The Pont-Audemer Spaniel, named after the town of Pont-Audemer in Normandy, France, is a rare breed believed to have been created in the 19th century from various other French spaniels, possibly including the Irish Water Spaniel and the Barbet. Initially used as hunting dogs, specifically for waterfowl, the breed was highly valued for its excellent retrieving abilities. The breed's population was significantly impacted by World War I and World War II, nearly leading to its extinction. However, dedicated breeders managed to save and slowly rebuild the breed, although its numbers remain quite low today.
Pont-Audemer 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. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following specific conditions: hyperuricosoria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.
Pont-Audemer Spaniels are known for their intelligence, adaptability, and good nature. They are friendly and affectionate dogs that get along well with humans and other animals alike. These dogs have a strong instinct for hunting and retrieving, but they are also content to spend time relaxing with their families. They are eager to please and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods.
The Pont-Audemer Spaniel has a distinctive coat that sets it apart from other breeds. The coat is dense and wavy, with the texture often compared to that of a goat's hair. The breed is described as having a "curly" or "kinky" coat.
The Pont-Audemer Spaniel is sometimes nicknamed the "Little Clown of Pont-Audemer" due to its playful and lively personality.
Due to their rarity, Pont-Audemer Spaniels are considered a national treasure in France.
Despite their relatively small size, these dogs are renowned for their strength and endurance in the field.