Other names: Epagneul Français, French Setter, Canadian Setter
The French Spaniel is a graceful, athletic, and very intelligent dog. They bare a striking resemblance to the English Springer Spaniel and have many of the same character traits. Bred as a working dog, they thrive off human company and love to feel part of the pack. This friendly dog is always eager to please and requires up to two hours of exercise every day.
Key facts about the French Spaniel
Life expectancy :
Origins and history
The French Spaniel can be traced all the way back to Gaston Phoebus’s "Book of Hunting" in the 13th century. They were popular hunting dogs used to track and retrieve small game. Prized for their stamina, loyalty, and persistent nature, their numbers continued to grow until the early 20th century. Then, as more small villages turned into industrial towns, there was less demand for hunting dogs. Thankfully, French Spaniel clubs started to spring up in the UK, USA, and Canada during the middle of the century. They helped raise awareness of the breed and played an instrumental part in saving these very special animals.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 7 - Pointing Dogs
Section 1 : Continental Pointing Dogs
Physical characteristics of the French Spaniel
Female : Between 21 and 24 in
Male : Between 22 and 25 in
Female : Between 53 and 57 lb
Male : Between 53 and 57 lb
Brown (cinnamon to dark liver) and white. Speckled or roan.
Type of coat
Long to mid-length. Flat or slightly wavy. Wavy on the ears and tail.
From cinnamon to brown.
The French Spaniel is a medium-sized, well proportioned dog. They look a little like the Brittany, but are up to 10cm taller. They have a sturdy, athletic physique with powerful hindquarters. French Spaniels tend to have flat silky coats which become wavy around the ears, underbelly, and tail, and they have a sweet expression in their oval eyes.
Good to know
French Spaniels are known for having large litters. New mums can produce as many as 8 pups. These guys need lots and lots of exercise, and a stroll around the block won’t do. They need to run free and explore.
The French Spaniel is a highly affectionate dog. A real people-dog, they tend to latch onto their owners and love strokes and affection.
The French Spaniel is another working dog with a playful personality. Stimulating games helps puppies develop into healthy, well-adjusted adult dogs.
This active dog gets very excited during walkies and can become a bit boisterous if they haven't seen their favourite humans for a while. But they know when to switch off. They become especially docile after a good run.
These dogs are docile, and understand quickly what’s expected of them.
The French Spaniel is a born hunter. They have a natural desire to hunt, track, and explore, especially in water.
Fearful / wary of strangers
French Spaniels are social dogs who love being around people. They want to make friends with as many humans as possible and will rarely become nervous or shy around strangers.
Smart dogs like the French Spaniel often have an independent streak. This needs to be managed carefully. They can take the initiative and go about their business without the need of a master.
Behaviour of the French Spaniel
Pack dogs like the spaniel were not designed for long periods of solitude. They can, however, accept the absence of a human if they are used to it from an early age.
Easy to train / obedience
French Spaniels are fairly easy to train, but they do have some very specific requirements. Training needs to be fun and engaging. Keep the sessions short, kind, and consistent. 10-15 minutes a day is ideal.
French Spaniels are much quieter than many other breeds.
Tendency to run away
This is a real possibility. Working dogs are curious creatures who love to explore. They also need time off the leash to run free. Keep a close eye on them.