Dog Breeds 101: Artois Hound

Dog Breed - Artois Hound - WP
Photo – Wikipedia (PD)

The Artois Hound is a descendant of the Bloodhound and considered to be one of today’s rarest breeds. It is a scent hound which is 22 to 23 inches high at the withers, weighing between 55 to 65 pounds. It has a large, strong head, a medium-length back and a pointed tail that is long and sickle-shaped. The ears are set at eye level and the eyes are large and prominent. [1]

Artois Hounds were developed to hunt a variety of small and large game such as hares, foxes and deer. The hounds were used in small packs of six to eight dogs during hunts. These are small dogs yet strongly built and has great endurance, making them effective in pursuing prey in dense thickets. Their sharp sense of smell can track down and retrieve game efficiently and their high pitched voices makes them easily heard from a distance. Truly, these dogs are the ideal hunting companions. [2]

Over time, the popularity of British hunting dogs harmed the original Artois Hound bloodline due to crossbreeding. By the middle of the 19th century, pure Artois Hounds were nearly extinct. In the 1880s, Ernest Levair, his cousin, M. Therouanna and other aficionados began an effort to restore the breed’s original characteristics. It was a long and arduous process but eventually, their efforts paid off because the modern Artois Hound closely resembles the original. [3]

Although bred for hunting, these dogs are also known for their affectionate and loving nature, making them ideal family dogs as well. Outdoors, they are extremely athletic but once they get inside the house, they become calm and placid. They usually devote themselves to one or two members of the family while remaining reserved towards the rest. Artois Hounds are quick to notice anything suspicious and will raise alarm if they feel that anything is amiss. Their high pitched call is said to be audible even for more than a mile away. [2]

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