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15 French Dog Breeds: Info, Pictures, Temperament & More

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Dogster Team


15 French Dog Breeds: Info, Pictures, Temperament & More

Bonjour, les amoureux des chiens! Hello, dog lovers! Don’t worry—you won’t actually need to read French to fall in love with this list of top French dog breeds. France has given the world life-changing inventions and cuisine, but it’s also contributed many dog breeds that have taken the pet world by storm. While the French Bulldog might be the first dog that comes to mind, there are dozens more that are just as lovable.

Some of the oldest and finest dog breeds in the world come from the beautiful country of France. European royalty and American presidents have kept these loyal companions by their sides for decades, and there’s no reason that you can’t give one a good home too! Scroll through this list of the most popular French dog breeds, and you might soon discover your new pet obsession.


The 15 French Dog Breeds

1. Dogue de Bourdeaux (French Mastiff)

dogue de bordeaux_Jan Steiner_Pixabay
Image by: Jan Steiner, Pixabay
Lifespan 5 – 8 years
Temperament Even-tempered, courageous, sensitive
Weight 99+ pounds

This French Mastiff breed is a giant with a soft heart. They have short, fawn-colored coats and Bulldog-like jaws. Although they’re intimidatingly large, the Dogue de Bourdeaux is incredibly loyal and sweet. They are known for being stubborn as puppies but respond well to those who remain dedicated to training. Some of them are prone to being overweight, so keep an eye on their calories and refrain from human food scraps.

2. Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

petit basset griffon vendéen
Image by: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock
Lifespan 12 – 14 years
Temperament Alert, vivacious
Weight 25 – 40 pounds

This dog’s name seems lengthy and confusing, but the American Kennel Club has a translation roughly translating to “small, low to the ground, rough-coated, and from the French area of Vendéen.” That is quite a name for one pup! This scent hound was initially bred to sniff out small game. Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens are confident and make excellent pets so long as they get plenty of exercise.

3. Picardy Spaniel

Picardy spaniel dog on grass
Image by: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock
Lifespan 12 – 14 years
Temperament Energetic, trainable, affectionate
Weight 40 – 55 pounds

The Picardy Spaniel is a newer breed from a French Spaniel line that originated in the Middle Ages. English Setters mated with the French Spaniels to give us these fantastic medium-sized canines. They have a beautiful blue coat for the kids to cuddle with and are highly trainable for those who enjoy hunting ducks, geese, and other birds.

4. Briard

Image by:, Shutterstock
Lifespan 12 years
Temperament Smart, confident, faithful
Weight 55 – 100 pounds

These herding dogs are known for their long, wavy coats. Briards are trainable and brilliant while remaining loyal to you and your family. This breed is known to handle herding 700-plus sheep and is tireless. They require a lot of activity and become overweight without it. Briards are prone to hip dysplasia and cataracts, though these usually only become a problem with age.

5. French Spaniel

Image by: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock
Lifespan 10 – 12 years
Temperament Intelligent, sociable
Weight 50 – 60 pounds

The French Spaniel is a rugged breed with a lot of energy. They are some of the largest of all the spaniel breeds and were historically used for falconry and hunting. These dogs love to work and do their best when they have a task to achieve. Because of their intelligence, they are some of the easiest dogs to house train, and tricks come naturally with a little bit of positive reinforcement.

6. French Bulldog

fawn french bulldog walking on grass
Image by: Irina Nedikova, Shutterstock
Lifespan 10 – 12 years
Temperament Playful, adaptable, smart
Weight 20 – 28 pounds

Demand for French Bulldogs has skyrocketed over the past decade, and if you hope to buy one, it’s best to budget around $1,000 for one. These dogs are small, cute, and amusing all day long. Although they make great family dogs, they are known for having an assortment of health issues, including breathing problems, food allergies, and cherry eye.

French Bulldogs actually originated from English Bulldogs that were imported to Paris and crossed with French “ratter” dogs. So, they are not fully a French breed, but they did technically originate in France.

7. Papillon

papillon in the autumn
Image by: AndyBir, Shutterstock
Lifespan 14 – 16 years
Temperament Alert, friendly
Weight 5 – 10 pounds

If you’re looking for a spunky little dog, the Papillon is the perfect companion for you. These dainty dogs are some of the cutest you can find and are dated back as far as the 17th century. Their long silky hair demands attention while they trot outside, but it takes a lot of maintenance to keep it looking that good. While they do require some work, their owners love them because they are so well-mannered and easy to train.

8. Poodle

miniature poodle puppy on the grass
Image by: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock
Lifespan 10 – 18 years
Temperament Highly intelligent, proud
Weight 40 – 70 pounds

Poodles are some of the simplest dogs to identify with just one glance. Better yet, pet owners are able to pick the size they want, ranging from toy all the way up to 70 pounds. Their curly hair is hypoallergenic, making them the perfect option for those who love dogs but can’t stand the hair and allergies. These dogs have inspired lots of popular crossbreeds, and people can’t seem to get enough of them.

