• A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BREED IN NEW ZEALAND

    The first Brittany registered by the New Zealand Kennel Club is recorded in 1975.

     

    Mr W.R. Jones imported a bitch, Sequanis Rondo Dot ‘O’Dee from the United States of America, and she was followed in 1976 by the dog Dunfriu Farnham and bitch Dunfriu Frances, both imported from Australia by Mr Jones.

     

    NZKC records indicate that in 1977, three more Brittany were imported – all coming in from Australia. Pinebritt Lynette (bitch), Pinebritt Rex (dog) and Dunfriu Rusticana (dog).

     

    The first New Zealand bred litters arrived in 1978, with a total of twenty three puppies registered for that year. The first kennels to produce them were DURENDAL, owned by W.R. Jones and GAME FINDER owned by D.R. Hastie.

     

    The first Brittany to be exhibited in New Zealand and made up to a show champion was NZCh Pinebritt Lynette (imp Australia).

     

    Since these early beginnings, only a small number of Brittany’s have been registered each year – consequently, the Brittany is still numerically a “rare” breed in this country, compared to the likes of the United Kingdom, Australia or the United States – which alone has over 600 dual champions of the breed. That is more than the total number of Brittany’s ever recorded by NZKC.

     

    Another consequence of small population numbers is that the breed here only has a very small gene pool, and most of the dogs today either trace their bloodlines directly back to the same foundations, or are closely related to the same kennels and same individuals.

     

    The early 1980’s were dominated by kennels such as DURENDAL, GAME FINDER and OAKDALE, with the first New Zealand bred show champion emerging in NZCh Oakdale Jeremy owned by Mr R.G. Johnston. He was born in October 1980 and was orange and white.

     

    In the mid 1980’s another influential kennel was established when Mr T.B. Cottle imported Tomar’s Cracklin Rosie from the USA, Pairknaglos Amanda from Eire, Orange Bomber (a son of Tomar’s Cracklin Rosie) from England and Waimanukuri Buddy from Australia. These dogs became the foundation bloodlines for GAMEWOOD kennel and from 1986 onwards, no other Brittany kennel registered any litters in New Zealand. The last Gamewood litter was registered in 1991.

     

    Also in 1991, a bitch was imported from the United States and was exhibited in New Zealand and then sent to Australia. She went on to become the second bitch to gain her New Zealand show champion title and left our shores as NZCh Jac’s Hi Brass (imp USA) owned by Mrs F. Brown- Elkner of TOBENLEE Brittany Kennel.

     

    1992 records the first litter produced by Mrs C. McCrae and in 1994, her KITZU kennel produced the fourth show champion of the breed with the dog NZ Ch Kitzu Ingrid’s Tom owned by Mrs I.D. Self being titled.

     

    1993 was the year another influential import arrived – Aubenoveau Eclair (Imp Australia)owned by Mr A. Ross. This dog went on to sire a significant litter which produced two outstanding individuals. They managed to provide many landmark achievements for the Brittany breed in New Zealand. Through the LEANINGROCK kennel, established by Bill Henderson in 1999 came NZCh & FTCh Leaningrock Lanark Spice QC owned by Barry & Chrissie Hill – born in 2000 and the first dual show/field trial champion of the breed. Her litter brother FTCh Leaningrock Lairg Castle owned by Mrs Jo Arnold won the New Zealand Pointer & Setter gundog championship title in 2008.

     

    1998 saw the emergence of PALMYRA kennel, owned by Murray McLennan. He used Ailetireur Bronson (Imp Australia) in 1994 and produced Lady Jane of Palmyra QC owned by Bill Johnsen. She went on to be the first Brittany placed in a New Zealand gundog championship event and the first to be awarded a QC (field trial qualifying certificate).

     

    Between 1996 and 2002, nine Brittany’s came into New Zealand from Australia; GAMEWYN, AUBENOVEAU, AILETIREUR, TOBENLEE and MUNDEWUDDA kennels were all represented, with many individuals incorporating bloodlines from the USA as well as Europe.

     

    By 2003, the Brittany breed was starting to make its presence felt in gundog trials – especially in the South Island. For the first time, Brittany’s dominated a pointer and setter trial result in New Zealand. The progeny and grand progeny of Aubenoveau Eclair (imp Aust) won all the top three placings in a championship trial in Central Otago. This was a first for the breed and the sport. Thus was affectionately born the “Brittany Trifecta” and it continues to this day.

     

    HOLMBROOK kennel owned by Barry & Chrissie Hill bred their dual champion twice to a full brother (by repeat mating) of Lady Jane of Palmyra QC in 2005 and 2006. The first litter produced NZCh Holmbrook Gaston (Ms V. Whittle) and from the second came NZCh & FTCh Holmbrook Sophie Neveu QC owned by the Hill’s – a group show winner and the first Brittany to be awarded an NZKC Bronze Certificate of Merit for 20 CC’s in the show ring. This bitch follows in the paw prints of her mother as the second dual champion of the breed in New Zealand.

     

    Also in 2006, Mr A. King imported Kenmillix Gamecourt from England and mated her with his male Ailetireur Black Grouse (Imp Australia). Their progeny became foundation bloodlines for FAISAN (Victoria Whittle) and MONTIER (Shayne Ryder) kennels.

