This exquisite beauty is a Poitevin, a native hound of France created in the 1600s by the Marquis Francois de Larrye of Poitou. This was a dog with a very specific job. Hunting in packs, Poitevin were dispatched to hunt wolves that occupied France’s western coast in such large numbers that they were a major concern to the people who lived in the area. What was needed was a courageous breed, and in 1692, Marquis Francois de Larrye of Poitou developed a dog that fit the bill by using twelve hounds he received from the Dauphin of France (the heir apparent to the throne of France), and crossing them with local hounds. The result was an elegant and very capable hound named the Haut Poitou. French hunters stated unequivocally that it was the best breed in the world for hunting wolves, capable of traveling up to 35 miles in a single day of hunting and following a scent for up to seven hours.
Most Poitevin kennels were lost during the French Revolution. A rabies outbreak in 1842 further decimated the last pack leaving just one dog and two bitches alive. Determined fanciers revived the breed using some crosses including the Foxhound, and in 1957, the breed name was changed to the Poitevin Hound, and the French Pack Hound Club founded in 1977. The Poitevin no longer hunts wolves, but is used to hunt deer and hare. It’s not a wildly popular dog, but the breed has its fans who admire its calm and docile nature, and deep, loud and pleasant tongue. There have been a handful of exports to America, and in 1996, the United Kennel Club recognized the breed. In our view, it’s a stunning breed that we’re glad didn’t die out.
Image found on Pinterest and happily credited upon receipt of information