Said to be among the 2 oldest continental spaniel breeds, the Picardy Spaniel’s origins are shrouded in mystery due to the lack of documentation. However, canine historians believe that this dog breed came from the Oysel dog, an ancient French spaniel.
The Picardy Spaniel, an uncommon breed, is from the Picardy region of France, in the Valley of Somme. It was crossed with some British hunting breeds in the 19th century. Although some references indicate that this canine had already existed before the 1900s, it was only officially acknowledged in 1907. The standard for the Picardy Spaniel was drawn up in 1908 and remained the same until today.
The highly prized hunting, pointing, and retrieving Picardy Spaniel were favoured by the French nobility. However, the breed’s existence was threatened by the two World Wars. The efforts of Francois Prin, a former breed club president, helped keep the Picardy Spaniel afloat after World War II. In the 1980s, the preservation efforts were rewarded by higher numbers of quality Picardy Spaniels. The breed began winning dog competitions and fans among hunters.
Whilst the modern Picardy Spaniel remains favoured and highly valued by hunters in France, these good-looking dogs remain unknown in many parts of the world. Currently, it is not yet acknowledged by The Kennel Club, although it is recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, Continental Kennel Club, North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA), American Rare Breed Association, North American Kennel Club, and United Kennel Club. In France, the Club de l’Epagneul Picards et le Pont Audemer has been set up to help preserve the breed.