Beginning in the 1500s, hunters wishing to use the Bleu de Gascogne for hunting small game such as rabbits began breeding a smaller version that was more suited for pursuing small game. The end result was the creation of a new variety known as the Petit Bleu de Gascogne. It is possible that breeders may have added in a few smaller French hound breeds into the mix as well. Petit Bleu de Gascognes are very similar in appearance to the Grand Bleu de Gascogne, although somewhat smaller in size.
Like many large French Hounds, the Petit Bleu de Gascogne’s numbers suffered as a result of the French Revolution and both World Wars. However, the breed has always been highly valued for its rabbit hunting prowess, and has survived in greater numbers in its homeland than some other French hound breeds, including the Grand Bleu de Gascogne. However, the Petit Bleu de Gascogne is not as popular or well-known outside of France as its larger relative. The Petit Bleu de Gascogne is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. The United Club first recognized the breed in the scenthound group in 1991. For more information about the early development of this breed please visit the main Bleu de Gascogne article.
The Petit Bleu de Gascogne is almost identical to the Grand Bleu de Gascogne except for size. These dog’s share their ancestor’s coat, general proportions, and typical hound appearance.
French hunters typically describe their dogs as Grand or Petit not on the size of the dog, but on the size of the quarry which it pursues. While the Petit Bleu de Gascogne is somewhat smaller than the Grand Bleu de Gascogne, it is by no means a small dog. Males are between 22 and 24 inches tall at the shoulder, and the smaller females are between 20 and 22 inches tall at the shoulder. Breed standards do not specify an ideal weight for the Petit Blue de Gascogne, but this medium to large breed typically weighs between 40 and 48 pounds.
As is the case with most scenthounds, the Petit Bleu de Gascogne has a long snout and nose. This gives the dog more room for scent receptors. Another shared feature with other scenthounds is the seemingly excessive skin around the face and mouth, which forms several wrinkles and hanging jowls. The Petit Bleu de Gascogne has long, droopy ears which are low-set on the head. The Petit Bleu de Gascogne has dark chestnut colored eyes. The breed’s lower eyelid is always slightly loose, showing some of the red membrane underneath. This breed has a sad, but trusting expression.
As with other Bleu de Gascogne breeds, the Petit Bleu de Gascogne has a unique and striking coat. The breed’s fur is short, smooth, and thick. The Petit Bleu de Gascogne’s body is almost entirely mottled with black and white fur. This creates the impression that the dog is actually blue-furred. There are some patches of primarily black fur, and most Petit Bleu de Gascognes have solid black ears and cheeks. The Petit Bleu de Gascogne also possesses some bright tan markings, primarily underneath the tail, inside of the ears, on the legs, above the eyes, and on the cheeks.
The Petit Bleu de Gascogne is primarily a working breed, and as such is well-muscled. These dogs have strong and powerful legs and bodies which allow them to work for many hours on end. The breed has a long, thick tail which is often carried in an upright, saber-like manner.
The temperament is fairly uniform across the three types please see the "Bleu de Gascogne Main Page" for more information.
The grooming requirements are fairly uniform across all three types please see the "Bleu de Gascogne Main Page" for more information.