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The Artois Hound

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 Artois Hound

The Artois Hound is a rare French purebred that is medium to large in size and a descendent of the Bloodhound (the Saint Hubert Hound). It is a scent hound like its ancestor and comes from the Artois and Picardy area in the North of France, hence its name. Other names for the Artois Hound are the Picard, Briquet, Briquet d'Artois and the Chien d'Artois. It was bred to hunt in small packs and its prey would include the hare and other small animals as well as larger ones such as deer and boar. Today it is still used to hunt with as a gun dog but is more likely to be kept as a companion.

The Artois Hound at A Glance
Name Artois Hound
Other names Chien d'Artois, Picard, Briquet, Briquet d'Artois
Nicknames Artois
Origin France
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 55 to 65 pounds
Average height 21 to 23 inches
Life span 12 to 14 years
Coat type Dense, smooth, short
Hypoallergenic No
Color Tricolor, fawn, black, tan, white
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Quite intelligent – used to outmaneuvering the hare
Tolerance to heat Very good – can handle hot weather
Tolerance to cold Good to very good – can adapt to the cold
Shedding Low to average – some hair will be around the home but with regular brushing not a great deal
Drooling Low – not a breed prone to slobber or drool
Obesity Above average – make sure food is measured and it is well exercised
Grooming/brushing Moderate – brush regularly to maintain coat
Barking Occasional – will be some barking and it is high pitched
Exercise needs Very active – needs plenty of activity and active owners
Trainability Moderate – can be stubborn, some experience helps
Friendliness Excellent – very social and its friendliness means it is not a great guard dog
Good first dog Moderate – not best for new owners, needs someone with confidence and experience
Good family pet Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Moderate to good – will need socialization and supervision?
Good with other pets Good if raised with them and well socialized but strange small animals will be chased as prey
Good with strangers Very good to excellent – everyone is a new friend almost
Good apartment dog Good – can adapt but does best with a yard and space, would need several outings
Handles alone time well Moderate – prefers not to be left alone for long periods
Health issues Generally a healthy dog, a few issues can include ear and nail infections, joint dysplasia, eye problems and cryptorchidism
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and doggy insurance
Food expenses $270 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $245 a year for toys, miscellaneous items, basic training and license
Average annual expenses $1000 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,200
Rescue organizations None specific to this breed, look to your local rescues and shelters if interested in adoption
Biting Statistics None reported
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The Artois Hound's Beginnings

The Artois Hound is an old French hunting breed who's ancestors date back to around the 1400s and was used to hunt deer, boar and smaller prey like hare and fox. They would hunt in small packs of 6 to 8 dogs and were developed to be athletic, able to move through different terrain from woods to thick dense brush to clear fields, and to have good endurance. Their job was to maneuver the prey closer to the human hunters, so it also had to be intelligent. Once known as the Picard it was popular in many royal courts, Henry IV, Louis XIII and Prince Alexandre de Gray. It is thought it an ancestor of the English Beagle. It was developed using the Bloodhound and likely other hounds too along with some pointers.

Its popularity was high and steady through the 16th to 19th centuries, not even the French Revolution really affected this. In the 'Manual of French Hunting' written in 1890 Le Couteulx de Canteleu praises it but says it is now hard to find pure dogs as many have been cross bred. This was partly because hunters by that time preferred British hunting dogs and with more being imported to France crossbreeding occurred. Only a few packs by then were kept pure. In the 1880s two breeders started to try and save the breed, M Therouanne and E Levair. Then another breeder at the start of the 20th century up to the first world war had some success too, a Mr Mallard, though he focused more on looks. However with the two world wars progress was lost and in fact for a while after the second world war it was thought the Artois breed was extinct.

