Characteristics of French dogs
France is known for chic fashion, cuisine, wine, the Eiffel Tower, cafes, berets, and so much more, including their incredible canines.
French dog breeds are amazing pooches, including herders, hunters, lap dogs, workers, and protectors. Canine breeds from the French mountains have double coats to keep them warm.
Several breeds, like the French Bulldog, Poodle, and Papillon, were bred to small sizes. Dog lovers will find that there are plenty of breeds from France to choose from.
We’re all familiar with Frenchies, Poodles, Basset Hounds, and Great Pyrs, but there are many more French dogs.
French Dog Breeds
Here are the top French dog breeds:
1. French Bulldog
|DOG’s SIZE||11-13 inches|
|WEIGHT||under 28 pounds|
|FUR AND COLOR||Short coat in brindle; brindle and white; cream; fawn; fawn and white; fawn brindle; white; white and brindle; fawn, brindle, and white; white and fawn|
|LIFE SPAN||10-12 years|
French bulldogs are mini bulldogs with adorable bat ears and have a playful and loving personality. The Frenchie is prone to breathing difficulties because of their flat face.
According to the AKC, in the mid-1800s, a toy-size English Bulldog was popular in some English cities, including Nottingham, where lace makers worked. People in the lace trade moved to northern France when the Industrial Revolution threatened small industries.
Frenchies were then crossed with other breeds — perhaps terriers and Pugs — and people called the toy bulldog Bouledogue Francaise.
The French Bulldog became all the rage in Paris. By the end of the 19th century, the popularity of the French bulldog breed spread throughout Europe and the US. This little dog makes a great pet and is a delightful companion.
2. French Spaniel
|DOG’s SIZE||21.5 to 24 inches|
|FUR AND COLOR||Short fur in brown, white and brown|
|LIFE SPAN||10-12 years|
The French Spaniel is highly intelligent, social, gentle, affectionate, good with children and other dogs, playful, trainable, energetic, athletic, and needs mental stimulus. They are great companion dogs, like all spaniel breeds.
Originally bred as a hunting partner and dating back to the middle ages in the 14th century, they were popular with royalty, but their population dwindled very low at the turn of the 20th century.
A French priest named Father Fournier bred them back. They were exported to the US in 1997.
3. French Poodle — Three different sizes
|GROUP||Toy Poodle Toy Mini Non-sporting Standard Non-sporting|
|DOG’s SIZE||Toys 10 inches tall or less Mini 10-15 inches tall Standard Over 15 inches tall|
|WEIGHT||Toys 4-6 pounds Mini 10-15 pounds Standard 40-70 pounds|
|FUR AND COLOR||Long and curly in apricot, black, blue, brown, cream, red, silver, silver beige, white, cafe au lait, gray, black and cream, blackand gray, black and silver, black and white, blue and white, brown and apricot, cream and white, black and brown, gray and white, black and brown, gray and white, red and apricot, white and silver, black and tan|
|LIFE SPAN||10-18 years Miniature 10-18 years Standard 10-18 years|
French poodles are popular family pets. This French dog breed is affectionate, good with kids, friendly, playful, trainable, and energetic. They need mental stimulation and tend to bark.
They don’t have as much dander as some canines but need to be groomed. Their ancestors came from Germany, and the word “poodle” is derived from the German word for puddle.
They are famous for their intellect and ease of training. The AKC says that the Poodle began as a hunter, and their people shaved their legs, neck, and tail so they could swim, leaving pompons on their tails, chest, and part of the legs.
They then transformed into pets and sat in many noble laps. Soon, they were in other European countries and in America. They have also performed in circuses and hunted truffles.
4. Basset Hound
|DOG’s SIZE||up to 15 inches tall|
|FUR AND COLOR||Short coat in black and white; black, brown, and white; black, tan, and white; black, white and brown; black, white, and tan; brown, black, white; lemon and white; mahogany and white; red and white; black and brown; black, red, and white; blue and white; brown and white; tan and white; white and lemon; white, black, and brown; white, black, and red|
|LIFE SPAN||12-13 years|
Droopy-eared and eyed Basset Hounds are patient, good with kids and other dogs, and loyal, and the American Kennel Club calls them charming.
They have endurance when hunting and the second-best sense of smell (after Bloodhounds). They drool and bark. They were bred to be short in France and Belgium.
Basset Hounds are among the breeds called scent hounds and are slow enough for hunters to keep up with on foot. They tracked rabbits and deer and worked as search and rescue canines.
|DOG’s SIZE||24-27.5 inches tall|
|FUR AND COLOR||Short double coat in black and tan; gray, black, and tan; black and rust; harlequin|
|LIFE SPAN||10-12 years|
If a Beauceron joins your family, you’ll find them gentle, obedient, and good with other animals. These French canines are as beautiful as their name but are for experienced owners because they need to be trained.
According to the AKC, these French canines’ lives read like an epic novel. As one of the oldest French breeds, they have been bodyguards, bomb sniffers, rescuers, competitors, livestock movers, K-9s, guard dogs, were in the trenches in World War II, soldiers since the Middle Ages, and were guarding flocks. They also transported supplies and messages during both world wars.
