The versatile Billy Dog temperament makes this breed a superb hunter and a loyal companion dog.
Also known as the Chien de France-Comte, the Billy Dog breed is an old scent hunting breed that originated in France.
These majestic hounds are tall and elegant. Their most distinctive feature is their striking white or off-white coat.
Billys are excellent hunting dogs, but they also make good pets in the right type of home.
The Billy Dog temperament is generally friendly, easy-going and gentle. They do well with children, especially when socialized properly.
However, the Billy Dog temperament is not for everyone. It is important to do your research before bringing home any new pet, especially an active dog like a Billy Dog!
Billy Dog Temperament: 5 Billy Dog Traits You Need To Know
In this section, we will explore some common components of the Billy Dog temperament.
Of course, it is important to keep in mind that not all Billy Dogs are exactly alike.
Therefore you may notice some variability between individual dogs within the breed.
1. An Accomplished Hunter
The hard-working Billy Dog temperament makes this breed a formidable hunter.
The Billy Dog was bred to hunt Roe Deer and Wild Boar in the dense forests of Europe.
Billys hunt by scent and they usually hunt in packs of multiple dogs.
Many Billy Dogs are still used for hunting purposes today.
If you do not plan to hunt with your Billy Dog, you will need to channel his energy into another activity.
Because of their keen sense of smell, Billy Dogs are easily distracted when they catch the scent of something interesting.
For this reason, it is crucial to always keep your Billy Dog on a leash unless you are in a very secure fenced area.
Even a well trained Billy Dog might take off after an especially interesting smell.
This can be extremely dangerous if your dog wanders too far from home or crosses a busy highway.
Make sure your Billy Dog is microchipped and always wearing identification just in case they happen to get away from you.
2. Active and Outdoorsy
The energetic Billy Dog temperament makes this breed an avid hunter and an active pet.
If your Billy Dog is not going to be involved in hunting, another form of outdoor activity is crucial.
Without proper exercise, your Billy Dog may become bored and destructive.
Billy Dog exercise can take the form of hiking, jogging, biking, or a canine sport such as nosework.
A young Billy Dog needs at least an hour of vigorous activity every day. They also need daily mental enrichment.
If you are not able to provide this much attention, you may want to consider hiring a dog walker or bringing your dog to a doggie daycare during the day.
You might also want to think about adopting an older Billy Dog rather than buying a puppy.
3. Can Be Vocal
Like most hunting hounds, the Billy Dog was bred to bark when it is on the trail of a game animal.
This type of barking is called “baying,” and it sounds like a cross between a bark and howl.
True hound-lovers actually enjoy the sound of baying. Some people say it has a musical sound.
However, if you are not a fan of barking, a Billy Dog might not be the right choice for you.
4. Not for the Apartment Dweller
Due to the vocal Billy Dog temperament, this breed is not well suited to apartment living.
The Billy Dog does not do well in small, confined spaces. These dogs thrive in rural environments where they have plenty of room to run and bay to their heart’s content.
A large house and a large, fenced property is the ideal environment for a Billy Dog.
5. Friendly with Children
The tolerant Billy Dog temperament tends to make this breed a good companion for children.
This is especially true when your dog is socialized with children from a young age.
Like all dogs, the Billy Dog should always be supervised when interacting with children.
It is equally important to teach the children in the household to be gentle and respectful with the family pet.
When properly socialized and supervised, the Billy Dog has a reputation for being very friendly and loving with kids.
Billy Dog History
The Billy Dog descends from an ancient French breed called The King’s White Dog, or the Chien Blanc du Roy.
The King’s White Dogs were pack hounds that were bred and raised exclusively by royalty.
Over time, the King’s White Dogs were crossed with other breeds to create the lineages for many of hunting hounds that we know today.
The Billy Dog emerged in Western France in the 1800s. The Billy Dog got its name because the creator of the breed was Gaston Hublot du Rivault of the Chateau du Billy.
The breed was on the brink of extinction after the two world wars, but it made a comeback.
The Billy Dog was recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1973 and by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1996.
The breed is extremely uncommon outside of France and it is still not recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Billy Dog Size and Appearance
The official breed standard describes the Billy Dog as, “a large, well-constructed hound, strong yet light.”
The typical Billy Dog weight is between 52 lbs and 70 lbs.
The average Billy Dog height is between 23 and 28 inches at the withers.
Billy Dog colors are either pure white or off white, with or without orange or lemon patches. Black or red hairs are disqualifications.
Their tails are long and their ears are floppy.
Their coats are short and harsh to the touch.
Billy Dog Training
The Billy Dog temperament is sometimes described as stubborn. Therefore these dogs can be challenging to train.
It is vital to have patience and a good sense of humor when training a Billy Dog.
If possible, start training early.
If you acquire your Billy as a puppy, sign up for a puppy socialization class. This is a great way for your puppy to learn important canine social skills and also get a head start on obedience training.
If you adopt your Billy as an adult, you can still sign up for an introductory obedience class with a trainer.
