These 9 French Dog Breeds Are Cuter Than Croissants
Many dog breeds that are beloved in the U.S. were first bred to serve a specific purpose overseas, like the herding of livestock, the shepherding of sheep and yes, for the companionship of humans.
In a country like France, the same is true. The Western European country is home to vast countrysides that many canines have trotted across for centuries upon centuries. Since then, this eclectic group of spaniels, mountaineers, and show dogs has made its way into the hearts of dog lovers across the world.
Here are some of our favorite French dog breeds that nous adorons adorer (we love to love!)
The word "Berger" in French is very telling of this breed's history, translating to "shepherd" in English. Originating from the Picardy region of France, the Berger Picard's lanky but strong build made them perfect for getting sheep where they needed to go.
Their facial features also resemble a Frenchman, boasting fluffy eyebrows and a matching beard and mustache. They are also distinguished by their perky ears, which make them easy to spot in a crowd.
Nowadays, these shaggy boys and girls make great companions for active pet owners that fancy a hike, game of fetch, and other exercise-heavy pastimes. Physical activity is a must for these pups so that they can make their ancestors proud!
Dogue de Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a very historical city, located on a southwestern port of France and known for its wine. The Dogue de Bordeaux (French mastiff) is just as, if not more, historical, able to be traced back to absolutely ancient roots. So ancient that their exact origins aren't for certain.
What is certain, however, is that this dog is absolutely massive in both size and the amount of love they have for others. Dogues often tip the scale at over 101 pounds, but despite their large size, they are great with children and are incredibly loyal to their owners. With plenty of positive reinforcement training and socialization as a young puppy and beyond, these big boys and girls will be adored members of your fur family.
Dogues are a content breed, willing and able to lounge away the day as long as their owner is nearby. That is quite the running theme with Dogues—they want to sleep/sit/stand next to you, preferably on the same furniture that you're using. So, be willing to share your bed!
A Great Pyrenees dog is as stunning and majestic as the mountain region they got their name from. That's why it's no surprise that their beautiful snow-white coats helped them earn the title of the "Royal Dog of France" in 1675.
Great Pyrenees were able to easily navigate the Pyrenees mountains thanks to their handy and rare double dew claws, two extra toenails known to be found on working dogs. Today, dew claws serve as a good reminder to owners that these dogs need a job to be content. You can keep your Great Pyrenees stimulated by electing to go on a long walk or extending playtime with interactive toys that are designed to mentally enrich your pup.
Above all else, Great Pyrenees are smart, regal dogs that are sure to turn heads in any crowd.
There's no question where this bundle of snuffles comes from—it says it right in the name. The French bulldog is one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S., according to Jerry Klein, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer for the American Kennel Club (AKC).
And it's no question why they're so popular. Frenchies are incredibly adaptive to their environments, which means they can even get along well in an apartment. They also crave love and affection, which makes them a great family dog. The more people around to love on them, the better!
One thing to note about Frenchies is that despite their adaptive natures, they may be more demanding from a health perspective due to their size and propensity for brachycephalic syndrome, which causes their smushy snout. Regardless, they are an absolute joy to have around.
Before poodles inserted themselves into French culture, they were water dogs in Germany, tasked with duck hunting and water retrieving. Brr! But their coarse, curly hair kept them warm while fetching their owners' prey. From the lakes of Germany, poodles moved up in social status once they caught the attention of French nobility.
They also make for a great pet for first-time owners, which is not common knowledge, according to Klein.
"Poodles are a great option and often the most misunderstood of all breeds," Klein says. "People assume that all poodles look like the ones seen in dog shows, but in fact, poodles were bred to be retrievers and companions. They are smart and fun to live with."
Klein also points out one can't-miss fact: poodles shed an extremely low amount, which had made them a popular parent to many well-loved and allergy-friendly hybrid breeds (including the cockapoo, maltipoo, goldendoodle, and many others.)
Everyone, give a warm welcome to the barbet, a newer dog to the U.S., but one that has many of the same admired physical traits of medium-sized poodle hybrids, namely doodles. You guessed it—barbets have curly, nearly hypoallergenic coats and come in many different colors. In addition to their coats, barbets have shaggy beards, which influenced their short and sweet name. The word for beard in French is "barbe."
Now let's talk personality. Barbets are always down for playtime and attention, which makes them great therapy dogs. They also enjoy physical activity and are "great swimmers," according to Klein.
The best prospective owners for barbets are ones with a large, fenced-in backyard and a knack of their own for the outdoors, as barbets prefer to not be left alone. Time to seek out your new best friend!
The word papillon means "butterfly" in French, and let's just say there couldn't be a more fitting namesake for this toy breed. Although they're a smaller dog, papillons possess a big personality and butterfly-like ears.
Papillons are perfect for first-time dog owners and do just fine in apartments. Although they have a high-energy motor, their exercise needs are easily met by daily walks or an indoor game of fetch due to their tiny size. And if you're equal parts dog and cat lover, papillons are a good choice, as they get along well with both felines and other dogs.
Even though they are easily tired out from moderate physical activity, papillons have active minds, so it's important to make sure they're not bored. Boredom can lead to excessive barking and inside pottying, so get the leash and go take a short stroll!
The Brittany is a beautiful spaniel breed that has especially made its mark on the hearts of hunters and other sporty owners. Their standard gingery color makes them not only good-looking, but their coat is practical for outdoor work, like traipsing through brush or wading through ponds.
Brittanys absolutely love the outdoors and bonding with their owners during a shared outdoor activity. Pay mind to the weather, however, making sure to not leave your Brittany alone in the elements during the colder months. Although their coat is practical for the outdoors, it's not the best for keeping Brittanys warm.
Brittanys are smart companions and are ready to take on the world's terrain with you!
Are you an active dog lover with lots of free time? Then, the "Beauce" may be the dog for you. The Beauceron is France's largest herding dog breed and one of the smartest, too, able to learn nearly any task. That intelligence historically made the Beauceron a great pick for serious jobs like bomb-sniffing and other military operations.
Beauces are large dogs that can weigh as much as 100 pounds and are most commonly spotted wearing a black coat with tan markings, similar to the color profile of a Rottweiler. Their grooming needs are minimal; just make sure to trim their nails and dewclaws.
Don't mistake their combination of intelligence, size, and power for independence, however. Beauces require an owner that are up for hours-long fetch sessions and are willing to surrender their personal space. They also get along well with other animals in the home as long as slow introductions are made.
Do you have a spot in your heart for this eager beaver?