BaxterBoo Blog
January 19, 2014

Meet the Breed: The French Spaniel

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  • Height: 21" - 24”
  • Weight: 44 - 55 pounds
  • Historical function: Hunting
  • Modern function: Hunting, family companion
  • AKC classification: Foundation Stock Service, Sporting Group

Physical Characteristics:

The French Spaniel is a medium-sized dog, elegant and muscled, of medium proportions. The bone structure is strong without being coarse. The build is rectangular in shape, being slightly longer than tall. The chest is deep and the legs are strong. The head is medium in length and width. The stop is apparent. The expressive eyes are cinnamon to dark brown in color and should match the color patches closely. The ears are pendulous and feathered. The underbelly line tucks up but not excessively so. The tail is not docked, is well feathered and slightly curved. The double coat is dense, medium in length and lying flat against the body with wavy feathering on the ears, chest, abdomen, back of the legs and tail. Hair on the face is short. Coat colors are white and brown with medium spotting, sometimes getting predominant. The patches are irregular. There may be flecking and slight roan. The brown varies from cinnamon to dark liver. A white blaze and white on the head, if the marking is not too wide, are appreciated. 

History of the Breed:

The French Spaniel, also known as the Épagneul Francais, was a popular breed during the Middle Ages with the French nobility. It eventually developed into an elegant pointer. They were foundational in creating many of the hunting breeds including the Brittany. The Brittany was created by crossing the French Spaniel with English Setters in the 1850's. The French Spaniel was nearly extinct by 1900, until a French monk, Father Fournier, began a breeding program. He helped form the French Spaniel Club in 1921. The breed was virtually unknown outside of France until the 1970's, when it was imported to Canada and became known as good for hunting for grouse and woodcock.


The French Spaniel is tough, well balanced, loving, calm in the home and energetic in the field. They are adaptable and intelligent. They are easy to train and eager to please. They are energetic and need a good amount of exercise both physically and mentally. This is a working breed that is most happy when he has a job. 

  • Best suited for: Active families with at least a large yard or rural setting, hunters. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog is a devoted companion that loves having a job. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: This coat requires weekly brushing and rare bathing. Clean ears regularly.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk or jog. Also requires mental exercise.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: As this breed has not been subjected to over breeding, it is relatively healthy. There have been incidences of a syndrome called acral mutilation and feet analgesia in less than 1% of the breed.

Breed Club Links: French Spaniel Club of the USA (under construction) Perfect Pairings: Tropiclean OxyMed Pet Ear Cleaner

Have any stories about a French Spaniel? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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