Braque du Bourbonnais

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Braque du Bourbonnais
mic comte /

A medium-sized pointer, the Braque du Bourbonnais has a pear-shaped head, gentle eyes and a characteristic white coat with either liver or fawn ticking. They are well-known for having a natural bob tail – though this is not an essential breed requirement anymore.

Traditionally used to hunt within their native France, this breed is still widely used for their original purpose today. Despite this, most dogs adapt well to life as a companion animal and enjoy spending time in the company of their family. As long as owners are able to fulfil the exercise requirements of the breed, they should find that their Braque du Bourbonnais is a well-mannered and sociable pet.

About & History

Historically, Bourbonnais was a region in the middle of France and is thought to be the region where the Braque du Bourbonnais originated. The breed is also known as the French Pointer, though it should be highlighted that they are very good tracking and retrieving dogs, as well.

Thought to have been in existence for more than 500 years, the first known records of the breed appeared in 1598, and the dog was described as a ‘pleasant companion of the hunter’. The most likely theory is that the breed was developed by mixing the Braque Francais with a number of local hunting dogs.

There were two major physical attributes that were of traditional importance to a breeder: a naturally short tail and a specific lilac coat colouring. In order to improve the chances of these traits being inherited, owners were rigorous in their breeding standard. While this led to the creation of a standardised breed, this strict criteria also meant that breed numbers remained relatively low throughout the centuries. Over time, with the importation of European hunting dogs (in particular the English Pointer), and the two World Wars, breed numbers dwindled.

Numbers dropped so low that the FCI temporarily stopped recognising the breed and years passed without any puppies being registered. In the 1970s and 1980s, a number of breed fanciers rallied together to ensure the Braque du Bourbonnais would be saved from extinction. They located the remaining breed members – most of whom were thought to have been cross-breeds – and began a breeding programme that focused on working ability rather than looks alone. Docked tails were now accepted, and looser restrictions were placed on coat colour. Michel Comte is the man most often credited with the restoration of the breed, and it was in 1982 that he founded the Club du Braque du Bourbonnais.

Classified by the UKC as a gun dog, the Braque du Bourbonnais was recognised by the club in 2006. They are also now a member of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service and there is a small but well-established population within the USA, where they are mainly used to hunt.


Braque du Bourbonnais Large Photo
Pleple2000 /

This French pointing dog is of a medium size and should exhibit a degree of gracefulness, despite its robust build. Breed members have a pear-shaped head and their skull is rounded. Their nose must have wide-open nostrils and should never be black, but rather should match the pigment of the fur. Their brown eyes are round and expressive, while their medium-sized, flat ears hang close to their face.

The deep chest of the dog should be long and their body shape should be square or slightly rectangular. Their limbs are described as ‘very muscular’, giving them an athletic physique. Nowadays, their tail may be naturally short or docked, and some individuals still possess a ‘bob tail’. Dew claws are not accepted, and evidence that dew claws have been surgically removed counts as a disqualification in the show ring.

The short coat of the Braque du Bourbonnais should be fine, particularly on the ears and head. The most prominent colour should be white, with either brown (liver) or fawn ticking. Some breeders will describe these colours as ‘faded lilac’ (for liver colouring) or ‘peach blossom’ (for fawn colouring). A small number of patches are acceptable but discouraged.

Most males will stand at 51cm to 57cm tall, while females reach heights of between 48cm and 55cm. Males weigh from 18-25kg and females will weigh slightly less, at 16-22kg.

Character & Temperament

While this breed is good-natured and agreeable, it should be noted that they are primarily a working dog. Recently, more Braque du Bourbonnais dogs have been bought as companion animals – a testament to their adaptability and a confirmation that they are a well-rounded pet. They bond well with family members and become very attached to them, sometimes being overly attached. Their degree of dependence can lead to separation anxiety and can become a real issue for some individuals.

The Braque du Bourbonnais typically enjoys the company of other dogs and will work well in a pack. Dog aggression is a potential issue but can be avoided with adequate socialisation and sensible introductions. Care must be taken when around smaller animals, such as cats, birds and rodents, as the Braque du Bourbonnais is likely to chase them.

The gentle disposition of the Braque du Bourbonnais renders them a useless guard dog, as they either tend to be welcoming or shy in the presence of unknown people. They can, however, adapt well to the role of watch dog.

Owners should experience no issues when introducing their Braque du Bourbonnais to their children, as they will almost inevitably get on well with them. The only caveat would be that some young dogs may be too rambunctious for smaller children.

Hunters praise the Braque du Bourbonnais for its adaptability and responsiveness. This breed has the ability to hunt on a number of terrains and to pursue a variety of game.


Renowned as a very trainable dog indeed, the Braque du Bourbonnais not only lives to please their master, they are also very intelligent and obedient. They are usually happy to follow instruction and owners rarely have issues with them challenging their authority, as they crave human leadership. They are instinctive hunters and need little in the way of instruction when it comes to the work they were bred to do.

Owners will achieve the best results by using positive reinforcement training techniques and rewarding desired behaviours with verbal praise, toys, play time and tasty treats. Punishing a Braque du Bourbonnais for bad behaviour will not yield positive results, as they are too sensitive for this form of training. Having said this, their trainers should be firm and fair.


The majority of breed members are healthy animals that live into their early teens with few health complaints. While studies are lacking, there are a handful of conditions to consider:

Ear Infections

As the ears of the Braque du Bourbonnais hang downwards they are likely to develop infections. Routine ear cleaning is the best way to prevent these infections from occurring.

Entropion and Ectropion

Eyelids that are angled inwards (entropion) or outwards (ectropion) result in ocular discomfort and potential infections and ulcers. Unless only mildly affected, most dogs benefit from a corrective surgery to fix the shape of the eyelids.

Hip Dysplasia

A very common orthopaedic condition, misshapen hips will give a dog lifelong discomfort. The best way to prevent this disease is to only breed from parents who have been proven to have good hips.

Pulmonic Stenosis

This is a congenital heart condition that prevents blood from flowing to the lungs adequately. It is important that affected animals are not bred from.


'Bloat' is a colloquial term for a condition known as gastric dilatation. The stomach of an affected animal will fill with air, liquid and ingesta, causing visible bloating of the abdomen. If the stomach twists over, the situation can become life-threatening.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Primarily bred as a hunting dog rather than a pet, the Braque du Bourbonnais is a remarkably energetic dog that will not be content with anything less than a solid hour of daily exercise. While it is true that an under-stimulated dog will likely develop behavioural issues, once this breed has been provided with the necessary amount of exercise, they are content to relax within the home.

A small home would likely not be adequate for this breed, as they do best in large spaces. Ideally, they should be provided with a large garden and they should be given the opportunity to hunt when possible.


Generally a moderate shedder, the Braque du Bourbonnais is a good choice for someone not keen on committing themselves to a lot of grooming. They need a quick brush twice a week, and regular ear cleaning.

Famous Braques du Bourbonnais

A rare breed of dog, there are no celebrity breed members yet. You can, however, peruse some of the many photos available of 'every day' Braques on Instagram.


In the last few decades, breed fanciers have been working towards increasing the population size of the rare Braque du Bourbonnais and, as such, there are no well-known cross-breeds.

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