Just be sure you find a trainer that uses positive, force-free training methods. Avoid trainers that use harsh punishments or painful training tools such as shock collars and pinch collars.
Instead, find a trainer that uses science-based training techniques. Keep training sessions short and upbeat to keep your Billy engaged. It is also helpful to find a special treat reward that your Billy cannot resist.
Since they are scent hounds, Billy Dogs can get distracted by scents, so some allowances must be made for this natural component of the Billy Dog temperament.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Billy dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
Billy Dog Grooming
The Billy Dog is an easy, low-maintenance dog when it comes to grooming.
The Billy Dog coat is short and easy to maintain.
You should brush your Billy Dog’s coat about once per week to remove dead hairs. You can bathe your Billy Dog as needed when it gets dirty.
The Billy Dog has long, droopy ears that can collect debris. You should check and clean their ears at least once per week.
As with all dog breeds, you will also need to trim their nails and brush their teeth on a regular basis.
If you are looking for a breed with a low-maintenance coat, the Billy Dog fits that requirement.
However, the Billy Dog is not hypoallergenic. If you are looking for a hypoallergenic pet, check out this article for a list of hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Staying Healthy: Billy Dog Health Issues
In general, the Billy Dog is a healthy and hardy breed.
However, like all dogs, the Billy Dog can be prone to some health conditions. Talk with your vet about this breed before you bring one home. If you work with a breeder, talk with the breeder about the health records of the parents as well as any genetic testing for conditions such as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.
This breed is also known for being prone to ear conditions and being very sensitive to cold conditions (due to lack of a heavy coat).
Like all dogs, your Billy Dog should visit a veterinarian at least once per year for an annual checkup and yearly vaccinations such as Rabies and Distemper.
It is very important to keep your Billy Dog on flea prevention, tick prevention, and heartworm prevention at all times. There are many different brands on the market, so speak with your veterinarian about the right choice for your dog.
Unless you plan to get involved in the competitive dog show world, it is recommended that you get your dog spayed or neutered at the appropriate age. Talk with your vet about scheduling this procedure.
With excellent care and high-quality nutrition, the Billy Dog lifespan is between 10 and 14 years.
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Billy Dog Rescue and Adoption
Once you have decided that the Billy Dog temperament will fit your lifestyle, you have a couple of different options when it comes to adding a Billy Dog to your household.
One possibility is to locate a Billy Dog for adoption.
The Benefits of Adoption
There are many benefits to acquiring a dog through adoption.
Dogs that are up for adoption are usually a little bit older and are often past the destructive puppy stage. This can be a perfect option for people who are not ready to take on the demands of raising and training a puppy.
The adoption fee for rescue dogs is also substantially cheaper than the Billy Dog price when you purchase through a breeder.
Most importantly, you get to give a loving home to a dog that is in need of a family.
How to Find a Billy Dog for Adoption
If you decide that adoption is the best path for you, it is always a good idea to start with a visit to your local animal shelter or humane society.
Even though Billy Dogs are uncommon in American animal shelters, you can still fill out an application in case one becomes available in the future.
The staff may also be able to direct you towards other dogs that have similar physical and behavioral characteristics.
You can also search for available dogs online using Petfinder.com, Adoptapet.com and Getyourpet.com.
Facebook is another great resource for pet adoption. Facebook has a number of hound networking groups where you can see the photos of hundreds of hounds and hound mixes looking for homes on a daily basis.
The hound networking groups even post puppies for adoption on a fairly regular basis.
Billy Dog Adoption Fees
When you adopt from a rescue group or animal shelter, The Billy Dog price will usually be around $100-$200 depending on the organization.
This adoption fee will usually include basic services such as spay/neuter, vaccinations, and a microchip.
Finding a Billy Dog for Sale from a Reputable Breeder
If you choose to purchase a Billy Dog puppy from a breeder, you will need to be willing to invest some time and effort into the search.
Since Billy Dogs are so rare outside of France, there are a limited number of Billy Dog breeders.
It is important to take your time and find a breeder that is committed to the welfare of the Billy Dog breed.
Never purchase Billy Dog puppies over the internet or from a pet store. If you do, you may inadvertently end up with puppies from a puppy mill or an unscrupulous breeder.
Once you have located a possible Billy Dog breeder, always make an appointment to visit the breeder in person. This way, you will be able to ensure that the breeder is humane and the breeding animals are healthy and happy.
Once you find a good breeder, you will still probably have to wait months or even years for a Billy Dog puppy to become available.
Conclusion: Why the Billy Dog?
There are so many reasons to love the Billy Dog temperament.
Billy Dogs are athletic, versatile, energetic and fun.
Just be sure you do your research to make sure that you have the proper lifestyle and environment to provide a Billy Dog with a happy home for its entire life.
Allie has worked in the field of animal welfare for over ten years and as a freelance writer the space for many years. She has had many different kinds of dogs (and cats) throughout her life—all adopted. She currently shares her home with a lovable pit bull mix named Huckleberry.