Dogue de Bordeaux

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dogue de bordeaux (french mastiff) portrait
Meet the Dogue de Bordeaux, a breed that boasts an irresistible blend of strength and sweetness! With their distinctive wrinkled faces, powerful bodies, and hearts full of love, these French mastiffs are more than just droopy eyes and slobbery smiles. They're loyal companions who leave paw prints on our hearts!

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Dogue de Bordeaux is perfect for those who value loyalty, strength, and a dash of drool! Ideal for experienced dog owners, they thrive in households where they can flaunt their protective instincts while showering their human family with boundless affection. A match made in heaven for those ready for a big-hearted, big-bodied friend!

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEDogue de Bordeaux
OTHER NAMESBordeaux Mastiff, French Mastiff, Bordeauxdog
ORIGINFrance
BREED GROUPWorking Group
BREED SIZELarge
HEIGHT23-27 inches
WEIGHT99-140 lbs
LIFESPAN5-8 years
LIVING SPACELarge
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERLow
GROOMING NEEDSLow
EXERCISE NEEDSModerate
TRAINABILITYModerate
BARKING TENDENCYLow
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYHigh
SHEDDING LEVELModerate
POPULARITY RANK78th
dogue de bordeaux walking on green grass
Photo: Bigandt_Photography/Getty Images Pro

Appearance

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a breed that radiates sheer power and grandeur. With their heavy, broad, and wrinkled heads, they command attention wherever they go.

In terms of height and weight, male Dogue de Bordeaux typically stand 23.5 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 110 to 140 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, standing 23 to 26 inches tall and weighing between 99 to 120 pounds.

The muzzle of this breed is somewhat short, making up one-third of the total length of their head. Their eyes, set far apart, are a beautiful shade of hazel to dark brown, adding a touch of softness to their otherwise powerful appearance. The ears of a Dogue de Bordeaux hang down, framing their face with a velvety touch.

Now, let’s talk about their body. These dogs are quite muscular and stocky, giving them a distinctive and impressive silhouette. They’re not just large; they’re solid, with a well-balanced and robust physique. This is not a dog you would easily miss in a crowd!

Their tail, strong at the base and tapering towards the end, perfectly complements their powerful bodies. When it comes to their expression, it’s one of calm assurance, reflecting their gentle yet protective nature.

As for their coat, it’s as fine as it is short. The texture is soft, almost inviting you to run your hands through it. And the color? It ranges from a rich shade of light fawn to dark red fawn. The coat covers their thick, loose skin, adding another layer of charm to their appearance.

In a nutshell, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a masterpiece of strength and elegance, wrapped in a coat of stunning fawn hues. They may look tough on the outside, but inside, they are filled with love and loyalty, ready to protect their loved ones at a moment’s notice.

dogue de bordeaux sitting outdoor
Photo: primipil

Temperament

With a face that’s hard to forget and a heart that’s full to the brim with love, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a breed that leaves a lasting impression. This French mastiff may look tough, but beneath that muscular exterior beats a heart of gold.

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a loyal companion who forms deep bonds with its family. They’re known for their affectionate nature and have a particular soft spot for children. Their protective instincts make them excellent watchdogs, always alert and ready to safeguard their loved ones. However, they’re not overly aggressive. Instead, they’re calm and composed, stepping up only when they sense a real threat.

These dogs are also known for their courage. They’re fearless, yet not reckless. They carry a certain level of dignity and assurance, reflecting their noble lineage. They’re not easily scared and will stand their ground when needed. This makes them reliable companions, especially in situations that require a brave heart.

One of the most endearing traits of the Dogue de Bordeaux is their sensitivity. They’re emotionally intelligent dogs who can sense the mood of their owners. If you’re having a bad day, you can expect your Dogue de Bordeaux to be right by your side, offering silent support. They’re also known to be quite intuitive, often understanding their owner’s needs and responding accordingly.

Another fascinating aspect of their personality is their stubborn streak. Yes, these dogs can be a bit headstrong at times. They like doing things their way, adding a dash of drama to everyday life. But this stubbornness is often mixed with a charming sense of humor. They’ve been known to display a playful side, indulging in goofy antics that keep their families entertained.

Despite their imposing size, Dogue de Bordeaux dogs are quite gentle. They’re not overly boisterous or hyperactive. They enjoy their quiet time and are quite content lounging around the house. They’re not demanding dogs, making them suitable companions for those who prefer a laid-back lifestyle.

