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French Dog Breeds: 27 Canines From France

Are you looking for a French dog breed? Whether you're searching for one of the best hunting dogs around, or simply to add a French twist to your pack, we have a breed for you. Let's take a closer look at each one.

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Last Updated: January 17, 2023 | 14 min read

Airedale terrier dog holding fresh baguette dressed in french style

When it comes to France, most people think about the tasty cuisine, the romantic city, and the beautiful fashion. But not many people know that France is also famous for its dog breeds. French dog breeds come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are cute and cuddly, and others are hardworking, athletic machines.

Ironically, the official dog of France is the Poodle, but the Poodle isn’t French. Also, the famous French Bulldog isn’t French either. No, they’re originally from Great Britain but became popular in France. You’ve heard of many breeds on this list, but there are probably more that you haven’t.

We list these 27 French Dog Breeds in alphabetical order, making it easier for you if you are looking for a particular breed. But if not, why not take your time and peruse this list of our favorite French breeds? You never know. You might find your next family pooch among them.

Barbet

Dark Barbet Dog on White Background
The Barbet is a rare water-retrieving gun dog described as friendly, intelligent, and sweet-natured.

Like many French breeds, Barbets nearly became extinct after the World Wars because their lands were depleted. But thankfully, breed fanciers saved them. Barbets are an ancient breed and the progenitor of many water retrievers we see today.

Barbets are medium size dogs and weigh between 35 and 65 pounds. Their typically black coat is long, dense, and curly, and they have a distinctive beard that needs regular cleaning. They also have a long sweeping tail that can pack a punch if you’re standing in the way. Their webbed feet come in handy when swimming. This is the canine for you if you’re looking for a wild water swimming companion.

Basset Fauve de Bretagne

Basset Fauve De Bretagne sitting looking up
The Basset Fauve De Bretagne is an even rarer breed than the Barbet.

They are currently in the Foundation Stock Service, which means they’re not yet fully recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Basset Fauves are sometimes called the Fawn-Colored Brittany Basset. They usually weigh between 23 and 39 pounds, making them small considering their power and ability as hunting dogs. Their coat is rough and slightly wavy.

Barbets are intelligent, determined, and courageous, making them fearless hunting dogs. It also means they are adaptable and can take on a variety of terrain and game. They make brilliant family dogs off the field because they’re eager to please their master and cheery canines. However, you need to concentrate on training them from an early age because they’re always getting into mischief.

Basset Hound

Senior Basset Hound eating a bone
The Basset Hound is a classic French pooch that most people know about.

Their iconic long and low body carries a lot of weight, approximately 40 to 65 pounds. But the Basset Hound only measures up to 15 inches from paw to shoulder. They have low-dragging ears, tremendous feet, and bulbous puppy-dog eyes. Bassets are hound dogs with skillful noses, coming second only to the Bloodhound. Bassets also have surprising power, although they are built more for endurance than speed.

Basset Hounds are stubborn, but they’re charming with it. They aren’t overly affectionate or in your face, but they love to cuddle on the sofa with their family. Bassets are super chill canines and incredibly patient. Making them ideal family companions. Bassets are greedy dogs, so you need to pick a high-quality diet that isn’t high in fat.

Beauceron

Beauceron Dog Outdoors
The Beauceron Dog is not completely black but looks that way when there are minimal tan markings.

The Beauceron is Frances’s answer to the German Doberman Pinscher. The Beauceron is one of the giant breeds on this list, measuring between 70 and 110 pounds. They also stand between 24 and 27.5 inches tall. They are handsome, athletic, and versatile canines with longer and thicker coats than Dobermans. The French nickname for Beaucerons is “Bas-Rouge,” which stands for red stockings.

Beaucerons are traditional herding dogs who are highly intelligent too. They need thorough training as a puppy. Otherwise, they become overly dominant. When socialized well, they make brilliant companions and guardians. Their protectiveness makes them fond of children, women, and the vulnerable.

Berger Picard

Berger Picard running in field
Bergers are independent herding dogs, capable of running a herd single-handedly.

