The Picardy Spaniel is a breed of dog developed in France for use as a gundog. It is related to the Blue Picardy Spaniel, and still has many similarities, but the Picardy Spaniel is the older of the two breeds. It is thought to be one of the two oldest continental spaniel breeds and was favoured by the French nobility, remaining popular for hunting after the French Revolution due to its weather resistant coat that enabled it to hunt in a variety of conditions and terrain. However its popularity waned following the influx of English hunting breeds in the early 20th century. Slightly smaller than an English Setter but larger than most of its spaniel cousins, it has no major health issues although as with many breeds with pendulous ears, it can be prone to Otitis externa in animals.
The French Spaniel and the Picardy Spaniel are considered to be the two oldest continental breeds of spaniel. Both breeds are speculated to have stemmed from the Chien d' Oysel described in the writings of Gaston Phoebus. Hunting during this period in France was one of the favourite sports of the nobility and the French type of Spaniel became the favourite hunting dog of the French Royalty. The breed can be seen in paintings dating from this period by artists Alexandre-François Desportes and Jean-Baptiste Oudry. They were also the first breed of dog to be admitted into Salon (France).
The Epagneul Picard Club was formed in 1921 and was merged with the Club of Blue Picardy Spaniel on 28 July 1937. A further merger took place on 21 May 1980 when these clubs merged with the Pont-Audemer Spaniel Club to form the Club des Epagneuls Picards, Bleus de Picardie & Pont Audemer.The Picardy Spaniel is recognised by a variety of Kennel Clubs and associations including the North American Kennel Club, American Rare Breed Association, United Kennel Club, and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. All four associations use the standard as set by the FCI. It is also recognised by the Continental Kennel Club, but unlike the closely related Blue Picardy Spaniel, it is not recognised by the Canadian Kennel Club.