Family Magazine

Cliff-Diving Dogs of Maryland: Braque Du Bourbonnais

By Kidfreeliving @kidfreeliving

I’ve written about Brock the Braque du Bourbonnais, my Bother-in-Law’s dog before, including the repulsive way he tries to endear himself to people by making the world’s ugliest dog face.

Braque du Bourbonnais

Brock the Braque du Bourbonnais‘ “Love me?” face.

Apparently, in French, Braque du Bourbonnais means “little dog with well-deserved insecurity issues.”

We babysat Gollum’s less attractive brother over Christmas. During that magical week, we took him for a walk on a forest trail flanked by trees on one side, and a 20ft dead drop to a shallow, muddy inlet on the other.

Brock spent most of the walk ripping through the thorn-choked underbrush looking for anything that resembled a bird so he could  tear it to pieces and proudly drop it at our feet. He likes turning birds into modern art. He’s a bird Cuisinart. He once caught a bird while on the leash, until we screamed in horror and he spat  it out like a cartoon cat, feathers exploding as the shaken wren flew to safety. After that, we saw very few birds in the yard when Brock visited. Word got around.

Did I mention Braque du Bourbonnais dogs are rare? Shocking, I know.*

Anyway, on this particular walk, Brock periodically checked in with us to show off his bloodied ears and scratched sides and then went tearing into the bushes again. Brambles and pain mean nothing to dog drunk on bird pheromones,  so Brock didn’t think twice when some bird’s trail led directly off the edge of the 20 foot cliff.

Before we could scream sense into his little shedding head, Brock parachuted off the cliff like a flying squirrel.

Mike & I bolted to the edge and peered over. Hip deep in stinky black mud, freakishly long tongue lolling out, Brock stared back up at us like, “Hey! How’d you guys get all the way up there? Do you see any birds?”

The damn dog already reeked. If you sat in a room eating nothing but beans, hard boiled eggs and teenagers’ attitudes for a week, you couldn’t muster up the sheer, unadulterated stank of Brock’s toots. When he finally went home with his family I couldn’t even let Mike kiss me for a week due to the Pavlovian-vomit response I’d developed listening to the sound of Brock’s ass-lips smacking open. All week, I’d hear that little kissing noise, and then a cloud of Brock’s personal brand of mustard gas would envelop me. It’s like the Bother-in-Law brought us Pandora’s box, opened it, and tossed it into our house like a hand grenade. All the world’s evils leaked from Brock’s butt.

Braque du Bourbonnais

We found draping a blanket over Brock trapped the toots. And made him look like an old Gypsy woman, which was a HUGE bonus.


Now, the little bastard was covered in bay mud, which really, was like Dolce & Gabbana cologne compared to his toots, but still, not good. Plus, we feared he was stuck, which meant soon we’d be plunging off the cliff, because people get pretty judgey when you leave their dog hip-deep in bay mud for a week. Even family.

Braque du Bourbonnais

To our relief, Brock the Braque du Bourbonnais finally unstuck himself from the mud and did his best to return to us. He did this by repeatedly slamming himself into the side of the cliff and then sliiiiding, all four limbs splayed out, nails creating little furrows down the face of the wall, back into the mud. He did this… oh… maybe thirty times. It was like watching a Wile E. Coyote cartoon on infinite loop.

Finally, Brock found a slightly more manageable incline and made it back up to us and our oblivious Labradoodle, Gordon. Gordon couldn’t understand why his little cousin went plunging off a cliff when there was plenty of deer smells all over the perfectly clean trail.

We all headed for home, mud drying on Brock’s legs. He looked like an unfired clay pot by the time we reached our doorstep. We picked him up with a towel, put him in the tub, and gave him a bath.

Afterwards, Brock thanked me for his bath the only way he knew how. He walked over to where I lounged on the sofa, flipped onto his back in mid-air and slammed his skull into my face, desperately trying to push his tiny skull into my larger skull through my eye socket.

Such a cutie.

* Yes, I know Brock is unique, and a runt, and that he probably spent some time wearing his own umbilical cord as a tie. I also know not a whole lot of time was spent training him correctly to hunt. I know there are probably other excellent Braque du Bourbonnais dogs out there, so if you’re a breeder or owner, don’t bother pointing out all the charms of other Braque du Bourbonnais. Sweeping generalizations are just funnier than real life and I’m going to continue thinking Braque du Bourbonnais are what happens when cartoon dogs come to life.**

** But understand, in dog ThunderDome, Labradoodles kick Braque du Bourbonnais’ asses every time. Ever. Period.


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