New Lease on Life

However there is a happy ending to the story after all. In the 1970s some fans of the breed having searched for a long time for the last few dogs, decided to try and revive the breed. This has led to the modern version of the Artois Hound which is very close in standards to the original. Now there are around 500 dogs registered and it is considered a stable breed, thanks largely to the work of M Audrechy and Ms Pilat. It is recognized by the FCI and the UKC but is not yet a member of the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

The Artois Hound is a medium to large dog weighing 55 to 65 pounds and standing 21 to 23 inches tall. It looks a lot like a Beagle but a lot bigger. It has a broad back and chest and is muscled and strong. It has straight and powerful legs and its feet are slightly long with tough black pads. Its neck is moderate in length and the tail is long, sickle shaped. It has thick skin and its coat is short, flat and dense. Common colors are a tricolored pattern in dark fawn, black and white. It has a strong head that is large, broad and rounded. It has nostrils that are wide and its nose is black at the end of a moderately long, straight, squared muzzle. Its prominent eyes are set apart and are round and dark brown. Its ears are at eye level and are long and taper to a rounded tip.

The Inner Artois Hound

Temperament

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The Artois Hound is an energetic, fast and athletic dog with a great deal of endurance but in the right home when well raised indoors it is calm, even tempered, affectionate, loving and loyal. For that reason as well as being a great hunting dog it is also a great choice as a family companion. It does have an independent side to it so does best with experienced dog owners. It is a brave dog and when out has to be kept leashed as its great sense of smell means it will go after a good scent if it can. It is a happy dog that will want attention from you and prefers not to be left alone for long periods. It is social and gets along with everyone in the home but does tend to bond more closely to one or two owners, whom it will choose above others. To them they are more devoted and even more loving. With strangers it tends to be happy to greet someone knew to give them attention. It does bark when someone or something suspicious happens and that bark is high pitched and not for everyone. It is not a great watchdog though because of its friendliness and it is not an aggressive breed.

When used in hunting today it is used as a gundog. It will drive the game closer to the hunters, usually on horseback. It has to maintain its speed, be quick thinking, clever and bold. Out in the countryside it can outmaneuver the prey, in woods it is able to hunt deer and in thick thicket it has to be brave enough to face and drive wild boar.

Living with an Artois Hound

What will training look like?

The Artois Hound is an independent dog and though intelligent it is not best suited to new owners. It needs firm and consistent handling when being trained, owners need to make it clear they are the boss and there is a certain amount of time and patience needed. While both females and males have a strong temperament, males tend to be worse and will try to establish dominance. Ways to get around them include being positive, offer treats to motivate, praise their successes and encourage don't punish. Keep the training sessions short so they are no overly long and boring. Make them fun so that it enjoys the several shorter sessions a day. Once a bond is established between you and it responds well to your training you will find you can take it as far as you want to. Start training and socialization from a young age and it is less likely to have a chance to develop bad habits that need breaking. Socialization means exposing it to different people, places, sounds, animals and situations so it learns to deal with them appropriately.

How active is the Artois Hound?

As mentioned the Artois Hound is an very active breed and it needs a large amount of physical activity as well as mental stimulation to keep it calm, stable, happy and healthy. Without that kind of release it can be hard to control, destructive and loud, hyperactive and possibly anxious too. It can adapt to apartment living but is best in homes with access to a yard. If it is not being used regularly as a hunting dog it needs to get out at least twice a day for its walks and those walks need to be a long length and a good pace. It also needs other activity opportunities such as trips to a dog park where it can run safely off leash, socialize and play doggy games with you. Owners need to be active themselves already, and it will be happy joining you on those outings whether it is hiking, jogging, cycling and so on. Any yard should be well fenced in, and when out walking it should be kept on a leash. If it catches a scent it likes it will try to follow it.

Caring for the Artois Hound

Grooming needs

This is not a high maintenance dog in terms of grooming or maintenance, its short coat is easy to brush using a hard bristled, rubber or wire brush. Brush it regularly, a couple of times a week should be enough and then give it a wipe down with a damp towel now and then to clean it, or do a dry shampoo. Only bathe it when it is needed to avoid drying out its natural oils in its skin and for the same reason only use a proper dog shampoo. It sheds somewhere between a low to average amount so there will likely be some hair in the home.

