Picardy Spaniel

The Picardy Spaniel is a breed of dog developed in France for use as a gundog. It is related to the Blue Picardy Spaniel, and still has many similarities, but the Picardy Spaniel is the older of the two breeds. It is thought to be one of the two oldest continental spaniel breeds and was favoured by the French nobility, remaining popular for hunting after the French Revolution due to its weather resistant coat that enabled it to hunt in a variety of conditions and terrain. However its popularity waned following the influx of English hunting breeds in the early 20th century. Slightly smaller than an English Setter but larger than most of its spaniel cousins, it has no major health issues although as with many breeds with pendulous ears, it can be prone to ear infections.


Typical examples of the breed measure between 22–24 inches (56–61 cm) at the withers, with the average weight between 20–25 kilograms (44–55 lb). The breed is similar in size to the English Setter, although is slightly smaller. Of the Spaniel type breeds, only the Large Münsterländer and Drentse Patrijshond are recognised as possibly growing to larger sizes, with the Drentse measuring 21.5–25.5 in (55–65 cm), and the Münsterländer slightly smaller with a narrower range at 23–25 in (58–63 cm).

The dog breed has a squarely built muscular body and an oval shaped head with a long muzzle and long ears that hang fairly low. Its coat can vary in colours from chocolate, chestnut brown and white with sandy coloured markings on the head and white or grey spots on the legs. Its hair is abundant with a slight wave, enabling it to work in dense cover and even in water.


The Picardy Spaniel is a docile breed of dog and is fond of playing with children and bonds well with their master. It is described as having a gentle sociable nature, possessing a good character and being relatively easy to train. In France, the breed is used for hunting in wooded areas for Pheasants, and in swamps for Snipes. However it can also be used for hunting ducks, hares and rabbits. The breed excels at hunting in marshes and will not hesitate to jump into water. It can also adequately serve as a retriever should it be required. The dog is content with a small amount of space and could suit life in the city, but also loves open spaces.


The Picardy Spaniel has no known hereditary health problems, and has an average lifespan of 14 years. However being a hunting spaniel, the breed is prone to ear infections. These infections are common among dogs with pendulous ears, including Basset Hounds and other breeds of spaniel. Overfeeding a Picardy Spaniel may lead to overweight.

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