Artois Hound

FCI standard Nº 28

Mrs. Peggy Davis
Group 6 Scenthounds, and related breeds
Section 1.2 Medium sized scent hounds
With working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Friday 18 October 1963
Publication of the official valid standard
Wednesday 24 July 1996
Last update
Monday 25 November 1996
En français, cette race se dit
Chien d'Artois
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Chien d'Artois
En español, esta raza se dice
Sabueso Artesiano
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Chien d'Artois


The Artois Hound is a Briquet (small type), nowadays especially used in hunting with the gun. He drives the game closer taking advantage of their faults with cleverness, and his speed is average but maintained.
• In the country : Because of his acute sense of smell, he is capable of out manoeuvring the tricks of the hare.
• In the wood : With his incontestable qualities of a hunter, in the sparse and well scattered groups of tall trees, he hunts a deer beautifully in the desired direction.
• In the thicket : his intrepidity and bravery means that he can stir up and even obstinate boar.
• Moreover : He is a hardy animal, endowed with a marvellous tongue in a high pitched voice which can be heard from far away.
Six to eight tricolour matching Artois hounds constitute a small pack susceptible of giving pleasure to a most demanding huntmaster.

Brief historical summary

This breed, formerly named Picard, was much appreciated in ancient hunting at the time of Henri IV and Louis XIII and much sought after. Selincourt already made much of it, wondering and amazed to see these dogs pulling in a hare which had passed by one hour ago in dry weather. Le Couteulx de Canteleu, in Manuel de Vénerie Française (1890), (Manual of French Hunting (1890)), praises also the Artois Hound. He reports that the artesien breed of his time was crossbred and difficult to find pure but, in spite of that, it still remained one of the best breeds for hare hunting. He has taken care, however, of placing representatives of the breed in the big kennel of the Jardin d’Acclimatation, so that it would be know by the general public. At the end of the XIXth century and at the beginning of our century, M. Levoir in Picardy has attempted the re-establishment of the old Artois type without really succeeding. During that period and until the beginning of the First World War, it was another Picard breeder, M. Mallard, who dominated the raising of the breed. But if he produced very pretty dogs, as witnessed by his numerous awards in canine shows, they were not always in the type conformed with the description given by the old authors. After the second World War, it was believed that the Artois Hound was one of the breeds lost for ever. But at the beginning of the 1970s M. Audrechy, of Buigny les Gamaches in the Somme, has fixed as a task to reconstitue the kennel. It is thanks to his efforts and those of Mme Pilat that this breed regains its place amongst the scenthounds.

General appearance

Well constructed dog, muscled and not too long, giving the impression of strength and energy.

Important proportions

Size/Length of body between 10:10 and 10:11
Depth of chest / Size between 1:2
Width of skull/Length of head between 5:9
Length of muzzle/Length of skull between 8:10

Behaviour / temperament

Vigorous and hardy dog, with a very fine nose, assembling well in the pack, balanced and affectionate.


Cranial region

Strong, broad, quite short, rounded and flat at its upper part but with the occipital protuberance only slightly pronounced. 

Facial region

Black, strong, with well opened nostrils.
Straight and, seen in profile, moderately elongated.
The upper lip largely covering the lower lip and must be rather important so as to give a square shape to the extremity of the muzzle, seen in profile.
Jaws and teeth
Scissor bite, the upper incisors covering the lower in a narrow contact and are well set squarely in relation to the jaws.
In relation to the width of the forehead, the eyes are not very close together; they are round, level with the head surface, with a melancholic and soft expression; dark brown in colour. The mucous membranes of the lower lids must not be visible.
Set at eye level, a little thick, broad, round at the tip, almost flat and quite long, reaching the beginning of the nose.


Moderately long, powerful; very little dewlap.


Broad and well supported.
Slightly arched.
The hips give a slight inclination to the croup, which is well muscled.
Broad and long, rather let down so that the sternal line arrives at elbow level.
Ribs well sprung.
Flanks full.


Strong, quite long; there should be some longer and coarser, slightly offstanding hairs (like ears of grain) towards the tip; carried sickle fashion, never falling forward.



The limbs are strong and vertical.
Oblique and muscled.
Set well in the axis of the body.
Slightly oblique.


