Ariege Pointer (Braque de l'Ariège)

Country of origin:
France
Height (cm):
56-67
Weight (kg):
25-30
Life span (years):
10-18
Colour:
pale orangey fawn, brown, strongly flecked with fawn or brown ticked white
Size:
large
Hair length:
short
Recognized by:
FCI, UKC
FCI code:
177
Intelligence:
Good with kids:
Trainability:
Shedding:
Watchdog:
Adaptability:
Allergy:
No
Pros Cons
  • excellent hunter
  • great companion
  • easy to train
  • requires a lot of daily exercises
  • not suited for living in a small apartment

Overview
The Ariege Pointer is a multifunctional gun dog, which was developed in France particularly in the area of Ariège. It’s regarded to be a fairly newly invented French hunting dog and nowadays it’s almost exclusively kept for its original purpose. Due to the small number of this breed its long-term survival is rather questionable.

History
The Ariege Pointer was initially created in the late XIX century and early XX century. Its area of origin embraces the Pyrenees Mountains and foothills of Southern France, more specifically the area of Ariège. These territories are very challenging for hunting and are also very isolated from the rest of the world. Ariège still remains one of the most unexplored and least civilised regions of Western Europe, which makes it a natural habitat for lots of rare species and a hunting paradise for ambitious hunters. At the turn of the XIX century local hunters actively brought to the region of Ariege their most preferred hunting dogs including the Braque Francais (Gascogne) and the Braque Saint-Germain. They mated these breeds with indigenous pointing dogs and eventually created a distinct breed with unique coloration and outstanding working abilities.

The Braque de l'Ariège proved to be equally efficient in tracking, pointing, flushing, and retrieving. Nonetheless the breed never spread to the rest of France let alone to the other countries. Its regional popularity kept growing up until the World War I. This time affected the breed in much lesser extent than other French dogs because its homeland was spared from most severe impact of this war. The World War II though was immensely devastating for the whole France and the population of the Ariege Pointer decreased to the point when it almost went extinct. The breeding practices were totally abandoned and many dogs perished in the wake of the War.

Thanks to several local breeders the Ariege Pointer was saved from immediate extinction but its future well-being was pretty shaky. In 90s of the XX century a group of the dedicated followers of the breed came up with the decision to popularise it as a part of the French hunting legacy. They unified their efforts under the leadership of Mr. Alain Deteix whose contribution to the dog’s revival can be hardly overestimated. They have worked intensely for over 20 years to make the Ariege Pointer more recognisable across France and to maintain its number at acceptable level. These efforts have proved to be marginally successful and presently the position of the Ariege Pointer is secured only in a short-term perspective.

The breed is recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). It has been also recently acknowledged by the United Kennel Club (UKC). Nowadays the Ariege Pointer is mostly kept as a hunting dog, although some of them are also treated as a sweet family pet.

Temperament

The Ariege Pointer rarely is kept as a family pet so it’s hard to make any generalisations about its demeanour in a home environment. This dog is known to be slightly reserved in displaying its feelings although it’s also incredibly loyal to its family. It’s save to suggest that the breed is nice with children if it has been introduced to their company since an early age. Owners of this breed claim that a properly socialised specimen makes a wonderful companion dog, even-tempered and biddable.

Generally speaking the Ariege Pointer tolerates strangers but interacts with them with natural wariness. This breed can be described as friendly and some specimens actually need special training to learn to respect private spaces of other creatures. As a versatile hunter it possesses well-developed senses and great alertness and therefore it can be turned into rather an effective watchdog. At the same time this breed is too sociable and amiable to make a good guard dog.

The Braque de l'Ariège got accustomed to the company of other canine animals because it had to coordinate its action with them during a hunt. This dog is characterised with innate friendliness towards other dogs and it rarely has any issues in this respect. The breed was perfected through multiple generations in order to make it a superb gun dog. This means that it’s fairly unwise to keep it alongside with other species of animals. Even extensive socialisation may be useless for some individual dogs and they will never be able to live peacefully with a home cat.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• cleft lip;
• demodex mange;
• ear infections;
• deafness;
• epilepsy;
• progressive retinal atrophy;
• aortic stenosis.

Grooming
The Ariege Pointer demands unsubstantial amount of care. The owner should only regularly and thoroughly brush its coat. Big floppy ears of this dog tend to attract different stuff including grime, food, etc. Furthermore they are very vulnerable to infections and irritations. That’s way it’s essential to time after time inspect them and clean as necessary. Though there are no any particular data as to the shedding volume of the breed, one can say for sure that it does shed.

Training
The Braque de l'Ariège is renowned for its excellent trainability. The breed requires very minimal training to become exceptionally effective in its original hunting assignment. It also has very bright perspectives in a number of canine sports such as agility and obedience. Lessons with this dog should be short, entertaining and regular because it’s notable for a short memory span.

It’s worth to consider that the Ariege Pointer responses only to training methods that resort exclusively to positive reinforcement and verbal encouragement. Abusive treatment is going to spoil pleasant temperament of this breed so it will turn into a resentful, disobedient and wilful animal.

Exercise
The Ariege Pointer is a very athletic breed and needs large amount of intensive exercise to stay fit and happy. A daily brisk walk of at least an hour long is a must for this breed. Undoubtedly it should also receive periodically an opportunity to release its excessive energy in running and roaming in a spacious yard with a secure fence.

Ideally the breed should be assigned to perform its hunting duties in the regular basis. Anyway it poorly adapts for an apartment life because of its considerable exercise requirements. The Ariege Pointer, which is treated as a lap dog, usually becomes a very destructive, hyperactive, nervous and unpredictably aggressive creature.
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