A rare breed, the Picardy Spaniel was bred in France as a gundog. They are related to the Blue Picardy Spaniel but are technically a different breed. Generally, the Picardy Spaniel is recognized as the older of the two breeds.
55 – 60 cm
43 – 45 pounds
Grey molting with brown patches
Hunters, those looking for a laidback, large dog
People-oriented and docile
This breed is quite old. Picardy Spaniels were once extremely favored by the French nobility for hunting purposes. Their weather-resistant coat enables them to hunt in just about any condition, which is an essential trait for any hunting dog.
While this breed was popular for a time, they were slowly displaced by English hunting dogs.
Picardy Spaniel Characteristics
Picardy Spaniel Puppies
For the most part, this Spaniel is extremely difficult to find in the United States. If you want to adopt one, you’ll likely need to import one from France. While they aren’t that popular in France either, they are at least more common there than in the United States. That said, you can sometimes find Picardy Spaniel puppies in the United States. There is an organization that keeps track of litters, which may enable you to find one with some ease. However, litters in general are few and far between, so you may be on a waiting list for a while.
They are often sold as hunting dogs, which is still their primary use today. Many breeders start training their puppies for hunting purposes, which is one reason that they are expensive.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Picardy Spaniel
This breed was primarily bred for hunting purposes, and it shows in their temperament. Generally speaking, they are quite docile. While they do have high stamina and decent exercise needs, they aren’t as high-strung as some other dogs.
Usually, these dogs bond well with their owner. They were bred to follow and listen to their owner above all else. While this behavior is essential for hunting, it is also useful for a family pet.
Relatively speaking, these dogs are easy to train. They were bred to listen to people, so they are quite obedient. Most will train easily and listen to commands in real-world situations. Unlike some other dogs, they don’t usually have a stubborn streak, even as “teenagers.”
Often, these dogs are extremely gentle. They do well in families for this reason.
While this breed isn’t as water-oriented as some others out there, they are often not hesitant to swim and jump in the water. They excel most when hunting in marshes, where they can hunt waterfowl and other birds. They can also hunt rabbits, though this isn’t their primary purpose.
If you need a retriever, this dog can be suitable. When it comes to hunting, they don’t need much training. Instead, regular exposure to the field is often enough. They’ll figure out everything else themselves.
Despite being a hunting dog, the Picardy Spaniel doesn’t necessarily need a large amount of space. In many cases, they are perfectly suitable for city life, as long as they are taken on regular walks.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Picardy Spaniels are often considered to be great dogs for families. They are gentle with younger children and large enough to avoid being fearful.
Small children can easily injure small dogs, which can result in snapping and fear-based aggression. Luckily, the Picardy Spaniel is large enough to avoid this problem, so they get along with children easily.
They are quite docile and laidback. They are similar to other spaniels in this way. However, they do have decent exercise needs, so they need to be adopted by a somewhat active family. They will do great in a family with many people, especially children, who can keep them company.
However, they may sometimes bond closely with only one family member. This can be avoided by getting everyone involved in training and caring for the dog.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
As a hunting dog, this breed has a high prey drive. Therefore, they will chase smaller animals, including cats. They may even chase smaller dogs, like Chihuahuas.
However, they are typically good with most other dogs. They are a bit pack-oriented, which means they often enjoy the company of other dogs. However, socialization is still required. You’ll need to get them around other dogs at a young age to ensure that they learn to accept the presence of other canines and gain social skills.
However, no amount of socialization will make them able to get along with cats and smaller animals.
Things to Know When Owning a Picardy Spaniel
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
For the most part, these dogs don’t have any specific dietary needs. They are a decent size but are typically not large enough to need a large breed of dog food. Instead, they are fine with just about any quality food on the market.
If you are using the dog for hunting purposes, you should feed them active dog food. It is higher in protein and the nutrients necessary to improve muscle growth. Therefore, it can be useful for hunting dogs.
Puppies should be fed a puppy diet. Otherwise, they may be unable to grow correctly. Not meeting a puppy’s nutrition can lead to problems when they are fully grown because they did not develop correctly.
Though they are hunting dogs, these canines are not nearly as active as you might expect. They are quite docile and can be suitable for apartment living, as long as you take them on walks as necessary.
