Gascon Saintongeois Hound
Chiseled, long. Fairly narrow, domed skull. Slight stop. Bridge of nose large and slightly curved. Cleanly cut cheeks.
Set on below the eyes, long and thin, curled, pendulous.
Oval, dark brown.
Long. Neck of medium length and thickness, slightly arched, with slight dewlap. Deep, broad chest. Slightly rounded
ribs. Loin slightly arched. Fairly long flank.
Well-set on and very slender at the tip. Carried in saber fashion.
Short and dense.
White background with black spots, sometimes flecked. Two black spots usually appear on either side of the head,
covering the ears and eyes and ending at the cheeks. Cheeks are tan, preferably pale in color. Two tan markings above
the eyebrows form pips. Tan markings on the inside surface of the ears. Tan speckling on the legs. Sometimes, a dead foliage
"deer marking" appears on the lower thigh.
Great Gascony Saintongeois: dog: 65 to 72 cm; bitch: 62 to 68 cm (25,5-28 in). Small Gascony Saintongeois: dog: 52
to 60 cm (24,5-26,8); bitch: 50 to 56 cm19,7-22 in).
Great Gascony Saintongeois: Approx. 35 kg (77lb). Small Gascony Saintongeois: Approx. 25 kg (55 lb).
In the mid-nineteenth century, Count J. de Carayon-Latour wanted to revive the declining Saintonge Hound population. To do
this, he crossed the last specimens of the breed with Baron de Ruble's Blue Gascony Hounds, thereby creating the Gascon
Saintongeois, or the Virelade Hound, named after his chateau. This was the end of the Saintonge Hound, descended from the
Saint Hubert and sporting a white coat with black spots and tan markings. The Gascon Saintongeois is a pack hound that comes
in two varieties:- The Great Gascon Saintongeois Hound, used in shooting and sometimes in large game hunting. This variety
is becoming extinct and is used in the crossbreeding of other hunting breeds; and- The Small Gascon Saintongeois Hound, used
mainly in hare hunting. This variety was developed in the early twentieth century when hunters in southwestern France selected
the smallest dogs from Great Gascon Saintongeois litters.
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This pack hound par excellence is very fast and has a keen nose and resonant howl. He is considered the best hare tracker.
Very versatile, he is also used for large game hunting. He needs a firm owner.
The Gascon Saintongeois Hound is best suited to kennel life. He needs space and exercise, as well as regular brushing.
Physical Characteristics - General Canine Information
Many dogs, such as the American Water Spaniel, have had their natural hunting instincts suppressed or altered to suit human needs. Modern dog breeds show more variation in size, appearance, and
behavior than any other domestic animal. Within the range of extremes, dogs generally share attributes with their wild ancestors, the wolves. Dogs are predators and scavengers, possessing sharp teeth
and strong jaws for attacking, holding, and tearing their food. Although selective breeding has changed the appearance of many breeds, all dogs retain basic traits from their distant ancestors. Like
many other predatory mammals, the dog has powerful muscles, fused wristbones, a cardiovascular system that supports both sprinting and endurance, and teeth for catching and tearing. Compared to the
bone structure of the human foot, dogs technically walk on their toes.
Like most mammals, dogs are dichromats and have color vision equivalent to red-green color blindness in humans.
Different breeds of dogs have different eye shapes and dimensions,
and they also have different retina configurations. Dogs with long noses have a "visual streak" which runs across the width of the retina and gives them a very wide field of excellent vision, while
those with short noses have an "area centralis" - a central patch with up to three times the density of nerve endings as the visual streak — giving them detailed sight much more like a human's.
Some breeds, particularly the sighthounds, have a field of vision up to 270° (compared to 180° for humans), although broad-headed breeds with short noses have a much narrower field of vision, as low
Dogs detect sounds as low as the 16 to 20 Hz frequency range (compared to 20 to 70 Hz for humans) and above 45 kHz (compared to 13 to 20 kHz for humans), and in addition have a
degree of ear mobility that helps them to rapidly pinpoint the exact location of a sound. Eighteen or more muscles can tilt, rotate and raise or lower a dog's ear. Additionally, a dog can identify a
sound's location much faster than a human can, as well as hear sounds up to four times the distance that humans are able to. Those with more natural ear shapes, like those of wild canids like the fox,
generally hear better than those with the floppier ears of many domesticated species.
Scent hounds, especially the Bloodhound, are iconic for their keen sense of smell. Dogs have nearly 220 million smell-sensitive cells over an area about the size of a pocket handkerchief
(compared to 5 million over an area the size of a postage stamp for humans). Some breeds have been selectively bred for excellence in detecting scents, even compared to their canine brethren.
What information a dog actually detects when he is scenting is not perfectly understood; although once a matter of debate, it now seems to be well established that dogs can distinguish two different types
of scents when trailing, an air scent from some person or thing that has recently passed by, as well as a ground scent that remains detectable for a much longer period.
The characteristics and behavior of these two types of scent trail would seem, after some thought, to be quite different, the air scent being intermittent but perhaps less obscured by competing scents, whereas the ground scent would
be relatively permanent with respect to careful and repetitive search by the dog, but would seem to be much more contaminated with other scents.
In any event, it is established by those who train tracking dogs that it is impossible to teach the dog how to track any better than it does naturally; the object instead is to motivate it properly, and teach it to maintain focus on a single track and ignore
any others that might otherwise seem of greater interest to an untrained dog.
An intensive search for a scent, for instance searching a ship for contraband, can actually be very fatiguing for a dog,
and the dog must be motivated to continue this hard work for a long period of time.
The meaning of "intelligence" in general, not only in reference to dogs, is hard to define. Some tests measure problem-solving abilities and others test the ability to learn in comparison to others of
the same age. Defining it for dogs is just as difficult. It is likely that dogs do not have the ability to premeditate an action to solve a problem.
Coat Color: Domestic dogs often display the remnants of counter-shading, a common natural camouflage pattern. The general theory of countershading is that an animal that is lit from above will
appear lighter on its upper half and darker on its lower half where it will usually be in its own shade.
This is a pattern that predators can learn to watch for. A countershaded animal will have dark
coloring on its upper surfaces and light coloring below. This reduces the general visibility of the animal. One reminder of this pattern is that many breeds will have the occasional "blaze", stripe, or
"star" of white fur on their chest or undersides.
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