Gascon Saintongeois

Other names: Virelade Hound

Gascon Saintongeois

Big and dopey looking, hardworking and peaceful, the Gascon Saintongeois may not be the most famous breed in the world but he’s one of those dogs who quietly keeps the world turning. This French gentleman asks not glory nor publicity, but only to be near his people, something to work on, and a place to run. And what a run! His lolloping canter carries a substantial trunk, so that he appears in motion like an extra from Belleville Rendez-Vous. He comes in two sizes. The ‘grand’ is a giant who makes up for his inelegant posture with his unshakable dignity. The so-called ‘petit’ would not do well shopping in the ‘petit’ sections since he is still every bit the Gallic whopper. 

Key facts about the Gascon Saintongeois

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Hunter

Size :

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Origins and history

In the 19th century, one Baron Joseph de Carayon-LaTour bred the Saintongeois Hound with the Grand Bleu de Gascogne, creating a new breed for the hunting of large game. This aristocratic strain barely survived the French revolution, but although numbers have since climbed he is very rare today even his native land. Beyond those borders, he’s hardly known at all. Yet.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds


Section 1 : Scent hounds

Physical characteristics of the Gascon Saintongeois

Adult size

Female : Between 24 and 27 in

Male : Between 26 and 28 in


Female : Between 66 and 88 lb

Male : Between 66 and 88 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



Looking somewhat like a young Andreas Katsulas, and just as loveable, the Gascon Saintongeois appears supremely houndlike – as though each of his houndlike features has been dialled up to ‘11.’ Starting from the front, he has a serious muzzle behind a driven nose; eyes full of pathos, ears you could wrap an infant in; and a long, athletic body supporting a barrel-chest. His coat is short and tight, forming a kind of armour against the insults of the hedges and brambles through which he dashes in pursuit of a furry tidbit. The larger of the Saintongeois varieties looks almost mythological, so clumsily arranged but terrifyingly effective is the construction of his form.

Good to know

This dog is increasingly rare and you may need to journey to France to acquire a pup.


  • 100%


    Loyally so.

  • 66%


    This dog enjoys games and physical and mental challenges.

  • 66%


    So long as he is given adequate opportunity to expend excess energy, this dog tends to be quite a calm one at home.

  • 66%


    This is one brainy and sensitive dog, and therefore easy to train.

  • 100%


    This dog is first and foremost a hunter. He was originally selected for hunting hare, but later became more versatile and can even hunt boar or deer.

  • 33%

    Fearful / wary of strangers

    The Gascon Saintongeois will remain peaceful if well-socialised from his youth.

  • 33%


    While he can work independently, this creature is very close to his owner, and will not be so wilful or flighty as some of his cousins among the scent hounds.

    Behaviour of the Gascon Saintongeois

    • 33%

      Tolerates solitude

      He does not take kindly to being left alone and may become destructive. Positive acclimatization to short periods of solitude from a young age may help.

    • 100%

      Easy to train / obedience

      He is quick to pick up lessons and eager to impress his teacher. A solid dog-human relationship is key to getting good results.

    • 66%


      He has a beautiful deep hunting voice, and may become barky if left alone or under-stimulated.

    • 100%

      Tendency to run away

      Like any scenthound, he can easily be lured away if he catches the whiff of something interesting. A secure environment is essential.

    • 100%


      Since he hates being alone, this is when he will act up!

    • 66%

      Greedy / Gluttony

      He has a healthy appetite, so his meals should be carefully measured and divided to avoid bloating or weight gain. Treats are always welcome to help with the training of this sometimes stubborn dog.

    • 33%

      Guard dog

      He will bark to alert his people to intruders but is unlikely to intercept them physically. He’s too friendly for that. That said, his size alone may be some deterrent.

    • 66%

      First dog

      He may be suitable for first-time owners who are confident and driven to train him well from an early age, and who can satisfy his energetic demands.

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      • 33%

        Gascon Saintongeois in a flat

        This dog is too big and energetic to live happily in a flat.

      • 100%

        Need for exercise / Sporty

        This dog has the capacity to hunt all day, so as you can imagine he requires a fair bit of a workout on days when he is not on the hunt. Two hours serious exercise a day minimum.

      • 33%

        Travelling / easy to transport

        He’s too big and energetic for public transport but could be fine in a large enough car if he gets used to it as a pup.


        • 66%

          Gascon Saintongeois and cats

          In general, he would like to hunt them. However, he may make an exception for a cat with whom he is raised.

        • 100%

          Gascon Saintongeois and dogs

          He just loves other dogs, and could happily live in a pack.

        • 100%

          Gascon Saintongeois and children

          He’s pretty good with children, and is very gentle, patient, and calm with them.

        • 66%

          Gascon Saintongeois and the elderly

          With his size and exercise needs, he may only be suitable for older people who are sufficiently agile and energetic.



          We do not have enough data to set an average price. Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £120 to £200 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


          His coat takes good care of itself; a weekly brush from his human colleagues, and careful inspection of his ears (which can harbour infections) should finish the job.


          Nutrition of the Gascon Saintongeois

          2-4 cups of quality food per day, divided across multiple meals in a high bowl to discourage fast eating.

          Health of the Gascon Saintongeois

          Life expectancy

          This is generally a healthy breed of dog with an average life expectancy of 12 years.

          Strong / robust

          Generally a robust dog, except that his tremendous weight, combined with his delight in running around, may take its toll on his joints over the years.

          Withstand heat

          Fairly well.

          Withstand cold

          Very well. He can sleep outside in moderately cool weather, particularly if accompanied by other dogs. He shouldn’t be left out in the very cold and wet, however.

          Tendency to put on weight

          His dynamic energy should prevent him from putting on weight.

          Common illnesses

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