Dogue De Bordeaux

Hailing from France is the gorgeous Dogue de Bordeaux. Learn all about this breed’s history, personality, health, and more in the guide below!

dogue de bordeaux close up details of face

Height: Male 23-27 inches, female 23-26 inches
Weight: Male 50+ kilos, female 45+ kilos
Lifespan: Over 10 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Find out the pros and cons of the Dogue de Bordeaux below:

Pros:

  • Ideal watchdogs
  • Low grooming maintenance
  • Drafting dog used to pull carts
  • Child friendly

Cons:

  • Low lifespan
  • Heavy drooler
  • Prone to weight gain
  • Can be protective over their family

dogue de bordeaux swimming in river

Overview

The Dogue de Bordeaux is also known as the French Mastiff. The breed is described as muscular and powerful, with a protective nature.

They are found in the colours red, fawn, and mahogany. Some dogs may have white markings. Dogues have the largest head out of any other dog breed.

These canines have a wrinkly face which is one of their most defining features. It is, however, a breeding ground for moisture and bacteria.

Clean regularly with a warm damp cloth, followed by a dry one. Failure to do so could lead to infections such as Fold Dermatitis.

Whilst the Kennel Club has listed this breed with a lifespan of over 10 years, the AKC has placed this between 5-8 years.

Unfortunately, the Dogue’s lifespan is short due to predisposed health issues. The Kennel Club has listed the Dogue under Breed Watch Category 3.

One concern is Brachycephaly, due to poor breeding, the muzzle is much shorter than outlined under breed standards.

This can lead to problems with breathing and is something potential owners should be aware of.

The Bordeaux dog is excellent at personal protection. They would give their own lives to defend their family! Guarding is a trait that is prominent in the breed.

Yet they are still gentle enough to live in a home alongside children. A Dogue de Bordeaux puppy needs an experienced leader that can handle this dominant breed. First-time owners should avoid.

dogue de bordeaux wearing pink glasses and collar

History

The Dogue de Bordeaux is an ancient breed dating right back to the 14th century.

With time, many theories developed as to how this powerful canine came around although none can be confirmed.

It is known that the DDB once existed in a smaller form, known as the ‘Doguin’, although this version became extinct in the 1700s.

Typically, the Dogue would be found on farmland or accompanying their aristocratic owners.

Unfortunately, their high connections saw many Dogue’s slaughtered with their owners during the French Revolution.

Despite the significant drop in breed numbers, the Dogue de Bordeaux escaped extinction.

Yet later down the line, World War II arrived and Hitler had a vendetta against the Dogue de Bordeaux!

The breed’s loyalty to their owners enraged him so he proceeded to slaughter them. Thankfully, the breed survived extinction.

They were used as guard dogs and hunting dogs, two jobs they excelled in. These multi-taskers could also herd livestock such as cattle and their muscular bodies were perfect for cart pulling.

Today, the breed can be seen competing in draft pulling competitions.

At one stage in their history, the breed was used as a fighting dog. This fuelled the theory that Dogue’s were descended from Julius Ceaser’s war dogs, from the Roman era.

It was common practice to crop the Dogue de Bordeaux ears although this is now prohibited in many countries across the world.

The Kennel Club officially recognised the breed in 1997 and was proudly awarded Championship Status in 2016.

Today, they are still used as working dogs but are just as popular as family companions. Whilst they haven’t won the Best in Show titles at any prestigious events, they are still strong competitors within these categories.

Personality

Dogue de Bordeaux Temperament:

This canine is the epitome of loyal. They will go to the ends of the earth to protect their family.

However, this aggressive side is perfectly balanced with their calm and even-tempered nature.

Dogues are sweet but don’t be fooled, their independence will certainly lead to stubbornness!

dogue de bordeaux on stairs

The French Mastiff was used for hunting in the past which explains their strong prey drive. This could include smaller dogs that are simply viewed as prey.

For this reason, they should only be exercised off-leash in enclosed spaces.

Recommended: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a member of the toy breed family albeit one of the largest members.

Are Dogue de Bordeauxs Good with Strangers?

No, this breed is not welcoming towards those they don’t know. They are protective and territorial warding off strangers with a menacing bark.

