Artois Hound (Chien d'Artois)
Breeds → Scenthounds and Related Breeds → 6.1. Scent Hounds → 6.3.2. Medium-sized Hounds → Artois Hound (Chien d'Artois)
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The Artois Hound is an old sporting breed, which was produced in the Picardy and Artois regions of northern France. The dog was multiple times threatened with complete extinction but nowadays it thrives in its homeland as a household pet. This biddable, smart and affectionate dog has all preconditions of becoming a full-fledged member of a human family.
The Artois Hound came to existence in France in the XV century when hunting was one of the favourite pastime among French aristocrats. It definitely descended from the Saint Hubert Hound but it’s also highly probable that other hounds as well as pointers were used in the breeding process. This breed hunted in packs of six to eight hounds. Its common quarries were foxes, deer, hare, and wild boar. This universal hunting dog was capable of operating effectively in both thick vegetation and open fields. Its sensitive nose allowed it to serve as an excellent tracker and retriever. For the first two centuries of its existence the Basset Hound and the large Picardy Hound (Artois Hound) were both referred as the Chiens d’Artois. However by the turn of XVI century these two varieties were formally separated and the large Picardy Hound was classified as the Artois Hound.
In the XVII and XVIII the breed enjoyed the well-earned popularity among French upper class. Its puppies were considered as a welcomed gift by kings and their royal relatives. In the wake of the French Revolution the Artois Hound won even more favour among French hunters since it was quite unpretentious in maintenance and ideally suited for hunting small game.
During the XIX century they began to bring in France English breeds, which became much more preferred for the role of hunter’s companion than native hounds. As the result of such a trend the number as well as the quality of the Artois Hound experienced substantial decline. Imported English hounds were uncontrollably mated with the breed, which also greatly contributed into dilution of its purity. By the end of the XIX century there were few members of the breed that still preserved their original characteristics.
Since 80s of the XIX century several attempts were undertaken to restore the Chiens d’Artois to its initial form. Unfortunately they had been all futile due to various reasons, including two devastating World Wars. But in early 70s of the XX M. Audrechy displayed active interest to the fate of the Artois Hound. Thanks to his dedicated work and those of a Mademoiselle Pilat, the breed was not only rescued from complete disappearance, but also recovered all its original traits for which it was worshiped centuries ago.
In the modern world the Artois Hound serves as a gun dog as well as a companion dog but it surely prefers to combine these two roles. It received recognition of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1975 and was acknowledged by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 2006.
The Artois Hound is a hunting dog with steady, mild and calm disposition. As a family pet it’s prone to develop especially tight bonds with only one person and usually acts somewhat reserved with other family members. This dog is usually glad to be engaged in children’s games but on its own terms. Naturally it won’t put up with heavy bullying from their part but it rather prefers to quietly retreat than to display open aggression.
The breed behaves politely in the presence of familiar people but shows standoffishness towards strangers. At the same time a well-brought-up specimen will never act aggressively without direct command of its master. The Artois Hound is a courageous and trustworthy dog, which can be really vocal if it detects something suspicious. That’s why it usually makes a reasonable watchdog. However, the breed is deprived of necessary ferociousness and intimidating appearance to become a good guard dog.
The Artois Hound likes to be in the constant presence of other canines as it was developed for pack hunting. But this breed is also noted for dominative nature, which is much more pronounced in male specimens than in the female. Proper caution should be kept when one introduces this breed into the household with other canine resident. With its powerful prey drive this dog is an infamous cat chaser and tends to occasionally bring its master «presents» of killed animals. It should always be kept leashed while being walked. It can co-exist with few issues with a home cat if the dog has been living in the same household with it since its puppyhood.
The most common problems for the breed include:
• ear infections;
• nail fungus or infections;
• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• primary lens luxation;
• sensitivity to anaesthesia.
The Artois Hound’s grooming is easy because of its short sleek coat. Weekly brushing will suffice to maintain it in a good healthy condition. For this kind of work it’s better to use a stiff brush, such as a rubber, wire, or hard bristled one. This breed should be bathed infrequently and it’s recommended to get rid of superficial dirt simply by wiping the dog’s body with a damp cloth.
The ears of the Artois Hound are susceptible to infections and irritations and need regular cleaning to prevent them from development of these problems. It’s important to trim the dogs’ nails every two months as this breed is also prone to nail fungus and infections.
The training of Artois Hound can be a rather tricky assignment because of its independent and strong-willed character. This dog is also known for its quick-wittedness but this quality becomes evident only if it’s trained by confident and even-tempered handler with personality of a leader. It’s crucial to include in the work with this dog motivational methods, which are based on verbal encouragement and food incentives.
Aggressive approach or other ways of rough-housing won’t render desirable effect and will only nullify all efforts that you have put in to build up a trust-based relationship with this dog. Remember if the Artois Hound has learned to accept your superior position there is virtually no limit to what your pet can attain!
The Artois Hound won’t be fully happy without adequate amount of physical exercises. Being an extremely energetic and lively animal it enjoys walking in the company of other canines although it should also be provided with much more vigorous physical activity on a regular basis.
The Artois Hound can become a willing and hardy companion for a jogger or will equally appreciate an opportunity to run and play freely in a securely enclosed territory. The specimen, which is treated as a couch potato, will more probably express its frustration with life in destructive behaviour, hyper activity indoors and even in aggressive tendencies.