The Poitevin Temperament (Loyal but Stubborn): Is He a Good Fit for You?



The Poitevin is an excellent hunter who is loyal and gentle with his owner, but the Poitevin temperament is not suited to life with most families. He can be very difficult to train.

He is a high-energy dog that does best in hunting families. A very active family may be able to make it work, but the Poitevin is not the best choice for a home with children.

Poitevin Temperament

1. Intelligent

The Poitevin is a smart breed, but he is hard to train.

2. Independent

This trait is not unusual in hunting breeds. They need it to do their jobs well. However, the Poitevin temperament is more independent and stubborn than most.

3. Loyal

This guy is not people-oriented. He does become attached to his owner, though, and maybe to a small family group.

4. Gentle

The Poitevin temperament can be kind and gentle. He does not care for children, but he is not an aggressive dog.

5. Stranger-wary

The Poitevin is not a friendly breed. He needs early socialization to strangers.

6. Social Poitevin Temperament

As a pack hunter, he gets along well with other dogs. He may prefer living in a kennel with them to living inside with people. The Poitevin does best with at least one other dog in the household.

He does not do well when left alone for long periods and this can result in separation anxiety. So it goes without saying that your Poitevin would not be happy in a home where no one is home during the day.

7. Hard-working

The Poitevin temperament is perfectly suited to the job he was bred to do. He is an expert hunter who will happily work all day, every day.

8. Energetic Poitevin Temperament

Because of that work ethic, the Poitevin has a very high exercise need. This is another reason that the Poitevin temperament is not well suited for life as a companion dog.

9. Courageous

His bravery in the hunt is one of the reasons hunters once prized the Poitevin temperament so highly.

10. Hardy

This is a strong, muscular dog with great endurance. A seven-hour hunt is not enough to tire him out.

11. Vocal

The Poitevin barks a lot. This breed is not a good choice for apartment living.

12. Guard Dog instinct

His wariness of strangers and loud bark make him a great watchdog. He wouldn’t be a good guard dog, though, because he is not aggressive.

13. High Prey Drive

This Poitevin temperament trait makes him untrustworthy around small household pets.

Poitevin History

The Poitevin is a French scenthound from the region of Poitou. It was originally called the Chien de Haut-Poitou.

The breed was developed in 1692 by the French Marquis de Layrre to be a wolf hunter.

He created the Poitevin from two other French scenthounds, the Montemboeuf and the Chien Ceris (now extinct). He also used the Greyhound and Irish scent hounds.

The result was an exceptional wolf hunter. However, as time went by, the wolf population became less of a problem. The Poitevin lost popularity with hunters.

During the French Revolution, the breed was nearly wiped out. Then a rabies outbreak in 1842 almost finished the job.

To restore the Chien de Haut-Poitou, breeders began crossing the few remaining dogs with foxhounds. In 1957, the dog’s name was changed to Poitevin Hound.

Once the breed’s numbers were high enough, breeders began selectively breeding the Poitevin. Their goal was to develop the dog back into the original Poitevin. Poitevin lovers wanted to bring back the qualities that made the Poitevin temperament and hunting skills unique.

In recent years, Americans have imported a few Poitevin. Hunters own almost all of them. They use the Poitevin as a deer tracker.

The Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized the breed in 1963 and the American Kennel Club (AKC) has not.

Poitevin Training

The Poitevin is an intelligent and stubborn dog. He is very difficult to train. You may even want to hire a professional trainer for basic obedience.

A firm and consistent trainer is always best in training dogs. This breed, though, needs that more than most. In France, the Poitevin often ends up in shelters and rescues because of this difficulty in training.

Even if you’re an experienced dog trainer, you may find his stubbornness challenging. Be prepared for it to take a lot more time and effort than with other breeds.

Unless you want a watchdog, you will also need to train him early to control his barking and to be tolerant of strangers.

He also needs to be socialized to children early and well. Though he’s not aggressive by nature, he is not a good choice for families with children.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan a world-class Dog Trainer from New Zealand is worth taking a look at. This online resource has hundreds of fun informative dog training videos that can help you learn the basics and more.

Poitevin Appearance

General Appearance

Many consider the Poitevin to be the most attractive pack hound. His looks have been described as distinguished and elegant.

He is a medium to large breed with a sleek, muscular build.

His coat is short and dense with a nice shine. Poitevin colors can be tri-colored—white, orange and black. They can have black patches or saddles. The Poitevin may also be wolf-colored.

His head is long and flat. He has large eyes that can be black or amber. His ears are drooping, folded, and medium-length. He has a wide black nose.

He has a long muzzle and a scissor bite. His neck is long and slim.

He has a deep chest and strong legs. His tail is long and thin and curves upward.

Poitevin Size

Average Poitevin weight 65 to 75 pounds. And the Poitevin height averages 24 to 28 inches. There is no size difference between males and females.

Poitevin Must-Knows

Poitevin Lifespan

The life expectancy of this breed is 11-12 years.

