A very old breed, this dog was used for boar and bear hunting and then for driving cattle. Not until this breed appeared in an American film in 1989 did it attain any recognition outside of France. Dogues possess formidable traits such as relentless strength, wariness of strangers and an inclination to intimidate unknown people. They have a calm temperament and are loyal, devoted family dogs. Firm handling and strong socialization is required at puppyhood. Grooming needs are minimal. Desirable height at maturity, measured at the withers, ranges from 23 1/2 to 26 1/2 inches for males and 22 1/2 to 25 1/2 inches for females. Males in good condition should weigh at least 110 lbs. with females at least 99 lbs. All other things being equal, the larger dog should be given preference over the smaller.
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The Dogue de Bordeaux has been around since at least the 14th century and is native to France, particularly the southern region of Bordeaux, for which it is named. Before about 1920, the Dogue de Bordeaux was not held to a uniform breeding standard, and the French wanted to keep the old breeding line pure. To that end, the original Bordeaux dogs had pink noses, light colored (dark amber) eyes, and a red mask. Original Dogues de Bordeaux had disproportionately large heads as compared to their bodies and came in two varieties: the Dogue and the Doguin, the latter of which is now extinct. These wonderful, calm dogs make excellent guard dogs and family pets. The massive size of this large dog belies its gentle nature – unless those they love are in danger.
It is believed that the Dogue de Bordeaux predates the Bulldog and the Bullmastiff as a breed. Many believe that the Bull Mastiff has the Dogue de Bordeaux in its background, while others think that both the Mastiff and Dogue de Bordeaux breeds were in development at the same time. The Dogue de Bordeaux may also be a descendent of the Tibetan Mastiff, and may also be related to the Greco-Roman molossoids. Similar dogs existed at the time of Julius Caesar's reign, and these dogs were probably related to the Neapolitan Mastiff. The Dogue de Bordeaux gets its name, however, because many believe it can be traced to a breed that came from ancient France, called the Dogues de Bordeaux of Aquitaine.
Original Dogues de Bordeaux were actually of three varieties: the Toulouse, the Parisian, and the Bordeaux, depending on the region the dog came from and the job it performed. The first canine exhibition of the Dogue de Bordeaux was held in Paris, France in 1863, and this is where the dog was finally given the name of the capital of origin, as evidenced by today's modern Dogue de Bordeaux. Functionally, these dogs were used as herding dogs, hunters, and guard dogs; they were also trained as bait dogs for jaguars, bears and bulls; as well as to herd cattle and hunt boars.
First brought to the United States in the 1890s, the first modern Dogue de Bordeaux appeared in 1959. Importation of Dogues de Bordeaux to the United States was rare between 1969 and 1980 because only a few breeders worked with the French Dogue de Bordeaux Club, the SADB. The official introduction of the Dogue de Bordeaux occurred in 1982, when enthusiasts of purebred canines were influenced by an article by American anthropologist, Carl Semencic, in Dog World magazine.
Thereafter, the breed gained in popularity with many chapters established to focus on the Dogue de Bordeaux. The breed was finally fully recognized by the AKC thanks to the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America. Contributing to its further acclaim, the dog’s recent notoriety on television and in movies has led to a final, full recognition by the American Kennel Club in July 2008.
Also called the "French Mastiff" or the "Bordeaux Bulldog," the Dogue de Bordeaux is a short and stocky mastiff-type dog with a wrinkled, massive, broad, and heavy head. Your pet is very muscular and powerful, but husky with relatively short legs based on size, standing close to the ground. What's notable about the Dogue de Bordeaux is its very large head. Serious, heavyset, and athletically built, the Dogue de Bordeaux is naturally confident and can be imposing. These dogs have short, soft coats with loose-fitting skin, which can include various shades of fawn to mahogany, sometimes with a dark red or black mask surrounding the nose, lips, and rims of the eyes. There may be white markings on the tips of the toes and the chest. These dogs stand between 23 and 30 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh between 120 to 145 pounds in adulthood.
Despite their foreboding appearance, though, Dogues de Bordeaux make excellent family pets. The Dogue de Bordeaux is exceptionally gentle with children and family members, and extremely loving and protective. Although docile and calm with its immediate family, your pet will come to your aid in an instant: courageous, fearless and confrontational if necessary for your protection. However, your pet will not mind small rambunctious children, although of course you should teach your little ones to be kind to this most faithful companion, simply so that they do not harm (even unintentionally) your loving protector.