These dogs will need a short walk at least once a day. For this reason, it is helpful if you are somewhat active. However, they are among the most laidback hunting dogs around, so you don’t have to worry about exercising them extensively. If you need a docile hunting dog, this is easily the option for you.
For the most part, these dogs are good at what they do. They are decently active in the field, though not as hyper as some other hunting dogs.
They are also good candidates for some other dog sports. But they are not recognized by the American Kennel Club, which prevents them from competing in the United States. Keep this in mind when you adopt one.
Picardies are interesting dogs compared to common spaniels in the United States. Overall, they are quite French. This means that they often respond to different training methods than most American dogs. They cannot adapt to harsh training and need a much gentler hand.
These dogs are good at teaching themselves things. They are born with natural hunting abilities and just need experience in the field. With this experience, they will get better — no training required.
If you want a hunting dog, just take your Picardy into the field regularly.
However, if you want your dog to compete in tests and trials, you may need additional training. These dogs are people-oriented and aim to make their owners happy. That said, they can’t handle as much pressure as some other dogs. Therefore, training needs to be slow and gentle. Many American training styles simply won’t work.
If you decide to send your dog to a trainer, avoid high-pressure trainers. Instead, select a gentle trainer.
These dogs were made to work in the field, so their coat does a good job of keeping them clean. Their coat is not waterproof, but they do like to swim. Therefore, they may need to be bathed after having swimming adventures.
For the most part, these dogs need a quick brushing session once or twice a week. This will help reduce tangles and avoid the need for a bath. The brush should be able to remove debris and dirt and loosen tight fur.
You should not bathe them much at all. If you do, their skin will dry out, which can lead to sores and similar problems. When you do need to bathe them, be sure to use quality shampoo to avoid damaging your dog’s skin.
Like for all dogs, you will need to clip their nails regularly. Their ears will also need to be cleaned and trimmed. If you don’t accomplish this, they may develop ear infections. Due to their floppy ears, these dogs are particularly prone to ear infections. Their ears can trap dirt and debris in them, which can lead to infections.
You should also brush their teeth at least two to three times a week. Dental disease is serious among dogs and can lead to other health problems. Therefore, you want to keep their teeth as clean as possible.
Heath and Conditions 🏥
There are not many Picardies out there. Most are bred as companion animals in the homes of hunters, who may have a single litter every couple of years. Therefore, they tend to be extremely healthy. After all, no hunter aims to breed unhealthy dogs.
This breed does not have many health issues overall. They are prone to hip dysplasia like many canines out there, though. Most breeders check for hip dysplasia, and it isn’t a serious issue in all lines. Entropion and similar diseases are prone in some lines.
Ear infections and other problems with the ears are also common. This dog’s ears trap dirt and debris, which can lead to infections.
Usually, this breed has a lifespan of about 14 years. For such a large dog, this is quite good.
Like all dogs, the Picardy can develop obesity over time. Therefore, you should be careful about overfeeding them. They can be quite lazy too, which can lead to health problems.
Male vs. Female
Both males and females of this breed are similar to each other. Therefore, there isn’t a huge reason to pick one sex over the other.
Since these dogs are so rare, you often don’t have the ability to pick a sex, anyway.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Picardy Spaniel
1. They are quite healthy.
Despite having a rather small gene pool, these dogs are relatively healthy. They are somewhat prone to ear infections because of their floppy ears, but that is about it!
2. They are not recognized by any major kennel club in America.
These dogs are recognized by a few European kennel clubs, but they are not recognized by any kennel clubs in the United States.
3. For a spaniel, they are quite large.
When compared to other spaniel-type dogs, the Picardy Spaniel is quite large. They weigh about 44 to 55 pounds. Few spaniel breeds get larger than they do.
The Picardy is a rare breed. They were most popular in France. However, their numbers declined significantly during WWII. They are still quite difficult to locate today. You often have to import them from France, which can be challenging and costly.
These dogs are built for hunting, first and foremost. However, they can also make great family dogs. They are gentle and docile. Despite being hunting dogs, they aren’t that energetic.
- Related read: Blue Picardy Spaniel
Featured Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock