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Picardy Spaniel

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021

The Picardy Spaniel is a medium sized dog bred to hunt in France a long time ago. In fact it is one of the oldest continental spaniels with a life span of 12 to 14 years and also called the Epagneul Picard. It looks like the English Setter but smaller but it larger than most other spaniel type breeds. It is still today a good gundog and a friendly and smart companion but it is rare even in its home country. As a hunter it was bred to do well in wet lands like marshes and be able to go into the water. It can also be an acceptable retriever.

The Picardy Spaniel at a Glance
Name Picardy Spaniel
Other names Épagneul Picard
Nicknames Picardy
Origin France
Average size Medium
Average weight 40 to 55 pounds
Average height 22 to 24 inches
Life span 12 to 14 years
Coat type Dense, wavy, moderately long
Hypoallergenic No
Color White, brown, grey, chocolate
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence High
Tolerance to heat Good to very good
Tolerance to cold Good to very good
Shedding Moderate – will be some hair around the home
Drooling Average – some but not excessive
Obesity Above average – measure its food and track its treats and make sure it is well exercised
Grooming/brushing Moderate – brush twice a week
Barking Occasional – barks sometimes but not constantly
Exercise needs High – needs active owners
Trainability Easy to train
Friendliness Very good to excellent
Good first dog Yes – new owners willing to learn how to do it well can easily own this dog
Good family pet Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with children Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with other pets Moderate to good – socialization is essential its high prey drive means other small pets are not a good idea
Good with strangers Good but wary – make sure it is socialized
Good apartment dog Good – with enough exercise outside it can adapt to apartment living but is best with a yard and space
Handles alone time well Low – prone to separation anxiety
Health issues Quite healthy but some issues include Ear infections, bloat and obesity
Medical expenses $460 a year for pet insurance and basic health care
Food expenses $140 a year for a good quality dry dog food and treats
Miscellaneous expenses $220 a year for basic training, license, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $820 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $800
Rescue organizations NAPSA, also check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Picardy Spaniel’s Beginnings

The Picardy Spaniel so named because of the region of France it was developed in is an old breed, one of the oldest along with the French Spaniel. Both dogs are possibly descended from the same dog, the Chien d’Oysel. It was bred to have a weather-resistant coat and be able to hunt in both swampy and woody areas. It was much loved by the French nobility and royalty and many paintings from those times show its depiction. Because of its value it was even allowed to enter salons.

But with the French Revolution instead of disappearing it then became popular with the common people now that the elite were not preventing them from doing so. Its numbers was spread across France but were highest in the region it was bred. At the start of the 1800s though the British came over with their hunting dogs to hunt that region and this led to a drop in the Picardy’s popularity. As a result though cross breeding lead to the creation of the Blue Picardy.

New Lease on Life

The Epagneul Picard Club was started in 1921 and in 1937 it and the Club of Blue Picardy Spaniel joined together. A lot later the Pont-Amudemer Club them joined with them too. It is now called the Club des Epagneuls Picards, Bleus de Picardie & Pont Audemer. There are some numbers in North America though they are not high. It is recognized by some smaller associations and clubs but not yet by the AKC or CKC. In France it is still used for hunting, in swampier areas it hunts snipes and ducks and in drier wooded areas it can hunt hare, pheasant and rabbit.

Picardy Spaniel

The Dog You See Today

The Picardy Spaniel is a medium sized dog weighing 40 to 55 pounds and standing 22 to 24 inches tall. It has a muscular build with a broad powerful chest, a squared body shape and strong legs. The tail is curved and it has an oval head, a long muzzle and long ears that are set low and hang down. They have silky wavy hair on them and its eyes are amber colored. The coat is slightly wavy, moderately long, dense and weather-resistant. Common colors are different browns with sand or white colored markings and sometimes some grey spots.

The Inner Picardy Spaniel

Temperament

This breed is generally docile and social, it is a good gundog but is also a great companion. It forms very close bonds with its family and owner and is usually gentle and have a good temperament for a family dog. As active and energetic as it is outside in the home as long as it is raised well it should be calm, eager to please and very loyal. It is also quite an intelligent dog but it does not like to be left alone and can suffer from separation anxiety. Therefore it is happiest when in homes where at least one person in the family is in more often than out.

As docile as a companion as it is, it can be bold too. It needs a certain level of stimulation and action or it can develop behavioral problems that make it harder to live with. It can be taken on by new owners willing to learn but it does need ones that can give it the attention it needs and the activity it needs. It is alert and will let you know if there is an intruder. Otherwise its barking is occasional, there will be some but it should not be constant. It is good with strangers with socialization but can be wary at first.

Living with a Picardy Spaniel

What will training look like?

