Large Gascon Saintongeois, Virelade Hound
The Grand Gascon-Saintongeois is a scenthound that was developed to hunt for deer and boar, primarily in packs. The ‘Grand’ in their name is not a reference to their size, but rather to the fact that they hunt large prey. In more modern times, due to the loss of larger game they have also been used on fox and hare. Today they are an extremely rare breed, kept almost exclusively by hunters. A smaller version also exists, the Petit Gascon-Saintongeois.
History of the Grand Gascon-Saintongeois
Developed in the 1840s, the Grand Gascon-Saintongeois hails from the southwest region of France. They were created by the Baron Joseph de Carayon-laTour of the Chateau Virelade, who had obtained the last few Saintongeois Hounds that survived the French Revolution. He crossed them with the Griffon Bleu de Gascognes and renamed the offspring. The breed was a success and later led to the development of the slightly smaller version in the 20th century.