Douge dog, also known as the French Mastiff or the Bordeaux mastiff, is a member of the mastiff family with a massive head.
The Bordeaux dog has an intimidating expression that may scare the onlooker. But this French Mastiff is a great family dog and an affectionate companion to bring home.
Although Dogue de Bordeaux has a French origin, it has gained popularity in America. It is also owned by and the favorite dog of the recent football World cup champion, Lionel Messi.
If you are looking forward to buying this breed, you must know that it is unsuitable for novice owners. They need a great deal of early training and attention to thrive.
About the Dogue de Bordeaux Dog Breed
They are believed to be originated during the Roman era. These dogs were originally bred as a watchdog and a guard dog and for hunting large game such as boars and to bait bulls.
The Bordeaux dog is immense in size. It looks like a bulldog, but it is actually one of the molosser-type breeds. It is more ancient in origin than the modern bulldogs and Mastiff breeds.
They support a massive head, the biggest in the canine kingdom in proportion to body size. In addition, they have an overall broad and muscular build. Given its bulky appearance, you may assume it is slow, but the de Bordeaux dog can be athletic.
It has the gait of a lion and picks up speed when needed- not forgetting the fact that it has performed as a hunting dog for centuries.
Dogues de Bordeaux is now bred for their temperament and companionship. They are incredibly kind, devoted, and affectionate toward their family. They lounge around for most of the day but don’t be fooled; they have keen ears that are always alert.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is the most gentle among the mastiffs, even with strangers. However, the males are warier as compared to the females.
This French Mastiff is incredibly smart and quick-witted. They should be trained from day one, or else they might take the role of a leader and boss you around.
Unfortunately, high intelligence also means they pick up negative habits as effectively as good ones. Hence, they are unsuitable for first-time owners who may give in to dogs’ behaviors.
Dogue de Bordeaux has high hunting instincts and prey drive. You must socialize with them early if you have small dogs or other pets in the house.
History of the Dogue de Bordeaux
Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the oldest breeds of dogs native to France. Although their true origin is known to be lost in history, these purebred dogs originated in the Bordeaux region when it was under British rule. So basically, they came into being before France was France.
The British brought their BullMastiff and Bulldogs along. They crossed them with other dogs of French origin, resulting in the French Mastiff Bordeaux Bulldog or the Dogue de Bordeaux.
In the 19th century, these dogs being highly vigilant and courageous were most commonly used as working dogs and guard dogs. Farmers used them to protect vineyards and praised them for their watchdog abilities. Word got out, and they became fairly common in France until the World Wars.
Many of these dogs died during the French revolution, but their numbers rose again. After World War II, the breed came to the brink of extinction. Most of them passed while protecting their owners.
It is believed that only ten pairs were left in the whole world after the wars. Raymond Triquet and his French Dogue de Bordeaux Club saved the breed.
If it weren’t for the efforts of breed enthusiasts, who worked towards bringing the breed back, it would have been extinct. During the 1960s, a group of breeders in France worked to rebuild the breed standard.
Although the Dogue de Bordeaux breed appeared in American ring shows in the late 19th century, the American Kennel Club took its time to recognize the breed. The French standard was written in 1970. More changes were made in 1995, which were the basis for AKC registration later on.
Different breed clubs and Dogue de Bordeaux society worked together, and finally, the American kennel club officially recognized the breed in 2008.
Dogue de Bordeaux Facts
- The Dogue de Bordeaux rose to fame in America after starring in the movie Turner and Hooch opposite superstar Tom Hanks. The demand for the breed increased significantly in the states which also caught the attention of local breeders.
- This is a highly intelligent breed with a strong personality. Dog training is a must. The owners require decision-making ability to always have an upper hand with the Dogue de Bordeaux.
- Early socialization is a must to achieve optimum behavior characteristics and stamp out hunting instincts.
- The Bordeaux dog needs to exercise for at least one hour a day. It is suitable for houses with yards or country living but, will do well in apartments if there is enough room to stroll around.
