The Dogue de Bordeaux: A Complete Guide

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The Dogue de Bordeaux, sometimes called a French Mastiff or a Bordeaux Mastiff, first stole the hearts of the American public when he premiered in the Tom Hanks movie, Turner, and Hooch.

Before then, however, breeders had trouble popularizing the breed in the states.

This large mastiff-looking dog has its official origins in France, specifically the Bordeaux region. Here it served as a popular guard dog, working dog, and even companion.

It saw use everywhere that a dog was needed. Farmers would use the dog to pull carts, and wealthy nobles would use them as royal guard dogs.

They are an all-purpose dog that takes easily to most kinds of work and is a very personable breed as well.

The exact origins of the large breed are still in question.

They are a close relative of the Mastiff, but some are still unsure of whether they are descended from the Tibetan Mastiff or the Neapolitan Mastiff.

Due to the region, the Neapolitan Mastiff (in Italy) seems like a more plausible answer. However, before 1920, there was no standardization for this breed, so there was a lot of variety.

It wasn’t until the early 20th Century that breeders realized the dogs potential as a show dog that could be marketed to wealthy families.

Over a few years, the inconsistencies were bred out of it, its head was genetically engineered to be a little smaller, and its beautiful red coat was specifically kept.

During World War II, the breed fell out of popularity as the country of France had more pressing concerns than breeding dogs.

However, in the late 1960s, a group of French breeders pioneered a resurgence of the breed, and in 1970, the Dogue de Bordeaux was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.

While the breeders bred out many of the original athletic, working qualities of the dog, its personality still remains the same.

They are very affectionate and develop close bonds with their human families.

While they are generally lumbering and somewhat lazy, they still like to run around and play in short bursts throughout the day, and get along very well with kids and any other pets that you might have running around your home.

Dogue de Bordeaux Puppies – Before You Buy…

Dogue de Bordeaux sitting in snow
The Dogue de Bordeaux is a beautiful dog.

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a great fit for almost any size family. However, many people forget one key thing: these small and adorable puppies grow into very large dogs.

Some owners are enticed by the small, red puppies, but have second thoughts once the dog grows to be 160 pounds and takes up as much space as a full-grown adult.

They consume a lot of food as well, which is another thing to take into consideration. However, if this isn’t an issue for you, then you’ll find this breed to be a wonderful family companion.

What Price are Dogue de Bordeaux Puppies?

The Dogue de Bordeaux is relatively inexpensive when compared to other popular breeds of similar type. In most cases, you can bring home one of these puppies for between $1,000 and $1,500.

This price will depend on both the pedigree of the parents and the breeder that you are getting your dog from. In certain areas, this breed is in higher demand and will fetch a higher price.

How to Find Reputable Dogue de Bordeaux Breeders

When you are looking for a Dogue de Bordeaux, you want to make sure that you are buying the dog from a reputable breeder.

Since these dogs are in high demand at the moment, there is a lot of money to be made by breeders.

Whenever money is on the horizon, breeders can engage in irresponsible breeding techniques and been known to turn their operation into a puppy mill that has the sole purpose of pushing out puppies for cash.

Not only are these puppy mills unethical, but they can also result in your puppy developing some considerable psychological problems and physical ailments in their later life.

You should search for a breeder that comes well-recommended by the public. High-end breeders usually have a reputation to maintain and won’t engage in these irresponsible breeding techniques.

Find a breeder who takes excellent care of his stock, feeds them a good diet, and can produce all of the necessary pedigree papers.

3 Little-Known Facts about Dogue de Bordeaux Puppies

  1. The Dogue de Bordeaux has higher energy as a puppy, but once they grow larger, they will become more sedentary and relaxed.
  2. Despite its imposing stature, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a very affectionate and gentle animal. They are perfectly safe to have around your kids from puppyhood on.
  3. Dogue de Bordeaux puppies are very social and get along very well with any other household pets that you may have.

