Let's talk Pont-Audemer Spaniels

The delightfully frizzy Pont-Audemer Spaniel breed was originally developed in Normandy, France, for hunting game in wetlands. While their luscious curls mean they may look like they just stepped out of the grooming salon, these brave and hardy dogs are in their element in the great outdoors, whether that’s splashing in and out of freezing lakes, running or retrieving. That’s not to say they don’t appreciate their creature comforts too – as long as they get enough exercise, they make calm, friendly and docile companions at home.

Official name: Pont-Audemer Spaniel

Other names: Epagneul de Pont-Audemer

Origins: France

Close-up of Pont Audemer Spaniel in black and white
 Drooling tendencies:

Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level: Medium
Suited to apartment living? 
 Physical activity needs (high, low, medium): High Kid-friendly? 
Very high
 Compatibility with other pets: Medium
Can stay alone? Very low

We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches.
Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour.
Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.
Inline Image 15
Illustration of Pont Audemer Spaniel
51 - 58 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
20 - 27 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
51 - 58 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
20 - 27 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age  1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  10 years onwards

Brown and white Pont Audemer Spaniel walking through mud


Get to know the Pont-Audemer Spaniel

All you need to know about the breed

There’s no mistaking a Pont-Audemer Spaniel: the breed’s distinctive curly “top knot” is instantly recognisable. Their abundantly curly coats come in shades of brown and brown roan, sometimes with the poetically-termed “dead leaf glints”.

But these active, good-natured dogs have much more to offer than good looks. These rare French dogs are, appropriately enough, known for their joie de vivre. Pont-Audemer Spaniels are not known to be aggressive and their playful nature means that, once trained, they get on particularly well with children. However, like any other breed they should never be left unsupervised with them.

While they are affectionate with their humans and generally get along well with other dogs, their hunting instinct means they should not share a home with smaller pets such as hamsters or guinea pigs.

Originally bred as hunting dogs in Normandy, Pont-Audemer Spaniels now also make easy going and affectionate companions at home – as long as they get enough exercise. Their one bad habit, even if they’re well trained, is barking – however they’re too friendly to make effective guard dogs.

If you can get your hands on this rare breed you’ll need to make sure they have plenty of chances to walk, run, retrieve (a skill they are known for) and even swim: these brave, hardy dogs also excel in water.

Pont Audemer Spaniel standing in grass


2 facts about Pont-Audemer Spaniels

1. Clowning around

Fans of the Pont-Audemer Spaniel sometimes say the breed is “clownish” – this is a reference to their carefree, playful nature: these lovely dogs may be a working breed but they do sometimes seem to be playing to the gallery.

2. Pont-Audemer pointer

Pointing is among the Pont-Audemer Spaniel’s many skills: dogs traditionally used by hunters have been developed over the centuries to stand stock still when they detect an interesting scent, “pointing” with a front paw raised to alert their humans.


History of the breed

Pont-Audemer Spaniels, thought to be among the oldest spaniel breeds in France, developed some time in the 19th century, take their name from the Normandy town of Pont-Audemer.

As to the breed’s origins, accounts are uncertain: ancestors may (or may not) include local dogs from the Pays de Caux area of Normandy, slightly north of Pont-Audemer, the Irish Water Spaniel, the Barbet, the Poodle or the Picardy Spaniel … whatever the breed’s make-up, the result is a winner.

One thing is certain: after the second world war, the Pont-Audemer Spaniel breed had become so elusive that some of the few remaining dogs were crossed with Irish Water Spaniel to avoid the breed’s extinction. They are also sometimes crossed with Picardy Spaniels, with whom they share a breed club. The United Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1996.

Close-up of Pont Audemer Spaniel in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Pont-Audemer Spaniels

1. Head

Round head with long muzzle and broad ears.

2. Hair

Curly mottled brown hair, thicker on ears and top knot, framing the head in a canine “wig”.

3. Body

Solid, broad-chested build with curved tail.

Close-up of Pont Audemer Spaniel


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Pont-Audemer Spaniel
Pont Audemer Spaniel standing on grass in front of a lake


Caring for your Pont-Audemer Spaniel

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Those beautiful curls do need some maintenance, although perhaps not as much as you might expect. Regular brushing will help prevent tangles and matting (and is also a great chance for a cuddle!) – your vet will be able to recommend the best kind of brush. Make sure you clean your dog’s teeth frequently too (daily if possible) and clip their nails regularly. Pont-Audemer Spaniels need plenty of exercise: they were born for the outdoors: a combination of daily walks or chances to run off the lead (in a safely enclosed space), games of fetch or even swims will see them thriving.
Intelligent and eager-to-please Pont-Audemer Spaniels should be straightforward to train, as long as you start early and maintain a patient and consistent approach. Remember that any food rewards should come out of their daily rations to avoid them becoming overweight.


All about Pont-Audemer Spaniels

Unfortunately, yes. These marvellously frizzy dogs are few and far between. You may have a long wait if you set your heart on this breed – possibly their only downside.

Pont-Audemer Spaniels are gregarious and affectionate dogs that make wonderful companions to their lucky humans – as long as they get enough exercise that is. Once trained, they are known to get on well with children, although like any other breed they should not be left unsupervised with them.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/