There are lots of French dog breeds that make for wonderful and popular pets. While many of these dogs originate from France, there are also a few that became regular breeds in France even though they had different origins.
Let’s take a look at the top 15 French dog breeds list as well as what their temperaments are like.
French Dog Breeds List
1. Berger Picard
The Berger Picard originates from Picardy in France, which is where its name comes from. These dogs have mainly been used for herding, although they are now mainly kept as pets.
There are not too many of these dogs present in France as well as the world, mainly because their breeding stock was destroyed due to the World Wars.
These dogs are usually medium in size and tend to have a lifespan of around 12 years. They are quite alert, energetic, loyal and obedient, requiring plenty of stimulation on a regular basis. You will, however, need to keep providing training and socialization to prevent aggression.
2. Basset Hound
The Basset Hound originates from France, but a lot of breeding took place in the UK. The proper standardization of these dogs took place in France, with this breed becoming one of the six basset breeds in the country.
They are medium in size but are known for their long bodies. Further, they tend to have a bit of loose skin around their snouts.
These dogs were mainly kept as companion pets of the kings at the time of their breeding and development.
They are quite friendly, playful and easy to train, although they can get a bit stubborn and loud.
The Beauceron dogs originate from Central France. They were mainly bred as herding dogs and kept on farms, although it was widely used for search operations, guarding, sending messages and small objects and several other purposes.
These dogs have a double but short coat that is usually black or tan in color. They are also known for their dewclaws.
In temperament, these dogs are brave, active, loyal and highly energetic. They are also vigilant and affectionate.
The Papillon dogs are toy spaniels that originate from France. These dogs are small in size with a weight of up to 10 pounds and a height of around 10 inches. They were painted by various artists in France and were also kept as companion pets by royalty.
These dogs are known to be highly affectionate and loving. They are quite flexible, playful, vigilant, open and energetic dogs. Although they tend to bark quite a bit, they are also pretty easy to train and eager to please.
The Barbet is medium in size and is a water dog. Known for their curly and woolly coat, their name itself originates from the word “barbe”, which means “beard” in French. They were initially used for retrieving game from the water.
They usually have solid colors such as black, brown and grey, among others. They are highly affectionate with their owners as well as with children and other pets. They are pretty easy to train and tend to have a moderate amount of energy.
They are also quite intelligent and playful.
The Bloodhound comes from various parts of Europe such as France, Belgium and the United Kingdom. They tend to be quite large in size, with their weight going up to 100 pounds (or even more).
There are several hounds that come from France and this one is a part of them. They were kept by the King of France and were commonly used as accompanying animals for hunting.
These dogs are now quite friendly with their owners and also quick to learn their training. They also have a keen sense of smell.
The Briard is a dog of usually large size and has been used as a herding dog on farms. It made its appearance in 1863 at a dog show in Paris, although it was used as a shepherd dog long before that as well. Now, however, it is largely domesticated instead of being used solely for herding.
Their coats are usually long and wavy and need to be groomed regularly to prevent matting. They also have a double dewclaw.
These dogs are friendly, playful, intelligent, vigilant and brave.
The Brittany or the Brittany Spaniel and originates from Brittany in France. They were initially bred roughly between the 17th and the 19th centuries to be used for hunting and retrieving.
These dogs are medium in size and tend to be quite affectionate, even with children and other dogs. They are quite playful and energetic, requiring plenty of daily exercise.
They are also quite smart and simple to train. It is important to provide proper socialization from a young age otherwise they might not be too outgoing later on.
9. French Bulldog
The French Bulldog appeared in the 19th century. It is small to medium in size with a height of up to 13 inches and a weight of up to 28 pounds. These dogs usually tend to live for around ten years.
These dogs tend to have wrinkled faces and are highly affectionate with their family, including children and other pets. They are quite adaptable, playful, trainable and open. They are gentle and intelligent as well although they might become a bit stubborn at times.
They need sufficient exercise otherwise they run the risk of being obese.
10. Dogue de Bordeaux
The Dogue de Bordeaux is also known as the French Mastiffs. With a height of nearly 30 inches and a weight that can go up to 150 pounds, these dogs are quite large and strong.
They originate from the Bordeaux region in France and have been in existence since the 14th century.
These dogs are well built and muscular and are also quite obedient and loyal. It is easy to train them as long as you start when they are young. They are also quite friendly, adaptable and active.
Poodles originate from either France or Germany, although a lot of their standardization took place in France. Poodles are water dogs and were mainly bred for retrieving and performing but are now largely domesticated.
Poodles are known for their thick, woolly or wavy coats that need plenty of grooming to avoid matting, although this is also commonly done for their appearance.
Poodles are quite active and highly intelligent dogs. They are also friendly, fun-loving and vigilant. They tend to bark quite a bit as well.
12. Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees or the Pyrenean Mountain Dogs originate from the Pyrenees mountains in France. These dogs were bred for looking after livestock on farms and still continue to be used as these kinds of guard dogs while also being kept as pets on a more common basis.
These dogs are quite large and tend to have long coats. They are usually white in color while also being gentle, friendly, patient and alert. They are quite protective and loyal which seems to stem from their use as guards.
13. Grand Bleu de Gascogne
These French dogs were mainly used for hunting because of their keen sense of smell. They are large in size and tend to have a pack mentality due to their hunting origins.
Their bodies are well built, sturdy and muscular. They can live up to ten years and generally have a short coat. They can develop strong bonds with their family but they also need proper training and socialization to prevent them from becoming too stubborn and aggressive.
They are quite active and need at least two hours of exercise every day.
14. Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
These dogs are usually quite small in terms of their height, which does not go beyond 15 inches. They also have a relatively long lifespan of around 15 years.
They originate from the Vendée region in France where they were bred to catch hares due to their keen sense of smell.
These dogs are friendly, a bit mischievous but eager to please, adaptable to their surroundings, vocal and energetic.
This is a relatively rare breed across the world but it comes from France. Its name translates to “little lion” which comes from the fact that it has a long mane and coat. The dog is pretty small in size.
Historically, these dogs were used in many paintings and as pets for the wealthy people of France. They are affectionate, outgoing, vigilant and flexible while also being loyal and simple to train.