15 Magnifique French Dog Breeds That Deserve Portraits in the Louvre

French Dog Breeds

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

french dog breeds
GROUPNon-sporting
DOG’s SIZE11-13 inches
WEIGHTunder 28 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort coat in brindle; brindle and white; cream; fawn; fawn and white; fawn brindle; white; white and brindle; fawn, brindle, and white; white and fawn
TEMPERAMENTCalm
LIFE SPAN10-12 years

The Frenchie is a very popular family pet in both the UK and the US because they are playful, smart, affectionate, good with kids and dogs, friendly, alert, and trainable.

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 

french dogs
GROUPSporting
DOG’s SIZE21.5 to 24 inches
WEIGHT50-60 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort fur in brown, white and brown
TEMPERAMENTCalm
LIFE SPAN10-12 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

French Poodle
GROUPToy Poodle Toy Mini Non-sporting Standard Non-sporting
DOG’s SIZEToys 10 inches tall or less Mini 10-15 inches tall Standard Over 15 inches tall
WEIGHTToys 4-6 pounds Mini 10-15 pounds Standard 40-70 pounds
FUR AND COLORLong 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
TEMPERAMENTPleasant
LIFE SPAN10-18 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.

The standard was bred down to the miniature, and the Toy Poodle was created in the US. They were adored by French nobility, are great pets, and all sizes are generally friendly and eager to please.

4. Basset Hound

french dog
GROUPHound
DOG’s SIZEup to 15 inches tall
WEIGHT40-65 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort 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
TEMPERAMENTCalm
LIFE SPAN12-13 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.

5. Beauceron

french dogs breeds
GROUPHerding
DOG’s SIZE24-27.5 inches tall
WEIGHT70-110 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort double coat in black and tan; gray, black, and tan; black and rust; harlequin
TEMPERAMENTCalm
LIFE SPAN10-12 years

The Beauceron is faithful, a guard dog, very intelligent, muscular, playful, and energetic. The AKC describes the Beauceron as one of the most affectionate and calm breeds.

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

french dog breed
GROUPHerding
DOG’s SIZE21.5-25.5
WEIGHT50-70 pounds
FUR AND COLORWiry medium coat in fawn and bridle
TEMPERAMENTGood natured
LIFE SPAN12-13 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.

7. Briard

french breed dogs
GROUPHerding
DOG’s SIZE22-27 inches
WEIGHT55-100 pounds
FUR AND COLORdouble, long, and wavy in black, tawny, gray, black and gray, black and tawny, white, towny and gray
TEMPERAMENTIndependent
LIFE SPAN12 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.

8. Brittany

french hunting dog breeds
GROUPSporting
DOG’s SIZE17.5-20.5 inches tall
WEIGHT30-40 pounds
FUR AND COLORdouble, 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
TEMPERAMENTUpbeat
LIFE SPAN12-14 years

Brittanys are good at sports, playful, very trainable, energetic, good with children and dogs, smart, and fun-loving. They need mental stimulation.

They are popular in the US and in Europe. Brittanys were bred to hunt birds. They are also skillful in agility courses, dock diving, obedience, and more. They are prone to separation anxiety.

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)

french hunting dog breeds
GROUPSporting
DOG’s SIZE20-24 inches tall
WEIGHT35-70 pounds
FUR AND COLORWiry double medium-length coat inbrown and gray, chestnut and gray, white and brown, white and orange, white, brown, chestnut
TEMPERAMENTEasy going
LIFE SPAN12-15 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

large french dogs
GROUPWorking
DOG’s SIZE25-32 inches tall
WEIGHT85 and up
FUR AND COLORmedium length double coat in white
TEMPERAMENTCalm
LIFE SPAN10-12 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 french
GROUPWorking
DOG’s SIZE23-27 inches tall
WEIGHT99 and up
FUR AND COLORShort in fawn, mahogany, Isabella, red
TEMPERAMENTSweet
LIFE SPAN5-8 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.

12. Papillon 

small french dogs
GROUPToy
DOG’s SIZE8-11 inches tall
WEIGHT5-10 pounds
FUR AND COLORSilky 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
TEMPERAMENToutgoing
LIFE SPAN14-16 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

french shepherd  dogs
GROUPHerding
DOG’s SIZE15-18.5 inches tall
WEIGHT15-20 pounds
FUR AND COLORSmooth and rough with medium length in fawn, brindle, black, gray, slate, gray, blue merle, fawn merle, brindle merle, black and white, white
TEMPERAMENTSweet
LIFE SPAN17-19 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

small french dogs
GROUPHound
DOG’s SIZE15.5-18 inches tall
WEIGHT40-45 pounds
FUR AND COLORWiry, 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
TEMPERAMENTHappy
LIFE SPAN13-15 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.

15. Barbet

Barbet
GROUPSporting
DOG’s SIZE19-24.5 inches tall
WEIGHT 35-64 pounds
FUR AND COLORCurly/wavy medium to long hair in black, brown, fawn, gray, white
TEMPERAMENTCalm
LIFE SPAN12-14 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.

FAQs

Which Breed of Dog Has Its Origins in France?

  • French Bulldog
  • French Spaniel 
  • French Poodle 
  • Basset Hound
  • Beauceron
  • Berger Picard
  • Briard
  • Brittany
  • Griffon Nivernais
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Papillon 
  • Pyrenean Shepherd
  • Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
  • Barbet

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.

Wrap up 

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.

Elise Margulis
Elise Margulis is a talented animal writer and a devoted pet parent residing near Manhattan in a cozy suburb. With a Chow mix and a rescued Siamese as her loyal companions, she's been animal-obsessed since childhood. Penning informative articles on pet nutrition, health, and animal welfare, she's also an avid advocate for adoption and animal rights. When she's not writing, she serves as the editor of two local online news sites. Working from home with her fur babies, she advocates adoption and animal welfare through volunteering and social media. A true animal lover and vegetarian for over 31 years, she's on a mission to raise awareness and make the world a better place for all creatures.

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