I am often asked two questions about my Braque Francais. The first question is: What are they like? The answer to that question can be found in the “About the Breed” tab. The second question I get asked is: How did you find this little known breed? Answer: Bird dogs have been an enriching part of my life since the day I was born. I have had a lot of dogs and many different breeds along the way, each special in their own way. Eight years ago my kennel expanded with a human ‘pup’. Just before my son turned two he fell onto our dog, who was sleeping on the living room floor. The dog reacted, turned with his mouth open and his K9 tooth cut my son’s face.
While that dog’s reaction was explainable, it was not excusable! I placed that dog with a trainer who had no small children and was more than happy to take him. The next two years we did not have a dog as my wife and I added a daughter to our family. During that time I did a lot of reading and research for the perfect dog to fit our lifestyle. The next dog I would trust to join our family had to meet a lot of criteria.
The first requirement I was looking for in a breed was it had to be good with kids. I don’t just mean ok with or tolerant of kids, I mean GOOD with kids! The next area I looked for in a breed I sum up as “liveability”. What I mean by liveability is a dog that is a joy to be in the home as a pet since that’s what they are 80% of the time. Liveablity to me is a dog that is medium or smaller in size (under 60 lbs), that doesn’t shed everywhere (sorry retrievers), whose coat doesn’t collect dirt and mud (longer haired dogs were out), my wife needed to think the dog is cute (sorry Wirehairs), and needs to be mellow or almost lazy around the house (there went most pointing lines).
Besides “liveablity” I looked at “huntablity”. I describe huntablity as a dog that is enjoyable to hunt with. I wanted a dog that can hunt all day, find and retrieve game on land or in water. As a deer hunter I wanted a dog that could blood track on occasion. Mostly I need a dog that will hunt for me, not me for the dog. I am not a field trialer or a dog trainer, nor do I have the time and land to become either. So I did not want a dog that was stubborn or difficult to train.
Needless to say, the task to find a dog that fits this bill was a tough one. Many breeds meet a lot of the things I was looking for. Some breeds have individual dogs that are what I described above. I have not found or read about another breed that fits that description as a breed standard like the Braque Francais does.