- They are great with loved ones and children but, should not be allowed to play with them. They can knock over children and possibly harm them due to their heavy bodies.
- Dogue de Bordeaux absolutely do not like being hot. They do not do well in direct sun or heat. Excessive heat is bad for them as they can’t properly ventilate through their narrow nasal passage.
Facts at a Glance
- Family Life: Highly affectionate with family members
- Energy Level: Moderate
- Social: Open to strangers
- Playfulness: Moderate
- Watchdog/Protective nature: Very High
- Trainability: Moderately high if started early, difficult when started late
- Mental stimulation requirement: Moderate
- Barking Level: Moderate
- Shedding: High
- Drooling: Very High
- Coat: Short and smooth
- Color: Light brown to dark red fawn, all shades of fawn
- Dog Type: working group, watchdog, hunting dog
- Life expectancy: 5-8 years
Dogue de Bordeaux Appearance
Regarding appearance, the head is the most prominent feature of this indigenous French breed. These are giant dog breeds and are largest in proportion to the body size of the whole canine family.
The face of Dogue de Bordeaux is wrinkled with a rather short muzzle. They are brachycephalic, which means that their nose, or snout, is pushed back into the skull, giving it a short appearance. Its upper lips hang down over the lower jaw, and the loose thick skin on the neck forms a noticeable dewlap.
The Dogue de Bordeaux looks intimidating with a muscular body. The body looks short and close to the ground. It is longer than it is tall, much like a lion. Shoulders are broad with an overall heavy bone structure.
They initially had cropped ears to indicate their fighting dog status. They are no more cropped and hang down on the sides of their face.
The Dogue de Bordeaux supports a large body. Males are bigger than females. Adults are at least 23-27 inches tall, whereas females are 22-26 inches tall.
These dogs are considered one of the heaviest. The males should be at least 110 pounds, and the female should be at least 99 pounds in weight. Bigger is not always better in this case. Being overweight can cause more harm than good.
They have a short coat of hair that covers all of the body. They do shed, however, and require regular grooming.
The Dogues de Bordeaux have coat colors in various shades of fawn. The color ranges in intensity from the light fawn Isabella to mahogany, with lots of shades in between. They all must be fawn, though.
Their markings include white markings or patches on the chest. The face can have a reddish-brown or a black mask. The nose is light pink, and the eyes are light brown.
Dogue de Bordeaux Temperament
The Dogue de Bordeaux can surely turn heads with its aggressive look. But, it is the most gentle, loving, and kind breed of dog. The de Bordeaux is highly affectionate with all family members and offers great companionship.
The Dogue de Bordeaux has a strong nature. Therefore, you have to make sure from day one to take your role as a calm but persistent leader. If you let the Dogue de Bordeaux puppies have their way once, they will not feel ashamed to repeat it.
The male de Bordeaux have more stubborn temperaments than the females. Due to their size, they try to fit in as the dominant leader of the family pack. As a result, they can develop a negatively protective attitude and habits you just don’t want in a pet dog.
They have a high prey drive as they are a hunting breed. Therefore, they need to be socialized early on to get along with other dogs and pets. Introducing them to strangers, new scents, and other animals is a great way to get about.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is most easygoing with strangers among all mastiff dogs. They do not mind the company of people.
Also, they are not excessive barkers. They do drool, however, and if you are a neat freak, you won’t be so happy cleaning up slobber from the floor or even your sofa.
The Dogue de Bordeaux makes a sweet family pet. Even if you have children, they would adore them too. But, as with all large breeds of dogs, you must be careful not to let children play with the de Bordeaux. They have broad structures and heavy bodies. It is easy for them to accidentally knock over a child and harm it with its weight.
Train your children basics of how to be around dogs. Excessive nagging, snapping, or pulling can annoy any dog, so they must be supervised.
