Monday, 26 January 2015

The French and their dogs

 Posted by Rosie

In January we bought our newest dog, Harry from a refuge nearby.  The owner was quite adamant that she preferred the English as dog owners as opposed to the French.  This got me thinking and unfortunately she may well be right in some cases.

French dogs fall into 3 broad categories:

Hunt Dogs


The French love their hunting.  As well as the big packs of hounds owned by specific hunts you will find many owners of a few of their own hounds, kept in kennels and taken out with a group of fellow huntsmen through the hunting season.  These dogs are not pets – they are kept outside in kennels, are not house trained and are generally a bit wiffy if you pass by their kennels.  They quite often get lost whilst hunting but usually have the phone number of their owner somewhere in their collar so can be reunited.  They are very much working dogs but it makes me chuckle that huntsmen often spend as much time chasing after their lost dogs as the dogs do chasing after their quarry.


The Small Pampered Pooch

 
You know the image: Paris, a chic lady and her small pampered pooch at her side or in her bag.  Small dogs that go everywhere with their owner and are incredibly spoilt (I've seen dogs with their own seats in restaurants).  Every town has their own pooch parlour, in fact Condé has 2, as these dogs exist not just in Paris but throughout France. Don't be put off by the diamanté accessories though, whilst adored by their owner these dogs can be snappy towards strangers.  


The Large Dog


Look around and you'll see plenty of large dogs.  Some will be on chains, others in enclosed gardens but rarely will they be in the house. Outside in all weathers, never walked, sad, bored and either overweight or more often underweight.  They bark at strangers, are not used to other dogs and to be quite frank I don't know why their owners have them.



At the refuge, the lady had a lot of large dogs.  Maybe at some point not long after getting their dog the owners didn't like having this large creature barking in their garden all the time.  Some escape and their owners didn't look too hard for them.  Others are left tied to the refuge fence or in the case of a mid-sized terrier cross we saw when we were there, simply flung over the gate into the refuge.  

I appreciate these are huge generalisations.  I know our lovely neighbour had a large dog who lived in the house with her, had regular walks and when his time came due to an eye tumour she did the kindest thing and had him put down.  Igor was lovely and she was so sad when he died.  But then there are the hunting dogs locally who are exactly as described above and the dog who lives a couple of fields away which, as far as I am aware, has never left the garden.  As for pampered pooches - they are everywhere and if you are thinking about a business to set up in France I reckon you'd not go far wrong with selling canine accessories or running yet another pooch parlour.

So when we rang up the refuge to see about getting a puppy we had seen advertised (he was gone) the owner was over the moon that we were English and might take Harry.  We will never know if we saved him from a life in a garden or on a chain but as I sit here typing he is currently snuggled up on his bed across the room from me, possibly dreaming of the walk he'll get later and I think, without a doubt, a happy dog.

Do you think I have categorised French dogs correctly?  Have I missed any out?


ANIMALTALES
Lou Messugo


23 comments :

  1. It is sad that dogs are at the mercy of their owners. Harry is so lucky to be a part of your family. I wish I could rescue them all.

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    1. It was sad to see so many big dogs in the Rescue. Hopefully Harry appreciates his new life here although in fairness I think his previous owner was kind to him and he is well trained.

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  2. One thing that always strikes me when I visit France is that dogs seem to always be welcome in restaurants. It gave me the impression that dogs are very much part of families and it's sad to read that so many in fact are rather neglected.

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    1. Certainly dogs are welcome and as Phoebe below says, a lot of dogs are well cared for ... it's just sad that others are left chained up or outside. But then I suppose there are bad dog owners the world over.

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  3. In response to Kriss, dogs are very much part of families in France. I think perhaps the outdoor dogs you see are definitely a catagory but one that is more obvious than the catagory of indoor well-loved family dogs who get walked and treated well. By the very fact that they are outside barking at the fence they are more obvious than the ones inside. I read somewhere that the French are the biggest pet owners in the world, so there are an awful lot of indoor dogs too. Around where Iive I'm almost the only person who doesn't "dog walk"...I just walk!

