The Gascon Saintongeois dog breed

The origin of the Gascon Saintongeois dog breed is in the south-west of France and more precisely in Gascony and can be of two types, small and large.

The large is owed to Count Joseph de Carayon-Latour who, in order to regenerate the saintonge dog breed that was dying out, crossed the last remaining specimens with the Gascon Saintongeois of the Baron de Ruble, thus creating the Gascon saintogeois. In doing so, however, he caused the extinction of the saintonge dog. For the small one, on the other hand, towards the middle of the 20th century, some hunters in the south-east of France selected the smallest of their litters and thus established this new variety, which was initially intended mainly for hare hunting. The large one, on the other hand, is used for deer, roe deer and wild boar.

It is known for its highly developed sense of smell and audible voice. It can hunt both in packs and alone. It is a breed much appreciated by hunters in France, but very little known in the rest of the world.

Character of the Gascon Saintongeois dog breed

The Gascon Saintongeois is a very calm and affectionate dog. He loves to be with his master and his family, and the dedication he shows to them makes him do anything to please them. Especially if the owner is a hunter, an unbreakable and deep relationship is established between them. It has a great capacity for learning, so it is also very easy to train and is also suitable for those who are new to dogs.

He does not like to be alone, with children he likes to spend a lot of time playing, especially outdoors. He is also calm with other dogs, having been used to hunting in packs. With cats it is a little more difficult, but if they grow up together there should not be many problems. With strangers he is very sociable, which makes him a bad guard dog.

It also adapts to being in an apartment, but because of its size, a garden where it can spend a lot of time outdoors is ideal. It must, however, be secured, as its strong predatory instinct leads it to run away easily if it smells any prey. However, it needs a lot of movement, as it is a hunting dog, so it is not very suitable for elderly or sedentary people.

As a character, the Gascon Saintongeois is a dog that is not afraid of anything and is not a lazy animal. In fact, it is very adept at work, endowed with a very distinctive voice when in pursuit of prey, and uses it to signal a wounded prey or to lead one in front of the hunter. Both the large and the small have the same characteristics, both character-wise and for hunting.

Appearance of the Gascon Saintongeois dog breed

As already mentioned, the Gascon Saintongeois is found in two sizes, the small and the large. For the large, the height at withers ranges from 65 to 72 centimetres for a weight of 27 to 32 kilograms, for the small from 56 to 62 centimetres for a weight of around 25 kilograms.

It is the typical French hound, muscular, strong, with long legs and ears, it does not give the impression of heaviness, its height and length are harmonious and the dog is well proportioned. It has an easy and regular gait, with good elongation of the forequarters. Generally the Gascon saintonegeonis is a well built, strong and very elegant dog.

The tail has a strong attachment, is very pointed at the end reaching the hock. It is generally carried sabre-like.

The head is quite dry, the muzzle is elongated, generally straight, but sometimes slightly mound-like. The truffle is well developed, usually black and well open. The eyes are oval, brown, with a confident and sweet expression. The ears are fine, drooping and long at least to the tip of the truffle.

The coat is very short and dense; this allows the dog to handle both cold and warm temperatures well. Generally the base is white, spotted with black and sometimes spotted. On the side of the head there are generally two black spots, which are positioned on the sides of the head to cover the ears and wrap around the eyes down to the cheeks. The latter are fiery in colour, usually pale. Again there are two focal spots above the orbital arch and on the inner face of the ear and striped along the limbs.

Health and care of the Gascon Saintongeois dog breed

The Gascon Saintongeois does not suffer from any particular diseases affecting the breed. The average life expectancy of this breed is 13 to 15 years. It is very robust and hardy, but can suffer from certain problems that are typical of hunting dogs. These are stomach twisting and hip and elbow dysplasia. In fact, it is advisable to divide the food into two servings, to avoid stomach twisting.

With regard to coat care, brushing once a week is sufficient and bathing can be done whenever necessary. Hair loss is moderate. It must however be preserved during the hottest periods to avoid heat stroke. It suffers from humidity so should not live outside in winter.

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