Training the Picardy Spaniel needs a firm and consistent approach but should be easy to do because it wants to please you, spend time with you and make you happy, and it is smart. It enjoys having something to do, this is partly why they are so easy to train and why they do well in sporting and show competitions. It does best though with gentle and positive training. Be the pack leader but keep things interesting and avoid scolding or punishing. Crate training can help with the separation anxiety and early socialization is important too. Introduce different experiences to it, places, sounds, situations, animals as well as people so it learns acceptable responses and becomes more confident and happy.

Picardy Spaniel

How active is the Picardy Spaniel?

This is a dog bred to hunt so it naturally has a lot of energy and high exercise needs. Owners need to be able to take out hunting or to give it a lot of exercise and make sure it is also well mentally stimulated. It should go out for two long and brisk walks a day and then have other opportunities such as physical play with you, safe place to run free off leash, dog sports and interactive toys. It has a lot of endurance and can go for a long time but expect to spend at least 90 minutes a day. When walking keep them on a leash otherwise they will try to chase small animals and other moving things! It can adapt to apartment living as it is relaxed indoors but it needs that time outside, and really it does do better with a yard. It can join you for a jog, hike or such.

Caring for the Picardy Spaniel

Grooming needs

These dogs have moderate needs when it comes to grooming and good care. It sheds a moderate amount so there will be some need to clean up fur around the home. It should be brushed once or twice a week but because it is moderately long pay attention to the areas where there can be tangling or picking up of debris when out. As tempting as it may be to set a schedule to bathe you are actually not doing it any favors. Bathing too often dries out the skin and so does using the wrong products on it. Only use a shampoo made for dogs so its natural oils are not damaged.

Other care includes clipping its nails as needed, cleaning its ears and brushing its teeth. When using dog nail scissors on its nails take care not to cut too much. There are blood vessels and nerves in the lower section and if nicked it will cause pain and bleeding. The teeth should be brushed two to three times a week using a canine toothbrush and toothpaste. Then its ears should be checked weekly for infection looking for redness, too much wax or irritation and then wipe clean. Do not insert anything as this could hurt it.

Feeding Time

The Picardy Spaniel will eat about 2¼ cups to 3¼ cups of a good to excellent quality dry dog food a day, split into two meals. How much exactly can change depending on metabolism, activity, age, health and size. Always ensure there is water which is kept fresh as much as possible. Avoid overfeeding as it can be prone to obesity.

How is the Picardy Spaniel with children and other animals?

With socialization this dog is gentle and affectionate making it good with children as it also loves to play with them. If raised with them too it forms very close bonds with them just make sure children are taught how to play and touch in a kind way. It also gets on well with other dogs but not as much with other pets. It has a high prey drive and while some can be socialized and raised to get along with cats, birds are a definite no.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

This breed is generally quite healthy and should live for 12 to 14 years. There are some issues that it could develop though to be aware of. These include ear infections, obesity, hip dysplasia and eye problems.

Biting Statistics

In reports from the US and Canada that cover attacks by canines that did bodily harm over the last 31/2 decades, there is no mention of the Picardy Spaniel. This is not an aggressive dog, it is in fact a gentle one usually, but it is important to give it good socialization and training, the kind of attention it needs, a good diet and exercise regime and proper mental stimulation. Lack of these things make it more likely it can be drawn into something or just have an off day.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Picardy Spaniel puppy will cost about $800 for a pet quality dog from a breeder with a good reputation. That amount can go up significantly for show dog breeders or top well renowned breeders. Avoid places like pet stores, backyard breeders or puppy mills. Another idea to consider is to look at rescues and shelters where you can adopt a dog for somewhere between $50 to $400. While you are less likely to find a Picardy there are other dogs that are deserving and have a lot of love and companionship to offer.

There are then initial costs once you have brought your new best friend home. It will need things like food and water bowls, bedding, crate, carrier, leash and collar and such and these will cost about $200. There are medical needs too, take it to a vet for it to be examined, have tests done, and procedures taken care of. That will cost another $270.

Finally there are annual costs as well. Miscellaneous costs like basic training, license, toys, miscellaneous items come to about $220 a year. Feeding it a good or better quality dry dog food and dog treats will cost about $140 a year. Then health care basics like shots, check ups and pet insurance come about $460 a year. This means an annual cost of around $820.

Names

Looking for a Picardy Spaniel Name? Let select one from our list!

The Picardy Spaniel is a rare breed so if you set yourself on it there will be a lot of research, learning and waiting to do. It is a bit more common in France but is still rare even there. It was bred to be a hunting dog and is still used in this role by many owners but it does have a great family dog side to it. Playful, gentle, loving, loyal and kind. It needs to be with owners who are active and ones who are in more than out.


Featured Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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