Building Blocks of French Hounds

France is known for its development of many breeds of scent hound, and many sources write that it created more of these breeds than any other country on earth. When “building” anything, however, one needs a foundation, and there are two breeds that have often been sited as stand-outs in influencing modern French hounds the most: The Saintongeois and the Poitevin.



The Poitevin was developed in wolf country in the 17th century from the now extinct Chien Ceris by Marquis Francois de Larrye. For much of its history, it was called the Haut Poitou, its name changing in 1957.  You might guess that the breed was created to hunt wolves, and not surprisingly, its fanciers say it was the best wolf hunter in the world. Most of today’s tri-colored hounds are regarded has having Poitevin blood. Also like other hounds, the Poitevin is a pack hound and thrives with other dogs, perhaps more than he relishes being with a human family. Today, the breed is recognized by the United Kennel Club.

As for the Saintongeis, it was said that only three old of these hounds survived the French Revolution, two dogs and a bitch. In the mid 19th century, it was a Count Joseph de Carayon-Latour who saved the breed by crossing the last of them with a few old type Bleu de Gascogne. Resulting hounds were given the name Gascon-Saintongeois.  French hunters of the 20th century preferred smaller dogs from litters of Grand Gascon Saintongeois for hunting small game leading to the breed having two sizes, the Petit and the Grande, both recognized by the United Kennel Club.

Both images found on Pinterest and happily credited upon receipt of information. 

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