Small Gascony Blue (Petit Bleu de Gascogne)

Country of origin:
France
Height (cm):
50-58
Weight (kg):
18-22
Life span (years):
12-14
Colour:
entirely mottled (black & white) with a slate blue colouring; with or without black patches
Size:
average
Hair length:
short
Recognized by:
FCI, UKC
FCI code:
31
Intelligence:
Good with kids:
Trainability:
Shedding:
Watchdog:
Adaptability:
Allergy:
No
Pros Cons
  • wonderful companion                       
  • excellent hunter
  • requires a lot of daily exercises
  • doesn't suit for living in a small apartment
  • independent
  • training can be challenging

Overview

The Bleu de Gascogne is the oldest type of French dogs, which was designed to be an excellent hunter as well as a trusty and loving family companion. There are three separate breeds of dogs that are commonly suggested under the term «Bleu de Gascogne»: the Grand Bleu de Gascogne, Petit Bleu de Gascogne and the Basset Bleu de Gascogne. Though they do have some differences on the whole they share much of their early development and individual traits.

History
The Bleu de Gascogne had been invented centuries before the value of official breeding records was recognised by society. It’s usually reckoned that the dog’s forefathers have already existed in the times of the Roman Empire. There is a theory that the Bleu de Gascogne was the result of crossing the dogs imported to Spain and France by Phoenician merchants with hunting dogs kept by the Pre-Roman Gauls and Basques. Other experts claim that the breed was created by purposefully crossing local hounds with the blue coloration. Certainly it had already acquired its distinct features at least by the beginning of XIII century. At that time it was a common practice to give breeds names after their birthplace. The dogs with typical bluish mottled coats and prominent size had been initially noticed in Guyenne and Gascony and the former French province gave the Bleu de Gascogne its name.

During the Dark Ages hunting with hounds was a popular hobby among European affluent people. Hunts presented good opportunities to establish political and personal bonds as well as to make crucial decisions of the world importance. Hunting dogs was of the great value and the Bleu de Gascogne was among them. It was used for hunting on such large animals as deer. The dog was especially successful in killing wolves, which led to complete disappearance of this predator from the territory of France.

The Bleu de Gascogne acquired a lot following all around the world early in its history, in particular in the United States. The first dogs were brought to the French Colony of Louisiana in the second half of XVIII century. It is believed that a few dogs were presented to George Washington by General Lafayette at the end of this century.

Initially there was one type of the breed but some hunters wished that it could hunt smaller animals. The breeders intentionally opted for more miniature specimens and consequently created the smaller version of the Bleu de Gascogne, which is now known as the Petit Bleu de Gascogne. The Bleu de Gascogne has also made a significant contribution in development many other breeds and some of which are the American Foxhound, the Bluetick Coonhound and other Coonhounds breeds.

Temperament
The Petit Bleu de Gascogne was bred to be an indefatigable and relentless hunter and that greatly influenced its demeanour. As a rule it will be loyal to its family but it also can be somewhat cool in displaying its feelings. There is no exact information about the breed’s relations with children since it is used primarily as a hunting dog. Nevertheless other kindred breeds are considered to get along well with children.

The dog behaves properly with strangers and is generally friendly with them. The Petit Bleu de Gascogne is very vocal and has a tendency to prolonged fits of barking so it may become a considerable nuisance in apartment settings. This habit will also make a secure watchdog out of this breed that will diligently protect the master’s property when he is out.

The dog had to cooperate with dozen of other dogs in a pack so it developed a great deal of tolerance towards other canine animals. The master of the Petit Bleu de Gascogne should be extra careful at the initial introduction of the dog to its congener since they can start a fight over the alpha status. The breed will become an excellent addition to the packs of hounds of an enthusiastic hunter.

The adoption of the Petit Bleu de Gascogne will be a bad decision if you already have other non-canine animal. This dog has hunting impulses deeply ingrained in it and its demonstration may purport the death sentence to your home cat. Naturally if the cat and the dog have been reared together your dog will most likely accept it as a part of the family but no one can guarantee that.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• gastric torsion;
• eye problems;
• tooth decay;
• ear infections;
• allergies.

Grooming

The Petit Bleu de Gascogne is the dog with low grooming requirements. It possesses a short coat so it shouldn’t be brushed more frequently than few times a week. The dog tends to shed intensely when the seasons change. Its prominent drooping ears require a special care since dirt and debris easily get stuck to them. The breed is somewhat mulish and can grow impressively big so the attending practices should be introduced as early as possible.

Training
The training of the Petit Bleu de Gascogne can pose a great deal of a problem. The dog has mind of its own and mostly relies on its own judgment whether this concrete action is appropriate in the given circumstances or not.

Naturally it’s quite possible to train it successfully but the handler should apply much more time and repetitions in order to get the result equal to other breeds. The dog excels in hunting and requires minimum or even zero training as hunting is its natural mission.

Exercise
The Petit Bleu de Gascogne is an athletic and powerful dog whose demand for exercise is pretty high. The dog should be taken on a brisk hour-long walk every single day. It takes fair amount of commitment and space to fully satisfy the dog’s needs in physical and mental activity.

The Petit Bleu de Gascogne can be easily captured by the hunting instincts so you should keep it on the leash at all times while outdoors. If it gets bored its immense size designates that it will become truly destructive or will bark for hours on end. This dog fits ideally for the families who live in suburban houses with spacious, safely enclosed yard.
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