Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Picardy Spaniel
Average Cost to keep/care for a Picardy Spaniel
Breed Specific Buying Advice
The Picardy Spaniel is a handsome, powerful and athletic dog that hails from the Picardy region of France where they were bred to hunt, point and retrieve, tasks they excel at. In their native France, these elegant spaniels are highly prized in the field, but they are also a popular choice as companions and family pets thanks to their kind, calm and gentle natures.
Although not so well known in the UK and more especially outside of the hunting fraternity, the Picardy Spaniel is gaining the interest of many dog owners who live in the country and who lead active, outdoor lives with a canine companion at their side. The reason being that Picardy Spaniels make wonderful companions and family pets being just as happy in a home environment as they would be in the field
There are many spaniel-type breeds that are native to France where they have always been highly prized as hunting dogs. It was only in 1907 that each of the spaniels were separated and given their own recognition. The breed standard for the Picardy Spaniel was drawn up in 1908 and it has not been altered that much to this day. They were bred to be hardy, robust, powerful dogs capable of working over many terrains which includes on land, through marshes, in thickets and in water no matter what the weather.
Thanks to the dedication of breed enthusiasts, the Picardy Spaniel survived World War I with their numbers remaining quite high at a time when other breed numbers dwindled. In 1921, the French Breed Club was established which in 1937 amalgamated with another French club, the Blue Picardy Spaniel Club. However, with the advent of the World War II, the breed once again suffered, and it was only thanks to the endeavours of the club president that these handsome spaniels survived.
These spaniels were specifically bred to hunt in challenging conditions and as such they are extremely versatile and adaptable dogs in the field. They proved themselves more than capable of hunting, pointing and retrieving in swamps, marshlands, rivers, thickets and over plains which led to them being so highly prized as working dogs in the field throughout France.
By the 1980's, through careful selective breeding their numbers had risen, and the quality of the Picardy Spaniel also improved to such an extent, they began winning many dog shows, field trials and the admiration of people in different regions of the land, more especially those with a keen hunting interest and who lived in the more northern regions of France. Pretty soon Picardy Spaniels found their way to other parts of Europe which included both Germany and Austria where today these handsome spaniels are often used for tracking. They have also proved themselves to excel at many canine sports which includes flyball, obedience competitions and agility.
Today, the Picardy Spaniel is still highly prized in the field by hunters in their native France, but these handsome dogs remain virtually unheard of in other parts of the world, including the UK. As yet, the breed has not yet been recognised by The Kennel Club (April 2018) and remains on the American Rare Breed list although in their native France, Picardy Spaniels are recognised as a breed and the Club de l’Epagneul Picards et le Pont Audemer was established to preserve the Picardy Spaniel.
Height at the withers: Males 55 - 62 cm, Females 55 - 60 cm
Average weight: Males 20 - 25 kg, Females 20 - 25 kg
The Picardy Spaniel is an elegant dog, yet they boast a muscular, powerful appearance paired to a gentle expression which adds to the breed's overall charming appeal. Their heads are well rounded and wide with the back of a dog's head (occiput) being quite prominent. Their stops slope gently to the muzzle which is long and wide, but which tapers to a dog's nicely rounded nose. Their noses are medium in size and brown in colour. Eyes are a dark amber with dogs having an open, frank and friendly expression in them. Their ears are set quite low framing a dog's head with silky, wavy hair.
Their necks are muscular and they merge smoothly into a dog's well-developed shoulders. Chests are wide and deep. Their front legs are well feathered, muscular and straight. The Picardy Spaniel has a strong back that's slightly lower at their wither. Loins are full and wide, croups are rounded and slightly sloping. Their bellies are slightly tucked up adding to their overall athletic appearance.
Tails are set moderately high and they hang down in two almost imperceptible curves, one being convex and the other being concave. Their back legs are well-muscled, straight, broad and long being nicely feathered right down to a dog's hock and their haunches are quite prominent. Their feet are large, round with dogs showing a little feathering in between their toes.
When it comes to their coat, the Picardy Spaniel boasts having a dense coat with the hair on their head being finer than on a dog's body with the hair on their body being slightly wavy. The breed colour is as follows:
It is worth noting that there is a “Blue Picardy Spaniel” too.
When a Picardy Spaniel moves, they do so with great purpose covering a lot of ground when they do and keeping a nice level topline.
Breeders should always ensure that stud dogs have been health tested and they have good conformation to prevent any faults from being bred into the breed. Other faults include when a Picardy has too much brown in their coats or if they have plain white patches or dapples which are highly undesirable as is black.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is only given as a guideline.
The Picardy Spaniel has a calm, placid, gentle yet playful and protective nature, liking nothing more than to be out in the field working alongside an owner. They are known to be willing and extremely eager to please which in short means that in the right hands, these spaniels are highly trainable. However, they are also very adaptable characters and are therefore quite at ease in a home environment as they are out in the field. They enjoy being part of a family and being involved in everything that goes on in a household.
Picardy Spaniels enjoy lots of attention and as such they are best suited to people who have the time needed to dedicate to a canine companion. As such, they are a good choice for people and families who live in the country and who enjoy leading active, outdoor lives with a canine companion at their side. Because these spaniels thrive on human company, they are much happier in a household where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out of the house which basically means they are never left on their own for long periods of time.
It's important for a puppy to be well socialised from a young enough age and this includes both on a property and outside of it. Their socialisation must involve introducing them to as many new situations, people, noises, other animals and dogs as possible once they've been fully vaccinated. Their training also needs to start early, although it would be a mistake to push a puppy too hard. However, they need to be taught the "basics" from the word go before their real training starts in earnest when they are a few months old.
It's very important for these spaniels to be handled and trained by someone who is familiar with the needs of this type of working dog and who therefore understands that because they are sensitive by nature, a Picardy Spaniel would not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavy-handed training methods. The best results are achieved when a Picardy Spaniel is handled with a firm, yet gentle hand and by using positive reinforcement techniques. It is more a question of honing their natural instincts rather than teaching a Picardy Spaniel to do something.
Being highly adaptable dogs, the Picardy Spaniel is just at home in a family environment as they are working in the field. When given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation, these handsome dogs make wonderful family pets and become valued members of a family with the bonus being they are known to be extremely good around children and other pets they have grown up with in a household.
Picardy Spaniels are not the best choice for first time dog owners even though they are so amenable and loyal by nature. The reason being that they must be handled, socialised and trained by people who are familiar with the needs of a highly intelligent and active spaniel.
Picardy Spaniels are social by nature, but they have working and hunting dogs in their lineage which in short means they have a high prey drive being very quick and eager to chase anything they spot in the distance or which tries to run away from them. The good news is that a well-trained Picardy Spaniel would respond to commands they are given and remain by an owner’s side when asked.
Picardy Spaniels have a very playful side to their natures more especially when young. They mature quite slowly which means this “playfulness” lasts a long longer, well into a dog’s teenage years. Being so intelligent, the Picardy quickly learns what pleases an owner and because they are so eager to please, they are a pleasure to have around.
Picardy Spaniels are better suited to people who live in the country and who have secure, well-fenced back gardens a dog can safely roam in whenever possible to really let off steam. With this said, a Picardy would be just as happy in a home environment as they would be working in the field providing they are given plenty of mental stimulation and daily exercise.
Although Picardy Spaniels form strong ties with their families, they don’t generally suffer from separation anxiety although no dog likes to be left on their own for too long. With this said, a Picardy likes to be kept busy which means they are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out.
Some like the sound of their own voices which is something that needs to be very gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them, bearing in mind that like all spaniels, the Picardy is a sensitive dog by nature. Others will only bark when there are strangers about or when something they don't like is going on in their surroundings.
Like all spaniels, Picardy Spaniels love being in and around water and will take to it whenever they can no matter what the weather is doing. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Picardy Spaniel off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Picardy Spaniels are not natural watchdogs although this is not to say a dog would not be quick off the mark to let an owner know when there are strangers about although they would rarely do this aggressively, preferring to keep their distance and bark.