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a sociable breed. They enjoy being around people and are generally friendly towards strangers, as long as they don’t perceive them as a threat. They can get along well with other pets in the house, especially if they’ve been raised together.

dogue de bordeaux standing in a meadow
Photo: RugliG/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

The Dogue de Bordeaux, with their majestic build and affectionate nature, require a specific kind of environment to truly thrive. These dogs are not just large in size, but also big-hearted, requiring ample space both physically and emotionally.

Physical Environment

In terms of physical environment, a home with a spacious yard would be ideal for these gentle giants. They love lounging around, but also appreciate having room to roam freely. An apartment might work if it’s spacious enough, but remember that these dogs can be quite heavy, often leading to the sound of thundering paws echoing through your living space!

Climate Adaptability

When it comes to weather conditions, the Dogue de Bordeaux has some specific needs. They’re not fans of extreme temperatures. Hot weather can make them uncomfortable due to their thick coat and brachycephalic (short-nosed) nature, making them prone to overheating.

On the other hand, cold climates aren’t their favorite either. Their short coat doesn’t provide enough insulation against freezing temperatures. So, a moderate climate, or a home where temperature can be controlled, is best for them.

Ideal Owner

As for pet parents, this breed is best suited for individuals or families who have experience with dogs, particularly large breeds. The Dogue de Bordeaux needs a confident handler who can provide consistent and positive training methods. They respond well to love and respect, so harsh training methods are a big no-no.

Other Pets

Even though they’re friendly, these dogs can be protective of their family. Early socialization is key to ensure they get along well with other pets in the house. They generally do well with other dogs, especially if they’re raised together from a young age.

dogue de bordeaux relaxing in a park
Photo: cunfek/Getty Images

Grooming

Grooming a Dogue de Bordeaux is a unique experience, just like the breed itself. These dogs are low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, but there are certain areas that require special attention.

Coat Care

Let’s start with their coat. It’s short and fine, which means it doesn’t tangle or mat easily. However, these dogs do shed, especially during the shedding season. Regular brushing can help manage this. A good rule of thumb is to brush their coat once a week using a grooming glove or a soft-bristle brush. This not only removes loose hair but also distributes skin oils evenly, keeping their coat healthy and shiny.

Bathing a Dogue de Bordeaux doesn’t need to be a frequent affair. Unless they’ve rolled in something smelly or dirty, a bath every few months should suffice. Use a dog-specific shampoo to avoid skin irritation. Remember, these dogs have sensitive skin, so it’s essential to thoroughly rinse off all the shampoo to avoid any residue.

One of the most distinctive features of the Dogue de Bordeaux is their wrinkled face. Those adorable wrinkles need special care. Clean between the folds regularly to prevent the buildup of dirt and bacteria, which can cause infections. Use a soft, damp cloth for this task and make sure to dry the area thoroughly afterward.

Dental Care

Dental care is another crucial aspect of grooming for these dogs. Brush their teeth at least two to three times a week to prevent tartar buildup and bad breath. Use a dog-friendly toothpaste and start this practice while they’re young to get them accustomed to it.

Nail Trimming

Now let’s talk about their nails. They’re strong and can grow quite quickly. Regular nail trimming is necessary to prevent overgrowth, which can cause discomfort and even pain. If you hear their nails clicking on the floor, it’s time for a trim. Use a dog nail clipper or grinder for this task. If you’re unsure about doing it yourself, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Ear Care

Finally, don’t forget about their ears. They have floppy ears that can trap moisture and dirt, leading to infections. Check their ears weekly for any signs of redness, bad odor, or inflammation. Clean them with a vet-recommended cleaner to keep them healthy.

dogue de bordeaux running with a stick
Photo: JanDix/Getty Images

Exercise

Exercising a Dogue de Bordeaux is an adventure filled with walks, playtime, and lots of bonding. These dogs are not hyperactive, but they still need regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy.

Exercise Amount & Types

A daily walk is essential for this breed. Aim for at least 45 to 60 minutes of activity each day. This could be one long walk or a few shorter walks. It’s not just about physical activity, though. Walks also provide mental stimulation, as they get to explore their surroundings, meet other dogs, and sniff around to their heart’s content.

In addition to walks, the Dogue de Bordeaux also enjoys playtime. This could include a game of fetch in the yard or a fun tug-of-war session. Remember, these dogs are quite strong, so make sure the toys you choose are durable and safe.

