Other names: Chien de France-Comte


The Billy is a large scenthound native to the central and western provinces of France. The breed was all but wiped out during WW2 and today is still considered a rare breed. It is rarely seen out of its native lands where it is put to use as a hunter of roe deer and wild boar. The size of the dog and its hunting heritage belie a gentle, calm and loving temperament. Although primarily used to hunt large game this dog makes a worthwhile family pet. 


Key facts about the Billy

  • Life expectancy : Between 10 and 12 years
  • Temperament : Intelligent, Hunter
  • Size : Large
  • Type of coat : Very short, Hard

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds


Section 1 : Scent hounds

Physical characteristics of the Billy

Adult size

Female dog Between 23 and 24 in
Male dog Between 24 and 28 in


Female dog Between 73 and 77 lb
Male dog Between 73 and 77 lb

Coat colour

This dog is usually seen of white or off-white sometimes with dapples of lemon or orange. 

Type of coat

The short and harsh coat of the Billy is coarse to the touch. 

Eye colour



Strong yet light on its feet and agile, the Billy is a well-proportioned and muscular hound. Its muzzle is squared and long; ears are high and set flat, turned slightly inwards. Its sabre tail is long and feathered and is carried upwards when the dog is active. 



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A loving, loyal and affectionate family dog is the Billy. Despite its exceptional hunting abilities the well-adjusted Billy does not tend to be aggressive.


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A dog that is playful among its pack is the Billy, but it can also be very easily distracted. 


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The Billy is always on the move. It is a dog that bores easily and will seek out trouble if left to its own devices. The Billy is not the calmest of dogs. 


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This dog is highly intelligent and can be trained to exceptional obedience, but it easily loses focus. Sounds, scents and noises are all of extreme interest to the Billy.  


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The Billy has an exceptionally high prey drive. 

Fearful / wary of strangers

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The Billy enjoys meeting new people and will greet them with great enthusiasm. Household visitors should have no concerns about meeting this dog for the first time.


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The Billy is bred as a pack animal. It relies on those around him for direction. 

Behaviour of the Billy

Tolerates solitude

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This dog tolerates short periods of solitude.

Easy to train / obedience

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Billies are notoriously difficult to train due to their having a short span of attention. They can be tempted back to class with treats. 


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This dog barks to excess; its bark is deep and booming. 

Tendency to run away

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A well-trained Billy can sometimes be recalled but it will not come back if its focus is elsewhere. It has a tendency to be stubborn. 


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The Billy can be exceptionally destructive if left on its own for long periods of time. 

Greedy / Gluttony

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Billies are gluttons and will overeat if they have the opportunity to do so. 

Guard dog

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This dog is not a worthwhile watchdog because it is very welcoming of strangers.  

First dog

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The Billy is affectionate and playful. However, it must be remembered that the dog’s need of mental and physical exercise is high. Additionally, the dog may be hard to train and is not the most obedient breed, which does not make it a breed of choice for first-time owners. 


Billy in a flat

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The Billy can be kept in a flat if given enough exercise elsewhere. A well-fenced shared garden is an acceptable provision. 

Need for exercise / Sporty

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The Billy needs a lot of exercise throughout the day; exercise must be vigorous and prolonged.

Travelling / easy to transport

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The Billy is comfortable with new experiences and will travel. 


Billy and cats

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The Billy cannot be trusted with a non-canine pet. Its desire to chase and catch smaller animals is too strong.

Billy and dogs

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This dog would do well to be kept with at least one other Billy. That being said, it tends to get along with dogs of other breeds.

Billy and children

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On the whole this breed is an excellent playmate of children; it is playful and patient and will not shy from boisterous play.

Billy and the elderly

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Because it is a dog that requires such a lot of exercise the Billy is not the right dog for people of senior years. 


As a rare breed, an average price for purchase of a Billy puppy is not available. It will cost £50 to £80 per month to care for this breed.


Brush the Billy once a week with a hand mitten or a firm bristle brush. Bath the dog only when necessary. 


The Billy sheds only a little throughout the year.

Nutrition of the Billy

Feed the Billy a high-quality dog food formulated for energetic dogs. 

Health of the Billy

Life expectancy

The Billy is generally healthy and robust. Its life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.

Strong / robust

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This is an active and courageous dog. It is not quick to injury or ailment. 

Withstand heat

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The short coat of the Billy allows it to be tolerant of hot temperatures.

Withstand cold

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The Billy is robust enough to withstand walks in all sorts of weather.

Tendency to put on weight

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Weight gain is a feature of a poorly-exercised Billy. This dog will quickly become obese if not cared for responsibly. 

Common illnesses

Good to know

Consistent socialisation and training of a Billy may dampen the dog’s natural instinct to chase and kill smaller animals, but these measures will not eradicate the instinct. Care should be taken during meetings between Billies and smaller animals. 

Origins and history

The Billy was first bred in the 1800s. It is named after the Château de Billy, in Poitou. The breeder (Monsieur Gaston Hublot de Rivault) bred a succession of native hounds to deliberately bring about a dog with the distinctive pale colourings of the Billy. Only two dogs of the breed survived World War 2. To this day it remains a rare breed. 


Marcel, Beau, Coco, Fleur

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