Dogue de Bordeaux
Other names: Bordeaux Mastiff, French Mastiff, Bordeaux dog
The Dogue de Bordeaux is an ancient fighting dog, but has since principally been adopted for his lovely companion dog qualities and also his capacity as a watchdog. He is very close to his owners, gentle with children and protective of his social group and home grounds. Calm by nature, his expenditure needs are moderate but should nevertheless not be neglected. Available owners will bring joy to this dog who does not enjoy being left alone.
Key facts about the Dogue de Bordeaux
Origins and history
His origins are the same as those of other European molossians- that is to say, Asian. The first accounts we have of the Dogue de Bordeaux date back to the Middle Ages: the gothic tower of the Carcassonne church, built in the 14th century, is embellished with a dog that resembles the Dogue a lot. Written testimony speaks of a certain Aquitaine Dog, used as a hunter and watchdog and used also in fights against other animals. There were three types of Aquitaine Dogs: the Toulousain, the Parisian, and the Bordelais. The latter would have been the direct ancestor of the contemporary Dogue de Bordeaux.
Physical characteristics of the Dogue de Bordeaux
Female : Between 22 and 27 in
Male : Between 23 and 28 in
Female : Between 99 and 110 lb
Male : Between 110 and 121 lb
The coat is a solid colour, ranging from mahogany to dun, always staying in the fawn tones.
Chocolate is not admissible by official standards.
Otherwise, white patching is accepted around the chest- as long as it isn’t too widespread- and at the extremity of the limbs.
Three varieties of mask exist: black mask, brown mask, and no mask.
Type of coat
The hair is short.
The hair is fine and soft to the touch.
The eyes are hazel to dark brown for individuals with black masks. In individuals with a brown mask or no mask, a lighter colour is admissible but not sought after.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is not a giant dog, but a powerful and well built one, generally proportionate-looking, very muscular around the neck, back and limbs. The head is big, characteristic, covered in pleats, wide and rather short: seen from the front, it is trapezoidal-shaped. The skull is slightly convex; the muzzle is thick, short, square, slightly concave. The stop is abrupt. The jaws are very powerful, wide and square, and prognathic. The eyes are oval-shaped, far from one another and wide. The ears are small, with a slightly elevated base, but folded over, and of a slightly darker shade than the rest of the coat. The neck is very strong. The thorax is powerful and deep; the back is large, the kidneys short. The limbs are large. The tail, set low, doesn’t reach past the hock.
Good to know
Because of his brachycephaly (flat nose), the Dogue de Bordeaux snores and salivates a lot.
Despite his powerful and impressive build, this molossian is affectionate and close to his social group. In this sense, he is a very good everyday-life companion, and always seeks out his masters’ attention and affection.
Not very athletic by nature, this Dogue will happily participate in play sessions, but these shouldn’t include excessive physical effort.
The Bordeaux dog, as it is also known, is a rather tranquil dog who does not require much exercise to be fully content. This calm breed calls for a gentle, patient, and respectful owner.
Despite his appearance, this mighty dog is rather malleable, and readily concurs with his master’s various commands, as long as they seem coherent to him.
With this Dogue, the predatory instinct is only slightly developed. He definitely prefers to stay by his owner’s side to protect him rather than to leave in search of potential prey.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Very protective of his kin, the French Mastiff remains very withdrawn when he meets a stranger. He needs time to give his trust and the slightest incoherence in a stranger’s approach could trigger the excellent watchdog within him.
This big molossian of impressive constitution is very attached to his owners and enjoys spending time with them more than anything else. This breed will be unhappy if left alone and excluded from family life.
Behaviour of the Dogue de Bordeaux
The Bordeaux dog is a sensitive dog who, under any circumstances, prefers being surrounded by members of his social group rather than to be isolated. Loneliness doesn’t agree with him at all and he could prove to be destructive during prolonged absences.
A precocious and progressive training of managing time when left alone must be implemented a soon as the Dogue de Bordeaux pup integrates the home.
Easy to train / obedience
Given his overpowering constitution, the Dogue de Bordeaux must be trained and socialised from his youngest age, in order to prevent any extreme behaviour from emerging later on in adulthood.
The males can be more difficult than the females but their will to please their owners and spend time with them renders training sessions pleasant and productive.
The key points to be worked on are walking on a leash without pulling (keeping in mind the dog’s strength as an adult), teaching ‘go to your spot’ to prevent any rough reactions towards guests, as well as supervised, positive, and regular encounters with his fellow dogs, in order to develop and reinforce a ‘canine code of conduct’.
Positive reinforcement should of course be put in place, but training should not under any circumstance be laxist. Firmness, diligence, and patience are key in achieving results with this dog, who tends to be difficult if all three of the latter elements are not applied.
The strength, courage and determination of this dog mean that he does not have to resort to barking in order to deter potential intruders or chase them away. In fact, barking is very rare for this breed.
Moreover, despite his strong watchdog instinct, the French Mastiff- as dubbed by the Anglo Saxons- only pays very little attention to what happens outside of his home grounds. He decidedly isn’t the type to bark as soon as a car or person passes by in the street.