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Blue Picardy Spaniel

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Blue Picardy Spaniel

The Blue Picardy Spaniel is a medium to large purebred also called Epagneul Bleu de Picardie and nicknamed the Bleu Picard or Blue Picardy. While its name suggests it is a spaniel it is actially a pointing dog from France. Its name Picardy comes from the region of northern France where it was bred. It is not a common breed but as well as being a sporting dog that loves to hunt it is also a good family companion, being laidback and calm in the right home.

The Blue Picardy Spaniel at A Glance
Name Blue Picardy Spaniel
Other names Epagneul Bleu de Picardie
Nicknames Bleu Picard / Blue Picardy
Origin France
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 43 to 70 pounds
Average height 22 to 24 inches
Life span 10 to 14 years
Coat type Medium with feathering, straight to slightly wavy
Hypoallergenic No
Color Speckled blue, grey, black
Popularity Not yet ranked by the AKC
Intelligence Average to above average
Tolerance to heat Very good – can handle most climates
Tolerance to cold Very good – can handle most climates just nothing extreme
Shedding Average – some hair will be around the home, does have heavy seasonal shedding too
Drooling Moderate to average – not especially prone but will be some especially when drinking or eating
Obesity Above average – measure its food and make sure it is well exercised
Grooming/brushing Average – brush twice a week or daily if having a heavy blowout
Barking Occasional – some barking but not constant
Exercise needs Very active – need lots of physical and mental stimulation
Trainability Moderately easy
Friendliness Very good to excellent – needs companionship from people
Good first dog Very good
Good family pet Excellent with socialization
Good with children Excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Good to very good with socialization
Good with other pets Good with socialization but not with birds
Good with strangers Good with socialization but wary
Good apartment dog Low to moderate – needs room and a yard
Handles alone time well Low to moderate – does not like being left alone for long periods
Health issues Healthy breed – some issues include eye problems, ear infections and hip dysplasia
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $270 a year for a high quality dry dog food and treats
Miscellaneous expenses $665 a year for grooming, basic training, license, toys and other miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $1420 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $750
Rescue organizations None specific to this dog but it is a good idea to check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported
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The Blue Picardy Spaniel's Beginnings

The Blue Picardy Spaniel is called Epagneul Bleu de Picardie in France where it was bred in the early 1900s, in the region of Picardy, close to the mouth of the river Somme. It was bred to be a versatile hunting dog, able to be a good searcher with its good scenting ability and also able to retrieve, from land or from water. The Blue Picardy Spaniel was bred by crossing the English Setter with Picardy dogs. English Setters were there because they were held in quarantine in that area by British hunters waiting to re-enter the UK. It was used to hunt with in the marshes around the Somme River and around northern France.

In 1904 the first Picardy Spaniel, then called French Spaniel was show at a dog show in Paris. Then the Blue Picardy Spaniel Club and the Picard Spaniel Club were formed, the first time the Blue Picardy Spaniel and the Picard Spaniel were seperated. A French sportsman was first to draw a standard for the dog in 1938 and in France it was recognized as a separate breed to the Picard Spaniel. However with the arrival of World War II the breed's development was interrupted and by the 1960s it was close to disappearing completely. Some breeders saw its extinction was close and made efforts to protect and save them. Still they remained an uncommon dog and not well known outside of hunters from northern France.

New Lease on Life

In the late 1980s Ronald Neunier imported the first dogs to Canada and it was recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1995. While the Federation Cynologique Internationale and the American Rare Breed Association also recognize it as a separate breed from the Picard Spaniel, the AKC and a few other kennel clubs do not. It is no longer at risk of becoming extinct and is mostly known today in France and Canada, with about 1000 born in France each year. Because of its attractive looks as well as being kept still for hunting with, it is also commonly kept as a companion.

The Dog You See Today

The Blue Picardy is a medium to large dog weighing 43 to 70 pounds and standing 22 to 24 inches tall. There are similarities between it and the Picardy Spaniel, but the Blue is obviously a different color and is said to have a softer coat. It also is faster and has a finer nose. That coat is straight or a little wavy, a blue/grey coat with black patches and has long feathering on the belly, legs, ears and tail. When the puppies are born they start out being white with black patches and then that patterning develops as they grow. The hair is medium length and thick, but on the head it is short.

These dogs have a long and wide muzzle with ears that hang down and are covered in thick silky hair. Its body is muscular and its head is oval. The legs are muscled and end in webbed toes developed so it can work on land and in the water. The tail of the Blue Picardy is straight and usually stops at the hock.

The Inner Blue Picardy Spaniel

Temperament

Blue Picardy Spaniels are reputed to be patient, calm, quiet and laid back when its needs are met and it is in a good home. That means it needs active owners that ensure it gets enough physical and mental challenge. It is alert and will bark to let you know if there is a stranger approaching or an intruder trying to get in. Since it does also have some protective instincts it should also act to defend its home and family.

