Epagneul Français FCI Standard
Originally the French Spaniel was used for net hunting and falconry. For the net hunting it was taught to pinpoint the location of the feathered game in a very peculiar, low «setting» way which facilitated throwing of the net over the dog. The dog was treasured for its versatility since it was capable of hunting, pointing and retrieving. During the Dark Ages it was favoured not only by commoners but also by royalty. For instance, Catherine I of Russia (1684-1727) was a proud owner of the French Spaniel named Babe.
During the XIX century Spain was flooded with English breeds and the population of the French Spaniel shrank dramatically. The breed owed its rescue to the breeding efforts of Father Fournier, a French priest. He scoured the country to find best specimens and brought them to his kennels. There he restored the unique characteristics and offspring of his dogs are now living all over the world. Breeding practices of the priest were supported by other breeders both in France and in Canada. The dog made its way to the United States in about 1997. The French Spaniel is a member of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service, which is considered to be the first step towards its full recognition. The breed can be rarely observed outside its native country but its popularity is constantly growing.
This outgoing and sweet dog is friendly but somewhat reserved with strangers. Without timely training some specimens can actually become inappropriate greeters. Unfortunately the breed’s sociable nature makes it a terrible watchdog, which would rather gladly welcome an intruder than demonstrates any signs of aggression. For the same reason it’s also ill-suited for the role of a guard dog.
The French Spaniel is quite all right with other canines and prefers to share its existence with one or several dogs. It’s important to notice though that it gets on much better with dogs of the same size and energy level. This dog is an enthusiastic hunter, which commonly treats all non-canine animals as prey objects. So while on a walk it should be kept leashed at all times. In majority of cases the French Spaniel won’t pester a household cat, which it has recognised as a part of its pack.
• eye problems;
• canine hip dysplasia.
Floppy ears of this breed are prone to collect dirt and debris particularly during a hunting adventure. That’s why its owner should diligently and regularly check and clean them. The French Spaniel sheds insignificantly.
The French Spaniel will never submit to a rude handler and on the whole it’s extremely sensitive to rough-housing. You will attain much better results if you teach this dog using positive reinforcement and food incentives. Remember that this breed is an inborn hunter so it won’t need any additional training to be effective in this role.
The French Spaniel absolutely loves water and will take every chance to swim to its heart content. Bear in mind that without proper amount of outdoor exercise this breed will most likely develop grave behavioural problems including on-going barking, hyper activity, nervousness and unreasonable aggressiveness.