Say Bonjour to These 6 Popular French Dogs!

France is home to many recognizable dog breeds, from the French Bulldog to the Basset Hound. It also hosts some uncommon breeds, like the Barbet.

Feb 18, 2024By Thalia Oosthuizen
popular french dogs say bonjour

French Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, and Papillons all have one thing in common - they are all popular French dogs that are taking the world by storm. But what is it about French dogs that have captured the hearts of dog lovers around the world?

Let’s find out just what makes these dogs so special as we take you through six French dog breeds that you simply must have! Be warned, though; you might just want them all!

1. Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux  Standing in Field
Image credit: the Spruce Pets

Starting off our list is an ancient dog breed often referred to as the French Mastiff. The Dogue de Bordeaux was originally introduced to France by the Romans and was popular as a battle and gladiator dog. Once the 17th century rolled around, however, these dogs went from fighting battles to guarding, hunting and herding dogs on the grand estates owned by French nobles.

These stunning dogs are known for their loyalty, affectionate nature, and the fact that they are super protective of their families. They stand roughly 23 to 27 inches tall, weigh between 100 and 110 pounds, and have a lifespan of about five to eight years.

A word of warning to potential owners: The Dogue de Bordeaux has impressive strength and needs proper training to curb any potential “protective” instincts that might just appear when other dogs come too close to their owners. Oh, and they slobber a lot, too.

2. Grand Bleu de Gascogne

Grand Bleu de Gascogne  Standing on Grass
Image credit: Fello Pet

These majestic dogs were once only found in the French region of Gascony but soon became the country’s most popular hunting dog. The Grand Bleu de Gascogne has lean, long, muscular legs but is known more for its powerful bark and that all-too-familiar howl that makes it a great hunting dog.

Family and loyalty are a big deal to this large and strong hound. Standing 24 to 28 inches tall and weighing between 80 and 110 pounds, the Grand Bleu de Gascogne enjoys a lifespan of roughly 10 to 12 years.

These strong yet playful pooches might need some training and a bit of good old socialization to overcome their compulsive barking, but they are a great addition to any family.

3. French Bulldog

French Bulldog Standing in Park
Image credit: Britannica

Could there be anything cuter than a French Bulldog? No, we didn’t think so, either. These popular family pets were first brought to Northern France by UK lacemakers before becoming companions of wealthy Parisian women.

These cute and affectionate dogs are the ultimate family pet and will fit into any fun-loving household with ease. This brachycephalic dog breed can thrive in apartments and other small domiciles, too.

French Bulldogs are relatively small and stand only 11 to 13 inches, weigh 19 to 28 pounds, and live an impressive 10 to 12 years. They have short coats and are easy to groom. But, there is a downside to owning these cute-as-a-button dogs, and that is having to deal with respiratory issues and the fact that they overheat rather easily. No long walks for this precious pup!

4. Barbet

Black, White, and Brown Barbet Dogs Sitting on Grass
Image credit: Barbet Club of America

Coming in at number four is one of the oldest dog breeds in Europe - the Barbet. The Barbet is a medium-sized, muscular dog that loves water and was used for water rescues, with an undercoat that kept them warm in the cold winters of Europe and France.

The Barbet stands 19 to 24.5 inches tall, weighs between 35 to 65 pounds, and lives for up to 14 years. That’s certainly not a bad run for a pet that’s been around for centuries, right? This cute and very cuddly companion with a coat like a poodle does have a number of health issues, though, and older dogs are known to suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia and a series of eye problems. And let’s not forget the need for extra grooming!

5. Papillon

Papillon Dog Standing in Grass
Image credit: the Spruce Pets

The “dwarf Spaniels” of the dog world, these gorgeous, big-eared dogs have been around since the Renaissance period, when they were the preferred companions of French noble ladies. They are inexplicably happy and playful little creatures and have a high energy.

Papillons are on the smaller side of things and stand only eight to 11 inches tall. They can weigh as little as six to 10 pounds and live for a remarkable 14 to 16 years—a great lifespan for a pint-size pup.

These dogs are the ideal pet for those who like a spunky little dog that is vocal, often needy, and has more energy than the Energizer Bunny himself. What’s not to love?

6.Basset Hound

Basset Hound with Long Ears
Image credit: Pexels

Ever wondered where the Basset Hound got its name? Well, it might just come as a surprise to know that “basset” in French means “low.” Explains a lot, doesn’t it? Basset Hounds are among the top hunting dogs in France and were favored by the French Aristocracy centuries ago.

These magnificent creatures are low-energy and would likely prefer to spend their days lounging in the sun than on long hunts these days. But they are still loyal as ever and friendly, happy dogs that make worthy companions.

Basset Hounds, as their name suggests, are rather short, standing only 15 inches tall. They can weigh between 40 and 65 pounds and live for up to 13 years. Beware, though, as they are prone to obesity and often suffer ear problems thanks to their long, pendulum-like ears. Who wouldn’t want their own big-eyed Basset Hound to love and care for?

Which French Dog Is Right for You?

Basset Hound Standing in Green Field
Image credit: Pexels

Big or small, young or old, long- or short-haired - there is a French dog out there just waiting to captivate your heart and soul. Often used for hunting and as companions for the French nobility, there is just something about a French dog that makes it a popular breed for dog owners around the world.

Whether you prefer the sweet, feisty Papillon or the large, gentle-natured Dogue de Bordeaux, you can’t go wrong with a French dog breed. No household is complete without the love and companionship that only a dog can offer, and with so many to choose from in this list, we know it will be a tough decision to make.

The only question is, which is your favorite?

Thalia Oosthuizen
By Thalia Oosthuizen

Thalia has been a freelance writer for over a decade and a dog (and animal) lover for over 30 years. She grew up on a farm where, at one stage, she had 15 dogs. She currently has one dog, Avery - an adorable pavement special with an extra toe on each foot, and two rescue cats - Boris and Mango. In her spare time, Thalia enjoys running, cycling, swimming, and reading