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 :

6

18

11

13

Temperament :

Affectionate Hunter

Size :

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

Section 1 : Scent hounds

Physical characteristics of the Gascon Saintongeois

Adult size

Female : Between 24 and 27 in

Male : Between 26 and 28 in

Weight

Female : Between 66 and 88 lb

Male : Between 66 and 88 lb

Coat colour

White
Black
Red

Type of coat

Short
Hard

Eye colour

Brown

Description

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.

Temperament

  • 100%

    Affectionate

    Loyally so.

  • 66%

    Playful

    This dog enjoys games and physical and mental challenges.

  • 66%

    Calm

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

  • 66%

    Intelligent

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

  • 100%

    Hunter

    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%

    Independent

    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%

      Barking

      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%