Looking for a loyal dog breed that will be up for travel, hiking, and outdoor fun? The Braque du Bourbonnais is a beautiful and unique breed known for its unrivaled hunting skills, beautiful coat, and dedication to its family.
In the United States, the Braque du Bourbonnais breed isn’t well-known but these French pointers have a lot to offer the right family. Here’s what you should know about the Braque du Bourbonnais and why it can be an awesome emotional support animal.
What Is a Braque du Bourbonnais, Anyway?
An incredibly old breed indeed, the Braque du Bourbonnais is one of France’s oldest pointers. Deriving from a French verb meaning “to aim” or “to point,” the word “braque” as a noun can be translated to mean “pointer.” Mentions of the breed in French literature go as far back as the end of the 16th century, and even then the breed was well known for its profound hunting talents.
Experts in the field of French pointers tend to agree that all of the breeds most likely originated from the same stock of French Pointers. Each one of the French Pointer breeds is named after the area in which they were developed: from the Auvergne region comes the Braque d’Auvergne, from Saint Germain comes the Braque Saint Germain, from Ariège comes the Braque de l’Ariège, from Puy-de-Dôme comes the Braque du Puy, and so of course from Bourbon comes the Braque du Bourbonnais.
Since around the early 1970s, breeders of the Braque du Bourbonnais have both rapidly and substantially improved the conformation and field performance of the breed. While it’s important that the Bourbonnais breed be proficient in the field as a pointer, tracker, and retriever, it’s of equal importance to breeders that they must strive to produce Bourbonnais that conform to a breeding standard.
Following the end of the First World War, the first Club du Braque du Bourbonnais was formed in 1925 by a dedicated group of breeders with the aim of reviving the breed, and bringing the Braque du Bourbonnais back to the prominence it saw pre-war. Despite the considerable progress the club made, along with the first breed standard being published in 1930, the breed was almost completely wiped out once again as a result of the Second World War. Also, due to the strict adherence to the aesthetics of the breeding standard, the resulting Bourbonnais that followed tended to be bred more based on appearance, and were starting to lack in performance. As a consequence of this, breeders started to lose interest, and in the 10 years between 1963 and 1973, not a single Braque du Bourbonnais pup was registered.
In 1982, a new Club du Braque du Bourbonnais formed with official recognition by the French affiliate of the FCI, the Society Centrale Canine (SCC) just a few years later. By now, the goal to revive the breed had been achieved, so the breeding standards were relaxed to allow spots and docked tails, and the hunting instincts of the breed were restored. Both the SCC and the FCI fully recognized the new breeding standard for the Braque du Bourbonnais in 1991.
What Does the Braque du Bourbonnais Look Like?
A medium-sized, short-haired hunting dog, the Braque du Bourbonnais is not overly muscular, however, the breed does have enough musculature to provide the impression of power and strength. With supple skin and a robust, stucky build, the Bourbonnais coat is short and dense, being fine and straight in texture, however slightly coarser and longer on the back, while the hair around the head and the ears is somewhat shorter and finer.
The Braque du Bourbonnais starts with a base color of white with either fawn or brown ticking throughout. This coloring was once known as peach blossom or wine dregs. Generally speaking, the ears will be the same color as the ticking on the body to a lesser extent.
Roan refers to an even mix of white and colored hairs on the body with solid colors on the head, tail, and legs. Roaning is acceptable and it isn’t penalized by the official club standards but it’s still not in favor.
A Braque du Bourbonnais stands up to 22 inches high at the shoulder and weighs anywhere from 35 to 55 pounds.
The Braque du Bourbonnais’ Temperament & Personality
As it’s been bred almost exclusively as a working dog, the Braque du Bourbonnais has exactly the kind of temperament you would expect from a hunter’s companion. Known to be highly affectionate and devoted to their family, the Bourbonnais breed wants nothing more than to be in the constant presence of their humans. If kept confined in a kennel or left home alone for too long, a Braque du Bourbonnais dog won’t do well. This breed is prone to severe separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time on a regular basis. Most Braque du Bourbonnais get on very well with children and become incredibly attached when they’ve had the chance to socialize.
Considered to be a highly trainable and very intelligent breed, the Braque du Bourbonnais is very eager to please and capable of learning quickly, while also being neither challenging nor dormant. Training methods that emphasize rewards can be much more effective than more aggressive correction methods, as this can cause a Braque du Bourbonnais to become nervous and fearful. The breed is also pretty good at being able to train itself as they can instinctively locate, point toward, and retrieve game, even if they haven’t been taught to do this.
Tips for Finding and Buying a Braque du Bourbonnais
Before taking the plunge and committing to buying a Braque du Bourbonnais pup, it’s worth considering the following. This is a breed with very specific needs and requirements. Make sure a Braque du Bourbonnais will fit your lifestyle and home before you adopt one to ensure you and the pup are a good match.
