The Picardy Spaniel, also known as the Épagneul Picard, is an ancient French gun dog breed that hails from the Picardy region of France. Its origins can be traced back to the 14th century, making it one of the oldest spaniel breeds. These dogs were traditionally used for hunting, specifically for flushing and retrieving game in the dense and marshy terrains of Picardy. Over the centuries, the breed's exceptional hunting skills and adaptability helped it gain popularity not only in France but also in other parts of Europe.
Picardy Spaniels are known to be generally healthy dogs, but as a larger breed they are at risk for developing orthopedic problems, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. They may be prone to ectropion and entropion. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following additional conditions: hyperuricosoria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.
Picardy Spaniels are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They are intelligent, eager to please, and form strong bonds with their families. As a working breed, they have a strong hunting instinct and require regular mental and physical stimulation. Early socialization and training are essential to ensure they grow into well-mannered and well-adjusted adult dogs. While generally good with children and other pets, supervision is recommended during interactions due to their hunting background.
The Picardy Spaniel's coat color often resembles that of a gray partridge, which provides excellent camouflage while hunting in the field.
The Picardy Spaniel has a distinctive double coat that provides protection during harsh weather conditions. The outer coat is long, slightly wavy, and dense, while the undercoat is soft and insulating. The breed's coat is designed to withstand the rigors of hunting in various terrains and climates.
The breed almost faced extinction after World War II, but dedicated efforts by enthusiasts helped revive and preserve the breed's population.
The Picardy Spaniel is relatively rare outside of France, making it a unique and sought-after breed for dog enthusiasts.