About the Grand Bleu de Gascogne
The Grand Bleu de Gascogne, called “Grand Bleu” or “Bleu” for short, is a very large scenthound, a classic hunting pack dog of the oldest type. This is an aristocrat among hounds. He has a lean and muscular body, long legs, and very characteristic markings. The head is a slightly domed and long, with long floppy ears and drooping lips. A dog of size, the Grand Bleu stands as high as 28 inches tall at the shoulder, and weighs 80-120 lbs. Although these are obviously large dogs, “Grand” does not refer to the size of the dog, but for a breed that hunts in large packs for larger game.
The Bleu resembles a Coonhound in overall conformation. His coat is an attractive tricolor, with bluish ticking that gives an overall slate blue appearance, from which the Bleu name is derived. There should be black patches that cover the ears on either side of the head, with a white area on top of the head, which has in it a small black oval, plus an “eyebrow” mark over each eye.
Dogs of this breed should show an attitude of calm strength and nobleness, never aggression or fearfulness. The droopiness of his face gives the impression that he is sad, a quality to which has been used to describe the dog’s “majestic allure and aristocratic melancholy”, but of course he is not really sad.
The Bleu is instinctively a pack hound, noted for its focus on the hunt as well as a good nose and distinctive sonorous, deep howl. Originally Bleus hunted in packs for wolves, bears and boars, and in modern times for rabbits, boar, deer, and other game. They do not dash after their quarry as Foxhounds do, but rather pursue it unremittingly. They live in a world of scent and need understanding owners, sensitive to the fact that they are not as easily trained as gundogs or the herding breeds.
Because these dogs are happiest in groups and are rather large, they may be best accommodated in outside kennels. Definitely a breed for the connoisseur, not for the masses!
The Grand Blue de Gascogne originated from France, one variety of four hounds from the Gascogne area. The Grand Blue is the descendant of a very old type of large hunting dog, and is an important breed in the ancestry of many other hounds. Its ancestors were contemporary with the St. Hubert Hounds and were hunted in packs by the 14th century Comte de Foix. This type and breed are found in the ancestry all of the breeds of scenthound with “du midi” in their name.
The breed’s attractiveness as a hunting dog in Great Britain faded once the wolf became extinct. His introduction as a show dog is very recent, fancied for his size combined with elegance. It is hoped that the excellence of this dog’s ability to follow a cold scent is not lost in the programs of breeders for show.
Video below is a bit fuzzy but briefly shows the size and sound.
If you know of a better video, please send us a link!
Video below: Grand Blue de Gascogne puppies.
Warning: the video below shows a boar struggling during a hunt. Don’t watch if that bothers you.
The dogs are doing what they were bred to do.