Dogue de Bordeaux Health and Care
Most dogs are healthy but like other similar breeds, due to their massive size and low energy for exercise, the breed is unfortunately prone to many common health problems. Dogue de Bordeaux dog typically has a life expectancy of 5-8 years. It is lower than other dogs but expected due to their massive build.
Some of these dogs may live for 8-9 years, which is not bad. Some may live for up to 12 years, but that’s quite rare. So if you are looking for a life companion, don’t get your hopes high with this one.
The most common health conditions with this French Mastiff are joint-related. They include shoulder dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and knee dysplasia. Animal Orthopedic foundation has shown in a study that nearly 50% of Dogues de Bordeaux suffer from hip dysplasia in their lifetime.
Bloat, Volvulus, or Gastric torsion is also fairly common. It is a condition where the stomach twists due to the overaccumulation of gas. It usually happens if dogs eat too much food at a time. It can be extremely painful and deadly. Owners must be aware of the signs and symptoms to respond quickly.
Responsible breeders always screen their stock for joint diseases, heart diseases, epilepsy, and cancer. The National Breed Club recommends hip, shoulder, and elbow evaluation along with a cardiac exam. Heart diseases like congestive heart failure and sub-aortic stenosis are also common in this breed.
The Dogue de Bordeaux adults can be exercised frequently. They need at least one hour a day for brisk walks or playtime. Older Dogue de Bordeaux can do strenuous activities such as cart pulling or swimming. In addition, they enjoy spending quality playtime with their owners.
A Dogue de Bordeaux puppy should not exercise much. Their developing joints do not respond well to strain and can get dislocated very easily. They should not jump from surfaces higher than themselves and should not be made to climb up or down the stairs. Exercise for puppies should strictly be low impact until they are 18 months of age.
The Dogue de Bordeaux has a short, smooth coat. It still sheds significantly and needs proper grooming and coat care. You must brush your dog with a shedding blade or a rubber curry brush to gather the loose hair and keep them from spreading around the house.
As they have loose skin with folds, especially on the face, bacteria can easily accumulate inside them. Clean the facial folds daily with a damp cloth and dry them completely with a towel. Bathing can be done once a month or when they are dirty.
Check the ears regularly for any infection. Clean with a swab. Take good care of their teeth by brushing them at least twice a week.
The exact amount of food portions varies from dog to dog. Always provide high-quality dog food in the form of portions.
These dogs are prone to becoming obese; hence be mindful with feeding. Provide minimum treats, and always check with your veterinarian to get customized meal plans and know about safe foods for your dog.
Dogue de Bordeaux Training
As soon as you have this breed, the first step should be to train it. As it is a hunting dog breed, it tends to be independent and headstrong. Hence, it is important to establish an owner-to-dog relationship.
If you are not firm from day one, Dogue de Bordeaux would take the role of a boss and would start doing things its way. That means it can develop bad habits and disregard anything that you command.
Having said that, if you take control from an early age and stay firm yet gentle, the breed can be incredibly easy to train.
From puppyhood, enroll the dogs into puppy kindergarten classes. Keep the dog busy with obedience and agility courses, or give it some work to do in the yard. As a working dog breed, the dog feels the happiest when it is given a chance to work alongside the owner.
Mental stimulation is needed throughout. Feeling bored may bring out negative habits in the Dogues de Bordeaux. Playing simple games such as scent hunts and obedience can make them feel connected to their companions. That is all they need to stay happy.
If you are looking for a powerful dog with an aggressive appeal that looks tough but has a heart as soft as a marshmallow, a Dogue de Bordeaux is a perfect choice.
A Dogue de Bordeaux puppy is gentle and loving with family members. It is great for socially active people as this dog is not wary of strangers. It can be a great watchdog, too, if you train it for the purpose.
If you plan to own a Dogue de Bordeaux, you can look for a good breeder at the Dogue de Bordeaux Society website.
But make sure you start training as soon as you get it. Arrange high-quality meals, ensure that you are grooming as needed, and book for vet insurance to check its health regularly.