- Do I have enough space for a Braque du Bourbonnais? This is a medium-sized to large breed of dog. You’ll need to have plenty of space for a Braque du Bourbonnais, a very active dog, to run and get exercise. The Bourbonnais is probably not recommended if you live in an apartment.
- What color Bourbonnais do I want? The Braque du Bourbonnais comes in a few colors, so be sure to do some homework and find exactly what you’re after before visiting a breeder.
- Will I have enough time to socialize my Bourbonnais? A dog like this is going to require large amounts of attention and training to get it acclimated to suburban life. Your pup will need plenty of time spent each week socializing with other people and animals.
- Am I active enough for a Bourbonnais? This breed benefits from an active lifestyle. While a Bourbonnais can be a great companion while hunting, fishing, hiking, or camping, you don’t need to be outdoorsy. Regular walks and trips to the park are good enough to keep a Bourbonnais happy and healthy.
Due to this breed’s unique reputation and history, it can be difficult to find a quality breeder — especially outside of France.
Due to their rarity, most prospective buyers have to be prepared to embark on a little traveling to bring home a Braque du Bourbonnais. You should be able to find a dedicated Braque du Bourbonnais breeder in the United States with a bit research, however. When choosing a breeder, ask yourself the following:
- Is the breeder being attentive enough to the dogs’ needs? Braque du Bourbonnais or otherwise, any and all dogs need to undergo some degree of socialization. Is the breeder making an effort to kickstart this process by giving the dogs access to other dogs and human contact?
- Does the breeder’s place have enough room? The Braque du Bourbonnais breed requires a lot of room, so the breeder should be providing this with room for the pups to run.
- Does the breeder actually know his stuff? There are many unscrupulous breeders out there just looking to make a quick buck. Make sure to find a breeder that is knowledgeable and knows what he or she is talking about.
- Is the breeder being helpful? As we just mentioned, the breeder should be knowledgeable enough to give you advice on raising and managing Bourbonnais dogs.
- Is the breeder feeding, grooming, bathing, and caring for the dogs adequately? Braque du Bourbonnais are not cheap dogs. A good breeder puts effort and money into raising healthy, well-adjusted, and quality pups. This means the dogs receive regular vet care and grooming and eat a high-quality diet that supports good growth and nutrition.
Before adopting a Braque du Bourbonnais, make sure you consider the long-term costs of owning this breed. Price is always going to be a major factor to consider with any breed of dog and the Bourbonnais can be a pricey dog — especially in terms of the upfront cost.
While not quite as expensive as larger breeds such as the German Shepherd or a Labrador Retriever, for example, the Braque du Bourbonnais will still come in somewhere between $900 to $1,200 through a reputable breeder, which isn’t cheap by any means. You can save money by adopting a Bourbonnais with a fee that maybe $200 or less, but the problem is it won’t be easy to find a Braque du Bourbonnais breeder, let alone a Bourbonnais at a shelter.
Does the Braque du Bourbonnais Have Any Health Problems?
While the Braque du Bourbonnais breed, for the most part, is a very healthy dog, especially compared to other pure breeds, with a fairly long life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, there are still several health problems which owners and breeders may be concerned about.
Conditions such as hip dysplasia, entropion, and ectropion are some of the most common issues thought to affect the Bourbonnais breed, along with with pulmonary stenosis, a heart issue that can be serious and life-threatening.
The following is a list of health issues most common among Braque du Bourbonnais dogs and other French pointers:
- Hip dysplasia, a condition that happens when the hip joint is partially or totally dislocated.
- Elbow dysplasia
- Entropion, a condition in which the eyelid turns inward.
- Ectropion, a condition in which the eyelid turns outward and exposes the inner eyelid.
- Pulmonary Stenosis, a condition in which the heart’s pulmonary valve is too small.
- Ear infections
- A luxating patella, a common condition in which the kneecap dislocates.
- Demodicosis, an inflammatory condition caused by Demodex mites that are also known as mange.
- Progressive retinal atrophy, a group of genetic conditions in dogs that causes progressive vision loss and eventual blindness.
- Cleft palate
What Makes the Braque du Bourbonnais a Great Emotional Support Animal?
At home with his family, the Braque du Bourbonnais is incredibly affectionate and devoted, wanting nothing more than to be in the company of his family. The Bourbonnais breed is even-tempered, too. With his working dog temperament, he will be more than eager to follow you anywhere. On top of this, the Braque du Bourbonnais breed is, generally speaking, very accepting of just about everyone, even strangers, and get on great with children. These are all characteristics that make for the perfect emotional support animal in the Braque du Bourbonnais.
Whether you just want someone to snuggle on the couch late at night or someone to keep you company when traveling, a Braque du Bourbonnais will, above all else, just be happy to be by your side.
Planning to adopt a Braque du Bourbonnais as a new emotional support animal or service animal? You’re in for years of companionship, loyalty, and adventure. Just make sure you register your Bourbonnais as an ESA or service animal! At US Service Animals, we take pride in our fast, easy ESA registration process which includes an ID and certificate for your pet and inclusion in our national database.