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The Spaniel de Pont-Audemer's delightful curly coat is a perfect representation of the breed's fun-loving and clownish behavior. Developed for hunting, these hard-working gun dogs also make friendly canine companions.
The Spaniel de Pont-Audemer originated in the Pont-Audemer region of France in the 19th century. The exact origins of this rare breed aren't clear. But experts believe it may have started with the crossing of Irish and English Water Spaniels. These dual-purpose dogs excelled at water work and could point and flush.
After World War II, the breed's numbers dwindled. To prevent inbreeding, the president of the Pont-Audemer breed club in France allowed other breeds, including Irish Water Spaniels, to cross with the existing population.
In 1980, at the recommendation of the Societe Centrale Canine, the Pont-Audemer club merged with the Picardy Spaniel club. And the United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1996.
The Spaniel de Pont-Audemer is a hardy, large dog with a stocky build and notable curly coat.
Pont-Audemers have curly and slightly ruffled long coats. The breed has smooth hair around the face and a topknot of tight curls. Like many spaniels, these dogs may be brown or brown with white roan.
This breed has a long muzzle, a somewhat pointed nose, and long, flat ears that are set low and furnished with trademark curls. Most Pont-Audemers have feathered tails similar to setters. However, some can naturally have short-haired "rat-tails" reminiscent of the Irish Water Spaniel.
The Pont-Audemer is a happy, fun-loving breed with a gentle nature. Bred to hunt, these agile, adaptable dogs possess an adept sense of smell and excellent swimming and retrieving abilities. They're also known for having silly personalities and a marked sense of humor.
When not splashing around the marshes, Pont-Audemers tend to be very affectionate companions that enjoy spending time with their people. These qualities—combined with their friendly manner around children—make them wonderful family pets. Just make sure you give your Pont-Audemer plenty of exercise and space to run. You'll both be happier for it.
Pont-Audemers do best on a diet formulated for their activity level, breed size, and life stage (e.g., puppy, adult, senior).
Compared to other breeds, these dogs are at a greater risk for bloat (also known as twisted stomach). To help prevent this condition, break their food up into several meals a day, and use a food bowl specially designed to slow their rate of eating. When timing meals, avoid feeding them immediately before or after any vigorous activity.
These are just a few ways you can help prevent this life-threatening condition. Ask your veterinarian about other ways—including surgical options—to prevent bloat.
Since all dogs are at risk for obesity, it's also important to carefully monitor your Pont-Audemer's food intake. Avoid overfeeding by using a measuring cup to portion out their meals. And don't forget, treats should make up no more than 10% of their calories.
Spaniel de Pont-Audemers need their curly coats brushed regularly to prevent mats and tangles. And you should bathe them with a gentle dog shampoo when they get dirty (which may be a common occurrence if they spend a lot of time romping around in the mud and water).
The Pont-Audemer's long ears are prone to infections. So, check their ears regularly for dirt or wax build-up, and clean them as needed. Nail trims and dental cleanings should also be part of their routine care.
Pont-Audemers need lots of daily exercise and mental stimulation. When not hunting, they enjoy brisk walks, hikes, or runs in the park. Swimming and games of fetch are also great activities that let them show off their natural-born talents.
Like other spaniels, Pont-Audemers are hard-working and eager-to-please—qualities that make them relatively easy to train. These dogs respond best to positive reinforcement using treats and favorite toys.
Early socialization is also an essential part of any dog's development. Introducing your pup to different people, pets, and environments when they're young will help them grow into a well-mannered adult.