The Saint Usuge Spaniel has an elegant, yet athletic appearance, silky and soft fur of medium length and gentle expression in their round hazel eyes. The height should be between 41-53 cm, which is 16-21 inch. The females are naturally little bit smaller than males.
You can tell on the first sight, that this is a Spaniel type of a dog, especially thanks to their dainty well defined face and ears that are located below the eyeline that have fringes long enough to reach the tip of the nose.
The only allowed official color is rich brown, but it may have white markings. This breed can also have a white star on forehead, which can disappear in adulthood.
The Saint Usuge Spaniel can be both – skilled hunter and loyal companion. In the field it is suited to a variety of terrains, including swamps, water and thickets. They have higher prey drive and extraordinary sense of smell, which helps them on the hunt. They were most often use to hunt birds, which is why, even if well socialized, they will consider household birds as prey and they might try to hunt them. On the other hand, they can live with other dogs or most of the other household pets.
As a companion dog, this is a sensitive, loyal, affectionate and alert companion. They are known for being easily trainable, which is thanks to their high intelligence. They are better suited for active people and they make great hiking, running or even biking companions. And The Saint Usuge Spaniel is known for being tolerant and patient with kids, but of course, you should never leave any dog with a very young child unsupervised.
These dogs have higher exercise needs and they definitely need daily longer walks accompanied with some interactive playtime or training session to stay healthy and happy. Most of them enjoy swimming and fetching. You can also try some dog sport with them, like tracking trials or agility.
The breeds origin is not very well documented, but it is believed, that they were developed as early as in 16th century in France. We are not sure about the breeds ancestry though. What we know for sure is, that they become extinct by the end of the Second World War, but luckily, they were saved by a Robert Billiard who found few remaining Saint Usuge Spaniels and started breeding them. It is believed, that a Small Munsterlander was also used in the breeding process in the second half of the 20th century.
Today, you can still find majority of the Saint Usuge Spaniels in France, especially in the Saône-et- Loire region, but there are also dogs in other countries, like Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, United States or Netherlands.
Health and grooming
The life expectancy of the Saint Usuge Spaniel is around 12 or 13 years. Just like all the dogs, they can suffer from some health issues, like hip dysplasia, ear infections or legg calve perthes disease.
This dog does shed, but it is nothing crazy. Brushing the dogs coat once or twice a week will minimize the shedding and keep the coat in good condition. Just like with all dogs you should regularly check their ears, eyes and nails and clip them or clean them if needed. And of course, you will have to exercise them properly, so they stay fit and healthy.