The Gascon Saintongeois: Everything You Need to Know

The Gascon Saintongeois is a lesser-known breed native to France. This French hound boasts an intriguing history, a striking appearance, and a loyal and affectionate temperament. 

In this article, we will take a closer look at this fascinating breed, exploring its origins, physical characteristics, personality traits, and health so you can decide if it is the right breed for you. 

History and Origins of the Gascon Saintongeois

Breed Ancestors

The Gascon Saintongeois is a direct descendant of the Hound of Saintonge. The Hound of Saintonge is a now-extinct dog breed that, in its time, was a large and highly skilled hunter. 

Breed Development and Challenges 

The French Revolution took a huge toll on the Hound of Saintonge breed, leaving only three members alive, two males and one female. In an effort to save the breed, Count Joseph de Carayon-Latour crossed them with old-type Grand Bleu de Gascogne dogs. 

The cross eventually gave birth to a new breed – the Gascon Saintongeois. The Gascon Saintongeois quickly gained popularity in France thanks to its exceptional skills on the hunting field and ability to work in packs.   

Two Breed Sizes 

Over time, the breed diverged into two varieties. The Grand Gascon Saintongeois was used for big game hunting, including roe deer, wild boar, and even gray wolves. 

The Petit Gascon Saintongeois was used to hunt small game, primarily hare and rabbit. However, the smaller version was sometimes used to hunt large game too, especially when released on the field in large packs. 

Physical Characteristics of the Gascon Saintongeois

Size and Weight

The Gascon Saintongeois’ height and weight depend on the size variety: 

  • Grand Gascon Saintongeois: 24 to 28.3 inches & 66 to 71 pounds 
  • Petit Gascon Saintongeois: 22 to 24.4 inches & around 50 pounds 

Coat and Colors

The Gascon Saintongeois’ coat is short, dense, and smooth, with a delicate sheen that adds to its striking appearance. The coat is white with black patches, with some breed members being speckled or ticked with black.

Distinctive Features

The Gascon Saintongeois has large, drooping ears, a deep chest, and powerful legs. The ears are not only a defining feature but also serve a practical purpose in helping them to track scents while on the hunt.

The deep chest allows for ample lung capacity, which is necessary for endurance while on the hunt, and the powerful legs give the speed and agility necessary to chase down prey.

Temperament and Personality Traits

The Gascon Saintongeois is an affectionate, loyal, and energetic dog that makes a great companion for active individuals or families. It has a strong hunting instinct and excellent scenting abilities, hence being popular among hunters, too.

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

The Gascon Saintongeois is an active breed that requires plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. They were originally bred for hunting and have a high energy level that needs to be expanded through physical activity.

The Gascon Saintongeois is not ideal for apartment living but does well in a home with a large yard or access to open spaces where they can run and play. Daily exercise and activities such as agility training keep the dog mentally and physically stimulated.

It’s important to note that a lack of exercise can lead to destructive behavior, such as chewing or digging. Therefore, it’s crucial to provide the Gascon Saintongeois with enough physical activity to prevent these unwanted behaviors.

Socialization and Friendliness

The Gascon Saintongeois is an affectionate, loyal breed that bonds closely with its owners. However, it can be wary around strangers, so socialization is crucial to ensure it is friendly. Socialization should begin at an early age. 

The Gascon Saintongeois is generally excellent with children and pets, although it may be too energetic for households with very young children. It’s important to supervise interactions between children and dogs to prevent any accidental injuries.

Intelligence and Trainability

The Gascon Saintongeois dogs are an intelligent breed that is eager to please their owners. They have a strong desire to learn and can be trained to perform various tasks and commands.

However, they can be stubborn and independent at times, which requires consistent and positive reinforcement training. Firm and gentle leadership is essential when training this breed, but harsh methods must be avoided. 

Health and Lifespan of the Gascon Saintongeois

Common Health Issues

Common health problems in the Gascon Saintongeois include: 

  • Hip Dysplasia: A hereditary joint condition manifesting with pain and lameness due to a malformation of the bones forming the hip
  • Gastric Dilatation & Volvulus: Known as bloat, it is a potentially fatal condition in which the stomach fills with gas and then twists on itself 

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

To keep a Gascon Saintongeois healthy and happy, regular preventative care is essential. This entails regular vet checkups, vaccinations, worm control, flea & tick prevention, and dental care. A nutritious diet that meets the breed’s unique nutritional needs is also critical to the breed’s well-being.

Expected Lifespan

The Gascon Saintongeois is long-lived compared to other large breeds, with an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. By providing proper care, nutrition, and exercise, pet owners can help ensure their dog lives a long, healthy life.


The Gascon Saintongeois is a fascinating breed. While it requires plenty of exercise and socialization to thrive, its loyal and affectionate nature makes it an excellent companion for families who enjoy an active lifestyle.

Whether you are an avid hunter in search of a skilled hunting partner or a dog lover looking for an intriguing breed to add to your family, the Gascon Saintongeois is certainly worth considering. 

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