The Ariege Pointer is a fairly new breed of dog having been developed in the 19th century in the French province Ariege from where the breed took its name. This breed is also known as Braque de Toulouse and Braque du Midi. The Braque de l’Ariege is a pointing breed of dog. This means that the dog has the instinct to point. The dog uses its muzzle to point to the hunter the location of the game. The pointing instinct of a dog usually starts to manifest as early as two months old.
Apart from being a pointer, the Braque de l’Ariege is also classified as a gundog. Basically, gundogs are classified into three types- the flushing spaniels, the retrievers and the pointing breed. Some breeds however are capable of performing all the three hunting tasks. These capable dogs are known as versatile gundogs or HPR ( hunt, point retrieve) breeds. The Braque de l’Ariege is one of these HPR versatile gundogs. The Braque de l’Ariege can point, can flush as well as retrieve prey on both land and water. The Ariege Pointer was primarily developed to hunt hare, partridge, quail and various types of wild game.
The Ariege Pointer is a braccoid type of dog. The dog has a powerfully built body without showing excessive heaviness. This gives the dog a strong appearance. The Ariege Pointer is an agile and energetic dog with an excellent sense of smell. This dog is a most dependable hunter’s companion as the dog would show initiative while hunting. The hunter need not give commands on what to do. The Braque de l’Ariege however, is an independent breed. Firm training is very necessary to make the dog bend to the master’s will. Training will not be a challenge as the dog is docile and obedient. This is a lovable dog, one that can be a wonderful pet as the breed is known to be loyal and affectionate to its human family.
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The Braque de l’Ariege has a head that is quite long and angular. The skull is slightly rounded and the muzzle is long and straight. The dog’s nose has well opened nostrils. Nose color would take after the color of the coat so it can be pink or reddish but never black. Well opened and oval shaped eyes are well set in the eye socket. The color of the iris similar to the color of the nose would depend on the color of the coat. The eyes have a gentle expression but also show the intelligence of the dog. The Ariege Pointer has long ears that can easily reach the nose if stretched. Ears that are set at eye level would droop but not close to the head.
The dog’s strong neck has a little dewlap. The dog has a muscular body, a firm, straight and muscular back and a broad and deep chest that reached the elbow level. The tail has a strong base and tapers to the tip. In some countries where tail docking is allowed, the tail is docked by 4/10. If not docked the tail is carried naturally but never above the topline. The dog’s skin is quite thick but supple skin covers the head. The skin is covered closely with short glossy hair that is finer on the head and on the ears. Coat color would range from pale orangey fawn to brown. Dogs can have white ticks or fawn and brown flecks.
A mature Braque de l’Ariege grows to a height of 23 to 26 inches measured at the withers and weighs 55 to 66 ponds. Female Braque de l’Ariege is slightly smaller.
The Braque de l’Ariege is first and foremost a hunter’s companion but the dog is versatile. It can adapt to living with a human family. This dog is not really aggressive but they are known to accept older children. This is not a very friendly dog. They can be reserved with strangers.
An Ariege Pointer may tolerate other dogs but being a hunting dog with an inherent prey drive, it has the tendency to chase smaller animals. Socialization and obedience training is imperative. The dog however may not take to training easily. These are obedient and docile dogs but they are also very independent minded. Training must be firm and done in a positive way otherwise the dog would just ignore the commands of the handler.
An Ariege Pointer is first and foremost a hunter. This versatile dog is hardy in the field. This dog is adept in retrieving whether on land or on water. This dog is full of energy and accustomed to vigorous hunting activities. Therefore owners of this dog must provide exercise opportunities that will replicate the activities the dog is used to. This dog would be an excellent jogging or hiking companion.
The dog has a short coat that would be quite easy to care for. Brushing the coat once a week would be sufficient to maintain its good condition. The Ariege Pointer however is a working dog. This dog hunts and retrieves. The ears must be regularly cleaned and dried. The dog’s long droopy ears are prone to infection if not cleaned after the dog has been on a hunting trip. If the ears are allowed to remain moist it will be a hotbed for bacteria and infection will set in.
The Braque de l’Ariege was developed in Ariege, a province of France. This breed was developed in 19th century by crossing the old French Pointing Dog (Braques Francais) with the Braques of Meridional. These pointers from southern France are noted for their white and orange coats. The St. Germain Pointer was added to the genes for lightness and vigor. The dog that was developed is a hardy and energetic dog that has an excellent scenting ability and is equally proficient in hunting, pointing and retrieving. Apart from being a hunter’s companion, this breed also make a great and lovable family dog.
The Braque de l’Ariege is a very rare breed. For years this breed has stayed on the brink of extinction. The only reason why the breed was saved from extinction is the fact that it was kept and used by a few hunters in the province of Ariege. In 1990 a group of breeders realizing the outstanding qualities of the breed decided to save it from extinction. This group of breeders was headed by Mr. Alain Deteix. The breed may be saved from being extinct but the numbers are still very low. The Braque de l’Ariege is rarely seen outside France, its country of origin.