A dog lover with spare time would be a perfect match, so they can engage in the Beauce’s penchant for activities like hiking, etc. Beaucerons are also known as Bas Rouge (red stocking) or Berger de Beauce (shepherd of Beauce).
6. Berger Picard
|FUR AND COLOR||Wiry medium coat in fawn and bridle|
|LIFE SPAN||12-13 years|
The Berger Picard is loyal, energetic, observant, good-natured, protective, trainable, and needs mental stimulation. These cute, tousled-hair French breed dogs have a beard and a mustache. They love games, agility, and being outside.
Picards, a rare breed that hails from the Picardy region of France, spent centuries as independent problem-solvers, so early socialization and positive training are necessary to temper their stubborn streak.
|DOG’s SIZE||22-27 inches|
|FUR AND COLOR||double, long, and wavy in black, tawny, gray, black and gray, black and tawny, white, towny and gray|
|LIFE SPAN||12 years|
The Briard has a beautiful, long coat with fur over their eyes and a beard. They are protective, muscular, hardworking, loving, confident, faithful, and smart.
Two or three Briards can handle 700 sheep. They have been herding in France since 800 AD and get their name from Brie, where dairy is produced. They aren’t a good fit for new dog owners.
This breed, a secret in the canine world, works as guard dogs and shepherding dogs and is related to the Beauceron. According to the AKC, Napoleon didn’t like dogs but liked Briards. They were beloved in the 1800s.
During WWI, Briards were named the official war dog of the French army. Their duties included finding wounded soldiers, search and rescue, pulling supply carts, and sentry.
|DOG’s SIZE||17.5-20.5 inches tall|
|FUR AND COLOR||double, short, and wavy inliver and white; liver roan; liver; white, and orange; orange and white; orange roan; white and liver; white and orange; black and white; black, white, and orange; blue roan; white, black, and orange|
|LIFE SPAN||12-14 years|
Brittanys are good at sports, playful, very trainable, energetic, good with children and dogs, smart, and fun-loving. They need mental stimulation.
They hail from Brittany in France. The oldest historical evidence of the breed is found in tapestries and Renaissance paintings from the early 17th century. They were bred to handle multiple jobs and are versatile. The first Brittany arrived in the US in 1931.
9. Griffon Nivernais (Wire-haired Pointing Griffon)
|DOG’s SIZE||20-24 inches tall|
|FUR AND COLOR||Wiry double medium-length coat inbrown and gray, chestnut and gray, white and brown, white and orange, white, brown, chestnut|
|LIFE SPAN||12-15 years|
The Griffon Nivernais is playful, very trainable, friendly, devoted, affectionate, smart, good with children, energetic, and needs mental stimulation. They are hardworking gun dogs. Their bristly coat makes them look rugged and disheveled.
They were developed in the 1800s when hunters in Europe were breeding multitasking hunting dogs. Dutchman Eduard Korthals crossed several breeds to create the Griff, a pointer on land and a water retriever with webbed swimming toes. Some people consider Griffs Dutch.
10. Great Pyrenees
|DOG’s SIZE||25-32 inches tall|
|WEIGHT||85 and up|
|FUR AND COLOR||medium length double coat in white|
|LIFE SPAN||10-12 years|
I was a Great Pyrenees mom until a few years ago, and they are amazing! They are smart, patient, strong, waterproof, and great watch dogs. Pyrs were bred to protect sheep from wolves and other predators.
The AKC calls their appearance majestic. The great Pyrenees have a calm and affectionate nature and a loving personality and are an excellent family dog.
Admired by the French nobility, they were designated an official court dog in the 1700s when King Louis XIV named the Great Pyr the Royal Dog of France. These trusted farm flock guardians are a beloved French dog breed and devoted family members. Their thick white coat protects them from very cold weather.
Great Pyrenees are famous for checking the perimeters of their yard and ignoring commands. They are courageous and come from the border of France and Italy in the Pyrenees mountains. They can climb around the rugged mountain region because they have rare double dew claws — two extra toenails that working dogs possess.
11. Dogue de Bordeaux
|DOG’s SIZE||23-27 inches tall|
|WEIGHT||99 and up|
|FUR AND COLOR||Short in fawn, mahogany, Isabella, red|
|LIFE SPAN||5-8 years|
The Dogue de Bordeaux (sometimes called the French Mastiff) is good with kids and dogs, loyal, sweet, sensitive, affectionate, stubborn, courageous, protective, and very trainable, and they need mental stimulation. They shed and drool.
They are an ancient French dog breed, and existed before France itself. The Dogue de Bordeaux, a Mastiff-type dog with a muscular build, was featured in the Tom Hanks’ 1989 movie Turner & Hooch.
Historians say that Julius Caesar’s armies wanted to have the dog’s ancestors accompanying them to Gaul (ancient France) in the 1st century BC. Dogues were gladiators fighting other dogs and wild beasts, as well as war dogs.
