The 8 best French dog breeds (you’ve never heard of)


The French know their dogs

The French are crazy about pets. They have a famous TV program called “30 million amis (30 million friends)” that is all about them. Dog ownership is actually decreasing (there are around 7.5 million in France) though they’re still very popular. You’ll recognise the most popular breeds of dogs in France (German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Yorkshire Terriers, etc.) but there are still a few breeds “made in France”. Here are few you’ve probably never heard of!

French Breed 1: “Basset Bleu de Gascogne (Blue Gascony Basset Hound)”


These cute basset hounds also have larger brothers “Les Grands Bassets Bleus de Gascogne”. Gascony is situated in the South West of France, famous for it’s Bordeaux wine.

French Breed 2: “Coton de Tuléar”


These lively, intelligent dogs are actually from Madagascar, a former French colony, more specifically Tuléar City. “Coton” means Cotton, coming from their beautiful white, hairy coat. Americans have adopted them as “the Royal Dogs of Madagascar”.

French Breed 3: “Grand Griffon Vendéen (Large Vendéen Griffon)”


There are several breeds of Griffon hunting dogs, the Vendéen being the largest. They were first heard of in the 16th Century. La Vendée is in the West of France, and is now home to Europe’s leading attraction park, le Puy du Fou.

French Breed 4: “Barbet”


The Barbot is a medium-size water dog from the same group as Golden Retrievers. It’s name comes from the word “Barbe”, meaning beard, which is very appropriate when you look at them. They are very companionable, if a little unruly.

French Breed 5: “Braque du Bourbonnais (Bourbonnais Pointer)”


The Bourbonnais Pointer is a gun dog first heard of in 1598. It nearly went extinct in the 20th Century which is surprising if you consider it’s intelligence. In the 1970s some French breeders made it their mission to save this wonderful animal and they future now looks bright.

French Breed 6: “Epagneul Français (Epagneul Français)”


Another breed that nearly went extinct, the French Spaniel or Setter is a wonderfully noble breed, exceedingly popular with French nobility in the 16th and 17th Centuries. It is an exceedingly patient dog, as well suited for hunting as it is for being with children.

French Breed 7: “Porcelaine”


The Porcelaine is from the Franche Comté region in France. Its name come from it’s shiny off-white coat. They’re gentle dogs but do need a lot of exercise.

French Breed 8: “Löwchen (Little Lion Dog)”


The Löwchen is one of the rarest dogs in the world. Originally from Medieval France, it is called the Little Lion Dog in both French and English because of how it’s fur is cut, to look like that of a lion. They are excellent company, both playful and affectionate.