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    1. Interestingly Phoebe, round here it is unusual to see large dogs being taken for a walk ... and we walk miles and miles all over the place with ours. You do see small dogs and sometimes families out for a Sunday afternoon amble with their dog but very few otherwise. Maybe it's a north-south variation.

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    2. Maybe it's just that we have better weather so more people walk ? Thanks for linking this to my first linky! It's a good "French" post to include.

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  4. I am so pleased that Harry's story is now a happy one. Our first dog, when I was a child, was a rescue dog. It is awful to think what some of them go through x

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    1. Harry has had 4 homes (as far as we know) in his 2 years. At least he was well cared for at the Refuge and by his previous to us owner ... but his original owner still saw fit to just abandon him at the Refuge :(

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  5. The GL Gang say - We second Kirsty by saying we are so pleased that Harry has found his Forever Family. As you know, Ash is a rescue dog and he is truly the most loyal, patient and loving dog we have ever known. We don't know much about doggies in France so we don't want to say anything but if we could, we'd give a home to every single one. We love doggies - they are AWESOME!!! #animaltales

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    1. It was very sad to have to walk away from the Refuge seeing so many dogs left there. We have rescued 4 dogs over the years and they have all been wonderful ... although not without their faults!

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  6. I thought it was just the English into hunting, so I found this a very interesting and eye-opening read. So happy that Harry is one of your family now :)

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    1. Hunting is different here but very popular - makes dog walking a pain sometimes when they are about and about but the season finishes at the end of Feb.

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  7. ...and aren't all French dogs named Fifi? It sure sounds like it when you are walking in the park!

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    1. LOL - Simon once spent ages calling our dog, Poppy, at which point 2 dogs would turn up. Then both would disappear. Turned out the other dog was also Poppy and was being called by her owner.

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  8. We have hunts around our gites in Brittany and have often heard the dogs but not seen them. It is true that some dogs seem to be left to fend for themselves in France but there are also dogs who are obviously cherished by their families too.

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    1. It's true, Maria - this is very broad generalisation but it is extremely rare to see dogs having long countryside walks here in Normandy.

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  9. I, like you, chuckle when I see the hunt vans driving erratically around the countryside here, as I know they're once again looking for a dog thats done a runner.
    It was a bit of a generalisation but not particularly wrong. When I first met the Laydee of the house she had a dog, a huge great big thing, a rescue hound. (He's still here btw, pacing up and down the kitchen waiting for our morning constitutional as I type this). He'd been taken from the refuge at least three times, on one occasion being returned with a large nick cut from his ear. It was suspected by the refuge workers that it had been done to try and make him more fierce, but it only succeeded in making him even more scared of people than he already was.
    Since the Laydee of the house moved in we have now gathered three dogs, all rescue of all differing sizes, the big brute, a tiny Yorkie and a terribly behaved Cocker, all loved and all walked twice a day every day come rain or shine.

    Chris Brown
    http://nosh216.com

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    1. Rescue dogs all the way here and they get walked every day come rain or shine too. Many thanks for commenting Chris.

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  10. I found this post so interesting! Living in Paris, I see lots of dogs (usually on the smaller side but not always) out with their owners. I've always had the impression that the French adore their dogs - they go everywhere - to stores, to markets, to restaurants. They even can go to work with their owners in some cases. And my biggest issue with all these dogs is that their owners usually don't pick up after their dogs when they walk them. It's sad to see the other side of things, to see that some neglect their dogs. And interesting that the woman working at the refuge commented that she preferred English over French owners! At any rate, glad you rescued Harry and are giving him a loving home!

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    1. Ah yes, dog poo. It's not as bad here as in Paris when we were there, but still drives me mad. I hate picking the stuff up but pick I must. Why the French deem it acceptable to leave it is beyond comprehension?

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  11. I was fascinated by this post - hurrah for Harry joining your family for good! Poor little chap. I was thinking that I didn't remember seeing the third category but suddenly remembered about a couple of gorgeous big dogs that I had met on holidays and of course you are right! Thankfully these were loved and not kept chained up all day.

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    1. Thank you - Harry had been well looked after by at least one of his previous owners so he must be part of a fourth category of large, well cared for dogs ... they are just less visible.

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