The Berger Picard is another rare French breed in the AKC’s herding group, pronounced: “bare-zhay-pee-carr.” They have a shaggy coat, larger-than-life eyebrows, a beard, and a mustache. Their most impressive feature is their erect ears standing four to five inches high. You can spot them a mile away! Their dark brown eyes are enough to melt the hardest of hearts.

They are brilliant at problem-solving too, but this leads to a stubbornness that you need to tame. They need an experienced and athletic owner to get the best from them, and they have boundless energy that needs an outlet. Otherwise, they become destructive dogs.

Bloodhound

Hungry Bloodhound Looking for Food
The Bloodhound has a spectacular nose and is the best scent hound in the game.

They work with police, military, and rescue teams because they are great at finding people. Despite being incredibly active outdoors, once at home, Bloodhounds are more than happy to relax on the sofa for hours. Again, they have a strong will and are stubborn, so they need an owner to match their energy.

Bloodhounds are stocky and powerful-looking dogs weighing up to 110 pounds. They are famed for their long, wrinkly face, long ears, and large loving eyes. Pack dogs prefer the company of humans and other dogs rather than being left alone. Their scenting instinct often leads them into trouble, so you need strength to walk them and a tough leash.

Blue Picardy Spaniel

Black Blue Picardy Spaniel standing in the grass
The Blue Picardy Spaniel is one of the rarest breeds on this list.

The AKC doesn’t recognize this breed. Instead, they are recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), where they are placed into the gun dog group. In France, their name is the Epagneul Bleu de Picardie. This breed combines old French Spaniels, Gorden Setters, and blue Belton English Setters.

The Blue Picardy Spaniel is classified as a separate breed because of their distinctive skin and coat color. Their coat is wavy and super silky. They lie low to the ground but have incredible power for a Spaniel. Like French Spaniels, they’re fantastic pointers and excel in the field. Off the field, they have a sweet and calm disposition.

Braque d’Auvergne

Braque d'Auvergne standing in field of grass
The word “Braque” translates to the verb meaning “to aim or point.”

Many French pointing breeds are named after the province they came from. And this pup is from Auvergne. French hunters developed strong, tireless, and powerful hunting dogs. Even though this is an ancient dog that has been around for centuries, they are still rare and only recognized by the UKC in America.

Braque d’Auvergne has a short black and white coat, usually with a black head, which is typical of other Pointers. They also have the distinctive Pointer personality, tireless when out and about but sweet and docile in the home. That is until the neighbor’s cat appears in their yard, which they’ll soon tell you about. Family life and pointing breeds go hand in hand.

Braque du Bourbonnais

Braque Du Bourbonnais standing proud
The Braque du Bourbonnais, pronounced “brock-do-bor-bon-nay,” is a rare, ancient French pointing breed.

They are from the Bourbonnais province in central France and date back to the 15th century. Even though they are not fully recognized by the AKC yet, breed fanciers are working hard to establish them. Their efforts are working because, some years, there are more Bourbonnais in North America than in France.

The Braque du Bourbonnais has a calm and gentle demeanor in the family home, and they are adorable with children. They weigh between 35 and 53 pounds, making them small pointers. Their distinctive fawn and liver ticking and no tail sets them apart from other breeds.

Braque Francais Pyrenean

Braque Francais Pyrenean standing in snow looking at camera
The Braque Francais Pyrenean were bred to hunt the harsh Pyrenean mountains.

Here we have another Braque breed, from the Pyrenean area, between France and Spain. They are rare and only placed in the foundation stock service. They are medium size dogs weighing in at 40 to 55 pounds. They have a short and sleep coat, sporting chestnut and white and chestnut colors. This pooch requires very little grooming, which is great for busy families.

These pups are sweet and friendly, always willing to please their humans. This is another ancient breed that has played a part in all Pointing breeds today. There are two Braque Francais types, the Pyrenean and the Gascony. This pup is the smaller and more popular of the two types.

Briard

Briard standing in grass with tongue out
The Briard looks similar to the Berger Picard with their long, shaggy gray, tawny, or black locks.

