Dog Breed Info Center(R) DBIC

Chien-gris

Information and Pictures

Side view drawing of a big light gray long, wiry looking dog with a long tail, long legs and ears that hang down to the sides standing up.

The extinct Chien-gris dog breed

Other Names
  • Gris de S.Louis
  • Chien Gris de Saint Louis
  • Gray Dog
  • Gray Dog of Saint Louis
  • Dun Hound
Description

The Chien-gris, also known as the Gray Dog, had mostly gray fur with spots of red, tan, or white along their medium length, wiry coats. Although some say the breed was of medium size, they were known to be large dogs standing between 20–27 inches tall and anywhere between 55–95 pounds. Their legs were thin and tall while their chests were muscular. Compared to other sighthounds, the Chien-gris was more delicately built than others. They were also known for their long snouts with longer hair under their chin, giving the dog a beard or goatee.

Temperament

This breed was known to be very friendly with an affectionate personality. Because they were used as hunting dogs, they were loyal to their owner and followed commands easily. Because this dog is extinct, not much else is known about the temperment of the Chien-gris.

Height, Weight

Height: 20–27 inches (51-68 cm) tall at shoulder

Weight: 55–95 pounds (25-43 kg)

Health Problems

This dog is extinct therefore there are no proven records of their health issues although because they were an active hunting breed, they most likely would have had issues regarding knees, hips, and joint pain.

Living Conditions

Because this dog needed a lot of exercise, the Chien-gris would have prefered a large open space to run. Being a high energy dog, they would not have done well in small spaces such as an apartment with no backyard.

Exercise

This hunting dog would have needed a considerable amount of exercise in order to calm their minds. They would have needed to be outside with a job to perform in order for them not to misbehave because of their energetic personality.

Life Expectancy

About 9-11 years

Litter Size

About 4–6 puppies

Grooming

Their wiry coats needed to be brushed every once in a while and check for burs and thorns after a hunt. They needed a bath only when necessary.

Origin

The Chien-gris, also well known as the Gray Dog is an extinct dog breed that originated from France during the Medieval times and was prefered by King Louis. This dog was used as a scent hound for the king and royal nobility from around 1200–1470 because of its large stature, big ears, and well rounded hunting instincts. There is not much confirmed information on the Chien-gris because the Griffons are a fairly unknown group of dog breeds. The information on how the Chien-gris came to be were all born from speculations, theories, and rumors. Most say that the Chien-gris was bred by the Gaulish tribes who used to rule the land that is now modern day France and Belgium. The dog that they originally used was called the Canis Segusius which was known for their wiry coat and hunting instincts, much like the qualities of the Chien-gris. Their wiry coats were prefered as they acted as an extra layer of protection against the swampy regions of the land while also protecting their skin from animal attacks while hunting. The theory is that the Canis Segusius was the original breed in which all Griffon breeds descended from, including the Chien-gris.

Another theory states that the Spinone Italiano was the original Griffon in which the Chien-gris descended from although there is no historical evidence to support this as others claim that the Spinone Italiano also stemmed from breeding the Canis Segusius. Others say that the Chien-gris came from the Irish wolfhound or Irish Terrier that were imported into France from Britain, but this theory has been debunked because the dogs used in Britain originated from the scent hounds related to the Beagle.

During King Louis reign, hunting became one of the most popular sports in France. Because King Louis was so adamant about the Chien-gris, he helped to make this breed one of the most popular, well known, and respected hunting dogs at the time.

Crossing the Chien-gris with other breeds became very common as Monks at the time in France would gift the King dogs regularly which would then often be bred with the Chien-gris. The dog that the Monks bred between 750–900 A.D. was the Bloodhound which became the Monks prefered dog. Because of this, the Chien-gris was likely bred with the Bloodhound because of similarities that would show in the Chien-gris later in history.

Nobility in France made the Chien-gris immensely popular throughout the country, resulting in a plethora of mixed breeds that were descendants from the Chien-gris including the following:

As time went on, the ruling nobility of France began to prefer slightly different breeds such as the descendants of the Chien-gris. The Chien-gris breed was on a slow decline in popularity, especially towards the end of the 1400’s. Because the Chien-gris was once a famous breed held by the rich families, the poor would slaughter them in anger for eating the food that the humans could have eaten instead.

After the French revolution, the Chien-gris was most likely extinct as no one cared about keeping the breed alive anymore. By the mid 1800’s, the breed was most definitely extinct.

Group

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Recognition
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Side view drawing of a large breed gray dog with a long neck, ears and muzzle sitting down

The extinct Chien-gris dog breed