Picardy Spaniel Temperament: Loyal in the Field and Docile in the House

The easy-going Picardy Spaniel temperament makes this breed a versatile hunting dog and a docile family pet.

The Picardy Spaniel is one of the oldest European hunting breeds. It originated in France and it is closely related to the Blue Picardy Spaniel. However, it is the older of these two similar breeds.

The Picardy Spaniel is also sometimes known as the Epagneul de Picardie, the Epagneul Picard, and the Picardy Setter. 

Hunters all over the world prize the Picardy Spaniel for the breed’s ability to work both on land and in the water.

The Picardy Spaniel can make a wonderful pet and working partner. However, it is important to make sure that the Picardy Spaniel temperament is a good fit for your family before you bring one home.

The Picardy Spaniel is a working dog, and it requires a significant amount of exercise and attention.

This article will provide you with an introduction to the Picardy Spaniel personality.

Picardy Spaniel breeders and owners can provide you with even more detailed information about common Picardy Spaniel behaviors.

Common Picardy Spaniel Temperament Traits

This section will explore some of the most common components of the Picardy Spaniel temperament.

However, it is always important to remember that individual differences will exist within any breed.

Therefore, your Picardy Spaniel may not display every characteristic on this list.

Still, this list will give you a sense of what to expect if you add a Picardy Spaniel to your household.

Versatile Hunter

The Picardy Spaniel temperament makes this breed an outstanding hunter.

The North American Picardy Spaniel Alliance calls this breed “a hidden gem among gun dogs.”

The Picardy Spaniel is highly in tune with its handler. It can be used for a variety of different hunting tasks in an assortment of different settings.

If you do not plan to hunt with your Picardy Spaniel, you will need to provide other outlets for its energy such as daily exercise and mental enrichment.

Without proper exercise, your Picardy Spaniel will become bored and destructive. It may display nuisance behaviors such as barking, digging or chewing.

Picardy Spaniel exercise can include walking, jogging, hiking, swimming, or romping with other dogs at the park or at doggie daycare.

Gentle Family Dog

The docile Picardy Spaniel temperament makes this breed a wonderful family pet.

Picardy Spaniels do well with children.

This is especially true when they are socialized with kids from a young age.

Please keep in mind that young children should always be supervised when they interact with dogs of any breed.

Easy to Train

The smart and loyal Picardy Spaniel temperament makes this breed easy to train.

The Picardy Spaniel is a good choice for someone who is new to the world of hunting.

These dogs also excel in the world of canine sports.

If you are looking for a dog that is attentive and eager to please, the Picardy Spaniel is a prime example.

Social with other Pets

The Picardy Spaniel is generally friendly with other pets.

Whenever possible, socialize your Picardy Spaniel with other pets using lots of positive reinforcement and treats.

Even if your Picardy Spaniel seems to get along with your other pets, it is always a good idea to supervise their interactions and separate them when they are unattended.

Not a Guard Dog

The Picardy Spaniel temperament is loyal but not highly protective.

In fact, the Picardy Spaniel tends to be naturally friendly with strangers.

Your dog might bark when the doorbell rings, but that is about it when it comes to the Picardy Spaniel’s guarding abilities.

Picardy Spaniel History: The Origin of the Picardy Spaniel

The Picardy Spaniel hails from the Picardy region of Northern France.

The breed is one of the two oldest French hunting breeds still in existence. The oldest breed, the French Spaniel, was recognized in 1907. The Picardy Spaniel was recognized as a distinct breed just one year later.

The Picardy region is covered in dense woodlands and wetlands that provide cover for many species of birds.

Thus, the Picardy Spaniel had to be a hardy hunter—both on land and in water.

The breed nearly went extinct after the two devastating world wars that ravaged Northern France.

However, a group of breeders led by Francois Prin brought the Picardy Spaniel back from the brink of extinction.

The breed has made a comeback in France, but it is still extremely rare outside of its home country.

The Picardy Spaniel is recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) but is not yet recognized by either the Canadian or the American Kennel Club (AKC).

However, a handful of Picardy Spaniels reside in North America. Their proponents have even formed a club called the North American Picardy Spaniel Alliance to help gain more awareness for this interesting breed.

Picardy Spaniel Size and Appearance

Here is how the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) describes the Picardy Spaniel in the breed standard: “A strong, broad-backed dog, well boned with strong limbs; gentle expression; head carriage gay and striking. Very well constructed forequarters.”

The average Picardy Spaniel weight is between 40 and 55 lbs.

The typical Picardy Spaniel height is between 12 and 14 inches tall at the withers.

Picardy Spaniel colors are very beautiful. These dogs are usually mottled with gray and brown patches. They often have patches of tan on the head and legs.

Their hair is fine and slightly wavy.

Their ears and tails are long with feathery fur.

A Guide to Picardy Spaniel Training

The Picardy Spaniel temperament is highly intelligent and trainable.

If you are looking for a hunting partner that will be easy to train, the Picardy Spaniel is an excellent choice.

The Picardy Spaniel actually picks up many hunting behaviors by instinct alone! All you have to do is expose your puppy to field work from a young age.

The Picardy Spaniel can adapt to a variety of different hunting styles including pointing, retrieving, tracking, field work, and water search.

Even if you do not plan to go hunting with your Picardy Spaniel, it is still important to train your dog.

Like all dogs, the Picardy Spaniel responds best to positive reinforcement training.

Find a trainer in your area that uses positive, force-free training techniques. Avoid trainers that use force or “dominance-based” training. Steer clear of trainers that use painful training tools such as shock collars, pinch collars or choke chains.

Such tactics are not necessary and can ruin your relationship with your pet.