Seen from behind, the point of the buttock, the middle of the leg, the hock, the metatarsal and the foot are on the same vertical line.
Upper thigh
Let down and well muscled.
Short and strong.
Strong and moderately angulated.


Slightly elongated, strong but sufficiently tight; the pads are black, tough and compact.

Gait and movement

Even and easy.


Quite thick.


Short, thick and quite flat.
Dark fawn tricolour, similar to the coat of the hare or the badger, with mantle or large patches, the head usually fawn, sometimes with black overlay.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Males and females 53 to 58 cm. With a tolerance of 1 cm.
On average 28 to 30 kg.


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

General faults

 Narrow skull, dome shaped.
 Muzzle too pointed.
 Upper lip insufficiently let down and tight.
 Eye slightly light, conjunctiva visible.
 Ears set below eye level, short, not flat enough.
 Neck long reach of neck, light.
 Dorsal region too long, topline soft, hollow.
 Ribs flat.
 Whippety flanks.
 Tail too long, deviated.
 Straight shoulder.
 Out at elbows.
 Straight pastern.
 Flat feet.
 Toes splayed, too long.
 Thighs flat.
 Hocks straight, either cow-hocked or barrel-shaped.
 Colour mottled.
 Timid subject.

Disqualifying faults

 Shy or aggressive subject.
 Lack of type (the dog on the whole not sufficiently resembling his fellow creatures of the same breed).
 Anatomical anomaly.
 Determined hereditary disabling defect.
 Under- or overshot mouth.
 Eye very light.
 Weak limbs.
 Other colour than that of the standard.
 Distinctly mottled.
 Height at the withers other than that of the standard.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.



Detailed history

The Dog of Artois is a direct descendant, of reduced size, of the Saint-Hubert in black dress, which itself would descend directly from the Canis segurius, the Greyhound which used formerly the Gauls to force the game. In his famous book of hunting of the fourteenth century, Gaston Phoebus, Count of Foix, who shared his life between hunting and war expeditions, speaks only of one type of Ardennes dog, which are probably from both the Artesian than the breeds currently classified under the Saint-Hubert standard. But, from the fifteenth century, especially during the Hundred Years War, there is mention of Dogs of Artois: while the King of France Charles VII was forced to withdraw to Bourges, his rival, the King of England Henry VI, made in 1431 a remarkable entry into Paris, accompanied by Dogs of Artois with whom he forced a deer (which the king finally spared after the animal had taken refuge between the legs of his horse).

The hunting treaty of King Charles IX (1550-1574) mentions only four royal breeds: the Saint-Hubert, the Great White Dogs of the King, the Great Fauves of Brittany and the Gray Dogs of Saint-Louis.

The Dogs of Artois do not appear there - probably because they were then used only for the small venery, less worthy of royal blood than hunting deer, deer or wild boar. This, however, did not prevent Henry IV from much appreciating them, especially because they showed themselves admirable hunters. The King of France and Navarre even maintained a pack of 24 Artesians for the hunting of hares, hunting for which he was passionate, unlike some other monarchs.

Then, a year before his assassination, his pack was reinforced by that of small Artois Dogs offered him by Prince Charles Alexandre de Croy; dogs that were highly prized, since the prince made a royal gift. Louis XIII, finally, manifested the same attachment as his father to the Dogs of Artois (we know what passion for hunting lived in it, passion that gave Versailles to France, since the king built there a hunting lodge which was embryo of the future castle).

In the seventeenth century, however, the fate of the artesian race tarnished somewhat. Certainly, Espée de Selincourt, the great huntsman of the Dauphin, still speaks of a breed of great French dogs, very well swallowed, of gray and tawny hairs, which were held by the lords in Picardy, and which hunted both the wolf and the hare; even if they refused to embark on the path; but as of that time, many of them were already bastardized, especially with Beagles from England (Bigles was then written). These crosses would also give birth to Lighters, small-sized common dogs specialized in hare hunting (while the Artemisian Bassets are the probable result of unions between breeds with twisted legs already described in the sixteenth century by Jacques du Fouilloux, in his hunting treaty).

It was in the order of things that the Revolution disturbed the fate of many French crews; some did not recover from it. The blood of the Dogs d'Artois then seemed almost lost, and the name was quickly overused, so much so that under the Empire, whoever raised dogs in the north of France claimed that they were of artesian race. There were even Griffons with this title, while the breed had always been naked.