If their warning is ignored, this dog won’t hesitate to attack. Dogue de Bordeaux puppies should be regularly socialized around strangers. Whilst they will always be alert and reserved, it will prevent anxiety.

Are Dogue de Bordeauxs Good with Children?

Yes, these canines are excellent family companions. The Dogue de Bordeaux size is rather large and weighty which could accidentally injure small children.

Nevertheless, the breed is tolerant and gentle towards kids, forming a bond with each member of the family.

Are Dogue de Bordeauxs Ok with Other Dogs?

This will all depend on socialization. A well-socialized French Mastiff will get along well with other dogs.

Intact adolescent males may be aggressive towards those of the same sex, especially if a whose-more-dominant competition ensues!

Whilst they can live with other dogs, some prefer being the only pet in the household.

Exercise

French Mastiffs will need an hour of exercise each day. They don’t tolerate the heat very well so in the warmer months, walk them during the cooler periods of the day.

This breed is prone to heatstroke and if they collapse, it will be incredibly difficult to move them.

Set aside 15 minutes each day for vigorous exercise. They love a good swim but will need their ears drying off after!

This working breed needs mental stimulation and without a job in their life, they can become bored. Dog sports such as agility, weight pulling, rally, and obedience are all categories the French Mastiff thrives in.

dogue de bordeaux eating a big bone on a blanket

Recommended next: The Scottish Terrier is the oldest of the native Scottish Highland Terriers and shares a genetic background with the West Highland Terrier.

Health

Below are the breed-related health conditions of the Dogue de Bordeaux below:

  • Ectropion- The lower eyelid droops down exposing the tissues underneath. The tissues will inevitably dry out causing pain and discomfort.
  • Hip Dysplasia- This skeletal condition is typically seen amongst large and giant breeds. The abnormal development of the hip will cause swelling, inflammation, and pain. Arthritis will follow.
  • Aortic Stenosis- Dogs are born with this condition affecting the heart. The aortic valve is much narrower, reducing the heart’s ability to effectively circulate the blood.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy- This condition affects the cardiac muscle, reducing the pressure needed to pump blood around the body. It is a serious and potentially fatal health issue.
  • Retinal Dysplasia- A term used to describe the abnormal development of the retina.
  • Elbow Dysplasia- The abnormal development of the elbow joint, is the leading cause of lameness in young large breed dogs. Arthritis will eventually form.

Intelligence & Training

The French Mastiff is described as loyal and devoted, but that doesn’t mean they will listen! Their independence can form into stubborn behaviour thus hindering training.

It is recommended only experienced owners should consider this breed. A French Mastiff will quickly establish themselves as Alpha if given the opportunity.

French Mastiff puppies should begin training and socialization as soon as they arrive at their new home!

Try out some group puppy classes to meet new people and dogs whilst learning commands.

It is important that home rules are kept and boundaries are never broken. Consistency is key to training this breed.

dogue de bordeaux on grass

To keep the Bordeaux dog’s attention, reward-based training is recommended. This could be in the form of food, praise, or even their favourite toy!

It is important to repeat, but not bore them by doing so! Keep sessions limited to a maximum of fifteen minutes.

This breed can happily stay at home for a few hours by themselves. As long as they have been exercised and have a few chew toys to hand they will be perfectly fine.

Practice leaving a puppy on its own for short periods. Crates are recommended as they provide a safe space. It should never be used as a form of punishment.

Recommended: The Pug is a popular breed choice for dog enthusiasts worldwide. Find out why it is such a popular breed in our guide!

Grooming

Typically, the French Mastiff is easy to groom. They have short, smooth fur that sheds moderately, except for in the Spring and Autumn months when this is increased.

A simple brush once every week will do the trick. Rubber gloves and slicker brushes are the best tools to use.

Baths should be given every 4-6 weeks, any sooner and this could be damaging to the skin.

This canine slobbers heavily so keep a towel to hand, wiping their mouths after eating and drinking.

dogue de bordeaux lying on the bed

Skin folds should be cleaned each week to prevent bacteria build-up.

Ears are another area prone to bacteria and yeast production. Clean the ear canals weekly to prevent infections from occurring.

Nails will need to be trimmed every fortnight although sometimes they may file down naturally. Dental hygiene is also important which is why vets recommend teeth are brushed daily.

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