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Other needs are the same as other dogs. Give its teeth a brush at least two to three times a week to keep its gums and teeth in good shape and its breath a little sweeter! Its ears need to be checked once a week for infection signs, look for redness, irritation, discharge and swelling for example. Dogs with ears that hang down are more prone to ear infections. Once that is done you can use that opportunity to clean them. Do not insert anything into the ear though as that causes pain and damage. Instead wipe the parts you can reach and use a damp cloth or dog ear cleanser and cotton balls. The Artois Hound is also prone to nail infection so keep an eye on those too. Keep them trimmed, it is something you can do yourself with proper dog nail clippers just do not cut too far down, there are nerves and blood vessels there and cutting them hurts the dog and causes bleeding. Some active dogs wear their nails down naturally or alternatively you can have a vet or professional groomer do it for you.

Feeding Time

The Artois Hound will eat about 2 1/2 to 4 cups of a good quality dry dog food each day, and that should be split into at least two meals. How much exactly can change from one Artois to another depending on its size, level of activity, health, rate of metabolism and age. All dogs should have water they can drink at any time, and it should be changed for fresh water several times.

How is the Artois Hound with children and other animals?

When an Artois Hound is in a good home, has enough exercise and has been socialized well and raised with children it is very good with them. It will play with them, but on its own terms and it will walk away when its had enough. It doesn't mind some rough and tumble but prefers play that does not involve a lot of conflict so is very unlikely to get into a real fight with other dogs. Males are more dominant than females so may try to dominate other make dogs in the home, but proper socialization will help with that. With that it can also get along fine with other pets in the home. However with its excellent scenting ability and high prey drive if it spots or smells a small strange animal outside, squirrel or rabbit, it will go after them if it can.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The Artois Hound has a life span of 12 to 14 years and has no known specific health problems. It is susceptible to ear and nail infections as mentioned and other things that could come up include anesthesia sensitivity, joint dysplasia, bloat, eye problems and cryptorchidism.

Biting Statistics

In reports of dogs attacking people and causing bodily harm in the US and Canada over the last 35 years, the Artois Hound is not mentioned. It is not a dog known to be aggressive towards people or even other dogs, especially when it has its needs well met and has been trained with at least basic level obedience and had good socialization. Something that a lot of people do not realize though is that all dogs have the potential to have a bad day, be triggered by something into getting physical, even those breeds most deem to be super friendly.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The Artois Hound only has a small number of dogs around and so finding a puppy can take some work and you may get places on a waiting list. Expect to pay something around $1200 but likely more depending on the qualifications and experience of the breeder and whether you are looking for a top show dog which will cost more than a companion. There are other options out there that are less honest and decent, puppy mill bred dogs, pet stores, ignorant backyard breeders for example. It would be our recommendation not to use such options, the health of your dog will be questionable, the prices fluctuate wildly, the dogs are often neglected or mistreated. If a purebred is not a must have and you are just looking for a companion another option is to look at local shelters and rescues. There could be a great dog there waiting for you, adoption fees are just $50 to $400 and often they comes with initial medical needs taken care of too.

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Once you have decided on what you want and have found it there are also some other cost to pay for. It will have some health needs like shots, deworming, physical exam, blood tests, spaying or neutering and micro chipping. These will come to around $290. There are also some basic items you will want to get for it. A collar and leash, crate, bedding and bowls for example. These will cost another $240 or so.

Then there are the ongoing costs to looking after your pet, it will need health care and medical costs, food and treats, miscellaneous items, toys and so on. As a starting figure it is estimated that yearly cost will be around $1000. $485 of that is for dog insurance and basic health care like check ups, shots and tick and flea prevention. $245 of it is for basic training costs, license, toys and miscellaneous items. Then the remainder $270 is estimated for dog treats and a good quality dry dog food.

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  • The Artois Hound has excellent hunting abilities and is a great asset today for some who like to hunt on horseback. It is also though a very good family dog and companion for active homes. With the right owners it is even tempered and calm indoors, very devoted and affectionate, forms close bonds and can get along well with other pets and children. While it is independent and that can make training tricky it is well worth the effort, and for owners with experience it is just a case of being patient, confident and firm.

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