For a “spaniel,” the Picardy tends to be on the larger size, and often people ask if they are “some sort of lab mix.” There’s not much information about Picardy Spaniels online, and unfortunately some of it seems to be written by people who’ve never seen nor owned one. Size is an area that is often misrepresented, with most sites citing that the average height at the withers is 21-24” and that the average weight is in the 45-55# range. In reality, Picardy Spaniels are slightly taller and most certainly heavier. Height at the withers is generally 22-25” with males tending to be toward the taller end of that range. Average weight differs even more, with female Picardy Spaniels weighing in at 48-58#s and males between 60-70#s. There are exceptions of course, but these height and weight ranges are better representative of the Picardy Spaniels being whelped today. Other online characterizations that aren’t very accurate include a tendency toward ear infections, obesity and the need for regular grooming. The ear infection statement likely came from incorrectly lumping the Picardy Spaniel in with other spaniels, most notably the Cocker Spaniel. The Picardy does have long, silky ears, but ear infections are rare. It is also very seldom that you see an overweight Picardy. They are an athletic breed that thrives with regular exercise. And, even though they have a beautiful, flowing coat, the proper grooming classification would be “low maintenance.” Unless you are regularly afield or in woods laden with burrs and stick-tights a Picardy Spaniel only needs occasional brushing.
More often than not the Picardy is a big-boned dog with a sturdy body, a wide, oval-shaped head, and a deep/wide chest. Their body style is best described as square-to-rectangular and muscular. The muzzle can vary from somewhat “snipey” to “boxy.” The head and muzzle generally have tan pointing, likely a result of Gordon Setter genes in the line. A Picardy Spaniel’s lower limbs are typically lighter in color than their coat, and can range from copper to dark brown. Many Picardy’s also exhibit some white mottling in the lower limbs, possibly due to outcrosses with English Setters and Brittany Spaniels. The coat is tri-colored and can vary as much in color as consistency. Roan is a good, simple description of the color of an adult Picardy Spaniel. They are born brown and white and over the next ~2 years their coat transitions to brown with white/gray ticking and tan pointing. The brown can range anywhere from chestnut to chocolate to liver to very dark brown. The Picardy Spaniel’s eyes are very expressive and can be yellow to brown in color, with brown being more in vogue of late. Their coat can vary as much as their color, with some having a thin flat coat, others a dense, wavy coat and a few have a curly coat. NAVHDA categorizations vary from soft-dense to medium-harsh dense. The Picardy has beautiful, flowing furnishings on the legs and tail. They typically shed only twice a year, when the weather is transitioning from winter to spring and again in late fall.
The Picardy Spaniel’s appearance also includes some relatively unique characteristics. Many sport a bit of longer, sometimes lighter colored hair on their head that is referred to as “la huppette” in French. American owners typically refer to this as a “faux hawk” or a mohawk. There can also be a gray/white blaze running from the top of the head down between the eyes and culminating somewhere on the top of the muzzle. Some blazes are quite pronounced with a white spot on the top of the head, while others have a blaze that’s more subdued. A few Picardy’s have an “ascot,” which is patch of longer, thicker hair on their upper chest. Lastly, they can have “hobbit-like” feet, with relatively long hair on their toes and occasionally a clump of hair that grows out from between their paw pads. Many Picardy owners trim the hair on their feet prior to winter to help prevent ice balls forming between their toes and/or paw pads. Finally, although not part-and-parcel to their appearance, the Picardy sometimes exhibits a unique, circus-like behavior afield. They will stand vertically on their powerful back legs to look for their handler or to watch where a bird lands/falls. Picardy owners frequently refer to this effective, albeit laughable behavior as “meercating.”