Grand Bleu de Gascogne Temperament: A Kind, Gentle Scent Hound

If you are looking for a skilled hunting dog that can also fit well in your home, the Grand Bleu de Gascogne temperament may be just what you’re looking for.

He is rarely kept as a companion dog alone because of his powerful natural instincts. They would be very difficult to train out of him.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne Temperament and Personality Traits

Intelligent

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne is a smart breed that learns easily.

Independent

Like most scent hounds, however, the Grand Bleu de Gascogne has a mind of his own. This makes him a training challenge.

Stubborn

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne temperament can be very stubborn. The combination of stubbornness and independence makes him a great hunter but not the best choice for a family dog.

Affectionate

The Grand Bleu is loving, loyal, and affectionate with his family. He can make a wonderful companion animal for a hunting family.

Gentle

He is gentle and patient, even with children.

Social

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne is very social, he was in fact bred to be part of a pack. He likes to be with people, but mostly he needs other dogs.

He does not do well if he’s left alone for long periods of time. He’s likely to become lonely and depressed.

You may then see some unwanted Grand Bleu de Gascogne behaviors. He may bark or be destructive.

Even-tempered

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne temperament is calm and easygoing.

Friendly

He is friendly to people and other dogs and even to strangers (unless taught not to be). He will bark when he senses something suspicious, but he is too friendly to make a good guard dog.

Self-confident

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne temperament is never shy or aggressive. His demeanor is sometimes described as noble and dignified.

Athletic

The Grand Bleu is a very agile and powerful athlete. He needs strong leads and fences!

Determined

He is a tenacious hunter who doesn’t give up easily. It can be hard to train him to stop when he’s chasing a scent.

Hardy

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne is a strong and tireless hunter with great endurance.

Dependable

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne temperament is reliable. He is a methodical hunter that his master can depend on.

High Prey Drive

This guy will probably chase smaller pets. If you want to keep a Grand Bleu in a home with other pets, he needs to be socialized to them early. Even then, he may not be reliable.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne History

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne originated in France. The breed is one of the oldest French hounds. He is one of two ancestors of many modern hound breeds.

He is one of four breeds called Bleu de Gascogne. They are named after the Gascony region of Southern France, their homeland. The Grand is the closest physically to their ancient forebears.

The Grand Bleu initially hunted wolves. They have lost popularity in Europe as wolf populations have declined. It is also very expensive today to maintain a pack of hunting dogs.

Today, the breed is used for hunting deer, boar, and other large and small game, including foxes and hares.

Like many European breeds, wars have also taken their toll on the Grand Bleu de Gascogne population over the centuries. It is now considered a rare breed.

The breed was brought to the US by General Lafayette in 1785 when he sent a pack of them to George Washington. There are more of them in the US today than in Europe.

Even so, they are rare here, too. Breeders are working hard to bring their numbers back on both continents.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne Appearance

General Appearance

The Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) is the home kennel club of the Grand Bleu de Gascogne. Their breed standard describes the breed’s appearance as “imposing, giving an impression of calm strength and of great nobleness.”

His color is a mottled black and white that actually looks like slate blue.

Some will have black patches on their bodies. Some will have black on their cheeks and around their ears. They generally have tan markings on the face, ears, and tail and white on the head.

He has a short, smooth coat. He has a muscular build, long legs, and wrinkled skin.

His head has a slight dome, and his ears are long, hanging hound’s ears. He has loose eyelids and deep-set brown eyes, drooping lips, and a scissor bite.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne Size

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne is a large breed. Grand Bleu de Gascogne weight is 80 to 110 pounds, approximately the same for both males and females. Height is 26-28 inches for males and 24-27 inches for females.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne Training

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne temperament makes him challenging to train for anything but hunting. His strong prey drive and determination make him quite stubborn.

He is not a good choice for an inexperienced dog owner.

He will do best with a firm, consistent trainer who is always in control. Even then, it will take a lot of effort and time. With his independent nature, he will balk if you push him too hard.

His high prey drive also makes him a challenge to train. He will find it difficult to not follow his nose when he smells something interesting.

This dog also needs to be contained with strong fencing. He is a powerful and athletic escape artist who has trouble denying his natural instinct to hunt.

If he gets away from you, he won’t come back when you call him.

If you have small pets at home, it may also be difficult to train your Grand Bleu de Gascogne to leave them alone.

Because of these training challenges, he is not the best choice for a family dog in a non-hunting family.

He is best considered a hunting dog who can also fit into family life quite well with proper training and socializing.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Grand Bleu de Gascogne dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Hunting with a Grand Bleu de Gascogne

The Grand Bleu is a pack hunter and an exceptional scent hound.

He can be easily trained to hunt large game. He can also be trained to track small game, but other hounds are better at this.

Because he is not a fast runner, he tends to drive the game to hide in the brush. Faster hunting dogs will tree it, making the catch more likely.

