The Braque Français (literally translated French pointing dog) are hunting dogs, from a very old type of gun dog used for pointing the location of game birds for a hunter. The original Braque Français type of pointing dog has existed since the fifteenth century and are said to be descended from the Old Spanish Pointer and the now extinct Southern Hound.
Over the centuries the dogs were taken to other countries and were crossed with other breeds. When a search was made at the end of the nineteenth century to find the original dogs, two separate regional varieties were found. On the one hand, were dogs bred by hunters eager to retain the classic, heavy gundog of their fathers and grandfathers called the Gascony type (large size). On the other, were dogs bred by hunters who wanted a leaner, faster version of the classic Braque that would be better equipped to hunt increasingly scarce game and to compete with other pointing breeds in field trials, that they called the Pyrenean type (small size).
Interest grew in these rustic, close-working, classic gundogs and by the early 1900s the first breed club started to form. But a decision needed to be made which version the club should support? Should the breed, which had now been given the name Braque Français, retain the old-fashioned rustic look and hunting style? Or should it be “modernized” into a lighter, faster version? The Club du Braque Français came up with a unique solution: they would follow both directions and establish two standards. One for dogs with the more classic look and working style and one that would allow for smaller, finer boned dogs that were selected to be faster an could range wider.
Today the Pyrenean type is the most popular Braque in France. It has also developed a small but devoted following in Canada and the US. The Gascony type on the other hand is still quite rare.
The Braque is recognized in its home country by the French Kennel Club (Société Centrale Canine, S.C.C) and internationally by the Fédération Cynologique Internaltionale (FCI). Of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world, only the Canadian Kennel Club in Canada and the United Kennel Club in the U.S., recognize them. The breeds are also recognized by many minor registries, hunting clubs, and internet-based dog registry businesses under various versions of the names, and promoted as rare breeds for those seeking unique pets.
For more information on the history, traits and temperament of the breed you can reference this article by Chad Mason from Gun Dog Magazine, originally published in 1995 and reprinted in 2010:


Braque Francais-Pyrenean Braque Francais-Gascony

Pyrenean Type                                                                    Gascony Type