Dog Sports

When it comes to dog competitions, the Dogue de Bordeaux can certainly hold their own. They excel in events like weight pulling, obedience, and even agility. Training for such competitions can be a great way to provide both physical and mental stimulation for your dog.

Exercise Precautions

One thing to keep in mind is that while puppies are energetic and playful, their exercise should be limited to no more than 10 minutes at a time. Over-exercising a young Dogue de Bordeaux can strain their developing joints and muscles.

Also, be mindful of the weather. These dogs don’t do well in extreme heat due to their short snouts and thick coats. Try to schedule exercise sessions during cooler parts of the day to avoid overheating.

two dogue de bordeaux on a walk
Photo: Yanosh_Nemesh/Getty Images

Training

Training a Dogue de Bordeaux is a journey filled with fun, challenges, and lots of treats. These dogs are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them quite trainable. However, they also have a stubborn streak, which can add a dash of spice to the training process.

Socialization

One of the key aspects of training these dogs is early socialization. Exposing them to different people, pets, and environments at a young age helps them grow into well-rounded adults. It teaches them to be comfortable around strangers and other animals, reducing the chances of aggressive behavior later in life.

Basic Obedience

When it comes to basic obedience training, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a fast learner. Commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘come’ can be mastered with consistent practice. Remember, this breed responds best to positive reinforcement techniques. Praise them generously and give them treats when they follow a command correctly. Harsh words or actions will only make them more stubborn.

Additional Training Tips

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a natural guard dog, so training them to curb their protective instincts is crucial. Teach them to differentiate between normal and suspicious activities to prevent unnecessary aggression. This can be achieved with the help of a professional trainer.

While training, keep in mind that these dogs are quite sensitive. They form deep emotional bonds with their owners and crave their approval. So, make sure your training sessions are filled with lots of love and patience.

Remember, training is not a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process that requires consistency. Don’t rush the training process. Allow your dog to learn at their own pace. Make training sessions short and fun to keep them engaged.

dogue de bordeaux running in a park
Photo: primipil

Diet & Nutrition 

Feeding a Dogue de Bordeaux is like fueling a powerful machine. These dogs have specific dietary needs that need to be met to keep them healthy and active.

What to Feed & How Much

When it comes to choosing food for your Dogue de Bordeaux, quality is key. Look for high-quality dry, wet, or raw food that follows the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines. These foods are balanced and complete, providing all the nutrients your dog needs.

The amount of food you feed your Dogue de Bordeaux depends on their age, weight, and activity level. Puppies generally require more frequent meals – about 3 to 4 times a day – as they’re growing rapidly. As they grow into adults, this can be reduced to 2 meals a day. Always follow the feeding guidelines on the pet food packaging or consult with your vet to determine the right portion size.

Remember, these dogs are prone to obesity, so it’s important to monitor their weight and adjust their food intake accordingly. Regular exercise also plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy weight.

Treats

Treats are a great training tool, but they should be given sparingly. They’re often high in calories and should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Opt for healthy options like carrot sticks or apple slices instead of high-fat treats.

Water

Hydration is another important aspect of their diet. Always ensure your Dogue de Bordeaux has access to fresh water, especially after exercise or during hot weather.

dogue de bordeaux lying on grass
Photo: CBCK-Christine/Getty Images

Health

The average life expectancy of a Dogue de Bordeaux is around 5 to 8 years. While this may seem short compared to other breeds, remember that quality of life is just as important as quantity. With the right care, these dogs can lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Like all dog breeds, they have certain health considerations that potential owners should be aware of. Here are some common health issues associated with the breed:

Hip Dysplasia: This is a common issue in many large breeds. It’s a condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit snugly into the hip socket, leading to pain and mobility issues.

Elbow Dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, this condition affects the elbow joint and can cause lameness in the front legs.

Heart Conditions: The Dogue de Bordeaux is prone to certain heart conditions, including dilated cardiomyopathy and aortic stenosis.

Gastric Torsion (Bloat): This is a serious condition where the dog’s stomach twists, causing severe discomfort and requiring immediate medical attention.

Brachycephalic Syndrome: Due to their short snouts, these dogs can face breathing difficulties and are more susceptible to heatstroke.

To keep your Dogue de Bordeaux healthy, a balanced diet is crucial. Feed them high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs. Regular exercise is also important to maintain a healthy weight and keep their joints flexible.

