C3 deficiency in the Brittany spaniel dog breed

C3 deficiency in the Brittany spaniel dog breed

Health & Safety

The Brittany spaniel dog breed is one of the UK’s less well known or commonly seen spaniel breeds, but they are of course a lot more popular in their native country of France.

Brittany spaniels are medium-sized dogs that are good all rounders and very versatile, and that share all of the core spaniel traits that enthusiasts of dogs of this type know and love. Dogs of the breed are extremely energetic and outgoing, and need a lot of exercise to keep them fit, healthy and fulfilled. They are also very intelligent dogs that tend to take to training very quickly and that can often learn and execute a wide range of higher-level skills.

However, the breed as a whole is one that tends to have higher than normal risk factors for a wide and diverse range of different hereditary health conditions, which can affect the longevity and quality of life of affected dogs. This is something that all prospective Brittany spaniel puppy buyers should be aware of, and investigate before committing to purchasing a dog of the breed.

One such condition that can be found in the Brittany spaniel dog breed is called C3 (Complement 3) deficiency, and this is a hereditary health condition that affects the dog’s immune system due to the lack of a certain protein called protein complement component 3, which the body needs in order to benefit from a fully functional and robust immune system.

C3 deficiency has a number of implications for the care and welfare of affected dogs, and in order to attempt to limit the spread of C3 deficiency in the Brittany spaniel breed as a whole, a DNA test can be performed prior to breeding to find out the status of any given dog.

In this article we will look at Brittany spaniel C3 deficiency in more detail, examining how the condition is passed from dog to dog, the effects it has, and how dogs can be health tested to determine their status. Read on to learn more about complement 3 deficiency in the Brittany spaniel.

What is C3 deficiency or complement 3 deficiency in dogs?

C3 deficiency is a hereditary health condition that is passed on from parent dogs to their young by means of autosomal recessive heredity.

It is a type of immunodeficiency that occurs due to a missing protein that leads the dog’s immune system to fail to function properly and so, fail to protect the dog from ills and ailments that they would otherwise have a level of natural defence against – most commonly bacterial infections.

C3 deficiency in Brittany spaniels usually presents with symptoms in younger dogs, often puppies, and affected dogs will be prone to catching bacterial infections that can be hard to treat or that have a tendency to recur. This means that the dog is at greater risk for a range of different infections that can be quite serious, such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and certain types of muscle disorders too.

Can Brittany spaniel C3 deficiency be cured or managed?

There is no way for your vet to treat or reverse the underlying cause of the condition itself, which is hereditary, and so treating and managing a Brittany spaniel with C3 deficiency is tasked with treating the secondary complications that the condition causes, and preventing infections where possible as well as working to treat them promptly when they do occur.

How is C3 deficiency in the Brittany spaniel passed from dog to dog?

C3 deficiency in Brittany spaniels is a hereditary condition that is passed on from parent dogs to their young as an autosomal recessive trait. This means that when you know the status of any two prospective parent dogs, you can determine what the status of their puppies would be if those two dogs produced a litter.

  • If two Brittany spaniels that are clear of C3 deficiency are bred, their litter will in its turn be clear of the condition.
  • Two affected Brittany spaniels will produce puppies that are also affected.
  • Two carriers of the condition will produce a mixed litter in which any given pup has a 50% chance of being a carrier, a 25% chance of being clear, and a 25% chance of being affected.
  • A clear dog and an affected dog will produce a litter of carrier pups.
  • A clear dog and a carrier will produce a mixed litter with 50-50 chances of each pup inheriting clear or carrier status respectively.
  • A carrier and an affected dog will produce a mixed litter with 50-50 chance of each pup inheriting carrier or affected status respectively.

How can you tell if a Brittany spaniel has C3 deficiency?

If you are considering breeding from your own Brittany spaniel, it is wise to have both your dog and the other dog you are considering mating them with tested for their status for C3 deficiency prior to making a final decision on the mating match.

All you need to do for this is to ask your vet to take DNA samples from the dogs in question, which they will then send away to an approved laboratory, to find out the status of both dogs.

Prospective Brittany spaniel puppy buyers are advised to ask breeders what health tests they undertook on their parent stock prior to breeding, and to ask to see the results of these tests before making a final decision on whether or not to make a purchase.

Newsletter icon
Get free tips and resources delivered directly to your inbox.


Pets for StudWanted Pets

Accessories & services


Knowledge Hub


Support & Safety Portal
All Pets for Sale