We’re not sure when it will happen, but at some point in the future, the AKC Sporting Group will grow with the addition of the Epagneul Français, a breed that’s presently part of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service.
The largest of the spaniel breeds, the breed also known as the French Spaniel is also one of the oldest pointing breeds (if not the oldest) and dates back to the 14th century when it was used by nobles for falconry and net hunting (it was enormously popularity during the Middle Ages for both those activities). Still, a breed standard didn’t exist for 250 years, and the first one was finally written in 1891 by James de Connick. Competition with new and foreign breeds nearly resulted in the French Spaniel vanishing in the early 19th century, but a priest, Father Fournier, saw the brilliance of this breed and undertook to save it. He took the best examples of the breed that he could find and ensconced them at his Saint Hillaire Kennel where he rebuilt the breed through careful selective breeding. Fr. Fournier was named the first president of the French Spaniel Club formed in 1921.
The breed was imported into Canada in the mid-1970s, and in 1985, it was officially recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club. The French Spaniel came into the United States around 1997 and was recorded in the FSS in 2012.
This is an interesting looking dog that some have described as having spaniel features, but with a body that resembles a setter. Easy to train, elegant, hard working, and highly intelligent, we suspect this breed will become a favorite once more people are aware of it.
Image by Alephalpha – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5733361