Ariegeois Hound, Briquet de Midi
The Ariégeois is a scenthound that originated in the French Department of Ariége. It is sometimes referred to as one of the Briquets, a group of medium-sized hounds used to hunt smaller game in packs. Other Briquets include the Chien d’Artois and Briquet Griffon Vendéen. The way most French hounds hunt is called “Chasse-à-Tir”, they circle the animal and chase it back to the waiting hunter to be killed. The primary prey for the Ariégeois is rabbit and hare, although it can also track deer and wild boar.
History of the Ariégeois
The Ariégeois was developed in southwest France, near the Spanish border in Ariége. Hunters in the region wanted to create their own pure breed Briquet, and it is believed this process began either in the late 1800s or early 1900s. This makes them one of the youngest of the French hounds. Their most likely ancestors include the Grand Bleu de Gascogne and Grand Gascon Saintongeois.
Like many European dogs, the Ariégeois suffered greatly during WWII. However, Ariége was spared some of the worst of the fighting. Although their numbers dropped, other breeds did not have to be added to their bloodline to ensure their survival. It remains rare outside of France but has small followings in parts of Italy and Spain. Most Ariégeois are kept primarily as pack hounds.