The Braque du Bourbonnais (pronounced Brock-do-bor-bon-nay) is a gentle, intelligent, and friendly pointing dog, originally from France. These pups go by several names, including Bourbonnais Pointer and Bourbonnais Pointing Dog.
As an ancient breed, these dogs have a long history of accompanying foot hunters and quietly ‘pointing’ out where prey is hiding. But they’re not just excellent hunters, they’re also amazing pets that get on well with older children and form very tight bonds with each family member.
They’re stunning working dogs that have short and easy-to-manage coats that are beautifully ticked. But compared to other pointers and hunting pups, these dogs are relatively rare, and not a huge deal is known about them.
Below you can find out all about these amazing french dogs, including their temperament, appearance, health, and dietary needs.
History and Origin of the Braque du Bourbonnais
This hunting dog originated in the Bourbonnais region in France. There are paintings and descriptions of these beautiful pups dating all the way back to the 1500s. They’re thought to be one of the oldest European pointing breeds there is.
For centuries these pups were one of the favorite dog breeds for hunters in France. Their loyalty, stealth, and friendly nature set them apart from many other dogs.
Unfortunately, like many other breeds at the time and in the region, WWI brought the French Pointer to the brink of extinction. Bombings, a lack of food and breeders, and their work in the war effort meant there were only a couple of dogs left by the end of the war.
Breeders and Braque du Bourbonnais lovers worked hard during the years between the wars to build up this breed’s numbers. They managed to almost totally recover the breed, so much so that the Braque du Bourbonnais Club was founded in 1925.
But again, war nearly made this breed extinct and it took decades for breeders to bring up their numbers again. In 1982 the new Braque du Bourbonnais Club was founded.
These pups were recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2006 and by the American Kennel Club in 2011. Even today, their numbers haven’t risen to what they once were and they remain a relatively rare breed.
Personality and Character of the Braque du Bourbonnais
The Braque du Bourbonnais is a gentle and sweet dog that's very affectionate. They’re real people pups and need to be in an active family that has lots of spare time for them. In fact, these dogs love to be around humans so much that they easily develop severe separation anxiety if they’re left alone for long periods of time.
As well as being a loving and fun family pet, the Braque du Bourbonnais breed is also a loyal and very efficient hunter. They can silently communicate with their humans and indicate exactly where the prey is. They’re swift, athletic, and very active, making them a fun and excellent companion while out on a hunt.
Whilst affectionate with those they love and know, Braque du Bourbonnais dogs can be timid and shy with humans and other pups they don’t know. It takes them a while to warm up and they may never be the pup that’s running around the dog park playing with everyone there.
Can the Braque du Bourbonnais Live in an Apartment?
These dogs are quite active and do best in a home with a yard that they can play in and walk around. They’re medium-sized dogs and can get very active when they feel ‘cooped’ up in an apartment.
They’re used to running through woods after prey, not walking around a living room. They really need space outdoors that they can go to as and when they please.
If you do live in an apartment and really want to adopt a Braque du Bourbonnais, you’ll have to take them out a lot. Pups living with access to a yard need a long half an hour walk and lots of outdoor play sessions, but an apartment pup will need even more. So you really will have your hands full!
Can the Braque du Bourbonnais Live with Children?
The Braque du Bourbonnais loves children. Kids are a great way for them to have fun, burn some energy, and socialize. However, it’s best if Braque du Bourbonnais puppies are adopted by families with older children.
Young dogs can be very boisterous and they may overwhelm younger kids. If you adopt a well-socialized older dog, they’ll probably be a great companion for kids of all ages.
As always, kids and dogs should be supervised and it’s important that both are taught how to interact with the other.
Are They Aggressive Dogs?
These pooches are not aggressive – quite the opposite! They’re very sweet, kind, and love hanging out with their humans. But they can be reserved in particular situations with people they don’t know.
It’s really important to socialize a Braque du Bourbonnais from a young age. They need to learn how to interact with humans and other dogs so that they grow up to be a well-rounded pooch that’s not overly shy.
If you adopt your pooch from a shelter, it’s sometimes difficult to know their past experiences. Dogs with a bad past may be more aggressive than others, but speak to the shelter staff and maybe seek the help of a professional trainer.
Do They Get Along Well With Other Animals?
