How to Train a French Spaniel

The French Spaniel is balanced, frank, gentle, calm and docile. He is an enthusiastic hunter, sociable with other dogs and an ideal companion in all circumstances. An excellent pointing dog, he also has a talent for retrieving. The French Spaniel is the Epagneul Français in his native country of France. A medium-sized dog, he is elegant, muscled and of medium proportions. His balanced construction provides the energy and toughness essential for his utilization. Highly intelligent in nature, his enthusiasm and willingness to work hard are his heritage. He is very easy to train.  


The French Spaniel (Epagneul Français) was developed in France as a hunting dog, descended from dogs of the 14th century. Popular with royalty during the Middle Ages, it became nearly extinct by the turn of the 20th century, but was saved by the efforts of Father Fournier, a French priest. One of the largest breeds of Spaniels, the French Spaniel is a descendant of the bird dogs described by Gaston Febus. Its ancestors are more than likely at the origin of the diverse varieties of sporting Spaniels. Through selection, it developed into an elegant and athletic dog, pointing very firmly, which today excels in working trials. The first standard was drawn up in 1891 by James de Connick; it has been revised several times since and adapted to the diverse evolutions of the breed. The breed was imported into Canada in the mid-1970s and into the United States around 1997.

Quick Facts 

Temperament: intelligent / sociable / gentle

Height: 21.5 to 24 inches

Weight: 50-60 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Foundation Stock Service 


Some dogs may be faced with health challenges in their lives, but the majority of French Spaniels are healthy dogs. Working with a responsible breeder, prospective owners can gain the education they need to learn about specific health concerns within the breed.


Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep your French Spaniel clean and looking their best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet. Their strong, fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.


Options for exercise include play time in the backyard, preferably fenced, or taken for walks several times a day. Exercise can also come in the form of indoor activities, like hide-and-seek, chasing a ball rolled along the floor, or teaching them new tricks. Certain outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, and retrieving balls or flying discs can provide a good outlet for expending energy. If you live in an apartment, even short walks in the hallways can give your dog some exercise, especially during inclement weather. Training for dog sports like agility, obedience and rally can also be a great way to give your dog exercise.


You are going to want to feed your French Spaniel a formula that will cater to his unique digestive needs throughout the various phases of his life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and extra-large breeds. The French Spaniel is a medium-sized breed. What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.