The province of Franche-Comte is in the east in the French Alps up against the border of Switzerland. The hound from this district is very old, having descended from the Montaimboeufs, that ancient breed that stemmed directly from the Talbots. During his heyday in the 1700s, the Porcelaine or Comptoise was considerably larger than the modern breed. He is probably closely related to the Schweizer Laufhund of Switzerland. At first called by his area of origin, he began to be known locally, and finally universally, by his current descriptive name. During the French Revolution, he actually disappeared but was “reconstructed” in 1845 with the help of Swiss breeders and their Laufhunds.
During the Revolution or before, many of the French nobility fled France, often taking their hounds with them. A good number of this breed found its way to America. For example, a family named Rousseau was granted large tracts of land in the Louisiana Territory by King Louis XIV, and kept many hunting hounds there. Reportedly, just before the American Civil War, there were 250 Porcelaine hounds on the Rousseau plantations in the South. A painting owned by the family, and exhibited in Paris in 1906, shows 31 Porcelaines killing a panther in the Louisiana canebreak. After the Civil War, when the southern plantations were broken up, the descendants of the Rousseau family moved west into Texas. The pack of hounds was scattered as gifts to area ranchers. Although purebred Porcelaine breeding did not survive that move, the blood of these French hounds figured prominently in the creation of many of our native American hound breeds, especially in the southwest.
Bred to hunt hare and roe deer, the breed is energetic, impetuous, and fierce in the hunt, but serene when at home. He is a classic French hound in type with very long ears. The name Porcelaine came from his shining white coat which gives him the look of a porcelain statuette.