The Braque du Bourbonnais is a good companion for other dogs. They can work well in a pack and like socializing with dogs they know. They’ll probably be reserved around new pups, but will happily share their home with another dog that they get on with.
But these dogs are hunters, meaning they have a strong prey drive. It’s not recommended you get one of these pups if you have cats, ferrets, rabbits, or other smaller pets at home.
Appearance of the Braque du Bourbonnais
The Braque du Bourbonnais has a classic pointer look. They’re medium-sized, have long floppy ears, expressive eyes, and a ticked coat (most of the time). They have an athletic build, a long pointy nose, and are very cute!
Size and Weight
These pups can be a maximum of 22.5 inches tall and weigh up to 53 pounds. Females are usually a little smaller than males.
How Long Does It Take for a Braque du Bourbonnais to Reach Adult Size?
It takes around a year for French Pointers to reach their full size.
These pups nearly always have a white base coat with ticking either of chestnut or fawn. Some dogs appear more white (as they have less ticking) and some can have a much more colorful coat.
Ticking often appears on their faces, ears, backs, tails, and legs.
The Braque du Bourbonnais has a dense, short coat that’s made up of fine hairs. It can be longer and a little coarse on the back.
These pups shed mildly and only need brushing once a week or so.
These dogs are compact and muscular with a robust build. They’re elegant yet at the same time strong and athletic. Females are often slimmer and even more elegant looking.
Braque du Bourbonnais dogs should have round eyes that can either be hazel or dark amber, depending on their coat color. The eye rims should be well-pigmented and not too faint. Their eyes are kind, intelligent, and very expressive.
According to the AKC breed standard, the essential breed characteristic is their ‘pear-shaped’ head. It should neither be too heavy nor too fine and should be well-proportioned to the body. Their nose is broad with large nostrils and the color should match that of their coat.
It’s best if these dogs have a scissor bite, but a level bit is also tolerated.
Interestingly, some dogs are naturally born without a tail! The AKC recommends docking the tails of dogs born with one. In countries where docking is illegal, the tail should be lower than the dog’s topline.
Grooming and Hygiene of the Braque du Bourbonnais
These short-coated doggos are relatively easy to groom and keep hygienic. One of the most important things when it comes to any pointer (or floppy-eared pooch) is to keep their ears clean and dry.
Your Braque du Bourbonnais may like to take a dip in lakes and puddles and ears left uncleaned and wet can easily become infected. It’s also really important to clip their nails (if they don’t wear down naturally) to stop them from cracking and splintering.
How to Brush a Braque du Bourbonnais?
These dogs shed minimally and only need to be brushed once a week or so. Their short coats are easy to wipe down and keep clean.
When brushing your pup, always do so gently and in the direction of hair growth. Work your way from their neck and floppy ears down to their tail. Some dogs may have rougher hair on their backs which might need slightly more brushing.
What Brush for a Braque du Bourbonnais?
The best brush for these pooches is a natural bristle brush or a rubber comb-type brush. With these combs, the bristles are particularly soft so don’t scratch the skin but are effective at removing dead skin and hair and spreading important oils.
How Do You Wash a Braque du Bourbonnais?
Braque du Bourbonnais pooches don’t need to be bathed often. You’ll probably find yourself wiping them down way more often than bathing them. It’s best to wash them a couple of times a year or when they roll in something particularly dirty. Don’t forget you need to wash and dry their ears regularly, though!
Depending on your home, you might find it easier to wash your pup outside. Just remember to tie them up as you’ll probably need both hands.
Wet them using warm water and apply a suitable shampoo for short and compact coats. Lather well and don’t forget to wash their feet too. Rinse off and repeat the process with a conditioner if you decide to use one.
Once you’ve rinsed the conditioner, be sure to thoroughly dry your pup so that their skin doesn’t become irritated. It may seem a lot to wash a dog, but it’s a great way for you to bond and spend some time together too.
Is It a Hypoallergenic Dog?
Braque du Bourbonnais are not considered hypoallergenic. Even though they don’t shed as much as some other dogs, they still shed moderately which could be a problem for allergy sufferers.
Braque du Bourbonnais Training and Education
Training these dogs is quite easy and they’re very smart and willing to please their owner. They’re not very stubborn and enjoy learning new things.
It’s important to train them from puppyhood. Untrained Braque du Bourbonnais can be quite mouthy. These dogs respond best to positive reinforcement. They can be quite timid, and negative training can really affect their progress.
