11 Popular French Dog Breeds

A Cute Pied French Bulldog looking up at the camera

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Top 11 Most Popular French Dog Breeds

Some of the world’s favorite dogs originate in France although you might be surprised to learn that a French Bulldog isn’t one of them!

However, there are many other well-loved breeds that emerged from France and are ranked on the American Kennel Club’s most popular breeds.

1. The Brittany Spaniel – AKC Ranking – 27

This cute and fluffy spaniel breed is warm and friendly with barrels of energy!

The Brittany Spaniel is named after Brittany, the province in France where it was first bred. Originally bred as a bird dog they are smaller than a setter but have longer legs than other spaniels and are famous for excellent obedience, agility, and their affectionate natures.

Their long coats have bold patterns which combine a vivid orangey-brown, reddish-brown and white. They have soft snouts which make them gentle pets as well as hunting dogs. The ideal pet for outdoorsy families, the Brittany needs plenty of exercise and playtime to be happy and fulfilled.

2. Basset Hound – AKC Ranking – 34

Friendly, intelligent with a highly tuned sense of smell, a Basset Hound named Victoria was once elected the co-canine mayor of Concord in Ontario, Canada in 2011!

Best known for their droopy ears and an unbeatable sense of smell the Basset Hound is the ultimate dog detective! Originally bred from the larger Bloodhound, the Basset Hound is a fantastic hunting dog that has a superb sense of smell and tracking abilities, with their short legs making it easy for them to keep their noses to the ground when following a scent.

With kind, easy-going personalities they’re always keen to please and love to be the center of their owner’s attention.

3. Bichon Frise – AKC Ranking – 47

This sturdy framed fluffy little charmer has a massive personality that just bubbles out and will win you over in a heartbeat.

Standing at just 1 foot tall to the shoulder, the Bichon Frise is a cute lap dog with a big fluffy coat. These are perfect for older owners and make great companion dogs and family pets.

The most striking characteristic of the Bichon Frise is its white hypoallergenic velvety coat that frames its round head and bright dark eyes. They are extremely adaptable and are suitable for apartment living and get along well with other dogs and pets.

4. Bloodhound – AKC Ranking – 50

Bred for hunting and tracking, once a Bloodhound gets a scent it will follow it to the end – which would explain why a Bloodhound named Ludivine once caught the scent of a half marathon and ended up finishing 7th!

Bloodhounds are sweet dogs with floppy ears, a flat snout, and bright loving eyes. Although they were originally hunting dogs, in the modern world, they’re usually family pets who love to play in the park just as much as curl up on the couch to watch some TV with their owners.

5. Papillon – AKC Ranking – 54

With its cute ‘butterfly ears’ the Papillon is one of the most joyous French dogs of all who were carefully bred to provide the nobility with companionship.

Despite their tiny size, with fully grown adults weighing under 5kg, Papillons have a huge amount of energy and love to get plenty of exercise. That said, they are lovely lapdogs who make wonderful companions.

Even though they have tonnes of energy because they are so small you don’t need to have a huge garden to keep them happy; so they’re an ideal pet for young families as well as retirees.

6. Great Pyrenees – AKC Ranking – 63

These herding dogs have a distinctive white coat and the same type of goofy smile as a retriever!

In past times the Great Pyrenees were charged with looking after sheep in the mountains and were trusted to be left on their own to guard their flocks for long periods of time by their owners!

These are highly intelligent animals who love to learn new tricks. They have a calm, devoted, and loyal nature that makes them amazing family pets. In fact, as a result of the breed’s loyalty and devotion, Louis XIV made the Great Pyrenees the official ‘Royal Dog of France’!

7. Dogue de Bordeaux – AKC Ranking – 70

Used as hunting dogs by the French aristocracy, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a sweet-hearted gentle giant.

With a solid stature, the muscular frame of the Dogue de Bordeaux was bred for hunting but is best known for its gentle, affectionate nature. These dogs have very strong wills and can be a little stubborn so they need to be well trained when they are young to avoid behavioral problems later on.

However, with a bit of patience, they will grow up to be well-behaved and obedient. They are incredibly loyal and consequently make fantastic pets for people who have the time to dedicate to their training.

8. Bouvier de Flandres – AKC Ranking – 101

These huge curly-haired cattle dogs are one of the most loving and loyal dogs that you could hope to meet!

Originally bred in Flanders and Northern France the Bouvier de Flanders is a top-of-the-line working dog that was bred to herd cattle but still has a soft cuddly heart. They are extremely clever and make amazing watchdogs or guardians with their large frames, often standing as tall as 28 inches to their shoulders!

Their large, strong heads have a beard and mustache beneath their long black coats that make them look a little bit like a smart gentleman!

If you want to keep one as a family pet you’ll have to ensure that it gets plenty of exercise because they are high-energy dogs. This means that they’re not particularly suitable for city living but even then as long as you have a large park nearby you can accommodate them into your life.

9. Beauceron – AKC Ranking 121

First bred in the 1500s to hunt wild boar, the Beauceron is a powerful herding dog and guardian.

These highly spirited herding dogs are extremely intelligent and can weigh as much as 100 pounds! Their thick black and tan coats are rugged and tough which perfectly suits this muscular dog that looks quite similar to a German Shepherd.

These confident dogs often work with police forces but also make fantastic pets and can be trusted to guard children and property.

10. Briard – AKC Ranking – 150

As a companion to some of the world’s great political leaders, including Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon, the Briard is a natural-born leader’s best friend.

Highly loyal, attentive, devoted, and easy to train, the Briard makes an ideal family dog who loves to play with children. Their long shaggy wavy coats and big floppy ears give them a cartoonesque image and their beards and mustaches perfectly finish their iconic look! These muscular dogs stand at around 25 inches and are nicknamed ‘big hearts wrapped up in fur’!

11. Lowchen – AKC Ranking – 157

The Lowchen, which literally means ‘little lion’ in German, is actually a French breed that has a massive bark making it the ideal watchdog and has been a popular pet for over 500 years!

They are highly prized champion dogs that perform extremely well in dog trials because of their exceptional agility, intelligence, and desire to please their owners. Lowchen are very affectionate dogs that are small but brave as a lion which is why they make such great pets and companion dogs.

Traditionally their coats are clipped in a ‘lion cut’; which means their coats are closely trimmed on their hindquarters and exaggerated around the head to produce their trademark lion’s mane.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Most Common Dog In France?

Shepherd dog breeds have traditionally been the French favorite since the late 1940s with the German Shepherd being the most common until 2015; after which the Belgian Shepherd became the most common pet until 2017 when the Australian Shepherd became the most common dog in France.

How Many French Dog Breeds Are There?

There are more than 40 breeds of dogs that originated in France.

Which Is the Biggest French Dog Breed?

The biggest breeds of French dogs are the Dogue de Bordeaux and the French Mastiff.

What Is The Smallest French Dog Breed?

The smallest breeds of French dogs are the Lowchen and the Papillon.

French Dog Breeds – An Ancient Heritage That Only Gets Better

French dog breeds are among the oldest domesticated breeds in the world and have been loved by everyone from royalty to American presidents.

If you’re considering getting a furry friend to share your life with then the French breeds should certainly be on your list of dogs to consider!