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With strangers it is wary but once it knows you it will be friendly and social. It is affectionate with its family, playful and devoted. It needs lots of attention and companionship from its people and does not like being left alone. Picardies will happily snuggle with you under the covers at bedtime or on the couch at the end of the day if you allow it! As a hunter the Blue Picardy has good scenting and can deal with land or water. It is enthusiastic when out, very hardy and persistent and also versatile.

Living with a Blue Picardy Spaniel

What will training look like?

In terms of training they are fairly easy especially with owners who have experience. Start training and socialization when you bring it home as this is a responsive, adaptable and intelligent dog that is quite capable. Stay calm with it, be patient and consistent but be firm and make it clear you are the pack leader. It is a dog that loves spending time with you so as long as you stay positive and keep sessions engaging it will listen and obey. Picardies are not an especially difficult or stubborn natured dog. Training will help with obedience and behavior, and socialization will help it learn appropriate responses and become a more well rounded trustworthy pet.

How active is the Blue Picardy Spaniel?

This dog was bred to be a hunter and it loves doing it, but as long as you can replace that with a good amount of mental stimulation and physical exercise it can be kept as a companion dog only. Consider having it do a dog sport like agility, tracking or flyball for example instead. It will happily join you on hikes, swims or runs too so needs active owners. It has a good amount of stamina so should be getting over an hour a day of long walks and physical and mental play with you. When it gets enough time outside it is happy to be calm, relaxed and a couch potato indoors! It is best suited to a home with a yard it can play and explore in. Make sure it is well fenced, and be sure to give it off leash time to run free somewhere safe.

Caring for the Blue Picardy Spaniel

Grooming needs

Blue Picardies have moderate needs in terms of their grooming and care. They shed a moderate amount usually but shed heavily during seasonal times. This means there will be hair around the home to deal with and it will need brushing once or twice a week at least and then daily in the Spring and Autumn. If you take it hunting or walking though muddy or leafy areas you may need to give it a wipe and brush then too. The areas with feathering can be prone to tangling and will need trimming now and then. Only give it a bath when it really needs one to avoid drying out its skin.

Other basic care includes clipping its nails when they get too long, taking care not to cut too far down. There are blood vessels and nerves in the lower part that means should it be nicked it will cause a lot of pain, and bleeding. Its teeth should be brushed two to three times a week at least using a dog toothbrush and toothpaste. The ears should be checked weekly for infection signs like redness or irritation and then given a careful wipe clean. Do not insert anything into the ears, this could hurt it and do damage.

Feeding Time

These dogs will eat about 2¼ cups to 4 cups of an excellent quality dry dog food a day split into two meals. How much exactly can vary from one to another depending on its metabolism, level of activity, age, health and size. Always ensure they have access to fresh water.

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How is the Blue Picardy Spaniel with other animals and children?

Blue Picardies tends to be gentle, affectionate and playful with children, which is part of why they are a great family dog. With good socialization and especially when raised with them they can form very close bonds. Make sure the children are taught how to properly touch and play with them. It can learn to get along with other pets like cats but is not good with birds. They also are very good with other dogs.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

This purebred is a generally healthy breed and should live for 10 to 14 years. There are some issues that it could develop though. These include obesity, hip dysplasia, eye problems and ear infections.

Biting Statistics

In reports that cover attacks that did bodily harm from dogs on people over the last 35 years in the US and Canada, there is no mention of the Blue Picardy Spaniel. This is not an aggressive dog or one to be concerned about unless you are a real threat to it, its home or it owners. They are a gentle breed but key to their calm temperament is good socialization and training. Any dog though can have an off day, or have the potential to be drawn into something they might usually not engage in. Make sure your dog gets what it needs in terms of attention, food, care and stimulation and it is less likely to happen.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Blue Picardy Spaniel puppy will cost about $750 for a pet quality dog from a decent breeder, but possibly two or even three times that for show quality or top breeder dogs. Avoid buying from bad breeders and puppy mills, pet stores or backyard breeders. There is the option of looking to a local shelter to bring home a rescue desperate for a new forever home. While finding an Blue Picardy is unlikely other dogs are just as deserving and have a lot to offer, if it does not have to be a purebred.

There are also initial costs to account for once you have brought your puppy or dog home. It will need items like bowls, bedding, crate, carrier, leash and collar and such and these will cost about $250. There are also medical needs, take your pet to a vet as soon as you can for it to be examined and have some tests done, and procedures taken care of. That will cost another $290 or so.

Finally there are yearly costs as well to understand. Miscellaneous costs like basic training, license, toys, miscellaneous items, grooming and such come to about $665 a year. Feeding it a good or better quality dry dog food and dog treats will cost about $270 a year. Then health care, just basics like shots, check ups and pet insurance and such come to another $485 a year. This means expect annual costs of care to be around $1420.

Names

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The Blue Picardy Spaniel is not a common dog though it is easier to find in its home land of France and in Canada. It was bred to be an all round great hunting dog and is still used in this role by many owners as it has great stamina, a great nose and is good at pointing and retrieving in many different terrains. It is also though a lovely, gentle, playful, active companion. It can be good in most homes with active owners, but it does need people around or it can become anxious.

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