Posts Tagged ‘Epagneul Pont-Audemer’


Several sources have this dog listed as an Irish water spaniel. It dates to about 1880.

However, it is by Charles César Ferdinand de Condamy, who was French.

The dog is also pointing, which is not a typical Irish water spaniel behavior.

It also lacks both the profuse coat and rat tail of the water spaniel, and it is pointing.

Irish water spaniels are not pointing dogs.

The pointing behavior and the water spaniel-esque features strongly suggest that the breed in this particular painting is an Epagneul Pont-Audemer.

France loves its regional hunting dogs, and this breed was endemic to the Pont-Audemer commune on the River Risle.

Its exact origins aren’t known, but it is most likely a cross between the Epagneul Picard, which is often liver roan, and the Irish water spaniel, which is solid liver.

The Epagneul Picard is one of the “pointing spaniels” from France that is very common in both Normandy and Picardy.   There is also blue roan breed of Epagneul Picard that was developed through crossing them with blue belton English setters, and the Epagneul Pont-Audemer is now being preserved as part of the French society for the Epagneul Picard.

The Epagneul Pont-Audemer nearly went extinct during the Second World War, and it was revived from an inbreeding depression through use of Irish water spaniel blood.

The bred was never common, so when the war came, it didn’t have large enough population size to sustain itself.

Now, I can see why this breed was misidentified in the painting.  Very few people have even heard of this breed, and it very nearly went extinct.

If my informed speculation here is true, then this may be the only painting of an Epagneul Pont-Audemer from the nineteenth century.

Which means whoever owns it owns something pretty special!





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The Epagneul Pont-Audemer is something like a water spaniel crossed with a Brittany.

It is widely used as a water dog– a kind of French working retriever. However, like all French spaniels, it can work very nicely as an index dog.

(Source for image)

The dogs were developed in Normandy near Pont-Audemer and are believed to have derived from crossing barbet and poodle-type water dogs with the ancestors of the Brittany, the Picardy, and French spaniel breeds. The are essentially the French equivalent of the British water spaniels, which evolved from crossing the non-pointing spaniels of British Isles with the poodle-type water dog.

This similarity was recognized with the Pont-Audemer breed nearly became extinct after the Second World War. Irish water spaniels were crossed with the Pont-Audemers to increase genetic diversity.

The breed still remains quite rare. It as much as indigenous and peculiar to Normandy as the American water spaniel is indigenous and peculiar to Wisconsin.

The two dogs depicted in this post are liver roans. However, the breed also comes in solid liver or liver and white with ticking that is little less than roan.

I am going to count this breed as one of the surviving water spaniel breeds, which brings us to a grand total of four surviving water spaniels: the American, the Irish, the Boykin, and the Pont-Audemer. The two breeds of curly-coated retriever are clearly close relatives to these dogs, but I am counting them as retrievers.


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