Regular veterinary checks are essential to catch any potential health issues early. Ensure your Dogue de Bordeaux is up-to-date with their vaccinations and preventative treatments.

dogue de bordeaux walking in the backyard
Photo: Katerina_Brusnika/Getty Images

History

The story of the Dogue de Bordeaux is a tale that dates back to the Middle Ages, lending them an air of ancient nobility. This breed, native to France, is often associated with the country’s rich and complex history.

The Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the oldest French dog breeds, believed to be a direct descendant of the Molossus of Rome, a breed that was popular during the Roman Empire. These dogs were initially bred as war dogs, protecting soldiers and fighting alongside them in battles. As times changed, their roles evolved, and they found a place in hunting parties, chasing down large game like boars.

By the 12th century, the Dogue de Bordeaux had become a fixture on French estates, guarding property and livestock. Their strength, courage, and loyalty made them perfect for this role. However, it wasn’t just their physical prowess that earned them a special place in French society. They were also known for their gentle nature and deep devotion to their human families.

Despite their long history, the Dogue de Bordeaux faced near extinction in the 20th century, particularly during the two World Wars when dog breeding took a backseat to survival. However, dedicated breed enthusiasts worked hard to revive the breed, ensuring the Dogue de Bordeaux’s legacy continued.

In popular culture, the Dogue de Bordeaux has had its moment in the spotlight. Perhaps most notably, a Dogue de Bordeaux named Hooch co-starred with Tom Hanks in the 1989 movie “Turner & Hooch”. The film showcased not just the breed’s distinctive looks, but also their loyalty, intelligence, and endearing slobbering!

The American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized the Dogue de Bordeaux in 2008. Since then, the breed has gained popularity in the United States, appreciated for their unique blend of strength and gentility.

Today, the Dogue de Bordeaux is cherished as a loyal companion and family pet. They may no longer guard French estates or hunt large game, but their courage, loyalty, and love for their families remain as strong as ever.

Parent Club

The parent club for the Dogue de Bordeaux in the United States is the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America (DDBSA). The club serves as a valuable resource for breed information, breeder referrals, rescue efforts, and more. You can find more information about the club on their official webpage.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed. 

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Dogue de Bordeaux’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

dogue de bordeaux puppies sitting on the sofa
Photo: WilleeCole Photography

Acquiring

Bringing a Dogue de Bordeaux into your life is an exciting journey! Preparation is key. Ensure you have a suitable living space, time for training and exercise, and resources for their dietary and healthcare needs.

If you choose to buy, always opt for reputable breeders who prioritize the health and temperament of their dogs. They should provide health clearances and allow you to meet the puppy’s parents.

However, why not consider rescuing? Many wonderful Dogue de Bordeaux dogs are waiting for their forever homes. Rescuing not only gives a dog a second chance but also makes room for other dogs in need. The American Kennel Club and the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America can provide resources to help with rescuing.

Remember, whether you buy or rescue, you’re gaining a loyal, loving companion. So get ready for a life filled with slobbery kisses and warm cuddles!

FAQs

Is the Dogue de Bordeaux a good family pet?

Yes, the Dogue de Bordeaux makes an excellent family pet. They are known for their loyalty and deep affection for their families. They’re especially gentle with children. However, due to their size, they should always be supervised around small kids.

Is the French Mastiff and the Dogue de Bordeaux the same breed?

Yes, they are the same breed. The Dogue de Bordeaux is often referred to as the French Mastiff. Both names refer to this powerful, loyal, and affectionate breed.

Are Dogue de Bordeaux dogs aggressive?

While the Dogue de Bordeaux can be protective of their families, they are not typically aggressive without reason. Proper socialization and training from a young age can help ensure they grow into well-rounded adults.

Is the Dogue de Bordeaux a large or giant breed?

The Dogue de Bordeaux falls into the category of a large to giant breed. Males can weigh up to 140 pounds and females up to 120 pounds.

How much exercise does a Dogue de Bordeaux need?

Despite their size, the Dogue de Bordeaux doesn’t require extensive exercise. Aim for at least 45 to 60 minutes of activity each day.

Are Dogue de Bordeaux dogs easy to train?

While the Dogue de Bordeaux is intelligent and eager to please, they can be stubborn at times. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key when training this breed.

Do Dogue de Bordeaux dogs drool a lot?

Yes, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a heavy drooler, especially after eating or drinking or during periods of extreme heat. If you’re considering this breed, be prepared for a bit of slobber!

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