Grand Gascogne Saintongeois
The Grand Gascon Saintongeois is a strong, confident and robust sporting dog that was invented in France in the middle of the XIX century. Its sweet and good-tempered character makes it an excellent family dog that is very careful in interaction with small kids. Presently the breed remains unpopular even in its native country so it may completely disappear in a matter of several decades.
The Grand Gascon Saintongeous is frequently referred as the Virelade Hound. This variety of hunting dogs was initially bred in the Saintongeois area of France. In the mid of the XIX century baron Joseph de Carayon-Latour of Chateau Virelade hit upon an idea of restoring the Saintongeois Hound. The French Revolution almost drove this handsome breed to extinction. He bought its two specimens from the Earl of Saint Legien and crossed them with the Grand Bleu de Gascogne that was owned by the baron de Ruble’s. This crossbreeding gave sporting dogs with elegant appearance and exceptional hunting drive. So these two barons decided to continue the breeding experiments, which eventually led to the creation of the present-day Grand Gascon Saintongeous.
This massive dog received its imposing appearance and loud musical voice from the Grand Bleu de Gascogne and the superb hunting prowess from the Saintongeois Hound. Incredible strength in combination with a super sensitive nose is the reason why it became so popular in the role of a big game hunter. It’s a true expert in tracking deer, wild boar and foxes in thick vegetation and in any meteorological conditions. This fast-legged dog is also very endurable and can follow the prey’s traces for many hours on end.
In France the Grand Gascon Saintongeous is also praised as a great canine pet because it’s endowed with stable and easy-going temperament. Despite all outstanding hunting talents the breed has few fanciers outside its homeland. It was granted with recognition of the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1993 but this fact failed to increase the international awareness about this breed so today it’s facing the real danger of total demise.
The Grand Gascon Saintongeous can become an ultimate companion of any hunters but it also has all essential qualities to play the part of a family dog. It possesses peaceable and adaptive nature and usually perceives its owners as the members of its pack. Early and thorough socialization is necessary if you want your pet to be tolerant of family kids and other animals in the house. The breed is usually very gentle with small children although it’s large enough to strike down a toddler in the heat of the game.
Human aggressiveness may become a serious issue if your Grand Gascon Saintongeous isn’t properly exhibited to people of all ages from an early age. Nonetheless this dog is commonly polite with house guests and resorts to violence only in an extreme case. Thanks to its unsurpassed vigilance and deep sonorous voice it makes an excellent watchdog. In general this dog lacks desire to defend its territory so it can’t be considered to be a good guardian.
The Grand Gascon Saintongeous welcomes any chance to communicate with its counterparts and actually prefers to live in a large canine group. However it may be ill-disposed towards unfamiliar homeless canines and the master should bear in mind this character trait of his pet and keep it securely leashed in public places. The breed isn’t compatible with other types of pets because of its powerful hunting instinct. But it’s usually friendly with those individual cats with which it was reared since early puppyhood.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· elbow dysplasia;
· hip dysplasia;
· skin infections;
· eye problems;
· ear infections.
The grooming of the Grand Gascon Saintongeous requires minimal amount of efforts. Its short self-cleaning coat should be brushed regularly but rather infrequently (only once a week). This procedure will effectively remove loose hair and strengthen natural gleam of the dog’s fur. This breed needs only occasional bathing.
Since this hound is predisposed to ear infections the master should periodically examine its ears and clean them if needed. Trim the pet’s nails minimum once in every couple of months and clean its teeth on the weekly basis.
The Grand Gascon Saintongeous is a compliant and smart dog whose training usually becomes a breeze. It learns basic tricks with reasonable amount of repetitions and succeeds in agility and obedience trials. Be aware that its character has obstinate streak and will ignore the commands of a timid person.
Furthermore the breed is irresponsive to negative methods of training and reacts properly only to food incentives and kind words. As any hound it tends to get distracted from learning process by enticing smells so be lenient to such behaviour of your pet.
The Grand Gascon Saintongeous is notable for both unbelieving stamina and great power so it needs tremendous amount of physical activity. This large dog is ill-suited for keeping in an apartment where it will lack space for playing. At the same time it’s tough enough to become a wonderful companion for joggers or even bicyclists.
Your pet should get daily opportunity to run unrestrained in a well-fenced yard otherwise it may become hyperactive and totally unruly indoors. Without lots of daily strenuous exercises the Grand Gascon Saintongeous may also grow into a habit of unreasonable barking.