Did you know?
Barking Sands Beach on the island of Kauai in Hawaii is known for its unusual sand that squeaks or “barks like a dog.” The dry sand grains emit a canine call when rubbed with bare feet.
French Spaniel (Épagneul Français)
The world was conquered through the understanding of dogs; the world exists through the understanding of dogs. – Nietzche
Historians agree that this tall and handsome spaniel has been around a long time. The French Spaniel gained fame during the Middle Ages as a setting dog used for net hunting.
By the 17th century, the French Spaniel was used to search out pheasant and partridge at Versailles and drew sufficient attention that he was pictured in the engravings of Desportes and Oudry. But fashion is fickle, and by the 19th century, the English hunting dogs were in favour and the French Spaniel was fading from the scene. Nearly extinct by the turn of the 20th century, it remained for a devoted Frenchman, Father Fournier, to gather up the best specimens he could find and embark on a breeding programme to rebuild the French Spaniel.
With his style of creeping along and freezing to a statue at the scent of feathers, the breed is regarded as the forerunner of the modern setters. They were not only used on birds, but were used to hunt with birds, and teamed with falcons for expeditions.
According to a breed historian, the first of this old breed to come to Canada was imported in 1974. An active breed club was formed, the Club de l’Epagneul Francais du Canada, and the breed grew in popularity, particularly with Quebec sportsmen. It was granted CKC recognition on 1 May 1985.
Photos displayed courtesy of Leslie Jonkov, Élevage des Perdrioles, Quebec
One of the two largest spaniels, the French Spaniel stands up to 24 inches (61 cm) at the shoulder and has a medium-long, weather-resistant coat. His appearance is one of elegant strength. His coat is white with brown markings which may or may not have specks. He has feathering on the legs, ears, chest, and tail.
This is a medium sized dog with a kind, intelligent, noble, and dignified expression and friendly attitude.
An excellent retriever on both land and in water, he can withstand icy waters, dense undergrowth, and cold temperatures. He makes an excellent hunting companion because of his calm nature.
The French Spaniel is calm, gentle and devoted to his family. He bonds closely with his owner and does not adapt to changes in ownership well. Friendly, loyal, and energetic, this dog is patient with children and will happily play with them for long periods. Although he will sound the alarm when strangers approach, he is much too fond of people to make an effective guard dog.
A versatile hunting dog, the French Spaniel will also hunt hare, rabbit, deer, and even boar. An intelligent, willing and fast learner, the French Spaniel easily adapts to different hunting styles. He is easily trained but sensitive too and should not be harshly corrected. The French Spaniel has also competed in field trials, where he does very well.
He has a high energy level, lots of stamina, and requires lots of exercise and room to run off-leash. Like most sporting dogs, the French Spaniel is best suited to an active home where he will be a cherished member of the family. He should live in a home with a fenced backyard with an active owner who can keep up with him!