Briards also sport a voluminous beard and matching eyebrows, and their hair parts in the middle showing off their eyes. Briards are handsome creatures, happy to show off their good looks. They are from the dairy-producing region of Brie in northern France. And just like the famous cheese, they’re tough on the outside and gooey in the middle.

The Briard is a “heart wrapped in fur.” But when it comes to strangers or anyone threatening their family, they are wary. Briards are exceptionally protective of kiddos in their family, meaning you don’t have to worry about them. They are intelligent, and just two Briards can herd up to 700 sheep. Their love of life and hardworking nature make them intense canines, and not everyone can match their needs.

Brittany

Orange and White Dog Standing Outdoors
The Brittany dog originated in the town of Brittany, France.

The Brittany is a stunning, stylish, but powerfully energetic gundog. You wouldn’t necessarily know it because they are so pretty. They are among the most popular dog breeds on this list because of their friendly and sweet nature at home. Plus, they are so versatile on the field and in training that they excel at just about anything you challenge them to. Brittanys need an active family, and they are super quick, so be sure to keep them on a leash.

While this dog is often referred to as a Brittany Spaniel, it is not actually a Spaniel at all! Brittanys are taller than Spaniels but smaller than Setters and weigh between 30 and 40 pounds. They sport a wide range of colors in bold patterns, but usually a combination of orange, liver, and white. Hundreds of Brittany have won the AKC’s elusive Dual Champion title. Meaning they excel in the field and the show ring. Get ready for lots of attention with a Brittany on your arm.

Chien Francais Blanc et Noir

Two Chien Francais Blanc Et Noir touching snouts close up shot
Translating to the “Black and White French Dog,” this pup is precisely that.

Their black and white coat sometimes has tan markings, similar to the traditional colors of other scent dogs. Their coat is short and harsh in texture, lending it to minimal grooming. They are tall, measuring between 24 and 28 inches, and very leggy. And they weigh between 50 and 80 pounds.

This pup is hardworking and built to hunt big game in large packs. This means they’re happiest when with someone, whether a human or another dog. When not in hunt mode, they love to snuggle with their family and are docile in the home. Their sweet, prominent eyes are reminiscent of the Basset Hound, which are hard to resist.

Corsican Dog

Corsican Dog on leash sitting in grass
Outside of France, the Corsican Dog is relatively unknown.

They are also called the Cursinu and are recognized by the Société Centrale Canine, a French Kennel Club. This dog comes from Corsica, one of two large islands between France and Italy. The breed has existed since the 16th century but dramatically declined during the World Wars. Thankfully, fanciers saved the breed from extinction.

The Corsican Dog is a medium to large-sized dog that measures between 18 and 23 inches. Their coat is usually brindle, brown, or black with some tufting. Cursinu are versatile working dogs for herding, hunting (mainly wild boar), and family protection. They explode into action when required but, thankfully, chill in the family home. Cursinus are hugely wary of strangers but sensitive with their families.

Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue De Bordeaux trotting in sand at the ocean
The Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the most recognizable on this list and the heaviest too.

Females typically weigh a minimum of 100 pounds, and males are even larger. Named the Mastiff of France, the Dogue de Bordeaux has been around longer than France. Their short coat is always a rich shade of fawn, wrinkled like a Bulldog. According to the AKC, they have the largest head in the canine kingdom.

Dogue de Bordeaux are typical guardians. They look the part, and they act the part. They are incredibly courageous in the face of danger and would do anything to protect their loved ones. This protective nature needs handling with care, so training is critical. Owners need to be strong-willed and experienced. When trained well, these dogs make great siblings for children. This pup is excellent if you’re looking for a gentle French giant.

French Spaniel

French Spaniel trotting through the grass
The French Spaniel is a rare canine in the foundation stock service group

This breed has yet to be fully recognized by the AKC. Like all Spaniels, they are friendly companions with a love for hunting and retrieving. They are eager to please their master, making them easier to train than many French breeds on this list. French Spaniels are happy-go-lucky and gentle dogs who make great family companions.

