Chien Français Tricolore

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Chien Français Tricolore
Desaix83 /

A white, black and tan hound, the Chien Français Tricolore is a large dog with a powerful body and keen sense of smell. Their dark brown eyes and endearing jowls, as well as their pendulous hound ears, all add to their undeniable charm. Not kept as a companion animal, they are used as hunting dogs within their native France.

With a real ‘pack mentality’ and very high exercise demands, it would not be sensible to attempt to house this dog alone in a small home. Without the company of other dogs, they tend to become depressed. While breed members are laid-back enough to be able to come into the home during the evening, it is widely accepted that they should be allowed to work when possible.

About & History

The Chien Français Tricolore is one of three French hounds grouped together under the title ‘Chien Français’ and used to hunt in packs. The other two breeds, the Chien Français Blanc et Orange and the Chien Français Blanc et Noir share many similarities, despite their differences in coat colour.

Descended from a number of French scent hounds (some of which are now extinct) sometime in the early 1900s, the exact origins of the Chien Français Tricolore are unknown. Many speculate, however, that the main contributing breeds were the Poitevin, Grand-Anglo Français Tricolore and the Billy dog.

Traditionally bred to be a hunting dog, the Chien Français Tricolore continues to carry out this duty today. Though versatile, they are mostly used to hunt boar and deer. It is practically unheard of for a Chien Français Tricolore to be kept exclusively as a companion animal.

It took until the year 1957 for this breed to become officially accepted by the FCI. Recognised by the UKC within their scent hound group in 1996, the Chien Français Tricolore is an incredibly rare dog today and is practically unknown anywhere except France.


Chien Français Tricolore Large Photo
Abujoy /

This large hound maintains its elegance despite its muscularity, thanks to its lean features and slim head. They have a domed skull and a long muzzle, with pendulous upper lips. Their nose must be completely black, while their eyes are a dark brown colour and give the dog a sincere expression. Their pendulous ears curl inwards and are long enough to reach their nose.

Their neck is long and thick with a subtle dewlap of skin. Their rectangular body is composed of a moderate tuck-up at the abdomen, a level back and a deep and wide chest. Their lean limbs are straight and allow for a quick and light step. Their long, thin tail is carried proudly when active.

The smooth, short coat of the Chien Français Tricolore is not too dense and must be white and bright tan with a black mantle. Male dogs reach heights of 62cm to 71cm, while the slightly more petite female will measure from 60cm to 67cm. Most individuals will weigh from 22kg to 36kg.

Character & Temperament

With little information regarding the temperament of the Chien Français Tricolore, other than those characteristics associated with its hunting attributes, it is somewhat difficult to describe their overall qualities without focusing on their working ability. When on the hunt, they are known to be fast and effective. Their levels of endurance are impressive and they will tenaciously pursue their prey.

As this breed has always been worked in a pack, they do best when in the company of other canines and can actually develop separation anxiety if kept alone. Their tolerance of dogs means that they will gladly be housed alongside other canine pets, though their natural hunting instincts ensure that they would not tolerate any other animal. When it comes to people, they are usually somewhat wary and reserved, though can anecdotally tolerate children well.

Thorough socialisation is important early on in their life and they should be exposed to as many people and places as possible to increase the likelihood of acceptance and reduce any potential fear.

It is well known that the Chien Français Tricolore can be extremely vocal. They possess a variety of barks and bays in their ‘doggy vocabulary’ and will vocalise when working, playing and even in the home. While this trait can be an advantage when hunting or acting as a watch dog, it can quickly turn in to a nuisance behavior in a pet dog.


With a stubborn nature, attempting to train a Chien Français Tricolore can pose a real challenge. They find it impossible to ignore their natural instincts and it would be inadvisable to attempt to train these out of them. While an intelligent dog, an owner should not expect this breed to shine brightly in any activity other than scent-based and hunting work, areas in which they were born to excel. Indeed, their nose can often act as a distraction when attempting to perform other work, such as obedience.

While lead-training is essential, this is a dog that is used to being allowed to roam off lead for long distances alongside their pack. They would resent being kept confined or on a lead at all times. Owners, however, must be aware that once they catch a scent, there is nothing that will get in the way of the chase.


With very limited information available, it is difficult to make any firm statement on the health of the Chien Français Tricolore. Being a working dog, it is probable that only the hardiest dogs would have been bred from over the years, and, anecdotally, this is a strong and fit breed. There are a couple of potential health conditions to be mindful of:

Hip Dysplasia

A debilitating disorder of the hip joint, dogs that have hip dysplasia can find it difficult to function normally and may walk with a limp or a stiff gait. Typically, this progressive disease becomes most significant in the second half of a dog’s life, particularly once they develop arthritis of the hip joints.

While medication and lifestyle changes can improve a dog’s life, this is a disease whose incidence could be greatly reduced with sensible breeding programmes that exclude the breeding of affected animals.

Ear Infections

Dirt and moisture tend to become trapped in the large, hanging ears of the Chien Français Tricolore. Infected ears become red and sore and can cause a dog a great deal of discomfort. Ears should be kept as clean as possible at all times to help prevent infections from setting in.

Hunting injuries

Those dogs that actively hunt are at increased risk of injury compared to pet dogs that spend the majority of their time within the home. Whether they stand on a jagged stone or get caught by a tree branch, lacerations to the skin and paw pads are relatively common.

Similarly, penetrating foreign bodies, such as grass awns between their toes or pebbles in their pads, are not unheard of. While these events cannot be avoided, owners can ensure they thoroughly check their dog over after every excursion and provide them with medical attention as soon as they become hurt.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Since the breed was developed, they have been used to work at a high pace for hours on end. They are incredibly active dogs that can run at speed over long distances and would not be content with a 20 or 30-minute walk. In ideal circumstances, this breed would be provided with the opportunity to hunt when possible and, during the off season, would be allowed to hike and run for hours on end off lead. They should have access to rural areas and are not suited to life in the city.

If the exercise demands of the Chien Français Tricolore are not sufficiently met, they will look to other avenues to burn off their energy. Barking non-stop, digging tunnels and tail-chasing are all bad habits that may ensue.


Brushing this dog’s coat on a weekly basis will spread the natural oils evenly and keep its fur looking glossy. This dog is known to shed in moderate amounts and is not suitable for an owner with dog allergies.

Famous Chiens Français Tricolore

A rare breed indeed, there are no known celebrity Chien Français Tricolore dogs.


Still trying to make a name for itself, there are no well-established cross-breeds that include the Chien Français Tricolore.

User comments

There are no user comments for this listing.