French Spaniel – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The French Spaniel is for experienced dog owners, and those who love spending time outdoors. Are you interested in this breed? Read on to discover if the French Spaniel is for you.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
21 to 24 inches.
45 to 60 pounds.
Life Span:
10 to 12 years.

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Dog experts and lovers are fast to describe French Spaniel as affectionate, intelligent, and outgoing. This purebred dog with strong roots in France and Canada is one of the most famous spaniels of today.

They are a great choice for active families and individuals who see jogging or hiking with dogs as a weekly enjoyment, rather than an obligation.

Famous French Spaniel goes by many names, including:

  • Epagneul Francais
  • French Setter
  • Canadian Setter

No matter how you might decide to call him, you can rest assured that you are getting a loyal, affectionate, and active dog. They aren’t best suited for first time dog owners, nor they can reach their potential in apartment living.

As an active breed, the French Spaniel is a great addition to more rural homes, or really large city houses with an enormous back yard, and active owners. They are a great addition to any type of household, including homes with younger and older children.

When educated on how to behave around dogs, the French Spaniel will be a great family dog to children of all ages.

If you are an outdoorsy person and you think that this dog could be your next running partner, check the information below to learn if you would really fit together.

Quick Facts

Real name: French Spaniel
Other names: Epagneul Francais, French Setter, Canadian Setter

Origin: France and Canada
Breed type: Sporting Dogs
Weight: 45 to 60 pounds
Height: 21 to 24 inches
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Litter Size: 3 – 7 puppies
Color: White with brown markings
Coat: Straight, or slightly wavym, medium length

French Spaniel History

This popular brown and white dog was developed in France. Their original purpose was to serve as hunting dogs. According to many dog lovers, this breed is descended from dogs who existed in the 14th century.

The French Spaniels were extremely popular during the Middle Ages, but they were almost extinct by the turn of the 20th century. Luckily, Father Fournier, a French priest, decided to step in and save the breed was extinction. His efforts led to the breed’s salvation.

Gaston Febus, one of the biggest names within the canine world, wrote that the French Spaniel is a descendant of the bird dogs, who were in fact sporting Spaniels. Through careful selection and well-planned breeding, we got the French Spaniels that we have today.

Careful breeding leads to an energetic dog who is elegant in appearance, pointing very firmly, and enjoys working time. The year 1891 was a big milestone for this breed. This year was when the very first standard on the breed was created.

James de Connick was the first one who created breed standards.

As expected, the standard has been changed and revised a few times, before it was finally adopted. In the mid-1970s the French Spaniel was imported into Canada. Around 1997, the breed was imported into the United States.

French Spaniel Physical Appearance

The famous French Spaniel is defined as a medium-sized dog. They will commonly weigh between 45 and 60 pounds, and stand between 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder.

It’s not strange for this breed to vary a bit in size. That being said, some may be longer or smaller. Interestingly, when it comes to males and females there is no significant difference in appearance.

The nose in this breed will always be brown, while the eyes are of dark color as well. Ears should be set back at eye level, the neck should be muscled, and the tail shouldn’t be docked.

Overall movement should be easy, energetic, and elegant at the same time. Skin is well-fitting to the body, while the coat is long and wavy.

In dog shows certain traits are a big fault, such as:

  • Too broad skull
  • Light eye color
  • Strongly curly hair
  • Wall eyes
  • Wry mouth
  • Depigmentation

French Spaniel Personality

French Spaniels are active dogs. Getting this dog means one thing for sure – you will get to spend a lot of time outside, even on a rainy day if you don’t manage to meet the dog’s exercise needs you can expect destructive behavior that you really want to avoid.

These dogs are great outdoor companions. They do get tired, but it will take them long hours before that happens. Your Fido will adore playing fetch and long walks. They aren’t much of indoor dogs, and cuddling all day long isn’t their cup of tea.

As an intelligent breed, training them should be an enjoyable and easy process. Overall, they are calm, people-oriented, and can be friendly toward strangers as well. However, if they feel any sort of danger, they will be fast to react by barking.

The French Spaniel should get along with children of all ages. They should tolerate other pets in the house as well, especially if they are raised together.

French Spaniel Training

Training starts as soon as you bring your French Spaniel home. Dogs are more than capable of mastering basic commands as of eight weeks of age. Proper training and early socialization are what make dogs good canine citizens.

Make sure that you provide a proper amount of dog toys before your dog arrives. Think about training structure, keep training sessions short and fund, and offer traits as a reward.

Dogs thrive on positive reinforcement methods. No dog should ever experience any harsh treatment. Use as high-quality treats as possible to enhance training time.

As an active breed, the French Spaniel comes with great stamina.

They love exercise, and for them, an activity of 30-minute is the bare minimum. If you feel that your French Spaniel needs more exercise think about dog sport, such as agility or obedience.

French Spaniel Grooming

If you are not a fan of long grooming and brushing sessions, you are in luck. This breed is easy to groom.

All you have to do is to have the right grooming tools on hand and brush him once a week. Unless your Fido jumps into something really messy, you should avoid bathing him frequently.

A bathe here and there is fine. Dogs have different skin than people do and they don’t need as frequent bath time as humans do. Check their ears weekly and learn how and when to clean them.

Use brushing time to check the dog’s skin for any sign of infection, fleas, or irritation. The rest of the grooming practice should include gums check, eyes check, and trimming or grinding nails monthly.

French Spaniel Health

If you are buying French Spaniel you should only work with responsible dog breeders. This way you can be sure that you are getting a healthy dog.

Reputable breeders will always present you with medical documentation on the need and inform you of the puppy’s health condition. Moreover, they will educate you on the breed’s common health conditions that may appear.

This way you will be better prepared for the future and veterinarian bills.

Think about pet insurance if you want extra safety money-wise. Some of the most common health-related issues that you can expect to see in this breed include:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Acral Mutilation & Analgesia
  • Epilepsy
  • Entropion
  • Otitis Externa

As with all dogs, proper nutrition and regular veterinarian check-ups are major factors when it comes to dogs’ health. Prevention is the most effective solution when it comes to detecting any health concerns.

As long as you meet the dog’s exercise needs his joints should be in balance and healthy. Perfectly, it would be great if you could provide at least one hour of exercise per day. This way you will keep your Fido active and fit.

French Spaniel Nutrition

Proper nutrition is one of the most effective ways to keep your Fido healthy. Knowing how much you should feed your dog and how often will keep his gut in balance.

You should also know which human foods to avoid, and which one is safe to share with your French Spaniel. For example, dogs should never eat grapes or human chocolate. On the other eat, sharing a cucumber is perfectly safe.

Knowledge is the power and knowing the right information could save your dog’s life. If you have any doubts about your dog’s diet, make sure that you talk with your veterinarian.

If you are thinking about changing Fido’s diet, talk to your veterinarian first.

This is especially important if you are thinking about big changes such as raw food diet and so on. Provide fresh and clean water at all times.

Have the right dog bowl on reach and follow all of your veterinarian’s guidelines for keeping your French Spaniel healthy and happy.

Is French Spaniel For You?

Knowing as much as possible about the breed is what will help you decide if a specific breed is for you.

You may be more of an indoor person, and getting a highly-active dog, may not be the best solution.

You need to make sure that your dog fits your lifestyle. If you are an outdoorsy person, who enjoys active time, then the French Spaniel should definitely be a breed to consider having.

These dogs are active free spirits who enjoy having work to do. If you can keep up with their energy levels and provide proper care, then the French Spaniel might be for you.

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