French Spaniels point hard, and they excel in working trials. They need an outlet to burn their energy if you want a well-mannered family pooch. French Spaniels are medium size dogs who weigh between 50 and 60 pounds, making them one of the largest Spaniel breeds. Although they’re rugged and muscular, their long, wavy hair gives them a softer appearance than many other breeds on this list.

Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen

Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen sitting on a background
There are two types of Basset Griffon Vendeen, and this is the larger version.

It is pronounced “grand-bah-say-gree-fohn-von-day-uhn,” which roughly translates to the shaggy dog of Vendeen. They are a French scenthound with two different personalities. On the field, their energy is boundless, but they are sweet and docile at home. Under all that fur is a powerfully nimble dog.

The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen weighs between 40 and 45 pounds and measures up to 18 inches. Like many French breeds, they have a mustache, beard, and eyebrows to match their coat. Despite this handsome and worldly look, they have sweet eyes to die for.

Grand Bleu de Gascogne

Grand Bleu De Gascogne sitting in the grass
The Grand Bleu de Gascogne is one of the largest French scenthounds with a long head and legs.

This breed has a distinctive mottled blue color, which is why they are called the Grand Bleu (aka Great Gascony Blue). Their expression is sad, but this earns them lots of cuddles. Great Gascony Blues are sweet family additions for active people. These guys become destructive and troublesome without several hours of exercise a day.

The Great Gascony Blue was originally used for hunting wolves, demonstrating their power and expertise. Nowadays, they’re used to hunting hares but still retain their brilliant sense of smell and drive. They are one of the oldest French breeds and walk around with an air of aristocracy.

Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees Dog Outdoors
Nearly on par with the Dogue de Bordeaux, the Great Pyrenees is a giant dog.

Weighing a minimum of 85 pounds and up, these dogs do best in larger homes with plenty of room to maneuver. Although the Great Pyrenees tend to be a little lighter than Dogues, they often look more substantial because of their thick white coat. So, if you’re after a big, hairy French pup, this is a great choice.

The Great Pyrenees protect flocks in the Pyrenees mountains from ferocious predators. They are independent and can look after herds for months without human input. And they jump into action when needed. Pyrenees make lovely family dogs whose protectiveness is unparalleled. As independent and mellow dogs, they’re happy to chill on their own for a few hours, making them less needy than many other dog breeds.

Griffon Fauve de Bretagne

Griffon Fauve De Bretagne standing in the grass smiling
Griffon Fauve De Bretagne are strongly built and athletic, covered in a rough and short-ish coat.

The Griffon Fauve De Bretagne looks a little like a Goldendoodle, but they are much rarer. They originated from 14th-century France and were traditionally used for hunting wolves. When the Wolf population declined, so did the Griffon Fauve de Bretagne. Once again, breed fanciers stepped in and prevented their decline. As you might expect, they are brave hunters with a loud and frequently used voice.

They sport a red to golden-colored coat that is slightly wavy. Measuring between 19 and 22 inches, Griffs are medium-sized dogs in need of an athletic family to keep up with their energy.

Griffon Nivernais

Griffon Nivernais in a pack sitting in the grass
The Griffon Nivernais was a favorite of the French aristocracy.

However, this breed disappeared after the French Revolution. Aristocracy initially used them for hunting wild boar and wolves. In 1925 fanciers reconstructed the breed based on the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, which looks very similar and Foxhounds. So this is an old breed with a new twist.

The Griffon Nivernais has a grizzly-colored coat with agouti hairs. Agouti means the hairs are darker at the base than at the tip, giving them a multi-colored appearance. It is shaggy in texture. Their long-drop ears and dark, round eyes give them a sweet appearance. But don’t let this fool you. Griffs are incredibly courageous and stubborn.

Lowchen

Lowchen standing in the grass
The name “Lowchen” is German, but most canine historians believe they originate from France.

“Lowchen” means “Little Lion,” and it’s easy to see why they’re called this. They look like a lion with their full mane and plumed tail and are also lively and brave like a lion. They are depicted in Renaissance art, so we know they haven’t changed much in 500 years.