Interestingly, the Poodle did not actually originate in France, but in Germany. Their name comes from the German word “pudel” which means “to splash in water.” However, the breed was imported to France, where they are known as the “caniche” or “duck dog.” Due to their popularity, Poodles are the national dog of France, which is why many people associate them with the country and consider them to be a French breed.

9. Barbet

Barbet dog
Image by: Ysbrand Cosijn, Shutterstock
Lifespan 12 – 14 years
Temperament Sweet, friendly
Weight 35 – 65 pounds

Have you ever seen a dog with a beard? Barbets are named after their distinguishable facial hair that trails below their snouts. This French breed is a water-loving dog that is always eager to please. Barbets hold one of the best standings regarding overall health. They periodically develop ear infections and hernias but don’t have any severe dilemmas overall. Because of their love for adventure, these dogs are perfect for someone who loves exploring the outdoors and being active.

10. Basset Hound

Female Basset Hound
Image Credit: Ewa Studio, Shutterstock
Lifespan 12 – 13 years
Temperament Patient, low maintenance
Weight 40 – 65 pounds

You know when you see extra-long, floppy ears that a Basset Hound is headed your way. This French breed has enormous feet and little legs that make them look out of proportion sometimes, but they are incredibly low maintenance for those who like chill dogs. Basset Hounds are very friendly to dogs and people, but they aren’t known for minding their owners well due to their independent attitudes.

11. Beauceron

Beauceron dog in the forest
Image Credit: Vera Zinkova, Shutterstock
Lifespan 10 – 12 years
Temperament Obedient, gentle, faithful
Weight 70 – 110 pounds

Beaucerons are often mistaken for Dobermans or Rottweilers based on their coloring and large bodies, but these dogs are some of the most fearless and faithful that you’ll find. That’s not to say they won’t challenge their owners from time to time, but they are working dogs that enjoy getting assigned a job. Their most common health concern is heart disease, which often happens toward the end of their 12-year life.

12. Brittany Spaniel

Image Credit: Keith Bell, Shutterstock
Lifespan 12 – 14 years
Temperament Bright, fun
Weight 30 – 40 pounds

Brittany dogs have a lot of energy and enjoy having a few play sessions throughout the day. Because of their intelligence and demand for exercise, they are a lot to handle and require an owner who is able to dedicate their free time to them. As long as you give them all the love you have, they will greet you with a smile and wagging tail every time you walk through the door.

13. Great Pyrenees

great pyrenees dog on a leash
Image Credit: Amanda Poulin, Shutterstock
Lifespan 10 – 12 years
Temperament Patient, calm
Weight 85+ pounds

The Great Pyrenees were bred as livestock dogs back in the 1800s. Those who live in northern regions love having these dogs around because their thick white coats help them stay outside in harsh temperatures much longer than other French breeds. If you don’t like shedding, these dogs aren’t the ones for you. They are enormous and require a lot of maintenance, as their fur sheds during the alternating seasons. Even though they require extra work, they are incredibly mellow and the perfect dog for a family with kids.

14. Bloodhound

Image by: Edoma, Shutterstock
Lifespan 10 – 12 years
Temperament Independent, inquisitive, friendly
Weight 80 – 110 pounds

You’re like most people if you immediately think of detective work when you see a Bloodhound. This breed has a powerful nose and enjoys tracking a scent for miles. They are still used today in police work, hunting, and search-and-rescue missions. When they’re off the job, Bloodhounds are family-friendly pets that like to lounge with their loved ones during their downtime.

15. Berger Picard

berger picard
Image Credit: TMArt, Shutterstock
Lifespan 12 – 14 years
Temperament  Observant, loyal
Weight 50 – 70 pounds

The Berger Picard is the stereotypical sheepdog that loves to run and play. They are always happy to be a part of a family and bring years of happy memories to those who own them. Some owners report that they have a tendency to be a little stubborn sometimes, but they shed minimally and are relatively low-maintenance pets.


How Many French Dog Breeds Are There?

France is the third-largest European country and is known for breeding some of the best dogs in the world. There are now over 50 French dog breeds, but some are becoming far more popular than others. The oldest breed we know of is the Dogue de Bordeaux, which was featured at the top of this list. Most dogs of French origins were bred for working purposes, but new breeders have found ways to focus more on their personalities and turn them into some of the best bloodlines for both work and family purposes.



While we celebrate France for its cheese and wine, we can’t forget the contributions that it’s made to the pet world. Thousands of pet-loving families have had their lives changed due to some of these breeds, and it’s only fitting to celebrate them the way they deserve. If you’re thinking about bringing home a new dog, this list of French dog breeds is the best place for you to find one.

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Featured Image Credit: Javier Brosch, Shutterstock

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