AKC Dog Breeds: Dogue de Bordeaux

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Mastiff  Group
Height:23-30 inches   Weight: 99-145 pounds  Color: Red-Brown, Fawn, Mahogany

The Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the most ancient French breeds. He is a typical brachycephalic molossoid type. He is a very powerful dog, with a very muscular body yet retaining a harmonious general outline. The Dogue de Bordeaux is surprisingly famous as a breed. The dog accompanying Tom Hanks in "Turner and Hooch" was a Dogue de Bordeaux, and the distinctive wrinkled, masked faces of the Dogues are often used as a shorthand for powerful, menacing mastiffs and bulldogs in cartoons and popular imagery. Despite the Dogue de Bordeaux's typically French name and character, its origins are most likely the result of England's comparatively brief occupation of the Northwestern French province of Aquitane. During this period, historians of the breed now believe that English Mastiffs were bread with local French guard dogs, resulting in something similar to the Dogue de Bordeaux known today.

General Appearance
The Dogue de Bordeaux also called the French Mastiff and sometimes called the Bordeaux Bulldog is a short, stocky mastiff with a huge, heavy, broad, wrinkled head. The head is a very important feature when evaluating this breed. Top quality show males have a head circumference of 27-30 inches (68-75cm). The jaw is undershot and powerful. The Dogue should always have a black or red mask that can be distinguished from the rest of the coat around and under the nose and including the lips and eye rims. The nostrils are very open. The muzzle should be at most 1/3 the total length of the head. The upper lips hang thickly down over the lower jaw. The skin on the neck is loose, forming a noticeable dewlap. In general, the skin is thick. The ears hang down. The body is thickset with a short, straight topline and a gentle rounded croup. The front legs should be straight and heavy-boned. The straight tail begins thickly at the base and then tapers to a point. It should not reach lower than the hocks. The short soft coat comes in shades of fawn to mahogany with a black or red mask. The Dogue de Bordeaux snores and drools. His serious expression, stocky and athletic build, and self assurance make him very imposing.


The Dogue De Bordeaux is a fearless breed and aggressive at times, this dog is not recommended for an average home environment. This breed is said to have split personalities. Calm and gentle at times, yet protective and dominant at others. Breeders have softened the temperament of this dog quite a bit from his original ferocity. A very intimidating breed, this dog can also be calm and gentle given the proper home environment and socialization. A powerful breed, the Dogue De Bordeaux does well with children but should always be supervised. The Dogue de Bordeaux has a low energy level, considering its size, which can make it a moderately frustrating breed when it comes to training, although the Dogue is extremely intelligent, it can often become simply too fatigued to work with a trainer for more than an hour or two at a time. Anyone who's interested in the Dogue de Bordeaux because they assume that its large size must equate to a high level of energy and playfulness would be well-advised to look elsewhere.


An average shedder, this breed requires little to no maintenance. To remove excess hair, brushing with a firm bristle brush would be a good idea, however a wipe down with a dry towel or damp washcloth should be sufficient.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

As with many heavy dogs, hip dysplasia is a significant problem. Dogues de Bordeaux are also susceptible to some forms of cancer. One breed-specific ailment has to do with the Dogue's larger-than-average head, which can cause trouble for female Dogues during the birthing process.  Their life expectancy is 10-12 years.

Activity Level
Although one wouldn't necessarily think it (given the Dogue's massive size), the Dogue de Bordeaux doesn't require a great deal of exercise in order to stay healthy. Quite the reverse is true, in fact--too much exercise during the dog's first year of life can result in underdeveloped or overstressed bones and muscles, which can result in severe health problems (or even in early mortality.) So it's wise to restrict the Dogue de Bordeaux's exercise during its early years, only playing with the dog for perhaps an hour a day.


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