By crossing the Larye, Ceris and Montaimboeuf, three now-extinct bird dogs of the lighter mastiff type from Poitou, with the Poitevin and possibly some other established French hunting breeds, the hunting enthusiast named Gaston Hublot du Rivault created this fast and driven hound in the 17th century, with the intention of establishing a versatile hunter, fast enough to go after deer, but also courageous and strong enough to hunt wild boars. Some sources suggest that an imported English Foxhound was also used in the Billy's creation, but there isn't enough evidence to substantiate this theory. Rivault named his creation after his Poitou residence, the Chateau de Billy, where his elaborate breeding programme took place. Moderately popular in France for a few centuries, the Billy Hound almost became extinct during the 2nd World War, but a dedicated revival programme ensured the breed's survival. Very rare today and relatively unknown outside its homeland, this is a loud and brave pack hunter.
The Billy is a lean, strong-boned, intelligent and agile hound, capable of great speeds and prized for its trainability. Loyal and gentle with children, it makes an agreable family companion. However, its somewhat unfriendly attitude towards other dogs, as well as the breed's need for plentiful excercise, make the Billy best suited for rural environments and working homes.
The coat is short, smooth and flat, always white in colour, with or without yellow or orange markings. Average height is around 25 inches.