Physical Traits of the Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux laying by bed
The Dogue de Bordeaux is a mild-tempered and gentle giant.

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a large-sized dog that has many similarities with the traditional Mastiff. They have long, thick, and squared bodies and usually have long tails.

They can pack on a lot of muscle if they get a good amount of exercise, which can make them even heavier. Their legs are short and very stocky to support their heavy frame.

Looking at their heads, they have a long, thick neck that supports a large, rounded head.

The top of their skull is flat, but they have prominent eyebrows that overshadow narrow, slightly beady eyes which are usually a brown, black, or amber color.

Their snout is a medium length and has a squared shape. Their upper lip hangs low which is a trait typical of most mastiff breeds.

Quite possibly the most attractive feature of the Dogue de Bordeaux is his coat. It ranges in color from a light coppery red (fawn) color to a dark red mahogany color.

A shade of red will always be visible in the coat, however.

Their coat is short and silky smooth, and as puppies, they have lots of folds that they will quickly grow into throughout a couple of years.

How Big is a Full-Grown Dogue de Bordeaux?

The minimum weight for a Dogue de Bordeaux is 100 pounds. Anything less than this is not considered official.

However, when fully grown, most Dogues de Bordeaux will weigh around 160 pounds. Females will weigh a bit less and have an average weight of 125 to 130 pounds.

They have a stockier build, which leads them to have a shorter height of around 24 to 28 inches. Females usually have the same height as the males.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Dogue de Bordeaux?

Unfortunately, the Dogue de Bordeaux has a very short lifespan when compared to most dogs. The average lifespan is 5 to 6 years.

The Dogue de Bordeaux Society makes a record of all dogs that live to be 7 years or older, as they are trying to breed the dog to have greater longevity.

If you don’t take well to the loss of a pet, then this is something to consider.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux playing with rope
The Dogue de Bordeaux gets along great with kids.

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a fairly intelligent dog. They can learn basic obedience without a problem.

However, you may find it harder to teach them more advanced material. It is not so much that they lack the intelligence as it is that they are stubborn dogs.

This breed tends to be on the lazy side and doesn’t like to do things that require extra effort than it deems worth it.

If you are trying to teach this dog some new tricks, your best bet is to entice them with extra treats.

Despite their large and imposing size, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a very gentle and mild-tempered dog.

They don’t bark often, and when they do, it’s never in an aggressive manner.

They are always calm and polite, and will never outstep their boundaries as long as they are trained well during their puppyhood.

The Dogue de Bordeaux’s Diet

Due to their large size, the Dogue de Bordeaux will need to eat at least 5 cups of food per day.

If they are particularly large (170 to 180 pounds) or more active than usual, then this will need to be increased to 6 cups.

They do well with a high-protein diet which will help them develop their natural muscle mass.

How Much Exercise Does the Dogue de Bordeaux Need?

The Dogue de Bordeaux has a moderate level of energy. They aren’t quite as active as their predecessors which were working dogs, but they aren’t completely lazy either.

They prefer to get their exercise in short bursts. These dogs will sit around the house for most of the day, and then get up and run around or chase a ball for 15 minutes here and there.

If you own a Dogue de Bordeaux, make sure that they get around 25 minutes a day of continuous activity in the form of a walk or just spending time in the backyard.

Dogue de Bordeaux Health and Conditions

Since they are a very heavy breed, over 50% of Dogues de Bordeaux are affected by Hip Dysplasia in lower life.

Because of the shape of their face, some dogs can also become affected by breathing problems.

Although it is uncommon, some of these dogs will die suddenly of congestive heart failure and will often show no warning signs.

Final Thoughts on the Dogue de BordeauxDogue de Bordeaux guide

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a beautiful dog.

They are mild-tempered, gentle giants, and are very affectionate of their human families.

Their short lifespan is a drawback for some people, but you can be sure that their lives will be full and meaningful.

This breed gets along great with kids and in social situations, making them the perfect dog for large, social families.


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