If you acquire your Picardy Spaniel as a puppy, sign up for a puppy socialization class while your dog is still young.

Once you and your dog have completed basic obedience training, you can explore more advanced activities such as nosework or agility.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Picardy Spaniel dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Picardy Spaniel Grooming

The Picardy Spaniel had a medium-length coat that needs weekly brushing and combing to avoid tangles.

The Picardy Spaniel also benefits from occasional bathing, nail trims and dental care.

Like all dogs with floppy ears, the Picardy Spaniel needs frequent ear cleanings to avoid infections.

The Picardy Spaniel does shed and it is not a hypoallergenic breed.

If you are searching for a hypoallergenic dog, check out this article for a list of options.

Picardy Spaniel shedding is easily kept at bay with a good diet, plus frequent grooming, bathing and vacuuming.

Staying Healthy: Picardy Spaniel Health Issues

Since the Picardy Spaniel is such a rare breed, there is not as much information about Picardy Spaniel health conditions as there are for other breeds.

That said, it appears that the Picardy Spaniel is an overall healthy and robust breed.

As with all breeds, it is important to discuss Picardy Spaniel health with a veterinarian before you commit to owning one.

If you acquire your dog from a breeder, be sure to ask for medical histories on the breeding dogs. Ask to see the results of any genetic testing—such as hip evaluations.

Below are some conditions that can be prevalent within the breed. Be sure to discuss these with your veterinarian and/or breeder:

Helpful Dog Health Resource:

Note: if you agree that your health and your dog's health should be a top priority then get a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health. Your doggy friend will love you for it. This guide will help save you money, time and most of all help you keep your dog healthy.

Like all dogs, your Picardy Spaniel should visit a veterinarian at least once per year for a checkup and vaccinations.

It is also critical for your Picardy Spaniel to be on flea, tick and heartworm prevention at all times. Talk to your vet about the best brands of medication for your dog.

Spaying and neutering are highly recommended—unless you plan to competitively show your Picardy. Speak with your vet about the best time to schedule this procedure.

It is important to feed your Picardy Spaniel a high-quality dog food. Avoid cheap foods with filler ingredients such as corn and/or by-products.

With excellent care and nutrition, the average Picardy Spaniel lifespan is between 12 and 13 years.

Picardy Spaniel Rescue and Adoption

If you think the Picardy Spaniel temperament is the right match for your home, it’s time to find a Picardy Spaniel to add to your family.

Since the Picardy Spaniel is such an uncommon breed, you will need to be patient and persistent to find the dog of your dreams.

A wonderful way to add a new pet to your household is through adoption.

Why Adopt?

There are many reasons to adopt a new furry family member.

Here are three:

  • There is a huge pet overpopulation crisis in the United States.
  • There are thousands of homeless dogs looking for loving homes at any given time.
  • It is very rewarding to provide a home to an animal in need.

There are some other benefits as well. For example, animals that are up for adoption often come with some prior training—such as housetraining.

They are usually a little more mature and do not require as much training or attention as puppies.

Additionally, the Picardy Spaniel price is substantially lower when you adopt through a rescue group versus purchasing a puppy through a breeder.

An average adoption fee is generally between $100 and $300 depending on the organization. This fee usually includes basic veterinary services such as spay/neuter, vaccinations and microchipping.

Where to Adopt?

The best place to start any adoption process is at your local animal shelter or humane society.

Even though Picardy Spaniels are rare in American animal shelters, the staff can still take down your information and keep it on file for the future.

They can alert you when similar breeds or mixes become available.

They can also direct you towards rescue groups that specialize in more unusual breeds.

The internet also offers a wealth of adoption resources.

You can connect with the rescue community on Facebook. You can also visit national adoption websites such as Petfinder.com, Adoptapet.com, and Getyourpet.com to view photos of available dogs in your area.

These sites will even allow you to set notifications so that you can receive an email when particular dogs become available in your region.

Finding a Picardy Spaniel for Sale from a Reputable Breeder

If you choose to purchase a Picardy Spaniel puppy through a breeder, it will still take some time and patience due to the scarcity of the breed.

A good place to start is the North American Picardy Spaniel Alliance or the American Kennel Club.

These organizations can provide you with a list of respected Picardy Spaniel breeders.

However, you must still devote the time to doing your own research.

Make an appointment to visit a potential breeder in person. This is the only way that you can verify that the breeder is ethical and that the breeding dogs are being treated humanely.

Never purchase Picardy Spaniel puppies through a pet store or over the internet.

It is worth the extra effort to make sure that your puppy does not come from a puppy mill or a backyard breeder.

The Signs of a Good Breeder

A good breeder will welcome your visit. They will want to meet you and make sure you can provide a good home for one of their puppies.

They will probably ask you to sign a contract promising to return the puppy to them if things do not work out for any reason.

A good breeder might also ask you to sign a spay/neuter agreement promising to get the puppy altered at an appropriate age.

Good breeders do not overbreed their females and will probably only have one or two litters per year. You will probably have to be placed on a waiting list and be patient while you wait for a Picardy puppy to become available.

Picardy Spaniel Price

Since this breed is rare, be prepared to pay a premium price.

Although the cost will vary by the breeder, be prepared to pay over $1000 for a Picardy Spaniel puppy.

This price does not include travel expenses or accommodations.

Conclusion: Why the Picardy Spaniel?

There are so many qualities to love about the Picardy Spaniel temperament.

These dogs are friendly, gentle, intelligent and loyal.

Just be sure you can budget plenty of time for training and exercise—especially if you do not plan to use your Picardy Spaniel as a hunting dog.

These dogs are exceedingly rare, so it will take a lot of effort to find one, but it will be worth the hard work!