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15 French Dog Breeds (with Pictures)
Bonjour les amoureux des chiens! Hello dog lovers! Don’t worry—you won’t actually need to read French to fall in love with this list of top French dog breeds. France has given the world life-changing inventions and cuisine, but we can’t contain our excitement for the dog breeds that have taken the pet world by storm. While the French Bulldog might be the first dog that comes to mind, there are dozens more that are equally as loveable.
Some of the oldest and finest dog breeds in the world come from the beautiful country of France. European royalty and American presidents have kept these loveable companions by their sides for decades, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t consider giving one a good home either. Scroll through this list of the most popular French dog breeds, and you might soon discover your new pet obsession.
1. Dogue de Bourdeaux
|Temperament||Even-tempered, courageous, sensitive|
This French mastiff breed is a giant with a soft heart. They have short, fawn-colored coats and bulldog-like jaws. Although they’re intimidatingly large, the Dogue de Bourdeaux are incredibly loyal and sweet. They are known for being stubborn as puppies but respond well to those who remain dedicated to training. Some of them are prone to being overweight, so keep an eye on their calories and refrain from human food scraps.
2. Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
This dog’s name seems lengthy and confusing, but the American Kennel Association has a translation roughly translating to small, low to the ground, rough-coated, and from the
French area of Vendéen. That is quite a name for one pup. This scent hound was initially bred to sniff out small game. They are confident and make excellent pets so long as they get plenty of exercise.
3. Picardy Spaniel
|Temperament||Energetic, trainable, affectionate|
The Picardy Spaniel is a newer breed from a French Spaniel line that originated in the Middle Ages. English Setters mated with the French Spaniels to give us these fantastic medium-sized canines. They have a beautiful blue coat for the kids to cuddle with and are highly trainable for those who enjoy hunting ducks, geese, and other birds.
|Temperament||Smart, confident, faithful|
These herding dogs are known for their long, wavy coats of black and gray. They are trainable and brilliant while remaining loyal to you and your family. This breed is known to handle herding 700 plus sheep and are tireless. They require a lot of activity and become overweight without it. Briards are prone to hip dysplasia and cataracts, though they usually only become a problem with age.
5. French Spaniel
The French Spaniel is a rugged breed with a lot of energy. They are some of the largest of all the spaniel breeds and were historically used for falconry and hunting. These dogs love to work and do their best when they have a task to achieve. Because of their intelligence, they are some of the easiest to house trains, and tricks come naturally with a little bit of positive reinforcement.
6. French Bulldog
|Temperament||Playful, adaptable, smart|
Demand for French Bulldogs has skyrocketed over the past decade, and if you hope to buy one, it’s best to budget around $1,000 for one. These dogs are small, cute, and amusing all day long. Although they make great family dogs, they are known for having an assortment of health issues including breathing problems, food allergies, and cherry eye.
If you’re looking for a spunky little dog, the Papillon is the perfect companion for you. These dainty dogs are some of the cutest you can find and are dated back as far as the 17th century. Their long silky hair demands attention while they trot outside, but it takes a lot of maintenance to keep it looking that good. While they do require some work, their owners love them because they are so well-mannered and easy to train.
|Temperament||Highly intelligent, proud|
Poodles are some of the simplest dogs to identify with just one glance. Better yet, pet owners are able to pick the size they want, ranging from toy all the way up to 70 pounds. Their curly hair is hypoallergenic, making them the perfect option for those who love dogs but can’t stand the hair and allergies. These dogs have inspired lots of popular crossbreeds and people can’t seem to get enough of them.
Have you ever seen a dog with a beard? Barbets are named after their distinguishable facial hair that trails below their snouts. This French breed is a water-loving dog that is always eager to please. Barbets hold one of the best standings regarding overall health. They periodically develop ear infections and hernias but don’t have any severe dilemmas overall. Because of their love for adventure, these dogs are perfect for someone who loves exploring outdoors and being active.
10. Basset Hound
|Temperament||Patient, low maintenance|
You know when you see some extra-long, floppy ears that a Basset Hound is headed your way. This French breed has enormous feet and little legs that make them look out of proportion sometimes, but they are incredibly low maintenance for those who like chill dogs. Basset Hounds are very friendly to dogs and people, but they aren’t known for minding their owners well due to their independent attitudes.
|Temperament||Obedient, gentle, faithful|
Beaucerons are often mistaken for Dobermans based on their coloring and large bodies, but these dogs are some of the most fearless and faithful that you’ll find. That’s not to say they won’t challenge their owner from time to time, but they are working dogs who enjoy getting assigned a job. Their most common health concern is heart disease which often happens toward the end of their 12-year life.
12. Brittany Spaniel
Brittany dogs have a lot of energy and enjoy having a few play sessions throughout the day. Because of their intelligence and demand for exercise, they are a lot to handle and require an owner who is able to dedicate their free time to them. As long as you give them all the love you have, they will greet you with a smile and wagging tail every time you walk through the door.
13. Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees were bred as livestock dogs back in the 1800s. Those who live in northern regions love having these dogs around because their thick white coats help them stay outside in harsh temperatures much longer than other French Breeds. If you don’t like shedding, these dogs aren’t the ones for you. They are enormous and require a lot of maintenance as their fur sheds during the alternating seasons. Even though they require some extra work, they are incredibly mellow and the perfect dog for a family with kids.
|Temperament||Independent, inquisitive, friendly|
You’re like most people if you immediately think of detective work when you see a Bloodhound. This breed has a powerful nose and enjoys tracking a scent for miles. They are still used today in police work, hunting, and search and rescue missions. When they’re off the job, bloodhounds are family-friendly pets who like to lounge with their loved ones during their downtime.
15. Berger Picard
The Berget Picard is the stereotypical sheepdog who loves to run and play. They are always happy to be a part of a family and bring years of happy memories to those who own them. Some owners report that they have a tendency to be a little stubborn sometimes, but they shed minimally and are relatively low-maintenance pets.
How Many French Dog Breeds Are There?
France is the third-largest European country and is known for breeding some of the best dogs in the world. There are now over 50 French dog breeds, but some are becoming far more popular than others. The oldest breed we know of is the Dogue de Bordeaux, who was featured at the top of our list. Most dogs from French origins were bred for working purposes, but new breeders have found ways to focus more on their personalities and turn them into some of the best bloodlines for both work and family purposes.
While we celebrate France for its cheese and wine, we can’t forget the contributions they’ve made to the pet world. Thousands of pet-loving families have had their lives changed due to some of these breeds, and it’s only fitting to celebrate them the way they deserve. If you’re thinking about bringing home a new dog, this list of French dog breeds is the best place for you to find one.
Featured Image Credit: Javier Brosch, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.