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 :
Temperament :Intelligent Hunter
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.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds
Section 1 : Scent hounds
Physical characteristics of the Billy
Female : Between 23 and 24 in
Male : Between 24 and 28 in
Female : Between 73 and 77 lb
Male : Between 73 and 77 lb
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.
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.
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.
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.
A dog that is playful among its pack is the Billy, but it can also be very easily distracted.
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.
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.
The Billy has an exceptionally high prey drive.
Fearful / wary of strangers
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.
The Billy is bred as a pack animal. It relies on those around him for direction.
Behaviour of the Billy
This dog tolerates short periods of solitude.
Easy to train / obedience
Billies are notoriously difficult to train due to their having a short span of attention. They can be tempted back to class with treats.
This dog barks to excess; its bark is deep and booming.
Tendency to run away
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.