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French Spaniel

Other names: Epagneul Français, French Setter, Canadian Setter

French Spaniel

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

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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

FCI Group

Group 7 - Pointing Dogs


Section 1 : Continental Pointing Dogs

Physical characteristics of the French Spaniel

Adult size

Female : Between 21 and 24 in

Male : Between 22 and 25 in


Female : Between 53 and 57 lb

Male : Between 53 and 57 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



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. 


  • 66%


    The French Spaniel is a highly affectionate dog.  A real people-dog, they tend to latch onto their owners and love strokes and affection.

  • 66%


    The French Spaniel is another working dog with a playful personality. Stimulating games helps puppies develop into healthy, well-adjusted adult dogs.

  • 66%


    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.

  • 66%


    These dogs are docile, and understand quickly what’s expected of them.

  • 100%


    The French Spaniel is a born hunter. They have a natural desire to hunt, track, and explore, especially in water. 

  • 33%

    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.

  • 66%


    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

    • 66%

      Tolerates solitude

      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.

    • 100%

      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.

    • 33%


      French Spaniels are  much quieter than many other breeds.

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