The district was established in 1972 by merging the former districts of Grafenau and Wolfstein. In medieval times Wolfstein (east of the Ilz River) was the property of the bishop of Passau. Grafenau (west of the Ilz River) successively belonged to different countries, before it was annexed by Bavaria in 1438. Wolfstein became a part of Bavaria two years after the dissolution of the clerical states in Germany (1803).
Freyung-Grafenau is the easternmost district of Bavaria. It is located in the southern parts of the Bavarian Forest and is partially occupied by the Bavarian Forest National Park. The source of the Ilz River is situated in the district.
The wolf represents the area of Wolfstein, while the bear stands for Grafenau (as it was ruled from the castle of Bärnstein, and Bär means "bear"). At the bottom there is the blue and white checked pattern of Bavaria.