Later, Dogue de Bordeaux began hunting, pulling carts, and protecting livestock and was used as a guard dog. Now, this gentle giant is a lovely companion when trained correctly.
Despite their large size, they are very docile.
|DOG’s SIZE||8-11 inches tall|
|FUR AND COLOR||Silky medium-length in white and black; white and lemon; white and red; white and sable; white, black, and tan; black, brown, and white; black, red, and white; brown and white; fawn and white; red; red, white, and sable; sable; white; white and liver; white and silver|
|LIFE SPAN||14-16 years|
The beautiful Papillon is affectionate, alert, friendly, intelligent, happy, good with children and dogs, playful, protective, very trainable, energetic, curious, athletic, and needs mental stimulation.
They tend to bark a lot. Having a Papillon curled up in your lap is lovely. Their other favorite activities are chasing rodents, exploring, and giving copious kisses to people.
Papillons were originally bred by crossing toy breeds with spaniels. They became a companion dog for noblewomen and are in royal portraits by Rembrandt, Goya, Rubens, and Toulouse-Lautrec.
Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette had a Pap. The Pap was refined to its diminutive figure and popularized in Italy and Spain. Their personality is twice their size, hiding under their cuddly appearance.
Their name means butterfly because of their ear shape. Papillons, known as Dwarf Spaniels, are very good at agility courses and can learn lots of tricks. This little dog with a white coat is a great pet.
13. Pyrenean Shepherd
|DOG’s SIZE||15-18.5 inches tall|
|FUR AND COLOR||Smooth and rough with medium length in fawn, brindle, black, gray, slate, gray, blue merle, fawn merle, brindle merle, black and white, white|
|LIFE SPAN||17-19 years|
The Pyrenean Shepherd is active, affectionate, very intelligent, enthusiastic, protective, trainable, energetic, and needs mental stimulation. They are barkers.
They herded in the Pyrenees mountains and are one of the oldest breeds in the country. These beauties have long fur that comes in rough-face and smooth-face.
They have been around since medieval times, and Pyr shepherds are still herding sheep in the mountains between France and Spain. Their ancestors are ancient herding dogs, are one of the most beloved dogs in French history, and are delightful companions.
Pyr shepherds are the canine version of workaholics and are fiercely loyal. Pyr Sheps love running agility courses.
14. Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen
|DOG’s SIZE||15.5-18 inches tall|
|FUR AND COLOR||Wiry, double, medium length coat in white and black; white and gray; white and grizzle: white and lemon: white and orange: white and sable; white, black, and tan,; black and tan; fawn|
|LIFE SPAN||13-15 years|
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen (GBGV) is affectionate, independent, outgoing, courageous, happy, good with children and dogs, friendly, playful, energetic, and needs mental stimulation. They are barkers.
The name Basset Griffon Vendéen means “large, low, shaggy dog of the Vendéen .” They are one of the scent-hound dog breeds.
The GBGV, which has been around for 400 years, has a wiry coat that protected them from thorns and rocks when hunting. They were bred to be low to the ground because their owners couldn’t afford horses and needed to be able to keep up with their hounds. The GBGV has amazing hunting skills.
They are more than just a snuggling companion. GBGVs have an adorable French name, a lovely personality, and are extremely friendly.
|DOG’s SIZE||19-24.5 inches tall|
|FUR AND COLOR||Curly/wavy medium to long hair in black, brown, fawn, gray, white|
|LIFE SPAN||12-14 year|
The Barbet, a water dog from France, is friendly, calm, loyal, bright, affectionate, and very trainable. They don’t shed much but need a daily brushing.
They appear in artwork from the 16th century. The athletic and agile Barbet’s job is to locate, flush, and retrieve birds. They are great swimmers — as one would expect of a water dog breed. Barbets need daily exercise.
Barbet, an ancient breed, are joyful gun dogs that are mentioned in 16th-century writings. They faced near extinction after World War I and recently began making a comeback. They are non-shedding and hypoallergenic.
Breeds to Avoid
Two major considerations in choosing a dog are allergies and how much space and exercise a canine requires. Briards, Griffon Nivernais, Brittanys, GBVGs, and Pyrenean sheepdogs need lots of exercise and space to run.
If you don’t want to spend a couple of hours each day walking, playing, or letting your pup scamper around, those breeds may not be a good match for you.
If you have allergies, you’ll want to avoid the shedders like Basset hounds, Great Pyrenees, Frenchies, and Dogues de Bordeaux.
Which Breed of Dog Has Its Origins in France?
- French Bulldog
- French Spaniel
- French Poodle
- Basset Hound
- Berger Picard
- Griffon Nivernais
- Great Pyrenees
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- Pyrenean Shepherd
- Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
What Is a Rare French Dog?
The Löwchen is a rare breed. The Löwchen stands out as a unique treasure among French dog breeds, boasting a distinguished lineage as a dog breed present exclusively in the homes of French nobility.
What Breed of Dog Is Known in French?
Dogue de Bordeaux’s name is French.
There are many magnificent and lovely French breeds great for all types of homes. We adore these sweet and lovable dogs with French origins who have specialized skills and have worked different jobs.