The American Blue Gascon Hound Association, Inc is definitely different! The Gascon Hound that we represent is certainly different, just as the hounds men are who follow them. It is with great pride and deliberation that we have chosen a different path, following ancient concepts and principles and reaching for very unique goals. We have protected the rights of our hounds to their individuality by developing a unique and demanding breed standard that our hounds must confirm to. Yes, we are different and we intend to keep it that way.
The ancient Gascon hounds that we love have endured six centuries and we do not intend to stand by while they become extinct due to the fads and trends of the last twenty years.. It is because of our different path and unique goals that we have prepared this material to answer questions and clear any misconceptions. It is our intent to “lay our cards on the table” and to clearly define what the America Blue Gascon Hound association is and just how different we are so you will know up front if this association is for you.
The Gascon concept is not a new idea. It dates back to the year 1370 in the ancient province of Gascony in Southern France. Then and there, Gaston Pheobus de Foix who was perhaps the most remarkable hounds man who ever lived. He first applied the Gascon concept in the development of the Grand Blue do Gascogne. Prior to this three distinct hounds were used in the chase. The “Tufters” or the “Limiers” were the cold trackers which were used to unravel the cold or difficult tracks. Next were the “Chasseurs” or the “Rauches” which were the fast running hounds that brought the game to bay. Finally the fighting and killing dogs.
Gaston Phoebus originated the “Grand Bueu de Gascogne” breed by combining the extreme ability factors of all three types and employing the Gascon concept of extreme ability and physical perfection. From the beginning the Gascon concept has endured for six centuries placing the emphasis on individual performance and extreme ability factors, rather than a on pack performance.
The importation of the Gascon Hounds to America began undoubtedly with the first human migrants. From then until the early 1900’s there were few documented accounts of their perpetuation and history. This is due to the nature of the early American hounds men, mostly back woodsmen, big game hunters and market hunters who had little education and no need to record the exploits of their hounds. Their hounds were merely tools and that they produced was all that really mattered.
Somehow the dominant Gascon type prevailed through this early period, seemingly almost in its pure form right up to the onset of the 1900’s. This may have been due to the rigid culling done by men unable and unwilling to feed poor performing hounds.
The Gascon hound history of the early 1900’s is rich with the names of hounds men like Bill Harshman, Leon Robinson, H.O Smith, Oliver Grant, Lee Bros, Rex Moyle, Bill Green and others. It is because of their efforts and knowledgeable breeding practices that we have been left with the foundation stock for the American Blue Gascon Hound.
During the last 20 years, the fad has been in competition events in which a cold-nosed hound of the Gascon type is at a disadvantage. Therefore a competition type has gained prominence. We have seen the standardization of the Blue and other coon hound breeds. The result of this, the loss of individuality of the blue breed due to the lack of emphasis on the age old true hound characteristics. They were without representation of a tree breed association and even outlawed by the existing Bluetick standards. Their very existence was in jeopardy and no one seemed concerned.
The American Blue Gascon Hound Association has been formed to represent this noble and deserving breed of hound. We have adopted and orphan and it is our intention to ensure its preservation and perception.
The American Blue Gascon Hound is a very distinct and unique type of hound. It is well known for its extreme physical and ability characteristics. It’s great size, heavy head, long ears, thick and powerful torso, and thundering voice. Certainly place it in non-compliance to any existing Bluetick standards. It is the belief of this association that recognition, representation, and registration are highly valued..
We are extremely proud of the A.B.G.H.A. standard. It is exacting, rigid and most demanding of the tree hound standards. We feel that the standard is the blueprint of the breed. And that the breed will be a reflection of the standard, if strictly adhered to. We have assured adherence to the standard by devising a mandatory, personal inspection of each hound registered. Our goal is not to register a large quantity of hounds, but rather to recognize the cream foundation stock. We would like to stress that the A.B.G.H.A standard demands much more than extreme size. A Gascon Hound must have the body of an athlete. They must be strong and powerful. The Gascon Hounds must be a functional hound, that is agile and properly put together, as well as have the stamina necessary for a hard chase. We are not breeding a draft animal nor trying to win a “my dog’s bigger than yours” contest. Neither are we interested in a Bloodhounds type. One of the greatest misconceptions regarding our type of hound is that they are slow and awkward. To the contrary, we demand fast pursuit in the Gascon Hounds. Our standard calls for a well-proportioned hound with a coordinated structure which combines both speed and endurance.
The Association itself is unique. It was formed as a social club and membership in it is far more involved. The Association is a center for the sharing of ideas and knowledge. A form of communication, between fanciers of the Gascon hound. Sure, there’s time for talk of old hunts and long gone hounds but more importantly there is time for members to assist each other in their common goal. The American Blue Gascon Hound Association allows us to put forth a concerted effort in the perpetuation to the Gascon breed.
To qualify a hound for Gascon registry, a member should first contact the secretary of the Association, who will notify the nearest inspector. The inspection involves and evaluation of Gascon traits as well as actual measurements of height, girth, weight and earage. If the hound passes the inspection, photographs from three angles are taken. All the pertinent information as well as any comments are written in an inspection card and sent (along with the photos) to the secretary. A fee of $10.00 is charged for each registered hound. The secretary then issues a Certificate of Registration to the owner and records the hound in the Gascon stud files. These stud files are available to all members to aid them in location and selection of the correct hound qualities essential in planned genetic breeding procedures. Members are urged to report and discrepancies in measurements so that we can constantly monitor the efficiency of the inspections. We feel that one of the greatest deterrents in our breeding programs has been poor communications. This has prompted the availability of the aforementioned information. In addition, the Association aids mutual communication with a news letter which is mailed quarterly to all members. Those newsletters include all pertinent Association business and news items. Also included will be reports on litters, studs, etc. Any member who would like to see every member involved, because the Association as a whole, is interested in each and every Gascon Hound and each and every Gascon breeder.