Extremely affectionate and lovably lazy, the Dogue de Bordeaux – French for ‘Mastiff of Bourdeaux’ – is also known as the French Mastiff, and generally makes for a devoted and undemanding pet that will fit right in with most family lifestyles. Dogues de Bordeaux are very people-oriented and love nothing more than spending long, laidback days surrounded by their families. Whilst the Dogue de Bordeaux does tend to drool, this is a quirk it cannot help, and its admirers feel only enhances its charm. Added to the gentle and loving nature of the Dogue de Bordeaux is its adorably wrinkled face, its deep, therapeutic snores and the occasional flare of stubbornness, which all combine to win the hearts and homes of fans around the world.
Height: 23-30 inches (58-75 cm)
Weight: 120-145 lbs (54-65 kg)
Average Litter Size: 4-6 puppies
Life Expectancy: Up to 8 years
Good with Children: Yes
Kennel Club Classification: Working group
The Dogue de Bordeaux can be coloured all shades of fawn, ranging from mahogany to Isabella, often with some black or brown around the eyes and nose. According to the Kennel Club, chocolate Dogues de Bordeaux are ‘highly undesirable’, as are white patches on the head or body.
Dogues de Bordeaux have short, smooth coats that only need a weekly brush to keep neat and to remove any dead hairs. However, due to its tendency to slobber, it is important to gently cleanse and dry the folds of skin on the face of your Dogue de Bordeaux regularly in order to prevent irritation and infection.
The Dogue de Bordeaux can be prone to a number of health conditions. These include heart disease, such as heart murmurs and Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis, eye conditions, such as entropion, epilepsy, arthritis, torsion, hip and elbow dysplasia, kidney disease and kidney failure. Dogue de Bordeaux owners should look out for any symptoms of these conditions and seek advice from their vet should any materialise.
In addition, it should be noted that Dogues de Bordeaux struggle in extreme temperatures. As such, they should not be left outdoors unsupervised for long periods of time and should be allowed to live indoors with their family.
Faithful, loving and more than a little goofy at times, the Dogue de Bordeaux is the very embodiment of the phrase ‘gentle giant’ amongst dog breeds. Whilst generally laidback to the point of laziness, the Dogue de Bordeaux is very loyal and protective of its family, and may display some defensive behaviours if it senses any kind of threat.
Due mainly to its size, it is important to begin training a Dogue de Bordeaux as early as possible to ensure that it can be controlled when it is fully grown. Although typically quite docile most of the time, the Dogue de Bordeaux can display the occasional stubborn streak, and it is consequently crucial to firmly establish yourself as its pack leader straight away. Training should be consistent and firm, and the reasonable intelligence of the Dogue de Bordeaux will enable it to pick up new commands quickly. Early and extensive socialisation is also particularly important for this breed, as Dogues de Bordeaux have a high prey drive, and this will help to temper their natural instincts to chase smaller animals.
The Dogue de Bordeaux does not require a great deal of exercise. In fact, they are quite happy to snooze for most of the day, with only a short walk or brief period of playtime being required. It is important to note that Dogues de Bordeaux are very sensitive to temperature and struggle to cope with extreme heat and cold, so you should avoid exercising your Dogue de Bordeaux in such conditions.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the most ancient breeds of dog indigenous to France. Originating from the country’s region of Bordeaux, it is thought to have heritage dating back to the Middle Ages. Whilst its genetic origins are uncertain, many believe the Dogue de Bordeaux to have descended from a mixture of Bulldog, Bullmastiff and Mastiff. Certain native Spanish breeds and the Tibetan Mastiff may have also played a part in its development.
Originally, the Dogue de Bordeaux was bred predominantly for its excellent guard dog qualities, with its unfailing loyalty and fierce protective instincts making it an ideal guardian of property and people alike. Over the years, the Dogue de Bordeaux was more commonly used for protecting flocks of sheep, herding cattle and hunting large game, such as wild boar. Dogue de Bordeaux were also utilised in the formerly popular activity of bullbaiting, in which its courage and strength were greatly prized. Before the so-called sport was outlawed, hundreds of spectators would show up to cheer on the bloody combat between bull and Dogue de Bordeaux.
During the French Revolution, in the late 18th century, many breeds of dog associated with the aristocracy were slaughtered, the Dogue de Bordeaux among them. The breed made a comeback in 1863 when the first Dogue de Bordeaux appeared in a show ring in Paris; however, the breed was brought almost to extinction between the two World Wars, and by the end of World War II there were only ten breeding pairs left worldwide.
Thanks to a handful of Dogue de Bordeaux enthusiasts, the breed’s numbers began to increase once more during the 1960s. In 1997, the Dogue de Bordeaux was officially recognised by the Kennel Club, and the amount of Dogues de Bordeaux being registered is steadily increasing each year. Today, the Dogue de Bordeaux is seen as a faithful, four-legged pet, making a great family protector and loving companion.
One of the most popular Dogue de Bordeaux on screen is Beasley, who was a prominent character in the 1989 film ‘Turner and Hooch’, alongside actor Tom Hanks.