The Ariegeois is a relatively modern breed that was developed in the Ariege region of the French Pyrenees in the late 19th and early 20th century. This breed was initially developed for hunting, specifically for chasing hares and other small game, as well as tracking scents over long distances. The Ariegeois was created by crossing the Grand Bleu de Gascogne with the local Briquet and some smaller Pyrenean hounds. The breed was officially recognized by the French Kennel Club in 1907. Despite their long history, these dogs are not widely recognized outside of their native region.
Currently, there are no known genetic conditions tightly associated with the Ariegeois. They may be more prone to ear infections, so regular wellness visits to the veterinarian and cleaning of their ears can help prevent infections. As for all breeds, genetic screening is recommended to assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.
Ariegeois dogs are known for their gentle, friendly, and sociable nature. They are usually good with children and get along well with other dogs, especially if they are socialized properly from a young age. As a scent hound, the Ariegeois has a strong prey drive and may chase smaller animals, so care should be taken when they are off-leash. They require regular exercise due to their high energy levels and to keep them mentally stimulated. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them relatively easy to train, but their independent nature may sometimes require patience.
The Ariegeois dog breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) on January 1, 1993.
They are considered the smallest and most finely-built of what are collectively known as the "Blue mottled breeds of the Midi", which includes the Grand Bleu de Gascogne, Grand Gascon-Saintongeois, and the Ariegeois.