1) Wolf hunter
The Poitevin was developed in 17th century in present day Poitou province. In the 16th century, this area had a big population of wolves and to hunt these wolves a new breed was developed – the Poitevin. The breed was developed from 12 English Staghounds that were gifted to Dauphin of France. Some of these hounds and their offsprings were gifted to François de Larrye, Marquis of Haut-Poitou, which is considered to be the father of the breed. He crossed them with local french hounds and this crossbreeding resulted in very strong, athletic tricolor hound able to hunt wolves, which is why he kept developing the breed.
2) Almost extinct
French revolution at the end of 18th century brought the Poitevin to the brink of extinction. During the revolution, many members of royalty were jailed or even beheaded. And even the Marquese of Haut-Poitou, the main breeder of Poitevin was beheaded in 1793. His pack was dispersed and the breed dissappeared. Luckily, some people kept their Poitevins. After the revolution in the beginning of the 19th century, two brothers Emile and Arthur who lived in the Poitou province carried on with the breed that survived the revolution and they reestablished the pack. The breed was revived with the help and infusion of English Foxhounds as well. Today, the breed is still considered as rare, but not on the verge of extinction anymore.
3) French Hound
France is a home to many skilled hunting breeds. Most of them share similar appearance characteriscs, such as beautiful tricolor coat, lean but strong body, long floppy ears, well muscled neck, long tail and heavily boned tail. Some of the other, similarly looking French Hounds are, for example, Grand Anglo-Français Tricolore, French Tricolour Hound (Chien Français Tricolore) or Anglo-Français de Petite Vénerie. And the similarities are not coincidental, because all these French Hounds with tricolor coat has a Poitevin as one of its ancestors. So the Poitevin really was very important for development of other French hunting dog breeds.
Today, the Poitevin is not normally used for hunting wolves anymore, but they are still hunting large and strong game, such as deer or wild boar. And they are just excellent for this purpose. They are tireless hunters known for their excellent speed, superb scenting abilities and melodious voice. They are natural born hunters with strong prey drive and chasing instincts. They are pack hunters and they are absolutely loyal to the pack and its owners. Overall, they are superb hunting dogs.
5) Greyhound among French hounds
In the book La Venerie, Mr. Vicomte de Brissac describes Poitevin as a Greyhound among French Hounds and he says, that this breed is able to chase the quarry more than 7 hours. And indeed, the Poitevin is extremely fast, but also endurant dog breed. It is normal for Poitevin packs to reach speed of 35 mph, which is 55 kmh. Poitevins movement is described in their breed standard as very easy, galloping freely, bounding lightly and passing well through the undergrowth, which is just perfect for hunting deer or wild boar.
As you can probably expect from a dog breed with high endurance, these dogs really need a lot of exercise. If they are used for hunting, than, they will burn off their energy on the hunt, but if they are living the life of a companion pet, than you will have to take them on daily longer walks, jogs, hikes, provide them with regular vigorous playtime and fun training sessions. Without it, they would become bored and possibly develop some unwanted behaviour. This is definitely not the best choice for a city dog that will live in apartment. This is highly energetic breed.
The Poitevin has an elegant stature, relatively light build and slender body, but it is very strong and hardy dog breed. The average height is between 24-28 inch, which is 60-72 cm and weight between 20-30 kg, which is 45-67 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
8) Coat and color
The Poitevin has a practical short, dense and glossy coat. The most common coat color is a tri-color with black saddle, but the Poitevin can also be bicolored. Those dogs are white and orange. Wolf-coloured hair are also quite frequent according to the breed standard.
Speaking of coat, lets mention the maintenance and grooming as well, and luckily, it is very simple with this breed. They do shed some deal of fur all year long and you should brush their coat regularly to remove all the dead and loose hair and also to redistribute natural oils all over the coat. No other grooming is required. Just like with any other dog breed, you should also regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
This is usually extremely healthy dog breed with average lifespan around 12 or 13 years. This breed does not suffer much from any serious health issues. Ocassionally they can suffer from hip dysplasia or some eye problems. You should also take extra care about their floppy ears and clean them properly, so they dont develop ear infections. But overall this is truly very healthy dog breed.