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French Dog Breeds – Did You Know Poodle is Not one of Them?

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I can bet the first dog you think of when it comes to France is the French Bulldog. But there are many more French dog breeds. You will be surprised how many dogs originate from France.

Let’s not forget the French Poodle, who is France’s national dog. Fun fact: the Standard poodle did not originate in France. Yes, the dog breed was standardized in France, but it originally came from Germany, where it was raised as a water dog.

French dog breeds come in all shapes, sizes, coat types, and skills. French dogs used to hunt, protect their livestock, act as guard dog to their home, herd, and as companion dogs.

French people have always loved dogs. Nowadays, some statistics show nearly half of all households in France include a pet. And dogs rank as the preferred pet.

There are more than 40 breeds in France. Shepherd dog breeds have traditionally been the favorite in France since the 1940s. Let’s find out more about these beloved dogs.



The name might suggest the dog comes from Great Britain, but it is a French dog. Brittany Spaniel is named after Brittany, a province in France where it was first bred.

Originally, it was bred as a bird dog that was smaller than a setter. Brittany has longer legs than other spaniels and is famous for its obedience, agility, and affectionate nature.

Brittany has a long coat with bold patterns, usually a combination of orange-brown, reddish-brown, and white color.

Auvergne Pointer

Auvergne Pointer

Yes, France has its own share of pointer dogs. The Auvergne Pointer is also known as the Braque d’Auvergne. He is an incredibly devoted and sensitive dog.

Bred to hunt alongside his humans, the Auvergne Pointer was first bred in the 18th century. He has a Dalmatian-like coat, covered in tiny white spots. He is rare nowadays.

That is a shame because he is a great family dog. This pointer loves people and children.

Basset hound

Basset Hound

Another famous French dog breed, the Basset Hound was developed in France and Belgium. He was originally bred as a ground scent hound. That is where his name comes from. Basset means low in French.

Their excellent and persisting scenting talent made this puppy popular with the French hunting aristocracy.

He is loyal, and a low-energy hunting dog that is great as a family pet. Yes, he can be stubborn, but with little patience, proper socialization, and persistent dog training, he is an amazing dog.

The Basset Hound is food driven, so get enough food and treats. But do provide exercise to prevent obesity as well.

Berger Picard

Berger Picard

Named after the Picardy region in northern France, the Berger Picard has been around for hundreds of years. The name Berger means shepherd in the French language.

This herding dog was popular because of its stamina, independent thinking, and high prey drive. During World War II, their numbers were decimated because their fields were ravaged.

Nowadays, he is a loyal dog, one that thrives on daily hikes and getting involved in dog sports.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is now among the most popular dog breeds in the world. The American Kennel Club has him ranked in the top 30 for many years now.

This fluffy little charmer has a massive personality. Because of its size, as well as its hypoallergenic nature, the Bichon Frise is a perfect choice as a family dog.

Their white and fluffy coat is just the cherry on the icing.

Basset Fauve de Bretagne

Basset Fauve de Bretagne

If you translate the name of Basset Fauve de Bretagne into English, it means Fawn Colored Brittany Basset. This active companion has been around since the 1500s.

He is closely related to the now extinct Grand Fauve de Bretagne, who was a larger hound dog version of the Basset.

The Basset Fauve de Bretagne needs a lot of exercise and playtime.



This dog originates in Paris. Can it be more French thing than a dog from Paris? Beauceron got its name thanks to the region surrounding Paris from where he originates in, La Beauce.

The Beauceron is a very old breed, dating back to the 16th century in France. He is a large dog traditionally used for livestock herding.

Because of their size, strength, intelligence, and bravery, he was quite useful during World War. Nowadays, he is still used as a police dog and search and rescue dog. You can rarely find him outside of his native country.



Briard is another ancient dog breed that is still around nowadays. His history dates back to the 8th century.

Back in the day, this dog breed worked on the dairy farms in the Brie region of France. Known for its versatility, he is a skilled herding dog, but also a guard dog, protecting the flocks from predators.

The Briard was named the official dog of the French Army during World War I. Nowadays, he is loved for his gentle disposition and eagerness to please.


Belgian Bloodhound

Bred for hunting and tracking, the Bloodhound will get a scent and follow it to the end. Here is a strange and fun doggy fact. A Bloodhound named Ludivine once caught the scent of a half marathon and finished up 7th.

These sweet dogs with floppy ears and bright loving eyes were originally bred as hunting dogs. In the modern world, however, they are a family dog who loves to play in the park and enjoy time with their dog owner.


papillon dog

The Papillon has a mixed history. Some consider him a Belgium dog breed. Others, consider him a French breed. With its cute and butterfly ears, the Papillon is one of the most adorable dogs.

He was bred to provide companionship to the nobility. While he is a little dog, we cannot classify him as a toy dog. Despite its small size, this puppy has tons of energy and loves to get plenty of exercise.

Blue Gascony Basset

Blue Gascony Basset

We have another basset on the list, this one, named Blue Gascony Basset. He is similar to Auvergne Pointer in the way he has a speckled black and white coat that looks almost blue.

He is shaped like a Basset Hound, but different in its look. Back in the day, in the 12th century, he participated in wolf and deer hunting.

Chien Français Blanc Et Noir

Chien Français Blanc Et Noir

The name might be difficult to say. The Chien Français Blanc Et Noir is a social breed with high activity levels. His name translates to White and Black Hound.

He is not a dog for first-time owners. This hound was an avid deer hunter back in the day. He thrives in households with other dogs, but not with small animals.

Because of his high prey drive he will chase anything. And he is a loud barker.

Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux

Also referred to as the French Mastiff, the Dogue de Bordeaux is another ancient dog breed. He was introduced to France by the Romans.

They used these powerful dogs to fight in battles and gladiator rings. By the 17th century, Dogue de Bordeaux became a pet of the French nobles. He was used as a guard dog.

Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees

Next on our list of French dog breeds is the Great Pyrenees. He was bred to guard livestock against wolves in the snowy Pyrenees mountain region located between Spain and France. This is why many know him as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog.

His patience and courage are legendary. And his majestic appearance might make him look scary. But his calm nature is what prevails. This is why the French nobility loved him.

You can still find him working as a shepherd dog in mountainous areas. Despite its size and power, the Pyrenees puppy is a popular companion dog.



Among the French breeds, we have the Lowchen, a dog that translates to a little lion in German. But he is actually a French breed. Because of his massive bark, he has been an ideal watchdog and popular pet for hundreds of years.

He also performs amazingly in dog trials, dog agility competitions, and dog sports. Their coat is traditionally clipped in a lion cut to refer to their name.

Corsican Dog

Corsican Dog

Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean, considered a French territory. And the Corsican dog is the national symbol of the island. He is a calm and loyal dog in brown and tan color with floppy ears.

In the 16th century, he was used as a herding dog and guard dog. Today, he is a family pet all around France.

French Bulldog

french bulldog 2365684 1280

It is only fitting that we finish off the list of French dog breeds with the most popular among them. The French Bulldog is among the top 10 in popularity by the American Kennel Club.

In recent years, these puppies have soared in popularity. They are one of the most sought-after breeds in the United States.

Known for their affectionate nature, Frenchies make a popular family pet. Just be mindful, that they are prone to respiratory like any other brachycephalic breed.

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