog for the walking upland game hunter! Again, the first year in our opinion should be about fun, developing teamwork, learning about and loving each other. A dog should be going through the paces with a happy demeanor. It is sad to see a puppy with a 'hang dog tail between the legs' appearance. There is all the time in the world for a Brittany's obedience training beyond basic puppy manners.
SERIOUS INQUIRIES We request a completed questionnaire from each serious inquiry. Our puppy reservation policies, health guarantees, and other pertinent information are provided in writing for you to know what to expect. Our home is private and is not open to the public. Most people find us via word of mouth and are aware of the importance of early contact. Some people are willing to wait up to a year (or even longer). Usually our pups are spoken for long before an actual breeding occurs.
VISITS We make no apology and take no risks regarding security or the health and well being of our Brittanys. Visits are reserved for those who we have fully vetted and are on our waiting list. We are not a pet store, our home is private and not open to the public. Our daily schedules revolve around our beloved Brittanys and dropping in is not an option. We are happy to have you meet us at a dog event we may be participating in. We also enjoy meeting folks at the field we use to train our dogs in Dayton, Maine weather permitting which is something we do on a regular basis. It should be as important to you to know as much as you can about your dog's breeder as it is for your breeder to know all about you and we will be happy to answer all of your questions honestly. We sincerely appreciate your interest in J&A's Brittanys but realize we may not be the breeder for everyone however if you think you are a good fit simply click HERE to get in touch with us!