A French Pyrenean Pointer in motion is a wonderful sight. The dog is very fast and agile it seems to fly in search of prey! Braque Francais (brahk franse’) literally means French Pointer or French Pointing Dog. There are two types of French Pointer Dogs – the Pyrenean Pointer that weighs from 37 to 55 pounds and the Gascon type that weighs from 55 to 70 pounds. The Pyrenees is more common than the Gascogne. This smaller breed of French Pointing Dog is popular in France as well as in other European countries.
The French Pointing Dog Pyrenean Type is a small setter with a beautiful speckled coat. Although quite small the dog has a well muscled body. This is a leggy powerful dog with nimble feet; a dog with quick and agile movement and known to have tremendous stamina that is most needed to hunt in the difficult terrain of the Pyrenees Mountains of France. The dog is famous all over France for its outstanding hunting abilities. This is a soft mouthed dog, one that would not bite the prey too hard. A hunter can say that this dog was born half trained as it would never need an elaborate training. This breed would be a wise choice for a rookie handler or a first time owner of a gun dog. An owner would need to teach the dog very few basic commands. It is imperative that the training be conducted in a firm but gentle manner. The French Pyrenean Pointer is a sensitive breed. Other pointing dogs would instantly bounce back after the owner or the handler has lost his cool. This is not so with a Pyrenean Pointer as the dog would need a gentle approach. Don’t shout and bellow and holler at this dog if you don’t want to see the dog cowering every time you come near.
The French Pyrenean Pointing Dog is a very well mannered dog, one that would be devoted and loyal to the owner and to the family. This is the type of dog that can be shared by the housewife and the master of the house who is an avid hunter. This dog is a wonderful pet, one that can be considered as a couch potato as it is relatively inactive indoors. On weekends, the man of the house would find the dog a dependable hunting companion. Quiet and calm indoors the dog would come alive in the field.
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The Braque Francais-Type Pyrenees is a beautiful rustic dog with a muscled strong body. The dog has a strong head, a skull that is almost flat and a convex muzzle that is slightly shorter than the length of the skull. This dog is known in France as a good hunter with excellent pointing, retrieving and tracking abilities. The dog’s chestnut brown nose has an admirable scenting ability. The dog is equally adept at picking scent from the air in open fields as well as ground scents in marshes and under the cover of heavy vegetation. The dog’s lips are pendant and the eye color can be dark yellow or chestnut brown. Ears are set slightly higher than the level of the eyes and droops at the side of the dog’s head. The naturally short tail is often docked. The powerful legs and nimble feet enable the dog to glide gracefully when trailing prey. The French Pyrenean Pointer has a short fine coat that is silky to the touch. It can be chestnut or chestnut and white in color. The coat is covered with fawn or chestnut spotting.
The French are very fortunate to have a French Pyrenean Pointer for the reason that the dog is pretty versatile. The dog is very popular in its country of origin because apart from being an excellent and hardworking hunter, the dog is also noted for being a wonderful home companion. On weekdays the dog can be a fine and well mannered house companion that will be the gentle and loving playmates of the children. On weekends the dog will now become the valuable and dependable hunting companion of the master.
This is a friendly gentle and submissive breed. The dog would tolerate other dogs as well as smaller pets. This is an easy breed to train. However training must be done in a firm but gentle manner. As mentioned this dog is relatively inactive indoors. Being working dogs they would need vigorous exercise. A modest sized yard would be sufficient for the exercise needs of the dog but if it is not available a twice a day long walk would suffice.
As with any other short haired breeds, the French Pyrenean Pointer would not need extensive maintenance. This breed is very easy to care for. An occasional brushing would maintain the good condition of the coat. Dogs that are housebound need not be bathed very often. However, a Pyrenean Pointer that has been hunting must be thoroughly examined for burrs and thorns that may have lodged in the paws of the dog. Likewise, ears must be cleaned and dried to prevent an infection from developing.
The Braque Francais – Type Pyrenees is considered to be one of the oldest pointing breed of dogs in existence. The ancestry of the breed can be traced back to the 14th century when Chien d’Oysel a dog that excelled in pointing partridge was used by hunters in the Mediterranean region of France. This dog was speculated to be the ancestor of the French Pyrenean Pointer as well as most of the pointing dogs in Europe.
Through the years, variations of the Chien d’ Oysel spread through out southwestern Europe. Villages and towns have bred the dog with different breeds of dogs. Because of provincial separation, varied physical attributes emerged. However, the dogs are essentially the same. The dogs took the name of the province where the breed was developed thus we have the Braque de’ Auvergne, Braque du Puis, Braque Saint Germain and Braque du Bourbonnais. Selincourt, a hunter who made a sort of standard for the breed in 1683 described the breed to be tall, with a strong build, with a large head and big nose, with hanging lips and square muzzle. The dog’s coat is white and brown.
During the 18th century, a short haired pointer, a spaniel and two types of setter emerged in France. Braque Francais or French Pointer was the name given to the short haired pointer. The French Revolution in 1789 changed the trend for the French people’s preference for dogs. From the native French breeds, the taste shifted to English breeds. The popularity as well as the number of the French Pointers tremendously declined. Fortunately, hunters in the Gascogne region in southern France continued to use the big brown and white pointers to hunt.
In the 29th century, French hunters have wanted a pointing dog that has the outstanding attributes of the French Pointer but in a smaller package. The French pointer is a methodical hunter but at 75 pounds it is not ideal for urban or industrialized living. Moreover, the large French Pointers is not suited to hunt the terrain of the Pyrenees Mountains. A smaller, faster, agile dog that has more stamina is needed. The French Pointer was bred with smaller short haired pointing dogs in the Pyrenees region. The Pyrenees type was created.
In 1920, the Braque Francais was split into two – the larger (and the original) became the French Pointing Dog Gascon Type and the smaller new breed was named after the region where it was developed became the French Pointing Dog Pyrenean Type. The split was pulled off through the efforts of Dr. C. Castets, the 1st president of Le Club du Braque Francais who favored the large Gascon type and by M.B. Senac Legrange, the second president of the club who was an avid fan of the Pyrenees type. Today, both Braque Francais are extant although the Pyrenees Type has gained more popularity.
Today the breed answers to several names. Apart from French Pyrenean Pointer the breed is at times called French Setter, French Pointer and Braque Francais de Petite Taille. This breed is most prized in France and in other European countries as this small compact dog has the attributes of several breeds of dogs. Raising the dog is convenient because of its easy to care for coat, it has inherent ability to hunt and most importantly the dog has a good temperament that makes it a wonderful and lovable home companion.