The Dogue de Bordeaux's placid temperament makes it perfect for just about any environment, including apartment living, even though your pet is a very large dog. Very inactive indoors, it is imperative that you give this dog lots of exercise. A long daily walk is necessary, and you should also give your pet plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Life with a single devoted owner who can spend a lot of time with the equally devoted Dogue de Bordeaux is perfectly suitable, but so is life with a large boisterous family, including small children who want the experience and joy of owning a dog.
It's worth noting that although the Dogue de Bordeaux is exceedingly obedient to owners it knows and loves with the proper training and boundaries, it's also important that you address your pet's need for "pack animal" leadership. That is, you have to take charge as the owner. Dogues de Bordeaux are very obedient as long as their owners are firm and consistent with boundaries and (gentle, nonphysical) discipline. Because the Dogue de Bordeaux is such a large animal, though, you could conceivably put yourself in danger if you don't take a calm and firm stance as pet owner, simply because a temperamental and misbehaving Dogue de Bordeaux can also be a dangerous one.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is a remarkably healthy dog, but an ample drooler, to be sure, as are many mastiff-type dogs. This does not indicate any health problem and is simply a characteristic of the breed. Endearingly, the Dogue de Bordeaux is also prone to snoring. Therefore, although you will have to be perfectly content to put up with some decidedly untidy slobbering, this is a small sacrifice as compared to the love and affection your pet will give you. Even though they are decidedly sizable dogs, the Dogues' de Bordeaux lifespan is quite long for such a large breed – about 10 to 12 years. They do have some problems with hip dysplasia, as do many large breeds, and very occasionally have problems with epilepsy, hyperkeratosis, and cardiac difficulties. Because Dogues de Bordeaux have such tremendous heads, females often have to have cesarean sections when they have their puppies.
This is another area where you'll find the Dogue de Bordeaux to be exceedingly accommodating. They need very little grooming and are only average shedders. Daily brushing and occasional bathing only if needed should be sufficient to take care of your pet’s hygiene.
AKC MEET THE BREEDS®: Dogue de Bordeaux.
Retrieved May 6, 2012.
Dogue de Bordeaux. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogue_de_Bordeaux.
Retrieved May 6, 2012.
Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff) (Bordeaux Bulldog)
Retrieved May 6, 2012.
Distinguished by a pervasively calm demeanor, like that of an enlightened buddha, the Dogue de Bordeaux, also known as the French Mastiff, seems to exude a quality of astute insight and solemn wisdom. With a face that belies the affection within, the Dogue de Bordeaux can have an intimidating effect on strangers who are not familiar with the breed. While most dogs require expert socialization and training when young to ensure proper behavioral etiquette, this dog particularly needs this kind of attention because of its exceptional strength and tendency toward protectiveness. Extremely devoted to its immediate family and wonderfully patient with little children, this dog is an excellent companion to those who appreciate the privilege of canine fidelity. Famous for its role in the popular Tom Hanks’ movie “Turner and Hooch,” this intelligent breed was featured as lovable co-star. Weighing well over 100 lbs. in adulthood, the French Mastiff benefits from consistent daily exercise where it can enjoy the camaraderie of your company as well as the security of your leadership. Not prone to excessive barking but highly sensitive to impending danger, this dog will defend your safety with its life. With a coat that resembles the allure of deep plush velvet primarily in rich tones of fawn and mahogany, the Dogue de Bordeaux sheds very little which when combined with its serene temperament greatly contributes to an overall easy lifestyle. Despite this dog’s imposing presence and highly developed sense of caution, when skillfully trained with kindness and praise, it will impress you with its impeccable obedience and lifelong respect, essential qualities we all desire in the dogs we love. Looking for a high-quality puppy from a reputable source?
Photo by Paul, courtesy of Old School Bordeaux
Group Classification: Mastiff, Miscellaneous (AKC)
Country of Origin: N/A
Date of Origin: N/A
Shedding: Moderate Shed
Body Size: N/A
Weight M: 110 pounds
Height M: 24-27 inches
Weight F: 99 pounds
Height F: 23-26 inches
Litter Size: 9-10 puppies
Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
Recognized By: CKC, FCI, AKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
Red-Brown, Fawn, Mahogany.
The Dogue de Bordeaux will be at its best in rural or lightly populated suburban areas. Although the breed doesn't spend an extremely large amount of time exercising in any given day (a few walks and some light play is usually sufficient), the massive size of the Dogue de Bordeaux makes it an impractical pet for the house or for anywhere without a fairly large yard and outdoor living area. Despite the Dogue de Bordeaux's generally outdoor lifestyle, you and your family should still endeavor to spend as much time with the Dogue as possible, as its highly companionable and affectionate nature causes it to perceive the absence of its humans as a kind of punishment--which is usually not what you want your happy family pet to feel.