Bird Dogs & Training  |  04/26/2023

Braque Francais Checks-off All the Boxes


Making a case for the “petite GSP”

By Tim Fredricks

Most people that meet our “petite GSP” in passing are left to believe that to be the case … she is a brown and white, deep chested, long-legged, short-haired, hunting dog with an easygoing, even laid-back personality, all wrapped up in a less-than-40-pound package.

A small German shorthaired pointer, right?

To be fair, we met our first Braque Francais Pyrenees after we asked to pet what looked like a GSP, and we could have easily been left to believe that as well.

Affectionately known as “Braques,” these dogs are relative newcomers to the United States (about 50 years ago) but have a long history in Europe dating back to the 15th century. The breed was perfected hundreds of years ago in the Pyrenees Mountains of southwestern France. As far as dog breeds go, this is an ancient one.

Affectionately known as “Braques,” these dogs are relative newcomers to the United States.

When considering a bird dog for our family, we had a wish-list that would make Santa crazy:

  • Good with kids
  • Build and temperament to live with us in the house
  • Limited shedding from a short and easy-care coat
  • No beards allowed
  • Strong prey drive
  • Retriever
  • Fond of water
  • Able to cooperatively hunt with us

Maybe (maybe) there are other breeds that can check off everything on that list. Most can’t. And everyone I know that has kids or a bird dog are fully convinced (us included) that their kids and dog are the best.

But the Braque Francais did check everything off. And after a year together, we wouldn’t trade our Xena for any dog out there. She is:

  • Ferociously intense on birds but controllable
  • Accepts training easily but is clever enough to challenge boundaries
  • At home in the water (but doesn’t have the coat for late season ducks)
  • An endurance athlete in the field but equally joyous at home under a blanket with the kids

So the next time you meet a dog that looks almost like a GSP, but not quite, you may have just met your first Braque!

Tim Fredricks is both Braque Francais evangelist and active member of the Gateway Chapter of Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever in St. Louis and St. Charles Counties, Missouri. Fun fact: Gateway is the first-ever, original QF Chapter.


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