Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Unusual Breed: Porcelaine

Two Porcelaine dogs in Poland. This breed is also known as the Chien de France-Comté

The Porcelaine is one of the remarkably numerous French hound breeds. It is classified as being a medium-sized hound breed and is meant to hunt smaller game. I find it intriguing that the FCI standard actually includes a statement that the general appearance of the dog is "very French looking." Other interesting points follow, such as the requirement of a "sweet" expression, the movement being "lively and gay," a descriptor of a tail hair fault being "like ears of grain," and the reference to the characteristics of the ears by using the term "leathers" but never referring to them as ears. Some characteristics of the hound are meant to be quite distinctive, such as a mostly white coat meant to resemble porcelain, thus the origin of the name. The skin is meant to be speckled, and the ears should be ticked. Dogs range in height from twenty-one to twenty-three inches and in weight from fifty-five to sixty-two pounds.

Once a popular pack hunting dog, the breed's popularity dropped after the revolution of 1789. In fact, it is thought that the breed may have even died out in France. Swiss breeders either restored or re-created the breed, using the last of the dogs originally of this type and mixing in other hounds from Switzerland. Today, the breed is not common and it is mostly restricted to the countries of Switzerland and France. The Porcelaine is thought to be a partial ancestor to the American hounds. I wasn't able to find any information on the breed's health beyond a statement on Wikipedia that proclaims that it is prone to "general dog issues." I suspect this means such common conditions as hip dysplasia are seen.

Sources are the Fédération Cynologique Internationale and Dr. Bruce Fogle's The New Encyclopedia of the Dog. Image is from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.

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