     

    In 2008 Holmbrook Madeline (owned by the Hill’s) was mated with Ailetireur Black Grouse (Imp Aust) and her litter produced the eighth show champion of the breed and currently the most decorated Brittany in the history of the breed in New Zealand – NZCh Holmbrook Black Montee ADXB CDX JD TCQ. Owned by Mrs Chris Kenny. As the first black and white Brittany campaigned for a show title he drew much positive attention, and has gone on to become the first CDX qualified Brittany, as well as the first of his breed to reach Test C level in obedience competitions.

     

    From 2009 to 2011, four more imports came into our country – all from the Northern Hemisphere.

    Dix De la Foret Du Pinto (Imp Canada) – owned by Ms V. Whittle, NZCh Ethos De Wyngold (Imp USA) – owned by Mr B. & Mrs C. Hill, Echo De Plum Creek (Imp USA) – owned by Mr G. Crump and Fleur De Plum Creek( imp USA) – owned by Mr G. Crump.

    Also in 2011, NZCh Ethos De Wyngold (Imp USA) became the ninth show champion of the breed and the first black tricoloured Brittany to be exhibited and titled in New Zealand.

     

    In 2012, imported semen from Doc de la Source Aux Perdrix (Imp USA) was used by Graeme Crump to produce a litter for his TARNBRAE kennel and Tressieux De Cornouaille (Imp France) owned by Mr L. Evans (an orange & white male) was registered with NZKC. Since then, Mr Evans has also imported Hardouni de Broughton (imp USA) – also an orange & white male.

     

    In recent times, Agility and Rally O have become very popular canine sports in New Zealand, and the Brittany breed is currently enjoying considerable success with representatives performing with merit. Dogs such as Ilamton Molly ADX JDX (Teresa Walker), No Rezerve JDX (Sue McKee) and Verging on Divorce JD (Teresa Walker) set the standard in agility and the results continue to come. In 2014, Holmbrook Black Sambeau (Tony Boereboom) was placed 4th in the New Zealand Agility Championships.

     

    Rally O is a relatively new concept enjoyed by many and in 2013, Eclaireur Du Montier JD RA QC (Simon & Kelly Walker) became the first of her breed to earn a Rally O title, plus an agility qualification. She also is the first and only Brittany to date to earn Prize 1 recognition from the NZ Versatile Hunting Dog Test Assn in New Zealand. Her Rally O novice award was upgraded to Rally O Advanced in 2015.

     

    In 2014 NZCh Leda Di Val Grossa was imported from Italy by Victoria Whittle and was show titled in 2016. In the same year, FTCh Haby Du Clos de Faisan QC owned by Jonathan Smith and bred by Ms Whittle was the first representing the FAISAN kennel to obtain her QC and the third of the breed to be awarded a field trial championship title.

     

    In 2015, three more Brittany were imported from Australia. Britabuhom Holly owned by Ms M. Ching and Mr S. LaPlante, Propoint Chief’s Girl owned by Mrs S. Hunter and NZCh Astrelis Say my Name owned by Mrs E, Doucette, who was made up to a show champion in 2016.

     

    In addition, Barry & Chrissie Hill of HOLMBROOK kennel imported semen from England and successfully produced the first progeny in the southern hemisphere from Eng Sh. Ch.Curacao Tank Calzaghe at Sultair. These litter sisters have already made quite an impact with qualifications obtained in the last eighteen months.

     

    NZCh Holmbrook Lanarch Lace owned by the Hill’s was show titled in 2016 and at age 12 months and 17 days is the youngest NZ Brittany to be a show champion. She is now competing in gundog trials. Holmbrook Counting Stars RA is owned by Simon & Kelly Walker and competes in Rally O, agility and gundog trials. She follows in the footsteps of her dam Eclaireur Du Montier JD RA QC as only the second Rally O qualified Brittany in New Zealand and upgraded from Rally Novice to Rally Advanced qualifications in twelve months.

     

    In recent times, litters and imports have arrived in New Zealand but have not been registered with NZKC. This will make some future records more difficult to keep up to date. Overall, there are currently still, very few litters being produced in New Zealand. Demand for puppies very much out strips supply and unfortunately, this situation is not likely to change any time soon because New Zealand does not have any large, established kennels regularly producing litters.

     

    In 2016 for example, NZKC only registered one litter of 4 puppies.

     

    2017 has already got off to a brilliant start, with Barry and Chrissie Hill’s veteran bitch completing her field trial champion title and dual champion status in February.It just goes to show that age is no barrier for this breed – especially not for ten and a half year old NZCh & FTCh Holmbrook Sophie Neveu QC, who follows in the paw prints of her dam as the second dual champion of the breed in New Zealand.

    No doubt 2017 will produce lots more historic news for this breed in New Zealand.

     

    Pictured: A Blast from the Past.


     For the first time ever in New Zealand, the first three placings in a pointer & setter championship trial were all Brittanys.
     It was the Central Otago Championship P&S trial in 2003. Left to right: 2nd place Leaningrock Duc Rebelle (A. Ross), 3rd place Lady Jane of Palmyra QC (W. Johnsen) and 1st place NZCh & FTCh Leaningrock Lanark Spice QC (B. Hill).

     Sadly "Reb", “Jane” and "Spice" are no longer with us.