Lowchens are related to the Bichon Frise and the Maltese. Like these pups, Lowchen are portable, making them easy to travel with. They are also low-shedding and small, only weighing around 15 pounds. They are affectionate and faithful companion dogs. So, if you’re seeking a sweet French lapdog, this could be the one for you.

Papillon

Papillon in a field
Papillons were initially bred as charming companions for the aristocracy and retain this purpose today.

The Papillon is another pooch with an uncertain history, but their links to France suggest they are originally French Fidos. However, they became popular in Spain and Italy, which is why some argue they aren’t a true French breed. “Papillon” is French for “Butterfly,” which describes their trademark ears. Despite their pretty looks, Paps are hardy dogs who can take on any challenge.

Breeders mixed Spaniels with numerous toy breeds, creating this pocket rocket breed. They weigh between 5 and 10 pounds, making them one of the smallest French breeds. Paps might be lapdogs, but they have explosive energy and do best with a relatively active family.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen standing in grass
This pooch is the petite version of the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeens typically weigh between 25 and 40 pounds. The Petit is low-slung and only reaches 13 to 15 inches tall, thanks to their short legs. Their deep chest almost drags along the ground. But that doesn’t stop them from being super quick and agile. Petit Bassets are traditional rabbit hunters.

Their name is a loose translation for a small low shaggy dog of Vendeen on France’s west coast. Their rough tousled coat is a mixture of white, black, gray, lemon, orange, grizzle, and sable. Despite their pretty appearance, they are hardy dogs ready for any challenge. These pups need an active family to keep them entertained.

Porcelaine

Porcelaine dog playing in grass with another white dog laying on ground
Porcelaines are elegant-looking dogs despite their athletic appearance.

The Porcelaine is a medium size dog that weighs between 55 and 62 pounds. They are not fully recognized by the AKC yet as they are in the foundation stock service. These dogs walk around with cat-like grace. White and orange is their only coat color, and they have long drop ears like many other French breeds.

Porcelaines are traditional French gun dogs with lots of energy and are excellent at driving their prey to waiting guns. But they are equally famed for their loving and sweet nature. This is what makes them top candidates for medical therapy and alert dogs. They also love children, so you can’t ask for a better family dog. They house and crate train quickly too.

Pyrenean Sheepdog

Pyrenean Sheepdog face close up outside.
The Pyrenean Sheepdog is also the Chien de Berger des Pyrénées.

They’re small to medium-sized herders from the Pyrenes region weighing 18 and 33 pounds. Making them one of the smallest French herding breeds. They have cheeky smiles and wide hairy ears, adding to their mischievous character.

There are two types of Pyrenean Sheepdog, the smooth-faced and the long-haired. The smooth-faced is rarer and not always recognized by Kennel Clubs. Pyrenean Sheepdogs are incredibly active with boundless energy and are often called “balls of fire.” They are intelligent, independent, and often outsmart their humans, so you need to have your wits about you with this pooch.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Outdoors
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is an excellent hunting dog and family companion with a wiry, spotted coat.

Last but certainly not least is the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. They are becoming more popular in America over recent years and are often called the “supreme gundog.” There is some debate about whether this dog is French or Dutch. But many agree they’re probably French due to their links with the country. Griffs are athletic hunting machines with a constant eagerness to impress.

They are sweet and loving at home, always happy to oblige you with a snuggle on the sofa. Griffs are medium to large size dogs weighing in at 35 to 70 pounds. They have a naturally disheveled but handsome appearance. Their coat is bristly and harsh, designed to keep them warm and dry in extreme hunting conditions. Griffs are trainable and loyal, so as long as you are active, they make a great family addition.

Final Thoughts

Airedale terrier dog holding fresh baguette dressed in french style
Looking for a pooch with a French twist? We hope to have provided some inspiration.

This list of French dog breeds is not exhaustive but contains some of the best-known breeds. It also includes some of the oldest and some up-and-coming breeds too. Many French dog breeds are intense sporting or working breeds, which you will need lots of energy to keep up with. So it’s essential to research them and their needs before inviting them into your home.

A dog eating bread from the hand of owner

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