Official U.K.C. Breed Standard*
© Copyright 1993, United Kennel Club, Inc.
Developed in the French province of Ariege, from a series of matings between the Grand Bleu de Gascogne, Grand Gascon-Saintongeois and local Briquet hounds, the Ariégeois excels in hunting hare in the dry, rocky regions of its homeland. (Note: "Briquet" is often mistakenly translated as "Beagle", but actually does not denote any certain breed. Rather, the term is used to describe medium-sized hounds which are finer-boned, shorter-coupled and more compact than the larger "Grand" breeds.)
The Ariégeois was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1993.
Lighter of frame and finer built than their Grand Bleu de Gascogne and Grand Gascon-Saintongeois forebears, the Ariégeois hounds nevertheless have retained a great amount of the character and quality enjoyed by their parent breeds.
Although the smallest and most finely-built of the "Blue mottled breeds of the Midi" (Grand Bleu de Gascogne, Grand Gascon-Saintongeois and Ariégeois), the Ariégeois is still a hound whose endurance and staying power is highly regarded by French houndsmen, and the breed must therefore immediately impress as a hound of substance. Considering the breed's hunting history, individual hounds should have moderate bone, and ample muscle.
Males are heavier than females. Defects such as bull necks, out at the elbows, loaded shoulders, or a beef steer profile should not be confused with masculinity. Likewise, defects such as a shallow muzzle, poorly-formed chest, extremely narrow pelvic region, and general frailty should not be confused with femininity.
Good speed; a degree of endurance not generally found in hounds of this size. A surprisingly deep, powerful voice, and remarkable scenting ability.
Of even temperament, essentially friendly. Some individuals may be very outgoing, while others are somewhat reserved in nature, but never shy or vicious. As a hunting/working scenthound breed, and being called upon to work in close proximity with other hounds and their handlers, aggression towards other hounds and people is to be considered a fault.
HEAD AND SKULL
The head is long, light and dry (totally free of any wrinkles). The skull is narrow, never wide. The occipital bone well pronounced. The foreface is long and slightly aquiline. The stop is only barely defined. The lips come down only well enough to cover the lower jaw.
Faults: Head too broad or too short. Skull too flat.
A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite.
The nose is black, with well-developed nostrils.
Fault: Pink or spotted nose.
The eyes are a chestnut brown in color and have a sweet, trusting expression. The eyelids are tight, without even a hint of a visible haw.
Fault: Light eyes
The thin ears are set on low and well back, turning well inwards; coming to the end of the nose when held along the jawline.
The long, slightly arched neck is light and fine, without any trace of dewlap.
The somewhat sloping shoulders have ample muscle, but are not loaded; appearing as part of the body.
The forelegs are strong and straight.
Fault: Weak legs.
The chest is well-developed in every sense, being wide, deep and long. It is deeper than it is wide, tending to an oval shape; and descends down nearly to the point of the elbows. The ribs are moderately arched. The level back is short-coupled and well-supported. The well-muscled loins are moderately wide. The flanks are flat, with a slight tuck-up.
Faults: Poorly-developed chest. Excessively receding croup.
The thighs are a little flat, but muscular, with an abundance of propelling power. The broad hocks are only slightly bent.
Fault: Weak legs.
The well-knit feet are of hare-type.
Fault: Splayed feet.
The well-attached tail tapers to a point, and is carried sabre fashion when working.
COAT AND SKIN
The fine coat is close and ample.
Skin pigment is pink under white hairs and black under black hairs. The lips, palate, sex organs and pads of the feet are black. The fine, supple skin is somewhat loose on the body, to allow for freedom of movement, but there are no wrinkles.
The coloring of the Ariégeois is white and black, with the white predominating (virtually identical to that of the Gascon-Saintongeois).
The body is principally white, with or without irregularly marked black body patches. In either case, the body is invariably lightly mottled, as in open-ticked. Some individuals are simply white, with or without the corresponding body patches, and are non-ticked.
The most common, and preferred, color/markings is/are: black head and ears; white muzzle with a white blaze that extends between the eyes to the crown of the head; tan cheeks; tan markings inside the ear, as dots over the eyes, and under the tail (these are the only markings permitted). The upper area of the ear often has a few fawn-colored hairs mixed in with the black, however this should not give the head a tri-colored appearance.
SIZE AND WEIGHT
Height ranges, measured at the point of the withers, are: males, 22 to 24 inches; females, 20 to 22 inches.
Supple and easy
- Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
- Extreme viciousness or shyness.
- Any color other than described.
- Head too rounded.
- Folds of skin anywhere on the head, neck, throat or body.
- Excessive tuck-up (i.e. - herring gutted).
- Poor type. Defined as more than two faults, or more than one fault if accompanied by a point which is clearly not desired by the breed standard. (Example - an Ariégeois which has a broad head, light eyes and splayed feet - or - an Ariégeois with light eyes, a flat skull and a blanket body patch.)
The Bleu de Gascogne Club of America and the United Kennel Club, Inc., are very serious about preserving the Ariégeois breed, and in promoting quality. It is to be understood by the registering body, the United Kennel Club, Inc., its Judges, members of the Bleu de Gascogne Club of America, and breeders/fanciers in general, that disqualification means disqualification not only from being shown, but also from being registered.
This information has been contributed by, and is property of The United Kennel Club, Inc. and is gratefully used here with permission.
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