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More on the Boulet Griffon

Craig Koshyk

In response to a comment on a forum, I wrote:

The story of the Boulet Griffon is very interesting. One of the most fascinating aspects is just how famous the breed and its creator really were; and how quickly they faded into near total obscurity.

I always knew that the breed was well known at one time, but it was not until major libraries and foundations began to make their archives available on-line that I realized just how big of a deal the Boulet Griffon was in its day. For example, there was a sporting newspaper/magazine called "Le Chenil" published weekly in France from the 1880s to the 1920s. I had only seen a few copies of it in old bookstores in Paris but could never afford to purchase a copy. But then one day about a year ago I discovered that the National Library of France had just uploaded the entire collection to the net and that I could consult any issue I wanted for...FREE!

To the left is the front cover of Le Chenil for the week of Nov. 18, 1886. It features an illustration of Marco the most famous of Boulet's dogs. The caption beneath the photo reads: Marco, French pointing griffon of the Boulet breed. 1st Prize, Paris 1882 with special mention, 1st Prize, Spa 1882, 1st Prize, Le Havre 1882, Prize of Honor, Paris 1886, Special Prize, Le Bronze d'Art for the handsomest French pointing dog of all classes, Paris 1886 (then Marco's registration numbers are given for various studbooks) Breeder and owner, M. Emmanuel Boulet from Elbeouf.

Needless to say, as soon as I found the site with all the issues, I spent 18 hours a day for weeks on end reading every single one of them. And the number of times Boulet and his dogs were mentioned..and in absolutely glowing terms... was unbelievable. Just about every single issue from about 1880 to 1900 had an article, ad, announcement about him or some sort of note regarding a placement of one of his dogs in a show or field trial.

But then it just sort of trails off. Eventually there is nothing.

As mentioned in the previous post, in the 1990s a guy in France tried to recreate/revive the breed but gave up after only a few years. Today, the closest thing to a Boulet Griffon is a non-pointing breed called the Barbet. You can see photos and read about the Barbet here.

Read more about the breed, and all the other pointing breeds from Continental Europe, in my book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals