Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Picardy Spaniel
Average Cost to keep/care for a Picardy Spaniel
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 over here 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.
There are many spaniel breeds native to France where they have always been highly prized as hunting dogs. It was only in 1907 that each of these spaniel breeds were separated into breeds in their own right. The breed standard for the Picardy Spaniel was drawn up in 1908 and it has not been altered that much to this day.
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 here in the UK. As yet the breed has not yet been recognised by The Kennel Club (June 2016) and remains on the American Rare Breed list.
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:
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 has to 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 added bonus being they are known to be extremely good around children and other pets they have grown up with in a household.
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. However, they do better with people who understand the particular 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.
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 has to 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:
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.
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 so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to 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 on 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 so they 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.
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 £19.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of June 2016). 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 or not 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 all 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 pedigree or other puppy.
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