American Blue Gascon Hound
Weight: 75-105 pounds
Height: 25-30 inches
Coat: Short, thick and dense
Color: Basically white body with tan points and heavy black ticking creating the "blue"; there are allowed natural variations in color including degree of ticking and roaning, amount of solid black spots, absence of tan marks, and sometimes a grizzled appearance.
Other Names: Big 'n Blue
"Those hound aficionados favoring the big, strong-voiced, cold-nosed hound of the old "Gascon" type were forced to keep changing their allegiance. It wasn't the breed so much as the preservation of a type that these hunters wanted.
One of the most successful promoters of this type of hound was Wilson 'Bluetick Bill' Harshman. For 30 years he hunted, bred, wrote about and organized events for these dogs. In the 1930s, Harshman wrote about the English Coonhound in a magazine, and later was the man most responsible for the bluetick faction breaking away. He wrote a book called Big 'N' Blue, a marvelous collection of stories and legends about the Old Line strain. This was how the American Blue Gascon came by its nickname.
In the 1950s, the sport of competitive night hunting was born. This called for the faster, racier, hotter nosed hound without the patience and thoroughness of the old type. Judging was based on the ability to tree the greatest number of racoons in the shortest period of time, not the individual ability of each hound. The Redbone and Walker Hounds proved to be highly competitive in these events, and many Bluetick breeders began streamlining their hounds to cop the prizes as well. Those who loved the old Gascon type became alarmed and, in 1976, created the new American Blue Gascon Hound association.
Ups and downs for the breed followed, but currently there is a strong central organization to sponsor and maintain this type of hound which was never meant to compete with the speed of the streamlined hounds. The Blue Gascons were and still are prized as game-taking hounds; i.e., they are used on real animals in actual hunting situations. Capable of purusing a wide variety of quarry including fox, badger, coyotes, wolverine, and wild boar, the Big 'n Blue dogs are particularly suited to the big-game hunter going for bear, bobcat, jaguar or mountain lion. 'They also make splendid coondogs for the man who hunts for the enjoyment of hearing and seeing good hounds work, or to experience that special bond between a man and his hound.'"
To insure the maintenance of the type, the breed organization requires all dogs to be exaimined for type, even those of registered parents, before permanent registration can be granted. The group has not sought UKC recognition, fearing loss of type if control escapes the breeders' hands.
This is not a hound for everyone, but he is excellent for specialized needs. His extremely large size and loud voice, which can be heard up to five miles, necessitate large spaces and remote areas. He is best suited to adverse terrain and poor hunting conditions, such as dry canyons, swamps and bayous, high altitudes or where game is quite scarce. The person who appreciates an American Blue Gascon is a sports enthusiast to whom the hunt is more important than the kill.
Stories, both modern and long past, show the heart of these hounds--tales of 'Green's Scout,' 'Blue,' and 'Sport.' Scount and Blue were two well-known hounds of the late 1930s and early 1940s. One day they hit a bear track in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and were never seen or heard from again. Sport's spectacular leap of 150 feet from a bluff into water won his owner a field trial in the early 1920s. More recently, 'Sugar Creek Blue Ben' kept a lion treed for three days during sub-zero weather in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana.
It is no wonder that the Blue Gascon is admired for its stamina, perseverance, desire and hunting abilities. These are truly dogs of great heart. They are bold with people they know, aloof with strangers and sometimes protective."
All the information here was acquired/adapted from "The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World" - written by Bonnie Wilcox, DVM and Chris alkowicz.