Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Porcelaine
Pleple2000 / Wikipedia.org

Developed several hundred years ago within France, the Porcelaine has never been a particularly popular dog. However, with their refined good-looks, sweet personality and superb scenting ability, the reason why they never took off internationally is unclear. A medium-sized dog with glossy white fur, the pleading eyes and hanging ears of the Porcelaine add to its appeal.

Not a good match for everyone, the Porcelaine should be homed in an active household that has plenty of fenced-in space. If kept in a small property and not sufficiently exercised, the Porcelaine is likely to develop unwanted behaviours before too long. A smart dog that is always eager to please, this breed forms strong attachments with its master, to whom they will constantly look for approval.

About & History

The Porcelaine dog is also known as the Chien de Franche-Comté. While some claim the dog has Swiss origins, it is now widely accepted that this is a French hound that was developed during or just before the 1700s. The English Harrier, Mountaimboeuf and Schweizer Laufhund are each thought to have contributed to the breed. The name ‘Porcelaine’ may be a reference to their sleek fur that shines like porcelain.

The Porcelaine has traditionally been used as a hunting dog, using its exemplary sense of smell to hunt down a variety of prey including deer and rabbits. This dog will usually hunt in a pack with little instruction or interference from their master.

As with a large number of local dog breeds, the population size of the Porcelaine was dramatically affected by the French Revolution, and in the following years, the breed had to be recreated. This event led to an increase in their gene pool which has surely improved their overall health and hardiness. Sadly, even today, the Porcelaine remains an incredibly rare dog with only a small number of dogs registered in the UK and USA. Despite this, the breed is recognised both by the AKC (within their Foundation Stock Service) and the UKC. There is also a French ‘Club du Porcelaine’ that works toward safeguarding the breed from extinction.


Porcelaine Large Photo
Pleple2000 / Wikipedia.org

The elegant appearance and delicate features of the Porcelaine dog, as well as their bouncy and jovial gait, lend it a sophisticated charm. They have a slender head with a long muzzle that should not be overly pointed. Their nose must always be black and it is considered a major fault in the show-ring if this is not the case. Their kind eyes are also dark and should not feature prominently in the face. Their characteristic ears are particularly charming, reaching all the way to the end of their muzzle and curling inwards. Their long neck must not be overly thick and is supported by lean shoulders that lead to long forelimbs that end in ‘cat-like’ feet. Their body is well-proportioned with a narrow, deep chest and a straight back. Their tapering tail is of a medium length.

Named for their short, shiny fur, the coat of the Porcelaine should be predominantly white with orange ticking, particularly on the ears. Their light pink skin can be seen through their thin coat and may have dark blotches of pigment.

This dog is medium-sized hound, with males measuring from 22 to 23.5 inches and females standing at between 21.5 and 22.5 inches. Typically, dogs will weigh between 55 and 62 lbs once fully grown.

Character & Temperament

The Porcelaine is primarily a working dog that hunts by scent. Driven by their strong prey drive, they have a natural instinct to seek out smells and track them. As this dog has always worked alongside other canines, they tend to get on well with additional household dogs. The same cannot be said for cats or other small pets that are not readily tolerated.

Despite being bred as a hunting companion, the Porcelaine can do well as a pet. They enjoy human company and show loyalty towards their owners. Happy to show affection, they are rarely timid in the presence of humans. As with many hounds, they have a fun and friendly personality, as well as a melodious bark that is often used in greeting their owner. Luckily, this loud bark is generally reserved for welcomes or during short bursts of excitement, and rarely becomes a behavioral issue.


Easy to handle though with an independent mind, the Porcelaine requires a trainer with some experience and who uses consistent and tailored training methods. Though mainly kept as a hunting dog, this breed is anecdotally easy to house train and is smart enough to be taught basic commands with little fuss.

One of its most attractive qualities, the Porcelaine requires little to no training when it comes to its work. Naturally good at picking up scents, they have no trouble figuring out what to do once they have detected their prey.


Many describe the Porcelaine dog as being ‘remarkably healthy’ and they have been bred to be robust hunters with a sturdy disposition. Most dogs will live to around 12-13 years old. Owners should be aware of the following health conditions:

Hip Dysplasia

It is vital that working dogs have good mobility and healthy joints. A diagnosis of hip dysplasia to a hunter can be devastating, often meaning a shorter career. Affected dogs should also be neutered, as it is well known that hip dysplasia can be passed on genetically. In the initial course of the disease, signs may be subtle, and can include a reluctance to stand or a ‘bunny hop’ when running.

Later on, the effects of the condition become more obvious and affected dogs will have poorly-muscled hind limbs and will struggle to get around. While there is no real cure for this disease, dogs can be managed with a variety of therapies, which may include pain relief and physiotherapy.

Ear Infections

While long and dangling ears on a dog can look extremely attractive, they often result in a tendency towards developing chronic ear infections. A dog with an ear infection will be uncomfortable and will usually be seen to shake their head and scratch their ear along the ground.

A savvy owner may also notice a faint odour and may find that if they look inside the ear, the canal is bright red. Dark brown wax or pus may be seen within the canal. While ear cleaners can help to remove the build-up within the ear, medication will need to be prescribed by a vet to cure the infection.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Their high exercise requirements mean that they should be given the opportunity to run around as much as possible. They love to carry out any form of scent work, though are also happy to ramble alongside their family on a leisurely jog or mountain hike.

Any land on which they roam needs to be securely fenced as the sensitive nose of the Porcelaine will be quick to pick up on nearby prey that may prove too much of a temptation to resist. Ideally, this dog would live in a rural setting where it can patrol its territory for several acres before reaching the perimeter. When it comes to their indoor territory, small homes or apartments are not suggested for this active dog.


The very short coat of the Porcelaine is incredibly low maintenance, needing only an infrequent brush down to remove dead fur and skin. Hound mitts are a particularly good tool for this task. If not walked on roads or pavements, the thick claws of this breed will need to be trimmed every couple of months.

After each hunt or outdoor excursion, a diligent owner will check their dog over, ensuring they have not suffered any lacerations and are not harbouring any brambles, grass awns or ticks. This routine should be started as early as possible in the dog’s life to ensure they readily accept it.

Owners should pay close attention to the ears of their Porcelaine, as they are more prone to infections than breeds of dog with erect ears. As their ears are pendulous they have poor airflow and tend to become overly moist and warm. This environment can lead to a build-up of micro-organisms, resulting in ear infections. Dogs that swim or bathe regularly are at a particularly increased risk.

Famous Porcelaines

A rare breed, there are no celebrity Porcelaine dogs of which to speak.


While the Porcelaine dog was reconstructed from a variety of closely related breeds a few hundred years ago, there are no specific cross-breed Porcelaine dogs that are well-recognised.

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