Epagneul de Pont-Audemer FCI Standard
The Pont-Audemer Spaniel is a vigorous, resilient and out-going dog with an inherent talent to hunt waterfowl. It’s friendly with kids and willingly plays the role of a companion animal. Developed in France in the XIX century, presently its population is too small to guarantee the breeds’ long-term survival.
The information about the origin of the Pont-Audemer Spaniel is based on speculations rather than on concrete facts. Strong probability holds that it was created in the Pont Audemer area of France during the XIX century. It appeared as the result of crossing local sporting dogs with Pointers and Setters that were imported to this region by English hunters. Other important predecessor of this breed is the Irish Water Spaniel to which it owes it love of water.
The Pont-Audemer Spaniel is sometimes called «le petit clown des marais» which is translated as «the little clown of the marshes». The nickname is used to underline nice temperament of this dog as well as to pinpoint its hunting specialty. Although it can carry out all types of hunting tasks (tracing, pointing, retrieving) both on land and water, the breeds’ true vocation is to hunt ducks and other water birds.
In the XIX the breed enjoyed vast popularity in its native Picardy and Normandy districts. Nevertheless it failed to earn any noticeable recognition in other parts of France and far less outside its borders. And when French sportsmen turned their attention to English hunting dogs, the Pont-Audemer Spaniel greatly lost its positions even in its homeland.
Two World Wars put into question the very existence of the Pont-Audemer Spaniel so its crossbreeding to the Irish Water Spaniel became a least-evil solution. This breeding program was conducted in the 50s of the XX century but it didn’t work as expected. The breed’s number kept on to fall. Finally the Society Havraise took on the responsibility for its fate. The organization that represents other French spaniels also contributed a great deal to the breeds’ rehabilitation. Today the Pont-Audemer Spaniel is recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) but its population still remains dangerously low.
The Pont-Audemer Spaniel can successfully combine the work in the field with the life of a family dog. Its devotion to the masters seems bottomless and it’s prone to experience acute anxiety without their regular care and attention. This dog is always full of vigour and loves frisking with kids. Remember that such a friendly and sociable disposition doesn’t exclude the necessity of basic socialization. It’s equally important to explain your kids that its four-legged buddy deserves respectful handling.
The most of Pont-Audemer Spaniels treat all unknown people as potential playmates although at first it may show moderate wariness. It’s rather unwise to make this dog a property watcher because it has too laid-back nature and lacks territorial instinct. Due to the same reason it should never be trusted with guarding responsibilities.
The Pont-Audemer Spaniel also enjoys playing with familiar dogs and suits well for multi-canine households. However it’s relatively hostile to its counterparts, which it doesn’t consider as members of its pack. So make sure to let your pet off-leash only in a well-fenced territory. This breed usually attacks any object that even distantly resembles a prey so its grown-up member should never be introduced to the families with pre-existing cats or other pets. However the puppy of the Pont-Audemer Spaniel adjusts to the company of other animals quickly and easily.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· hair loss;
· hip dysplasia;
· elbow dysplasia;
· progressive retinal atrophy;
· immune problems.
The Pont-Audemer Spaniel was predominantly bred for work and therefore needs very primitive care. Brush its shiny curly coat only once or twice a week and your dog will always look well-groomed. Frequent bathing is commonly unnecessary although the breed has to be bathed after each and every hunting adventure.
Make sure to trim the nails of your Pont-Audemer Spaniel at least every other month and regularly check its ears for the signs of infection (redness, bad smell). Weekly dental hygiene will keep the dog’s teeth healthy and free of tartar for long years.
It’s relatively easy to train the Pont-Audemer Spaniel since this dog always wants to gladden its master. At the same time it also has mind of its own and behaves itself very independently in an everyday life. Moreover it hates dull and repetitive tasks so make sure to keep training sessions short and amusing.
Use favourite treats of your pet to reward its obedience and avoid any variety of negative reinforcement, which is totally useless in the work with this breed. As a rule the Pont-Audemer Spaniel quickly learns basic commands although it may have problems with mastering more advanced training course.
The agile and tenacious Pont-Audemer Spaniel has vast exercise requirements and won’t make an agreeable apartment dog. Even a long walk won’t satisfy its need to burn excessive energies. Let your pet to frisk an hour or two every day in a safely enclosed area and it will be calm and relaxed in the house.
Of course nothing will make this dog as happy as a hunting trip with its master. Remember that the insufficient amount of physical stimulation is the main reason of its hyper active behaviour and unreasonable barking indoors.