However, if one believes Pierre Bocquillon, the current director of the Society of vénerie, inhabitants of the districts of Fruges, Fauquembergues, Hucqueliers, Hesdin, Heuchin, Houdain, Lillers managed to save the authentic tradition and continued to raise Artois Dogs of real blood. Among those who then bought their products included the princes of Condé. But, in 1825, the last prince dismounted and gave up his amaranth parade (or yellow Conde) to the Baron de Champchevrier, who decoupled in the deer path with larger dogs. However, during the nineteenth century, some breeders maintained the breed, so that the cynological tradition has today retained their name.

Thus, in Deville-lès-Rouen, Gaston Chamont raised for decades between 15 and 20 dogs a year, with which he took about twenty hares in the season; Gabriel de Saint-Vulfran, at Montfort-sur-Risle, in the Eure, hunted the same animal with 12 Artois, described as "very pretty" by the chronicles of the time; Gabriel Hopsore, in Triqueville, still in the Eure, also had a pack of 16 of these dogs (but, in 1893, he had only 6); in 1889, Menans de Corre put the crew of Traves, Haute-Saone, with 12 lighters of Artois to hunt the hare on foot; we must also report a pack of 10 Dogs of Artois at F. de Thérouanne, in the Somme. The race had even descended to the Gers, to the Comte de La Roque-Ordan, but he preferred to replace it with Gascons-Saintongeois.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Ernest Levoir played a decisive role in the maintenance of the Dog of Artois. Ranger Scardon, who was driving the hare in the Somme, took with him Fernand Canu (with whom he had created the Scardon rally), 20 to 25 hares per season. He had for motto: "Hunting right, Briquet d'Artois. "Lighter is also a term that may seem somewhat pejorative for this breed that held such an important place in the French veneration. Admittedly, they are medium-sized dogs: according to M. de Quandalle, the standard imposed, at the beginning of this century, a size of 18 inches for the lists and 19 for the males (ie 46 and 48 cm, then that, nowadays, a Dog of Artois must measure, according to the standard, from 52 to 58 cm).

In 1914, the Scardon Rally remained alone in maintaining the breed. In 1930, Jean Levoir, son of Ernest Levoir and nephew of Therouanne, rebuilt a pack with the dogs of his father, whose pedigrees dated back to 1850. Their descendants, today, still hunt in the Somme, and the dogs continue to win special prizes and championships. The crew was then put back in the deer's path by the counts G. and Ph. De Hautecloque, who exchanged the pack against Anglo-Saintongeois and Anglo-Poitevins.

In the fifties, Mr. de Kermadec, lieutenant of the Louvre in Brittany, regrouped some of their descendants and formed a pack with which he hunted the hare to hunt, but also the wild boar shooting. His example was followed since, at that time, the Artesian was reborn from the ashes thanks to some passionate breeders. Their work was devoted from 1977 by setting a new standard.

Admittedly, many writers once agreed that the Artesian lighter no longer existed, except in the form of crossing with Norman dogs, which had made him lose much of his finesse in the hunt . But, thanks to the efforts of Henri Lestienne, current president of the Club, of Mrs. Pilat, founder of the pack of Saint-Louis (in Oise), and some other breeders, it became possible to find a dog which owns both the qualities and the type of the ancient Artesians. Thanks to them, "Hunting right, Lighter of Artois" is a motto that covers all its news.

The Dog of Artois is very catchy, but all the subjects do not have the same way to pursue the game. Some huntsmen like the "dog on the side", the one who follows the pack to the right or left, waiting for the hunted animal to make a hook to fly the way.

Others like dogs who, at the back, pull up the pack to take the lead. Sometimes, these maneuvers allow to take faster, but, very often, they lead other dogs in the path of a change: the Artesians, as the Levoir had selected, were reformed as soon as they presented these defects.

Well suited to the plain, the Dog d'Artois has a medium but steady speed; it is an ideal dog to hunt hare because the latter, after having first distanced, is out of breath faster than him and does not delay, exhausted, to be spotted and joined; the Dog of Artois has the reputation, justified, to be one of the finest nose among the current dogs. But it is also a dog very biting, intrepid, who can lead a more prestigious game; deer or wild boar; and track him down with great courage.

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