Because these pups are a working breed, they might benefit from dog sports. They’ll excel in many different types of classes including agility and tracking.
However much you train a Braque du Bourbonnais, they’re unlikely to be a good guard dog. These pooches are too timid to protect property or people.
What Is the Price of a Braque du Bourbonnais?
These dogs are pretty rare, so you can expect to pay a little more for them than other similar breeds. On average, you’ll pay between 1000$ and 1500$ for a Braque du Bourbonnais. You may find you need to fly a dog in, and you should expect to pay for airfares too.
The price of your puppy will really depend on Braque du Bourbonnais breeders near you and the demand.
Always avoid puppy mills or breeders offering much cheaper dogs. The first step to being a responsible dog owner is getting your pup from a responsible breeder. They should provide you with the required health checks in line with the breed club.
It’s also a great idea to look in a pound near you. You might find a Braque du Bourbonnais or a similar breed in need of a new, forever home.
Braque du Bourbonnais Feeding
This hunting dog does well on a good-quality diet that’s appropriate for a medium-sized, active breed. If you want to feed your pooch a raw diet or prepare your own meals, make sure you do so under the supervision of a vet or canine nutritionist.
Dogs need to get enough calories to keep them active but too many can easily make them put on weight. Even though they can be a great training technique, try not to give your pooch too many calorie-rich treats. Give them lots of praise and cuddles instead!
Contact your vet for specific information about exactly how much your dog should be eating.
Braque du Bourbonnais Health
Braque du Bourbonnais are usually healthy dogs – especially if they’re taken for regular vet check-ups, are fed a healthy diet, and get lots of exercise. But, they are predisposed to some health conditions that affect many pointer breeds.
Here are the most common illnesses and health problems for these dogs.
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Patellar luxation
- Pulmonic stenosis
- Progressive retinal atrophy
It’s a good idea to carry out hip and elbow tests, as well as heart and skeletal tests too. Your vet will be able to advise on the best preventative treatment and care for your dog.
What Is the Life Expectancy of the Braque du Bourbonnais?
These dogs can live for 10-12 years. Adopting your pooch from a trusted breeder can help ensure your puppy is healthy and will live as long as possible. Genetics do play a role, but so does lifestyle, so make sure you feed them a nutritious diet and give them enough exercise.
What Is the Best Climate for a Braque du Bourbonnais?
These dogs do best in a temperate climate that’s not too hot or too cold. They don’t have a very thick coat, so very cold weather can be an issue for them and you might want to consider getting them a doggy jacket.
But hot weather can also be tricky for the Braque du Bourbonnais. Give them plenty of water and access to shade and cool areas.
Breeds Similar to Braque du Bourbonnais
The Braque du Bourbonnais is quite a rare dog breed, so it might be difficult to find one in your area. Luckily, there are many very similar breeds that may be more common!
American English Coonhound. These dogs are larger than Braque du Bourbonnais, but they’re great hunters and loyal companions too.
English Pointer. These dogs can be a very similar color to Braque Bourbonnais and also have floppy ears, an athletic body, and a wide nose.
German Shorthaired Pointer. There are two versions of the German Pointer, short-haired and long-haired. The short-haired ones certainly look more like the Braque du Bourbonnais although they’re usually a dark brown color with ticking.
Old Danish Pointer. These dogs look a lot like German Shorthaired Pointers and Braque du Bourbonnais. Unlike other pointer dogs, however, they’re not a recognized breed by the AKC.
Bracco Italiano. These stocky yet athletic dogs are a little larger than the Bourbonnais breed but they can be a similar chestnut and fawn color with ticking (they also have the classic pointer characteristics).
The Braque du Bourbonnais is a wonderful dog breed and the perfect companion for hunters and families. They can be timid in unusual situations but are generally good-natured and friendly. They’re very intelligent and training is quite easy. As a hunting dog, the Braque du Bourbonnais needs lots of daily exercise and mental stimulation. A bored dog can easily become vocal and destructive.
If you have the time and space for a French pointing breed, you’ll be getting a wonderful dog that’s affectionate and kind.
Not sure if the Braque du Bourbonnais is the right breed for you? Maybe you’d prefer a different Pointer or an entirely different breed? Take our fun quiz to find your perfect pooch!