Also known as the Bordeaux Mastiff or French Mastiff, the Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the most ancient French breeds, making identification of their origin nearly impossible. One prevailing theory is that the Dogue de Bordeaux’s ancestors were brought to France by Julius Caesar in the first century B.C. as war dogs. This breed later became guard dogs for the estates of French nobility. After the French Revolution, the Dogue de Bordeaux became a farm dog, driving livestock for more common people. The breed was virtually unknown outside of France until 1989, when Tom Hanks was cast alongside a Dogue in the detective comedy, Turner & Hooch.
Originally recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2005, today the Dogue de Bordeaux is ranked number 67 in popularity of the 193 AKC-recognized breeds and categorized in the Working Group.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DOGUE DE BORDEAUX
What characteristics define the Dogue de Bordeaux? Read on to discover what physical attributes and personality traits make the Dogue de Bordeaux such a unique breed.
Dogues de Bordeaux are easily identified by their gigantic head, brachycephalic muzzle, and stocky, powerful body. This breed’s coat is short, fine, and soft, covering thick, loose skin. Coat colors range from light fawn to dark red fawn; AKC-accepted coat colors are Fawn, Isabella, Mahogany, and Red. The AKC also recognizes standard markings of a black mask, black mask with white markings, brown mask, or white patches.
Dogue de Bordeaux tip the scales with males weighing over 110 lbs, and females more than 99 lbs and both standing between 23 and 26 inches high at the withers (top of the shoulder).
Due to its immense size, the character and temperament of a Dogue de Bordeaux are incredibly important. Bred as fighting and war dogs, Dogues are fearless and powerful, but in a familial setting are known to be gentle giants. Most Dogues are described as docile and devoted to their people, but territorial towards strangers.
This breed needs large amounts of attention and guidance in training as they can be stubborn and arrogant. An excellent guard dog, Dogues are loyal and self-assured, but consequently require early, extensive socialization with other animals and people to prevent aggressive tendencies towards strangers in adulthood. Exposure to as many people, places, and other animals as possible can only help create a more well-rounded individual.
Dogues de Bordeaux have a life expectancy of 5 to 8 years.
CARING FOR A DOGUE DE BORDEAUX
Understanding and maintaining a Dogue de Bordeaux’s particular needs will lead to a longer, healthier life for your dog and a more enjoyable partnership for both dog and owner. Read on to learn more about the nutrition, exercise, training, and health requirements of a thriving Dogue de Bordeaux to ascertain whether this is the right breed for you.
Dogue de Bordeaux thrive on high-quality dog food specially formulated for large breeds. Whether commercial or manually prepared, diets should be appropriately tailored to an individual based on age (puppy, senior, etc) and activity level. Many dog foods have serving suggestions on their packaging, but monitoring food intake and body condition, as well as consulting with your veterinarian, are all simple ways to make sure your dog is receiving the nutrition he or she requires. Dogues de Bordeaux are prone to obesity, so caloric intake should be monitored and treats should be used sparingly.
Due to the immense size and proportions of the Dogue de Bordeaux, exercise should be limited to low-impact activities until around the age of 18 months. These puppies should not jump from heights taller than their backs or run up and down stairs. This prevents unnecessary strain on developing bones and joints. Swimming is an excellent activity for young Dogues. Older Bordeauxs can participate in more strenuous activities and have even been known to pull carts. An automatic dog feeder and automatic fetch machine could do wonders.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is a guard dog. With their immense size and protective instincts, training and socialization during puppyhood are absolutely essential. This powerful, sensitive breed is known to require a trustworthy, dedicated owner, who is firm but not harsh. Consistent training and patience are key to successfully raising a well-behaved Dogue. Puppy classes are a great way to start training and socializing a new puppy early on. At a minimum, your Dogue de Bordeaux should learn basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come.
Due to their strong familial ties, Dogue de Bordeaux left alone for long periods of time can resort to undesirable behaviors and aggression. Some of these behaviors can be mitigated by providing access to puzzles and interactive toys.
Although generally healthy, some Dogues de Bordeaux suffer from gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), known more commonly as bloat.
Bloat is a common but life-threatening occurrence in most large, deep-chested dog breeds. Know the symptoms and causes of bloat to quickly identify the problem and seek medical attention.
This breed’s brachycephalic muzzle leads to a decent amount of drool, and as a result, the wrinkles in the face need cleaning at least weekly so they are dry and do not develop infections.
Dogues’ short coat sheds year-round, but brushing once a week with a rubber curry can keep shedding to a minimum. They should be bathed once a month and wiped down with a damp towel periodically in between. For especially fragrant pups, try a dry shampoo between baths.
Other breeds similar to the Dogue de Bordeaux include: