The Dogue of Bordeaux, also known as the French mastiff, became popular in the United States after the movie "Turner and Hooch" was shown in the mid 1980s. Although still somewhat uncommon outside of France, this breed is strong and imposing but also a loving family member.
The Dogue of Bordeaux is a member of the American Kennel Club's working class since October of 2007
History and Origin
As with many breeds, the origins of the Dogue de Bordeaux seem to be a closely guarded secret. Some believe that the breed is a descendent from the giant, now extinct, Molosser used by the Romans in their battles. Others believe that the dog developed from crossing the bulldog and the mastiff. Still others think this is the same breed that was used by the Celts to hunt wild game. Regardless, this strong imposing dog is a beloved companion and protector for those who know him.
As the name suggests, the Dogue de Bordeaux was largely developed in the Bordeaux region of France. He has served as a war dog, flock guardian, personal bodyguard and may have even been a participant in dog gladiator sports. During the French Revolution, which overthrew the French monarchy, the fate of this breed was in doubt. Many were killed while defending their master's estates. The large numbers of the breed present throughout the homes of nobility as well as peasants is likely what saved the breed. Following the French Revolution, there were enormous variations in the look and size of this dog. Eventually, a breed standard was written, which has been revised several times. The last version was written in 1993.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is thoroughly established in France and importation into the United States began at some point in the mid 20th century. Though considered a rare breed, there are currently over 3,000 Dogues in the United States. Although gaining popularity in the United States, this breed is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Appearance and Size
The Dogue de Bordeaux has a powerful, muscular body and deep chest. The head is broad and short with many wrinkles and an undershot jaw. The eyes are oval and set wide apart with a prominent upper ridge. The folded ears are set high on the head with a broad base. The ears should not be cropped and the tail is left long. The hair coat of the Dogue de Bordeaux is short and smooth and is often some shade of fawn. The most common color is a deep red with hazel or amber eyes. Some may have a distinct brown (previously called red) or black mask. The Dogue de Bordeaux stands 23 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weighs 100 to 145 pounds.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is a loyal and devoted companion but does have a streak of dominance and can be aggressive. He is an excellent guard dog; just his appearance alone can frighten potential intruders. This breed is not for people who cannot handle and train a strong dominant dog.
Home and Family Relations
Careful breeding has succeeded in softening the Dogue de Bordeaux's aggressive nature but it is still something to be concerned about. This breed requires a strong handler, both physically and mentally. The Dogue de Bordeaux is a wonderful and faithful family dog but he should be supervised when playing with small children. He will protect his family and property from any threat, whether real or imagined.
The Dogue de Bordeaux has a short coat that does not need much grooming care. Periodic brushing is needed to keep the coat shiny.
The Dogue de Bordeaux should be obedience trained and socialized when young. Some may have a strong dominant character that requires an assertive and firm handler. These dogs respond to firm, positive and fair training techniques. Negative reinforcement and pain, such as shock collars, should not be used. With the right owner, the Dogue do Bordeaux can be a sweet and even-tempered dog.
The Dogue de Bordeaux needs a lot of exercise to keep his strong, muscular body in tiptop shape. Dogues should also be leashed when walked in public.