Other names: Poitevin Hound, Chien de Haut-Poitou, Haut-Poitou


Bred in the French region of Poitou, the Poitevin Hound is primarily a working and hunting dog, capable of travelling up to 60 km a day. Strong, muscular and agile, this dog is a true athlete and thrives living a highly active lifestyle with plenty of mental stimulation. Rarely kept as a companion pet, the Poitevin is now a fairly rare breed outside of its native France.

Key facts about the Poitevin

Life expectancy :





Temperament :


Size :

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Origins and history

Bred from a combination of two popular French scent hound in Poitou, France, in 1692, the Poitevin Hound was a popular hunting dog throughout the 17th century, but hasn’t had the easiest of times since! Just managing to survive an outbreak of rabies during the 19th century, it is now an extremely rare breed, with some even considering it an endangered species.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds


Section 1 : Scent hounds

Physical characteristics of the Poitevin

Adult size

Female : Between 24 and 28 in

Male : Between 24 and 28 in


Female : Between 66 and 73 lb

Male : Between 66 and 77 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



Sleek and lean yet muscular, the Poitevin Hound is a true canine athlete. The legs are surprisingly powerful, with noticeable thigh muscles, while the neck is slim and long. The Poitevin’s head is flat and long with a long muzzle and strong jaw, wide black nose and large, round black-rimmed eyes. The ears are long and are set low and floppy.

Good to know

Avid hunters in France used to preach that the Poitevin was the best hunting breed in the world, especially when it came to foxes.


  • 66%


    While the Poitevin is certainly loyal to its family, it is not an affectionate dog. This breed shows little interested in human company and instead, prefers to be a part of a pack of dogs.

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    Despite being rather aloof, the Poitevin Hound can be playful and enjoys sports and setting its clever mind on puzzles and games.

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    Providing it’s had enough exercise, the Poitevin is gentle and kind within the home.

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    This is a highly intelligent breed who will easily become bored in a domesticated setting. The Poitevin requires plenty of mental stimulation, benefiting from puzzle feeders, agility sports and obedience training.

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    The Poitevin is an incredible hunter, originally bred to bring down wolves and ‘nuisance’ wildlife. However, this means the breed brings the risk of chasing and even killing small animals such as cats and even livestock whilst out and about.

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    Fearful / wary of strangers

    Very sociable, the Poitevin fears no one and is never aggressive without reason.

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    Want a truly independent dog? The Poitevin Hound is a great match! This dog is strong-willed, stubborn and independent, highly capable of making their own decisions.

    Behaviour of the Poitevin

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      Tolerates solitude

      The Poitevin Hound is a pack dog and won’t cope well with being left alone without other humans or dogs for hours. This breed is likely to become bored, restless and destructive when lonely.

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      Easy to train / obedience

      With an independent nature and strong prey drive, it should come as no surprise that the Poitevin Hound isn’t the easiest of dogs to train. Ideally, this breed should be matched with a highly-experienced handler who understands how to (fairly) set boundaries.

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      Although an experienced trainer may be able to improve the Poitevin Hound’s barking tendencies, new owners should be aware that this breed is known to be a barker.

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      Tendency to run away

      This breed has an extreme prey drive and will run away without consideration if it spots prey.

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      While the Poitevin is calm and gentle when content, it may quickly become destructive if under-exercised, bored or lonely.

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      Greedy / Gluttony

      Treats are a good reward during training.

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      Guard dog

      This is exclusively a hunting dog.

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      First dog

      This hound dog should in no way be adopted only as a pet dog by novices simply attracted by the physical beauty of the breed. It is primarily a working dog that should be considered as such.

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      • 33%

        Poitevin in a flat

        The Poitevin Hound needs a large amount of space to roam around. It will become bored and destructive in a flat or apartment setting.

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        Need for exercise / Sporty

        As a tireless hunter by nature, the Poitevin has an extremely high exercise requirement. In order to thrive and act calm within the home, it requires at least two hours of vigorous exercise per day, as well as plenty of playtime. However, it possesses the stamina to run for hours on end and will happily be out and about for several hours in one session.

        Without sufficient exercise, this breed is likely to become destructive; barking, howling, scratching and digging due to pent up energy and sheer boredom.

      • 33%

        Travelling / easy to transport

        The Poitevin Hound is large and will require a van or large car for comfortable transportation. Due to its high exercise requirements, it will struggle with long journeys.


        • 66%

          Poitevin and cats

          This dog gets along well with cats that it has been with since a very young age, but that does not mean that the Poitevin tolerates the presence of all outdoor cats.

        • 100%

          Poitevin and dogs

          The Poitevin Hound is a pack dog and thrives living in the company of other canines. However, since it has a huge prey drive, the dogs in its company will need to be of a fair size. The Poitevin may chase smaller (especially toy size) dogs.

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          Poitevin and children

          Friendly and affectionate, this dog generally gets along well with children, if they respect him.

        • 66%

          Poitevin and the elderly

          An elderly person will need to be able to keep up with the Poitevin’s significant exercise needs.



          The Poitevin Hound is a rare breed and is therefore extremely difficult to find within the UK. We do not have enough data to set an average price.

          Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £100 to £130 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


          If there’s one easy thing about the Poitevin Hound, it’s grooming! With a short, easy-care coat, all that’s needed is a weekly brush. Ideally, this breed shouldn't be bathed too often - for the most part, a wipe-over with a damp cloth should suffice.

          If your Poitevin Hound spends a lot of time roaming outdoors (which, ideally, it should), remember to check for ticks and parasites regularly.


          The Poitevin sheds moderately throughout the year.

          Nutrition of the Poitevin

          This breed requires a high-quality, complete and balanced active dog breed food. Due to their high energy requirements, it will require more food than your average dog, so do be aware of the costs involved before taking one on.

          Health of the Poitevin

          Life expectancy

          The lifespan of a Poitevin is approximately 13 years.

          Strong / robust

          This is a strong, hardy and robust breed.

          Withstand heat

          The Poitevin Hound can tolerate warm temperatures well, but will still need constant access to shade and cold water.

          Withstand cold

          While the Poitevin Hound is hardy and will cope well in cold weather, although it doesn’t have a thick coat and shouldn’t be kept outside in bad weather.

          Tendency to put on weight

          This breed is very active, and isn’t especially prone to weight gain.

          Common illnesses

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