The Canine Genetics & Genomics Group at the UC Davis Center for Veterinary Genetics is collecting as many DNAs as possible from Brittany dogs for several, synergistic research efforts.

DNA samples can be submitted with simple cheek swab collection kits (Request a DNA Kit). There is no cost to participate, and sampling takes less than 5 minutes per dog. Submitted DNAs will serve as the crucial genetic backdrop for projects ranging from pointing instinct to hip dysplasia.

Dog with DNA tail copy
The Brittany ranks among the top 5 contributors of 385 breed samples submitted with 767 individual dog samples provided as of April 2007. Numerous samples are the key to successful DNA Studies continuously submitted with birth of pups from each litter and non sampled dogs.

Samples from all placing dogs in National Championships and classics as initiated after the 2007 ABC Pheasant Classic/Championship provide DNA information usable for future genetic breed performance improvement.

The larger the number of Brittany DNA samples, the greater opportunity for DNA research success.

Canine Genetics at The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory

The UC Davis Canine Genetics & Genomics Lab is resolving the basis of inherited diseases and discovering the genes of breed-defining traits. State-of-the-art DNA technologies previously only available for mouse and human have just recently become available for dog.

These technologies allow researchers to generate genetic profiles of unprecedented density for each dog - 100 times greater than what was previously available. The increased density will enable geneticists to better understand the genetic underpinnings of complex diseases in dog.

The Healthy Brittany

Brittanys are notably healthy dogs, however some genetic disorders are prevalent. The primary defect in the breed is hip dysplasia, affecting 26% of Britanys according to a 1995 survey.

Breton Cognac Small
Free of known DNA Defects

Genetic Problems Reported in Survey
  1. Hip Dysplasia 26%
  2. Epilepsy 7%
  3. Cleft Palate 5%
  4. Overshot Jaw 3%
  5. Undershot Jaw 3%
  6. Hypothyroidism 3%
  7. Deafness 2%
  8. Adult Cataracts 2%
  9. Cruciate Tear 2%
Some Additional Defects of Concern:
  • Diabetes Insipidus (water diabetes)
  • Several orthopedic conditions
  • Infertility
  • Aggression

The Performing Brittany

Field Range ( Gun Dog Vs All Age)Showing ( Dual Champion vs Champion )


Hunting range

Dual Champion


Pointing Style (3 point versus 4 point)

3 Point Style4 Point Style

Marvin D. Nelson Jr. Memorial Fund

Nelson Fund_Cropped
The Nelson Memorial fund has been established as a tribute to three generations of Nelsons, with the purpose of fostering genetic research in the Brittany. Annual interest earned from the Principle Fund is used with matching funds from AKC Health Foundation, UC Davis, CCAH, and various other funds to initiate DNA studies. Frequent donations and estate planning are requested to help initiate research projects. As of April 2007, $39,000 has been donated to the Principle Fund.

For donations please contact Lisa Woodard-Mink by email at or Sharon Anglin at

Contact Us

For additional information or questions about current research, or your needs, please contact Dr. Mark Neff or Katy Robertson