The Poitevin is a brawny and beautiful canine variety from France that thrives on hard work. It was bred as a wolf exterminator but presently it’s mostly used to hunt hare and deer. This stubborn, dominative and independent dog needs tons of socialization to make a reasonably good family pet.
Poitou, an area in the western coast of France is famous for both flourishing wine-growing plantations and the vast population of wolves that poses stern danger for local people. The Poitevin was purposely invented to hunt this predator and keep its numbers at bay. It’s believed that its first version was developed by marquis Francois de Larrye of Poitou as early as in 1692. In his breeding work he utilized the now-extinct Chien Ceris and the Billy. Subsequently the specimens of the English Greyhound and the Irish Scenthound were also included in the program in order to strengthen the breeds’ gene pool. The blood of the Foxhound and the Saintongeois helped to further enhance the power, the endurance and the excellent smell of this magnificent breed.
Soon the Poitevin gained appreciation as an outstanding wolf hunter. This super tenacious and strong dog was capable of trailing the elusive prey dawn-to-dusk and nasty weather or difficult terrains never set it back. Actually lots of its passionate fanciers call it one of the best sporting dogs to hunt wolfs.
The French Revolution placed in jeopardy the very existence of many local breeds and the Poitevin was no exception. In 1842 the rabies outbreak happened and it almost completely erased the breed specimens, which managed to outlive the turbulent times. Fortunately it was rebuilt only from one remaining male and two bitches. Foxhounds were also added to the breeding program so by the 50s of XX century this elegant dog was no long in immediate threat of extinction. In 1977 the French Pack Hound Club was established and this fact attracted additional attention to the Poitevin.
Nowadays the breed is barely known outside its homeland since its hunting specialization is in low demand in other countries. Nonetheless it also makes a great deer and hare hunter so its international popularity is slowly yet steadily growing.
The Poitevin has strong-willed and self-dependent character and gets accustomed to live in large packs of its counterparts. So it can be considered a good apartment dog. But this sociable and affectionate breed makes a great companion animal. It’s relatively compatible with older and well-behaved children, which it is always ready to defend, but it isn’t advisable to keep it in families with toddlers. This canine is too impatient to put up with their chaotic actions. But if you still decide to adopt this dog, make sure to invest necessary efforts into its qualitative socialization.
The Poitevin prefers to stay away from strangers and can develop aggressive tendencies without early obedience training. It has excellent scenting abilities, which help it to identify any changes in its environment and signal about them to its masters. So it can become an effective watcher as well as an intrepid and ever-vigilant property guardian.
The Poitevin needs regular interaction with other dogs so it’s no wonder that it enjoys sharing its life with one or several canines. The master should use caution while walking with his pet because it usually reacts to strange dogs as potential rivals and may clash with them. The breed is also very aggressive to other pets in the house although most of its members don’t bother familiar home cats.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· ear infections.
The Poitevin stands out for low grooming requirements. Brush its thick coat once or twice a week in order to get rid of loose hair and spread natural skin oils. After a hunting expedition it’s necessary to give a careful look-over to the dog’s body and remove any thorns, debris or dirt that can be found in its hair.
Large pendulous ears also require regular examination and cleaning in order to avert nasty infections. The rest maintenance includes such standard procedures as monthly nail trimming and weekly teeth brushing.
It’s hard to properly train the Poitevin because of its independent and mulish character. It’s recommended to entrust this task to a professional handler who has already worked with similar breeds. Any variety of harsh discipline will only aggravate the breed’s propensity to wilful behaviour and therefore should be avoided.
A patient and good-natured person will be able to teach this dog basic commands although more advanced training will most likely require more thought-out approach. It’s a good idea to promote the dogs’ interest to the training with tasty treats and verbal encouragement.
The Poitevin likes vigorous exercises and needs lots of them on the daily basis to be fully at peace with its life. If you don’t intend to hunt with your pet on the regular basis then make sure to provide it with at least an hour of playtime off-leash in a securely fenced area. The dog is also keen on various canine games although nothing can make up for the lack of hunting experience.
This breed ill-suited for keeping in an apartment or in a city where it won’t be able to communicate freely with its congeners. The bored Poitevin becomes extremely destructive, vocal and even unpredictably aggressive.