The Dogue de Bordeaux is a powerful and muscular dog with a large head and stocky body. These dogs are a brachycephalic molossoid, or mastiff-type, dog breed. Their coat is short, fine, and soft to the touch, and it comes in fawn shades ranging from light fawn to dark red. Their eyes are oval and wide set, and the have a powerful, broad muzzle and jaw. Their skin is loose fitting and thick. The Dogue de Bordeaux measures 23 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 90 to 160 pounds. With proper care, these dogs live 5 to 10 years.
Fairness is key when dealing with a Dogue de Bordeaux breed; they can sense when rules are stacked against them and they may rebel.
The Dogue de Bordeaux has a powerful instinct for guarding, and these dogs guard courageously and vigilantly, but without aggression. They are devoted and affectionate and make great companion animals. These dogs have a calm and patient temperament.
These impressive dogs first came to the attention of Americans when the breed took on the role of "Hooch" in Tom Hanks' 1989 movie, Turner and Hooch.
Dogue de Bordeaux dogs are talented guardians without being aggressive, and they make very good companions for singles and families. They quickly become attached to their human family and may be very affectionate toward their favorite people. These dogs are generally calm and they have a high threshold for stimulus. Males often have a dominant personality.
Although typically calm and gentle, these dogs can also be stubborn, especially if they have no strong leadership. Their personalities vary and range from aloof to outgoing and clownish. These dogs tend to be lazy and prefer to sleep rather than exercise. It is important to tempt them into activity for health reasons. Often, a basketball or other bouncy ball will motivate them to get up and moving.
Although these dogs are loving and protective with young children, their large size and laid back nature may result in accidental physical harm to young kids. When they're not snoozing on the rug or playing with the children, they'll expect to be petted on the couch. Keep these dogs inside, in the air-conditioning. Because they are brachycephalic, they are unable to cool off properly by panting and can succumb to heat quickly.
Dogue de Bordeaux dogs, like other giant breeds with short muzzles, suffer from certain health problems. Additionally, the limited gene pool of this breed makes it susceptible to extremes of temperature, certain heart diseases, such as aortic stenosis and dilated cardiomyopathy, and ectropion, a condition marked by the outward turning of the eyelid.
These dogs are also more prone that some other breeds to developing footpad hyperkeratosis, a condition that causes a thickening, hardening, and cracking of the footpads. There is no specific treatment for this condition, but therapy to relieve symptoms can improve quality of life.
The Dogue de Bordeaux can live up to 10 years with routine veterinary care, proper nutrition, daily exercise, and standard canine vaccinations.
This is not the easiest breed to own and these dogs are not a good match for first-time dog owners. They are stubborn and very strong, and they require firm and consistent leadership and training methods. Fairness is key when dealing with these dogs; they can sense when rules are stacked against them and they may rebel.
Early socialization is also very important to ensure the Dogue de Bordeaux learns to tolerate other animals and people. This breed is prone to aggression toward other dogs and people unless properly trained. Ideally, socialization should begin before purchase or adoption, so it's important to find a breeder who exposes his puppies to a variety of sights, sounds, smells, and faces.
Don't let the Dogue de Bordeaux get away with any negative behaviors. Once that happens, it will be very difficult to correct them. Set firm limits and expectations, and then stick to them, even if that means calling in a professional trainer for advice.
The Bullmastiff short coat is very easy to groom, and a weekly brushing with a rubber curry brush is usually sufficient to remove dead hairs and distribute skin oils throughout the coat. These dogs do shed heavily, however, and their hair tends to end up all over. More frequent brushing during shedding seasons and daily vacuuming can help manage loose hair.
These dogs have wrinkles that require special care to prevent infections and skin irritation. They must be wiped frequently with a baby wipe or damp cloth and then dried thoroughly. Any moisture left behind can be used by bacteria or fungi as a breeding ground. Wipe the Dogue de Bordeaux's face after every meal and drink of water, and watch out for head shakes; these dogs tend to send drool flying across the house when they shake their heads.
The breed's nails need trimming every few weeks, and the teeth require frequent cleaning to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Dental supplements can help control gum disease and freshen breath. The ears must be checked at least once every week for redness or other signs of infection, and the breed's skin folds should be checked at least as often for signs of irritation and infection.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the most ancient French dog breeds known, and these dogs are thought to have existed in France for more than 600 years. The breed takes its name from the Bordeaux region of France, where it is thought to originate.
The breed has been linked to the Bullmastiff, Tibetan Mastiff, Bulldog, Neapolitan Mastiff, and other similar breeds. These dogs have been used as hunters, fighters, and guardians and were used to bait bears, bulls, and jaguars. They also herded cattle and protected the homes of their masters.
In 1959, the first Dogue de Bordeaux was imported into the United States. It was not until three decades later that the breed gained widespread recognition in American, following a role in the comedy Turner and Hooch with Tom Hanks.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Dogue de Bordeaux in 2008.