Artois Hound

April 12, 2012

Artois Hound is believed to be one of oldest french dog breeds. Known by it’s french name Chien d’ Artois. This breed was speculated to be the progenitor of the Beagle. The Artois Hound is a scenthound that has been bred since the 15th century to hunt foxes, hares and other small game. The Artois Hound is also referred to as Briquet because of its small size. The dog may be small in size but it is well constructed. The dog is strong boned and well muscled. This is an athletic dog with llithe movements and one that is very capable to pass through dense undergrowth. This breed is a through and through hunter. In the woods, in the thicket or in the country an Artois would use its speed, its acute sense of smell and manifest its cleverness to out maneuver the tricks of the hare, to drive an obstinate boar and an aloof deer closer to the waiting gun of the hunter. This breed is a truly magnificent hunting companion. The dog has inherent abilities that make it proficient in his task but training the dog would not come amiss. This is an intelligent breed but an Artois Hound can be very stubborn. A handler must use motivational training. It would be a better idea to keep the training sessions short and fun. Training must be done in a firm but gentle manner. This dog would be more obstinate and unwilling to learn if shown aggression. The Artois Hound is valued for its legendary hunting abilities but the dog is loved by the family for its affectionate, loving and even tempered nature. Because of the small population, it can be quite hard to find an Artois Hound puppy. Due to careful breeding the Artois Hound has few ailments. The life expectancy of the breed is from 12 to 14 years.

Information

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Appearance

The Artois Hound is a beautiful breed. It is apparent that the dog is strong because of the strong bone and well constructed body. This is a type of dog that you can be proud to parade in a dog park as it would surely attract attention. The dog’s head is quite short but it is broad. An Artois has a straight and rather long muzzle, a black nose with well opened nostrils and dark brown eyes that have a soft and sorrowful expression. The ears that are set at eye level are quite long, broad, and a little thick and have rounded tips. This breed has a powerful neck showing very little dewlap, a broad back that is well supported and a slightly arched loin. An Artois chest is broad and long. Ribs are well sprung. The tail is strong and quite long often carried sickle fashion but never falls forward. The tail is covered with coarse hair longer and off-standing at the tip. This breed has a rather thick skin that grows short thick hair that lies flat to the body. An Artois has a dark fawn tricolored coat comparable to the coat of a hare or a badger. The dog has mantle or large patches. Commonly, an Artois would have a fawn head with black overlay.

Personality

An Artois is a friendly and social creature. Don’t depend on this breed to be a guard dog. Aggression seems to be a foreign word for this breed. The dog may warn you of approaching strangers but that would be all, the dog may even wag its tail to welcome the strangers. Even with other dogs and other pets, an Artois is very friendly. A male Artois however usually posses an alpha dog personality and would try to dominate other dogs in the household. Extremely energetic and playful, this dog would thrive in an active household. The dog is good with children. This dog would entice the kids to play but the dog is cunning and the game would be on his terms. This dog is a spoilsport, would enjoy a rough and tumble activity with the kids but once tired would simply turn its back and slip away. This breed makes an excellent jogging, biking and hiking companion. The dog would require vigorous exercise because if the dog is underworked it becomes restless, destructive and hard to handle. The dog may do well in an apartment but a home with a small yard will be more suitable. A dog that is kept in an apartment should be taken on daily long walks. However, it should be considered that this is a scenthound and walking the dog without the restriction of a leash may prove to be dangerous not only for the dog but also for other smaller pets. An Artois that has found an interesting smell would be difficult to recall. Many accidents befall pets because of this concern.

Care

An Artois Hound does not require extensive maintenance. The short smooth coat is easy to maintain. Brushing the coat once or twice a week would be sufficient to maintain its good condition. This breed does not need frequent bathing. Simply wiping the coat with a damp cloth would remove dried up mud and dirt. The dog can be dry shampooed but if it is extremely necessary an Artois can be bathed using mild dog soap and warm water. Due to careful breeding, this breed suffers from very few health concerns. An Artois however is prone to ear infection. Be sure to include ear cleaning in the regular grooming of the dog to prevent ear infection from occurring.

History

Artois Hound a breed that was formerly known as Picard was a very popular breed during the 17th century. During that time this breed was much valued and considered to be great gifts to nobles and royalties. In 1609 Prince Alexander de Grey wrote a letter to Prince de Galle informing him of his intention to send the king a pack of little d’ Artois dogs. Hunting was a favorite sport during the reign of Henri IV and Louis XIII. Because of the Artois Hound’s legendary hunting abilities it became a most sought after breed. Le Couteulx Jean Emmanuel Hector de Canteleu, a dog breeder and the author of the 1890 Manuel de Venerie Francais (Manual of French Hunting 1890) have written that the Artois Hound was crossbred many times over and it would be very hard to find a pure Artois. In spite of this fact the Artois is considered to be one of the country’s best hare hunters. The French Revolution has greatly affected the existence of the canine population. Some breeds almost became extinct; other breeds were totally wiped off. The Artois Hound also known as the Briquet which means small hound was saved from extinction because of its small size. The Chine d’ Artois’ popularity continued to grow because the breed is noted for small game hunting. Because of the dog’s small size, it was affectionately dubbed as a juggernaut. The dog is capable of traversing densely covered vegetation. The popularity and the population of the Artois Hound severely declined when the French hunters have shifted their interests to the breeds of dogs from the British Isles. The Artois Hound was crossed with the long legged and larger foreign breeds. The Artois Hound was also crossed with the now extinct scroll eared Chien Normand resulting to a new breed – the Artois Normand and further deteriorated the Artois Hound breed. Only the dogs of Prince de Conde and the few specimens that are kept in Chantilly are considered to be pure strains. Ernest Levair and M. Therouanne, dedicated fanciers of the breed began a 20year crusade to save the breed. They made an effort to return the original d’ Artois by removing the Bristish blood from the breed. The program was successful but the numbers of Artois Hounds continued to decline. Several breeders have attempted to re-establish the breed. M. Levoir of Picardy did not fare well though Mr. Mallard, another Picard breeder was quite successful. He was able to stand out over other breeders by raising beautiful dogs that bagged numerous awards in canine shows. His dogs however do not conform to the description of the original Artois Hounds. The breed suffered another setback. On the brink of extinction before the war, the 2nd World War severely damaged the breed. It was even believed that the Artois was one of the several breeds that were completely lost. In the late 1970s, the breed has made a strong comeback thanks to the efforts of reestablishing the breed made by d’ Artois fanciers headed by Mr. Audrechy of Buigny Les Gamaches. The breed that was thought to be extinct now has about 500 registered in the stud book.

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