While France is typically known for its extraordinary cuisine, viticulture, and rich traditions, many people do not realize that some of the most popular dog breeds also originate in France. Therefore, in this post, we will discuss several French dog breeds, including their origins and characteristics. Many of them you probably have heard of, such as the French Bulldog, but we can guarantee there are some breeds you have not, and possibly, you just might find a new favorite by the end of this post!
Let’s begin with arguably the most popular French breed, specifically because it has “French” in its name—the French Bulldog. Despite actually originating in England, the French Bulldog has historically acted as a companion dog for travelers heading to France from England. Due to this long history, the miniature sized bulldog began to take on the French name. Typically, French Bulldogs weigh approximately 15-30 pounds, and live 11-14 years. This adorable little puppy acts as the best snuggle buddy, and is the perfect size to take with you everywhere you go. However, the French Bulldog can also be hard to find, which can also make the French Bulldog a more expensive breed.
Similar to the French Bulldog, the Barbet is also a relatively rare breed to find. With the shaggy, poodle-like hair, they are known to have a water-resistant coat and webbed feet, which has led to them being known as an amazing water retrieving dog. Along with this, the Barbet is also known to be incredibly smart and agile. Actually, they are especially famous in France for being great competitors in agility competitions. Due to their great water retrieving ability, the Barbet has been a common hunting dog in France, especially among French nobility. In fact, the name “Barbet” originates from the French term barbe, which means beard, referring specifically to the bearded look of the Barbet.
As the name suggests, the Brittany originated in the northwestern region of France during the early 17th century. They were primarily bred as a hunting dog, specifically for bird hunting. Since these dogs were bred for sport, they tend to have a lot of energy, thus, regardless whether you will be bringing them for hunting activities, you will want to make sure this dog has plenty of exercise and physical activity. The Brittany dog breed also has a magnificent coat of white and orange, and is known to have a sweet and friendly temperament, making it a perfect family dog. At times, you might see people differentiate between American and French Brittanys, and while they are considered the same breed, there is typically considered a small difference, specifically that the American Brittany can sometimes be taller and faster than the French Brittany.
Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Also known as the Great Pyrenees, this dog’s origins begin in the Pyrenean Mountains in France, where it was bred to be a calm, affectionate protector dog for other animals and livestock. Known as one of the most loyal and loving dog breeds, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog also became a favorite among French and English nobility, even becoming an official court dog of France in the 1700s. In fact, Queen Victoria of England is known to have been a lover of the Great Pyrenees, consistently having one as a companion. As a big dog, typically reaching around 100 pounds or more, the Great Pyrenees has a thick, majestic white coat, but they are also known to be gentle, which makes them a great family dog if trained properly.
Dogue de Bordeaux
Also known as the French Mastiff, this is one of the oldest and most revered dog breeds across France, and became especially famous when one starred in the 1989 classic film with Tom Hanks, Turner and Hooch. As the name suggests, these dogs originated in the Bordeaux region of France, where they became known for their big heads and wrinkly faces. Dogue de Bordeauxs are also known to have a muscular build, which made them perfect for hauling carts and guarding livestock. Even though these dogs can be extremely loyal and docile, they can also be aggressive if not extensively trained from an early point.
While this post does not even come close to an exhaustive list of French dog breeds, we shared with you some of our favorite ones. However, based on this, it’s important to know that France is home to many of the worlds most well-known and most beloved dogs.