This French breed is considered the standard of hounds among fans of professional hunting. The Gascons not only have excellent flair and excellent hunting skills, but also have an aristocratic look and proud posture. They also have an incredibly powerful voice. The barking, mixed with a slight howl while being followed, resembles the roar of a wild animal.
The history of this breed is as ancient and interesting as the history of hunting in general. As the name suggests, their homeland is France, or rather Gascony. Most 19th century writers agree that the Blue Great Gascon Hound originated in Saint-Hubert, more specifically in the Ardennes forest. It is believed that at that time there were large black dogs that resembled modern Bloodhounds. Several individuals were crossed with ordinary country dogs, later receiving a blue Gascon. However, there is another hypothesis for the origin of these dogs. It is known that Henry IV had a pack of six hundred blue Gascons to hunt wolves. After the death of the king, the best representatives of the breed ended up in the hands of a certain Baron de Ruble. It was he who first recommended the Gascons as a separate breed at an exhibition in Paris in 1863. Until his death, he forbade crossing these dogs with any others, consolidating the best qualities of the breed. In 1925, the first breed lovers club was created. Later, the blood of the Gascon-Sentong Hound and the Ariege breed were grafted onto the already existing breed. Today, the breed is considered quite rare, although it is widespread throughout the world.
Due to its exterior, the Blue Gascony Hound belongs to the southern breeds. The specificity of this type lies in the special structure of the head. The skull is quite round in dogs, and the muzzle is expressive. The ears are long and set low and can easily exceed the distance to the tip of the nose. The dog’s eyes are soft, eyes are small. The neck is swan, neither too long nor too short. Medium body with well developed rear. The Gascons also have a deep low chest, a long tail, strong straight limbs, and a dry, strong back.
A striking feature of the appearance of all blue Gascons is a special coat color, the so-called blue. The whole body is covered with fine gray hair, which with small black spots creates a bluish effect. In some places, splashes of red hair are allowed. Among the dogs of the ancient line, a gray speckled color with a characteristic “saddle” – a black spot on the back is also often allowed. As for the size, the large Gascon has a height at the withers of 65-72 cm.
This dog originated in an arid region that contained only green oaks and stones. It is very dry at the beginning of the hunting season in the homeland of the breed, so these dogs are accustomed to work in the most inappropriate conditions. They have a very delicate nose, and they always show themselves at a high level. Many people think that short hair can be called a disadvantage of the breed. But this is not at all a reason to believe that the cover does not protect them well. On the contrary, the blue Gascon has such a dense coat that it can wade through the thorns without any problems.
The blue hound has a calm and level-headed personality. It is these character traits that experienced breeders have tried to preserve over the centuries, because the main purpose of the breed is to hunt wild boar, deer and roe deer. It is also a brave dog, determined and purposeful. An indicator of this is the same hunting for a wild boar. Many dogs can only drive the beast, as they are not able to approach it. As for the rest of the qualities, these dogs are very sociable, sociable, loving and loyal. They are also funny, easily find a common language with children, love to play.
The blue Gascon has a very delicate nose and is an excellent and first-class hunting dog. Today, their lovers are used not only in hunting for large animals, but also for hares and even burrowing animals. But this dog will also be a great friend and companion. They are very careful with children, so that they can be safely started by families.
Caring for a large Gascon hound is not much different from caring for any hunting dog. They require a little space, but only if there is a sufficient amount of daily physical activity. This dog is not for the city and can only be kept in a private yard if there is access to the field or forest. Otherwise, the pet will lose its natural qualities, turn into a bore and a lazy foot mat. It is also important to pay particular attention to the hygiene of the eyes and ears of the Gascons. Remember that, like many dogs with drooping ears, they are susceptible to disease and inflammation. At least once every two days, the ear shells must be wiped with a damp cloth and disinfected. The same goes for the eyes, which are especially prone to conjunctivitis. The rest of the Gascons do not require strength and care. Enough attention and understanding that this is an excellent hunter.
It is quite difficult to train a Gascon in any service teams. This is not the kind of dog that will bring you a stick or lie down unquestioningly according to the movement of the hand. This breed has the most important thing that a hunter needs – it already has a hunting skill by nature. It is enough to put a young, inexperienced dog in a pack with experienced trackers, as by the evening he will be able to track and chase a wild animal. When teaching, it is important to take into account the character and slightly playful temperament of the Gascon.
Dogs of the Great Blue Gascon Hound breed are very hardy, they can drive their prey for 5-6 hours in a row without getting tired. At the same time, the hunter will always hear and guide them, because dogs have a powerful deep barking. What is noteworthy, Gascons can be put in a pack with other breeds of hounds. They easily find common contact, moreover, the Gascons always inspire the rest of the team and lead them.