The Ariegeois is a breed of scent hound native to France. Developed by crossing a number of other French hound breeds approximately 100 years ago, this is one of France’s youngest breeds.
The dog is known to be extremely affectionate with its family and is very good around children. This is a breed that may shower owners with kisses.
History of Ariegeois dog
Although the Ariegeois is a relatively new breed, it has ancient roots. This scent hound is a combination of three others; the Briquettes, the Grand Gascon-Saintongeois, and the Grand bleu de Gascon, all of whom hail from France.
During the Dark and Middle Ages, hunting with hounds became extremely popular with the French nobility. However, after the French Revolution, the middle class started to take up hunting as well with the French nobility losing most of its land and privileges during the conflict.
As the middle class couldn't afford to keep large dogs such as the Grand Gascon-Saintongeois and the Bleu de Gascon, they resorted to using the Briquettes. These dogs became increasingly popular in the newly formed Ariege department, located along the Spanish and Andorran borders.
Although it is not exactly clear when, hunters in Ariege eventually decided to develop a unique, purebred type of Briquette. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that the breed, which became known as the Ariegeois after its homeland, was developed some point between the 1880’s and 1912.
The breed came to look very much like its ancestors the Grand Bleu de Gascogne and Gascon-Saintongeois, but with the size and preferred game of the Briquettes. The Ariegeois also became among the most finely built of all French scent hounds.
After World War 11, breed numbers were dramatically reduced but thankfully did not reach critical levels and by the end of the 1970's, numbers were at approximately pre-war levels.
Despite being known throughout France as an excellent hunting dog, it remains rare elsewhere. Although it is unclear if any Ariegeois have been imported to the United States yet, the breed was granted full recognition with the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1993.
As mentioned, the Ariegeois is very similar in appearance to other French scent hounds. What differentiates this breed is its size. The Ariegeois is smaller than the Grand Bleu de Gascogne and Gascon-Saintongeois and more finely built.
The breed is medium in size and considered extremely muscular for its size. The Ariegeois should always appear fit and trim. The head is proportional in comparison to its body with the muzzle being approximately the length of the skull.
While the Ariegeois does have some extra skin around its face found in many hounds, it is to a lesser extent. The nose of the Ariegeois is prominent and black. The ears of this breed are very long, droopy, and usually quite wide. The eyes are brown in colour and their overall expression is usually bright and alert.
The neck of the Ariegeois is slender and arched slightly and the chest is narrow and deep. Their ribs are well-sprung with a strong, sloping back. They should have straight forelegs and strong, powerful hindlegs. The feet are hard and foxlike and the tail is slightly curved.
The Ariegeois normally weighs approximately 28–30 kg. Males should stand 52–58 cm tall, and females 50–56 cm.
Source : Dog Breed Plu
The coat of the Ariegeois is short, close and fine. Only one colour scheme is seen on the breed. The base coat of the Ariegeois is white, which covers over most of the body.
The Ariegeois also always possesses jet black markings. These markings are almost always present on the ears, head, and face, especially around the eyes, but may also be found dotted over the dog’s entire body.
Many Ariegeois also exhibit light ticking. A few breed members may also possess tan markings on their faces, usually above the eyes and on the cheeks.
The Ariegeois has earned himself a reputation as a calm, easygoing breed that gets along well with people and children. Being a working dog, they have a lot of energy meaning they need regular exercise. Despite this, they are just as happy doing nothing at all and relaxing with their owners.
Known for being exceptionally loyal, the Ariegeois will happily accompany their owners wherever they go as they want nothing more than to be in the constant company of their family.
When properly socialized this breed tends to have very few problems with other dogs, and most breed members would greatly prefer to share their lives with at least one, and preferably several, other dogs.
Ariegeois are known for having having major issues with non-canine animals which is due to their hunter nature. It is therefore best to exercise extreme caution when introducing them to other animals, especially cats.
Their hunting background also means they can bark a lot. Although training and proper exercise can greatly reduce an Ariegeois’s barking, this breed will still be considerably more vocal than most.
Health and care
The Ariegeois’s short history means they have not shown themselves to have a genetic predisposition to any specific diseases and are considered a healthy, relatively trouble-free dog.
The long and drooping ears of the Ariegeois mean that it is susceptible to ear infections which are usually minor and easily avoidable provided you clean them regularly.
The average lifespan of the breed is 10 to 12 years.
The Ariegeois has a short and smooth coat that is easy to groom. It sheds an average amount so there will be loose hair around to be dealt with. Use a firm bristled brush to comb and brush the coat removing loose hair and debris and keeping it healthy.
As mentioned, they are prone to ear infections meaning a regular clean to prevent particle buildup which can cause irritation, infections, and hearing loss, is needed.