Other Names

The Poitevin is also known as the Chien de Haut-Poitou and the Haut-Poitou.

Poitevin Health Issues

The Poitevin has no breed-specific health problems. However, hounds with pendulous ears are prone to ear infections, so they need to be cleaned regularly.

Large dogs are also susceptible to hip dysplasia. This is a deformity of a dog’s ball-and-socket joints. It can lead to lameness, arthritis, and eventual loss of function.

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 Poitevin 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 Poitevin

Poitevin Grooming

The Poitevin is a fairly low-maintenance breed. His coat is short, so it needs only light brushing to remove dead hair.

If he hunts, you should rub him down after a day in the fields. This will remove any foreign bodies he may have picked up in his coat. You will also want to check his feet and toes for brambles or thorns.

He also needs his ears cleaned regularly. And like all dogs, he needs his teeth brushed routinely.

Poitevin Diet

This breed has no specific dietary needs. As a hunting dog, he may do best on a formula for active or working dogs. You will need to watch his weight, though, if you choose this route, to be sure he’s not eating too much.

Poitevin Exercise

The Poitevin’s high energy level is another reason that many of them find themselves in shelters and rescues in France. They need at least 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous exercise a day.

They are tireless hunters with great endurance. Short walks are not enough for the Poitevin. They are not suited for city or apartment life. They need a rural area with room to run.

When he’s not hunting, this guy needs an activity to take its place. He needs both physical exercise and mental stimulation. Hunting trials or nose work would meet both needs.

You would need to keep in mind the Poitevin temperament traits of stubbornness and independence. But training activities involving hunting behaviors may be less challenging than obedience.

If there is a runner in the family, a good long daily run might give him the exercise he needs.

He would enjoy long hikes as well. However, you wouldn’t want to do this off-leash. He would be hard to keep by your side when he caught an interesting smell.

With his very high need to be active, the Poitevin can become restless and bored. If he does, you will be dealing with some unwanted Poitevin behaviors.

He is likely to bark excessively, to chew, or to otherwise be destructive.

Exercise is also crucial to the training of this breed. Keep his mind and body occupied, and you are likely to have a more cooperative dog.

Read our article on how exercise helps dogs with behavioral problems.

Finding a Poitevin

Buying a Poitevin from a Breeder

If you are looking for a Poitevin for sale, keep in mind that it’s a very rare dog. At the time of this writing, we are unable to find any breeders in the USA or Canada.

As the Poitevin is beginning to be known outside of France, it’s likely that they will be easier to find in time.

For now, another possible way to find a breeder of Poitevin puppies is to search online for Poitevin user groups and forums. These groups exist for nearly all breeds. Facebook is a good place to start, but also try searching for “online Poitevin forums” on Google.

YouTube is also another possible place to find a Poitevin breeder. Many dog owners and breeders post videos of their dogs. Some will publish contact information. You may be able to connect with someone who can help you find a Poitevin puppy.

As a last resort, you may want to look to Europe. The best information we could find on Poitevin price is an estimate of $800, which is low for a purebred pup.

Even with the cost of shipping, importing one could be more affordable than the cost of many breeds.

You could try eurobreeder.com. They do include the Poitevin in their breed list, though they have no entries at the time of this writing.

Vet Your Breeder

If you are able to find a breeder online, proceed with caution. You will want trustworthy recommendations. Your online forum research may be a good place to start.

There are also some questions you should ask a breeder before arranging a sale.

  • Will they allow a site visit? If at all possible, you should arrange to pick up your puppy yourself. But even if you can’t, ask the breeder this question. If they say no, look for another breeder.
  • Will you be able to see the parents (or at least the mother)? An ethical breeder will be happy to arrange this.
  • What can they tell you about the health of the parents? A reputable breeder will be able to tell you about any health issues back one or more generations.
  • What health guarantee are they offering? A responsible breeder will give you a guarantee of health.
  • Do they have any questions for you? An ethical breeder will want to know that their puppy is going to a home that’s a good fit.

If anything about how the breeder answers these questions bothers you, don’t do it. You may be attempting to purchase a dog from a puppy mill or backyard breeder.

Poitevin Rescue/Adoption

If you would prefer to find a Poitevin for adoption, you may have an even tougher time finding one in North America. You’re not likely to find one at your local shelter.

However, as mentioned earlier, research indicates that the Poitevin is frequently given up for adoption in France. Again, we were not able to find any direct sources for Poitevin rescue or adoption, but the above hints for finding a breeder may also work here.

If you or someone you know speaks French or another European language, an Internet search may turn up Poitevin rescues in Europe.

Is the Poitevin the Right Breed for You?

The Poitevin is not an easy breed to add to a family. While he has a gentle and loyal disposition to the few humans he lets into his inner circle, he is a training challenge.

So consider carefully. This dog is often given up on by those who can’t handle the job. If you’re looking for a family dog, there are many breeds that would make a better choice.

But if you are an active, experienced dog trainer looking for a loyal and dedicated hunting or adventure partner, the Poitevin temperament could be right for you.