Though he can be slow in the field, he makes up for it with tracking skill and enthusiasm. He loves his job and has a fine time doing it.

His deep, resonant bark is one of the things he is known for. (George Washington actually called it “melodious.”) He uses it to communicate with pack members while on the hunt.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne versus Bluetick Coonhound

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne is a much older breed than the Bluetick. In fact, the Grand Bleu de Gascogne is one of the Bluetick’s ancestors.

Other than their heritage, the two breeds are more alike than different. The major differences involve the head and neck.

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne has a narrower head and a larger dewlap (the loose skin flap under the neck).

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Bluetick’s head is broader, and it has just a trace of dewlap.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne Health Issues

This breed is generally healthy and has no major concerns. Conditions of minor concern are:

Elbow and Hip Dysplasia

A malformation of the joints that is fairly common in large breeds. It can lead to pain, lameness, and sometimes arthritis.

Ear Infections

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne’s ears need to be cleaned weekly to prevent infection.

Allergies

This is an occasional diagnosis only.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne Lifespan

Grand Bleu de Gascogne life expectancy is 10-12 years, which is a long life for a large breed.

Helpful Dog Health Resource

Note: if you agree that your health and your dog's health should be a top priority then get a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health. Your Grand Bleu de Gascogne friend will love you for it. This guide will help save you money, time and most of all help you keep your dog healthy.

Caring for the Grand Bleu de Gascogne

Grand Bleu de Gascogne Grooming

He has a short, fairly low-maintenance coat. He needs only a weekly brushing and a monthly bath.

As above, his ears need to be cleaned thoroughly once a week because of his susceptibility to ear infections.

Of course, like any dog, he will need his nails trimmed and teeth brushed regularly.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne Diet

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne is a large working breed. You would probably want to feed him a high-quality dry food formulated for large breeds. If you are going to hunt your Grand Bleu, you should consider a working-breed formula.

However, you would want to watch his weight carefully. You don’t want your Grand Bleu de Gascogne to grow too rapidly, which is a common cause of hip and elbow dysplasia.

Start with a large-breed puppy formula and then switch to a large-breed adult formula when your Grand Bleu is about 80% of its full adult size.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne Exercise

This is a working dog, meaning that he needs a lot of exercise to be happy.

Ideally, he should get 1 to 2 hours of vigorous exercise every day.

If you walk with him, you may not want to let him off leash. The Grand Bleu de Gascogne is a scent hound who will run off to chase anything interesting that he gets a whiff of.

He also needs a lot of space to run outside. He is not an apartment dog.

The Grand Bleu also needs mental stimulation, especially if he is not being hunted. He would particularly enjoy scent work activities.

Finding a Grand Bleu de Gascogne

Buying a Grand Bleu de Gascogne Puppy from a Breeder

At the time of this writing, we were not able to find any Grand Bleu breeders in North America.

There may be breeders in Europe who will export Grand Bleu de Gascogne puppies. An Internet search should turn up one or two.

The British national Grand Bleu de Gascogne breed club is Bleu de Gascogne Club of Great Britain. They may be able to help with names of breeders there.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne price is usually between $1000 and $1500.

If you are able to find a breeder, you will want to be sure that breeder is reputable. And the best way to do that is by joining an online forum for the Grand Bleu and asking for recommendations.

An Internet search should turn one up. There are dog-lover forums for nearly every breed.

This would give you an opportunity to learn more about the Grand Bleu de Gascogne temperament and what it’s like to live with one.

But more importantly, you may be able to get a word-of-mouth recommendation for a responsible breeder.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne Rescue/Adoption

Again, this is a rare breed. We were not able to find any rescue or adoption organizations in North America.

Once again, your best bet would probably be the Grand Bleu de Gascogne Club of Great Britain. They may be able to help you find a Grand Bleu de Gascogne for adoption.

Very few people keep this breed as a family pet, so it’s unlikely you would find one at a shelter. It is not impossible, though. It wouldn’t hurt to let any shelters local to you know that you’re looking for one.

Is the Grand Bleu de Gascogne the Right Breed for You?

The Grand Bleu de Gascogne temperament presents an interesting challenge. His kind and gentle nature would make anyone think that he would make a great family dog. And in the right circumstances, he does.

But this breed is rarely kept as a companion animal because he is not easy to train. It is also very difficult to control his powerful natural instincts.

He would require very patient training, and a lot of it, from a firm trainer who is able to always be in control of the dog. Even then, it’s unlikely that his training will ever be 100% reliable.

If you’re looking for a companion dog and you don’t intend to hunt with it, there are many better breed choices for your family. And, of course, for the dog.

If you are a hunting family though, this is where the Grand Bleu de Gascogne temperament shines. He has the makings of a wonderful companion for your hunting adventures and a loyal friend to your family at home.