The Braque du Bourbonnais (pronounced brock-do-bor-bon-NAY) is a versatile hunting dog breed originating from France. Their name derives from the French region of Bourbonnais, where they were historically bred for hunting game birds. The Bourbonnais Pointing Dog dates back to at least the 16th century, where it was first documented in a detailed description by French naturalist Jacques du Fouilloux in his book La Venerie (1561). The breed's origins are murky, but it's believed to have evolved from ancient pointing dogs native to France. The breed went through a period of decline in the early 20th century due to World War I and the subsequent focus on breed standards, which prioritized appearance over function. However, a revival effort was initiated in the 1970s by a group of dedicated French breeders, led by Michel Comte. They focused on restoring the breed's natural hunting abilities, versatility, and rustic appearance, prioritizing function over aesthetics.
Bourbonnais Pointing Dogs may suffer from degenerative myelopathy, hyperuricosuria, and progressive rod-cone degeneration. Genetic testing for these and other conditions can assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.
Bourbonnais Pointing Dogs are known for their calm and affectionate nature. They are intelligent, willing to please, and easy to train. They form strong bonds with their families and are generally good with children and other dogs.
Bred as gun dogs, they are naturally energetic and require regular exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Their hunting background also means they have a strong prey drive, so they may not be suitable for homes with small pets. In the field, Bourbonnais Pointing Dogs are known for their excellent pointing and retrieving skills, making them versatile hunting companions. They are also known to adapt well to different terrains and game species.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Braque du Bourbonnais is a very old breed. These dogs are considered one of the most ancient pointers of the pointing breeds developed in France.
The word "braque" comes from the French verb that means "to point" or "to aim", apt descriptions for one of the breed's important hunting qualities.
The breed was imported into the U.S. in 1988.