The Picardy Spaniel is an intelligent dog, and this paired to the fact they are always eager to please an owner, makes them easy to train. With this said, they do better with people who understand the needs of this type of working spaniel being a dog that thrives on having something to do. It's more a question of finely tuning the natural instincts of the Picardy Spaniel, once a puppy has been taught the ground rules that is.
As with many other working spaniels, these dogs are never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who to look to for direction and guidance. Being sensitive dogs by nature, they do not answer well to harsh correction of heavy handed training methods which would not bring out the many talents of this dog. Picardy Spaniels need to know what is expected of them and as such respond that much better when they are trained and handled fairly using positive reinforcement.
Like all puppies, Picardy Spaniels are incredibly cute when young and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in new homes. As soon as a puppy is nicely settled owners must start out as they mean to go on by laying down ground rules and boundaries so that a puppy understands what is expected of them. It helps establish a pecking order and who the alpha dog is in the household. The first commands a puppy should be taught are as follows:
The Picardy Spaniel is not only highly prized in their native France for being exceptional point and retrieve working dogs, but they are also a popular choice with families thanks to their kind, gentle and placid natures, more especially when they are around children. However, as with any other breed, care has to be taken when children and dogs play together and as such adult supervision is always advisable to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with someone getting hurt.
When well socialised from a young enough age, the Picardy Spaniel generally gets on well with other dogs and if they have been brought up with a family cat in a household they usually get on well together. With this said, a Picardy Spaniel might think nothing of chasing the neighbour's cat if they ever got the chance. Care must be taken when they are around smaller animals and pets, just in case they think they need to retrieve them.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Picardy Spaniel is between 10 and 13 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Picardy Spaniel is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these handsome dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
Picardy Spaniel puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different, and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Like other breeds, some Picardy Spaniels gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight, it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Picardy Spaniels are not known to suffer from allergies but it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog suffering from an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Picardy Spaniel breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
There are not breed specific breeding restrictions in place for Picardy Spaniels because they are not a Kennel Club recognised breed.
The Picardy Spaniel is not a Kennel Club recognised breed (April 2018) and as such, there are no KC Assured Breeder requirements in place although all responsible breeders would ensure that their stud dogs have been health tested and that they come from good lines.
As with any other breed, Picardy Spaniels need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Picardy puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or, so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Picardy Spaniel puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out which could result in making them withdrawn, timid and shy.
As previously mentioned, Picardy Spaniel puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Picardy Spaniels need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Living with a Picardy Spaniel in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include looking at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Picardy Spaniels need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Picardy Spaniels don't need the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
The Picardy Spaniel has a dense moderately long coat that's fine on their heads and a little wavy over their bodies. However, when it comes to keeping their coats tidy and in good condition, these elegant spaniels are pretty low maintenance. As such a weekly brush is all it takes to keep their coats tangle and matt free.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections and the Picardy Spaniel is prone to ear infections which makes checking them doubly important.
Picardy Spaniels need to be kept busy because they thrive on being given something to do. However, once they have been exercised and given the right amount of daily mental stimulation, these spaniels are quite happy to relax and chill out around the home. As such they need to be given anything from 60 to 80 minutes exercise every day, and more if possible because it is quite hard to tire these energetic spaniels out.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible to really let off steam. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these inquisitive, high energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Picardy Spaniel puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing a few problems later in their lives.
If you get a Picardy Spaniel puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise to burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Picardy Spaniel puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
When a puppy is 12 months old they can be fed adult food.
Once fully mature, an adult Picardy Spaniel should be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult dog can be fed the following amounts every day:
Dogs weighing 25 kg can be fed 253 g to 334 g depending on activity
If you are looking to buy a Picardy Spaniel, you would need to register your interest with a breeder and agree to be put on a waiting list because only very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would also need to pay anything upwards of £800 for a well-bred puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Picardy Spaniel in northern England would be 22.18 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £43.67 a month (quote as of May 2018). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Picardy Spaniel and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Picardy Spaniel would be between £70 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred Picardy Spaniel puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Finding well-bred Picardy Spaniel puppies in the UK can often prove challenging which means that well-bred puppies can very often command a lot of money. As such, with Picardy Spaniels there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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