The Ponto, as this breed is often times affectionaly called, can trace its history back to 19th century to Normandy, France, where it was developed similarly as other French Spaniel breeds, which is by crossing local hunting dogs to various Setters and Pointers from Great Britain. Most likely English and Irish Water Spaniels played a big role in the breeds development as well.
The main utilization of this dog is of course hunting. The Pont-Audemer Spaniel is a great working gundog and they are especially good as water dogs. Since the 19th century, these dogs are known as extraordinary marsh dogs and they had great reputaion amongst waterfowlers. But they are not only good at hunting waterfowl, because these dogs are used for hunting all kinds of game, such as rabbits or pheasants. The Ponto has good temperamental traits for being good hunter, they have higher prey drive, high intelligence, energy level and they are known to be very hard working dogs.
3) Little clowns
The Ponto is often times nicknamed as a „little clown of the marshes“. They got this nickname thanks to their always happy, fun loving, playful and affectionate personality. It is just impossible to be bored with this dog! These dogs are loyal and friendly towards its whole family and they make good playful partners for kids as well, but of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised.
The first thing you will definitely notice about this breed is its great looking unique coat, which is always curly or at least wavy and it gives the dog ruffled look. The coat on the face is shorter and smoother. On the other hand it is little bit longer around the neck, forming a little mane. This dense coat is not only looking good, but it also has a purpose, because it is helping the dog to withstand cold temperatures and it helps them to be in the water for longer time.
The Ponto numbers were never too high and it was always relatively rare breed. In the mid 1800s, these dogs were relatively common in north western France, but their numbers started to decline in the 20th century. After the second world war the breed almost dissappeared and in order to save the breed, it was allowed to cross the remaining purebred dogs with other similar breeds like Irish Water Spaniels. Even today, this is still pretty rare breed, but it is not on the verge of extinction anymore.
This is a medium sized dog breed with athletic body and average height between 50-58 cm, which is 20-23 inches and weight is usually between 20-27 kg, which is 44-60 pounds. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males, but the difference is not extremely big.
This is a hard working breed with high energy level. If they are not used for hunting, but they are companion dogs, than they daily longer ourdoor walks, jogs, swims, vigorous playtime, regular fun training sessions, just anything that will exhaust them physically, but also mentally. Majority of these dogs love water and you should let them swim from time to time. This is definitely not a coach potatoe and they are only suited for active people who enjoy outdoors.
8) Other animals
I mentioned earlier, that this is a good playful and fun loving family companion, which is absolutely true. But, if you have other smaller household pets, than it might be little bit problematic. The Ponto is a hunter and they have higher prey drive, which is why often times they try to chase and hunt smaller household pets like hamsters. Of course this can be somehow influenced by early socialization. On the other hand, especially if raised together from the puppyhood, the Pont-Audemer Spaniel typically have no problems with other dogs in the family.
On the first sight, it might look that the Ponto´s coat requires a lot of maintenance, but it is a working dog and as majority of working dog, the coat is quite easy to maintain. It is true, that the coat should be brushed regularly to avoid matting, but no other grooming needs are necessary. Bathing should also be done only, when it is really necessary. Just like with any other breed, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
This is relatively healthy and hardy dog breed with average lifespan around 13 or 14 years. Of course, just like any other breed, even the Ponto may suffer from some health isssues like hyperthyroidism, hip dysplasia, some dental problems or von Willebrands disease.