The Picardy Spaniel or Epagneul Picard

Picardy is a region of large wheat fields and grasslands but also of marshes and lakes. So we need strong dogs that are able to adapt to various terrains in any weather. Today, we can still find dogs from the old lines by visiting farms in the area that proves that they have been in the area for a long time and were used for hunting in the marshes and fields. If we go way back in time, to the 14th century, we find references to dogs bred specifically for certain types of hunting. They were usually kept on a leash and brought near game where they froze into a pointing like position. So the Picardy developed from among those dogs like all the other pointing breeds. It was a sort of lightened version of the old French Spaniel. It was said to be 2 centimetres smaller than the French Spaniel but with a roan coat. The Picardy Spaniel was also called the Ardennes Spaniel. It had a mainly black coat with tan marks on the head and the paws. We can’t deny that there was an infusion of English blood, certainly from the Gordon setter. One must remember that in the 19th century, that the farmers of the region didn’t worry much about pure breeding. So these dogs were not really selectively bred until the 1900s by Mr. Rattel and Mr. Flandre. The French Spaniel, the Picardy or Ardennes Spaniel, the Blue Picardy, the Pont Audemer and the Brittany were all in the same family. In 1908, all those breeds were recognized as separate and independent. And even through the first world war, breeding continued. After the second world war, the age of the automobile came and people wanted to take their dogs in the car to go hunting. The Picardy Spaniel is a big dog which did not help its popularity among people looking for smaller dogs. So basically the Picardy Spaniel is a regional variety of Spaniel that is quite old and is today, unfortunately more or less confined to the north of France. On the other hand it is a breed that is appreciated and used by our friends on the other side of the Rhine in Germany and it is a good thing for our breed because it proves that they can be very strong and versatile gundogs. Today we are working to improve the working abilities so that they can be competitive in trials and yet still be an easy dog to handle every Sunday when they go hunting with their owners.

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