Brief History of the Blue Picardy Spaniel
are five spaniels native to France: the Brittany, the Pont Audemer,
the French, the Picard and the Blue Picardy. These spaniels are
a "mayonnaise of chromosomes" from dogs indigenous to
the Middle East, the British Isles, Italy and Spain. Like many other
breeds, the 'ancient' history of the spaniels of France is sketchy
and there is more than one interpretation of the available historical
French, the word "spaniel" evolved from the verb "espaigne"
which, in old French, means, "to drop on the ground".
During the Fourteenth century, the French Spaniels were very often
used for hunting under the net. This method of hunting consisted
in catching game (and the dog) by using a net laden with weights.
The dog was to lie down flat on its belly as soon as it saw a covey
of partridges or a hare, and the net was thrown over top. From this
came its name of "setting dog", or spaniel.
first French spaniels originated from the Middle East. During the
Crusades, near the end of the Eleventh century, the French knights
traveled to the Holy Land accompanied by their pointers (Braques)
and hunting hounds. Inevitably, breedings between Arab Greyhounds
and the pointers occurred and the first ancestors to the French
spaniels were born. In the 14th century, Gaston Phébus and
Henri de Ferrières recorded the first descriptions of the
French "setting dogs" in their treatises on hunting. Gaston
Phébus had more than 1,000 dogs including Spanish and Italian
Pointers. In 1578, the French nobility prohibited hunting to all
people except the nobility. After the French Revolution, privilege
the years, the spaniels of France separated into many regional types,
where size, color and hunting abilities varied according to the
areas they inhabited and their owners' hunting habits. Picardie,
France, particularly the area around the Bay of Somme, was a paradise
for hunters of waterfowl. Towards the end of the nineteenth century,
hunters and dogs from Great Britain crossed the English Channel
to hunt in France. The Picardie marshes and Brittany's sandy moors
became the favorite hunting grounds of many setter and spaniel owners.
When the British quarantine was implemented, effectively prohibiting
the re-entry of their dogs into Great Britain, many hunters boarded
their setters on Picardie farms. Consequently, the Picard Spaniels
were crossed with blue Belton English and Gordon Setters and the
Blue Picardy Spaniel was the result.
presence of the first black, blue-gray coated spaniel was recorded
in 1875 but it was not until after 1900 that the Picard Spaniel
(French Spaniel crossed with French herding dogs and hounds) first
appeared in the dog fanciers' circle. In 1904, a Mr. Ratel showed
a Picard Spaniel, officially classified as a French Spaniel, at
the Paris Canine Exposition. It was not until 1907, when the Spaniel
Club was founded, that specific classes were formed for each variety
1921 the Picard Spaniel and Blue Picardy Spaniel Club was formed.
The Blue Picardy Spaniel was classified as a separate breed because
of its distinctive "grayish-black mottled" color and its
blue rather than brown skin pigmentation. In Europe, the breed was
recognized as a distinct race in 1938. The Canadian Kennel Club
officially recognized the Blue Picardy Spaniel in 1995.
Epagneuls de France - Pierrick Le Louarn - 1995
d'Epagneul Picard, Bleu de Picardie, Pont Audemer
Chien Magazine - 1987 and 1995
International Encyclopedia of Dogs - Anne Rogers Clarke and Andrew
Brace - 1995 Dogs - David Alderton - 1993