The bleu de Gascogne dog breed is divided into 4 breed types, which differ in size and coat (especially the griffon). We find the petit, which is a medium breed, the basset, which has short legs, the griffon, which has been crossed with griffon-type dogs that give it a medium-length coat and the grand, which is the largest and which is the one that comes closest to the original breed.
The grand bleu is in turn the progenitor of the other breeds, which in turn descends from a cross of the chien de Saint Ubert with ancient French hounds. The grand bleu and petit bleu breeds are well known, the other two much less so. The griffon bleu even risked extinction due to its isolation within the borders of its area of origin, but thanks to the efforts of the French breed club and some breeders the selection has been successfully resumed.
Now let’s talk about the Grand Bleu, its origin is French and goes back to the Middle Ages where it was used for hunting wild boar, wolves and bears in Gascony in France. It is also used today for hunting big game and is a hunting dog. The other three breeds are also hunting dogs, thanks to their excellent sense of smell and are also docile and affectionate. They have a very pronounced predatory instinct and can also be excellent companion dogs, especially the basset variety.
As far as hunting is concerned, each of the four breeds has its own purposes. The grand we spoke about before, while the petit is mainly used for fox and hare hunting. The Griffon is a solitary dog and is used for hunting wild boar. French hunters call the grand bleu de Gascogne the most imposing and noble hound in the world.
Character of the bleu de Gascogne dog breed
All four breeds are extremely well-balanced and docile. They are sweet, obedient and very attached to their owners. They are not purely house and companion dogs, having originated as hunting dogs, with the exception of the Basset Bleu which is now used more as a companion dog than as a hunting dog. The others need a lot of exercise and to keep busy, so it would be better if their owner was a hunter.
They are very intelligent and therefore easy to train, also because they want to please their owners very much. They are used to living in a community, so loneliness can be a heavy burden and lead to acts of destruction. They are very good with children as long as the latter respect them, but with strangers they are rather cautious and it takes some adaptation to accept a new person. If they smell game they are rather inclined to run after it, so if they are not safe there is a danger of losing them, as they can go a long way. They do not bark but howl in a very low tone.
They don’t have any problems adapting to their own kind, but they don’t get on very well with cats as they see them as prey. They are not suitable for elderly or sedentary people as they need a lot of exercise every day. They can be kept either outdoors or indoors, however they prefer to be outdoors during the day, but at night or in bad weather they are happy to stay indoors.
Appearance of the Gascogne Blue dog breed
As already mentioned, this breed is made up of four sub-breeds which have different sizes: the grand bleu is between 62 and 68 centimetres tall at the withers and weighs between 40 and 54 kilograms. The petit bleu is between 52 and 58 centimetres high and weighs between 18 and 20 kilograms. The griffon bleu with a height of between 50 and 57 centimetres and a weight of around 15 kilograms and finally the basset bleu with a height of between 34 and 38 centimetres and a weight of between 16 and 18 kilograms.
They have a very similar physiognomy, i.e. elongated body and head, straight limbs and long, drooping ears. As we have already said, they are distinguished above all by their size and type of coat. In addition, the basset bleu is distinguished from the others by its short legs. The tail is similar in all four, i.e. attached quite high, rather long and carried in a sickle shape.
They are hounds to all intents and purposes, and also full of class and distinction. As for the coat, the grand bleu, petit bleu and basset bleu have a short coat, while the griffon bleu has a rough coat. The colours of the coat are: the background colour is white or light with blue spots and dots, flecks above the eyes and traces of fire on the head, the inside of the ears and the limbs.
Care and health of the bleu de Gascogne dog breed
The bleu de Gascogne is a breed that does not present many health problems. It has a strong and robust physique in all its sub-breeds. Its life expectancy is around 12 years, with the larger breeds reaching around 13 years. However, this breed also has common diseases that affect them regardless of their size. All four can suffer from hip dysplasia and otitis.
The most delicate breed seems to be the basset, which is exposed to different diseases than the others; it has limb problems and a tendency to obesity. However, they are very robust and hardy dogs: the three short-haired breeds only fear humidity. The ears must always be kept clean and must be checked often.
As far as the care of the coat is concerned, taking care of the short hair of these dogs is not difficult, whilst the griffon variety needs more rigour to avoid knotting the hair.