Dogue de Bordeaux

Fast Facts

Country of Origin:France
AKC Group:Working Group
UKC Group:Guardian
Life Span:8 to 10 years
Color:Solid mahogany (auburn) or fawn.
Coat:Fine, short hair that is soft to the touch.
Grooming:Brush weekly.
Size:Large Dog Breed
Height:23 to 27 inches at the shoulder
Weight:At least 100 pounds

Although it has a forbidding look, the Dogue's desire for affection is intense. It's somewhat leery of strangers and may be aggressive toward strange dogs, but it gets along well with children and makes a loving family pet with a calm, tranquil disposition. The Dogue de Bordeaux's origin is not known, but it's likely that the Mastiff and Bulldog each played a part in its development. The breed was once used as a fighting dog, challenging bulls, bears and other dogs. The Dogue is powerful and massive, but surprisingly athletic and quick. A large, expressive head characterizes this breed. As with most dogs that were once bred for fighting, the Dogue de Bordeaux has a powerful jaw. This breed is built low to the ground, but is well balanced. The standard calls for males to weigh at least 100 pounds and stand 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder; bitches are slightly smaller. Dogues come in several colors, but dark auburn is preferred. The short coat requires only a weekly brushing.

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A Tempting Blend of Tough and Sweet

By Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz

Top Traits

  • Devoted guardian
  • Imposing figure
  • Laid-back nature

When a 110-pound Dogue de Bordeaux goes walking, people stop, gawk, and whip out their cameras — no matter where they are. That’s what happened when Paula and William Duvall, M.D., of Melbourne, Ky., took Crusader, their 41/2 //mf//-year-old Dogue de Bordeaux, for a stroll to Notre Dame Cathedral after a Paris dog show. 

"Tourists came to see the famous church, but they were more fascinated with our giant dog,” William Duvall says. "They crowded around and took pictures of him, and he loved all the attention.”

The DDB’s large, stocky body of loose-fitting skin and massive, wrinkled head with a serious expression hints at a fighting ancestry, but today this guardian is a laid-back companion.

Couch Creature

"These are good family dogs who love to be with their people,” says Andrea Switzer Bialoblocki of Spotswood, N.J., president of the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America. "They will come over, rest at your feet, or try to sit on your lap.” 

The DDB instinctively guards his family and territory, but discerns friend from foe. 

Beasley, a DDB, starred alongside actor Tom Hanks in Turner and Hooch,  the 1989 comedy about a policeman and his canine partner. As Hooch, Beasley slobbered and messed his way into Turner’s heart and endeared him to movie and dog fans alike. 

Behold the Bordeaux

If you’re thinking of adding this affectionate companion to your family, consider these facts about the breed:

  • The DDB’s short nose makes it difficult for the dog to cool off adequately by panting. "Limit exercise and outdoor activities in hot weather,” Bialoblocki says.
  • His giant size and strong-willed nature require early, firm training and strong leadership. Begin training as soon as you bring your DDB home.
  • Slobber happens, so keep a towel handy. When he shakes his head, drool flies. 
  • Wrinkles require daily cleaning to avoid infection. Wipe with a moistened cloth and dry thoroughly.
  • The DDB is a heavy shedder. Brushing once a week with a rubber brush confines dead hairs to the brush, rather than your house.

Similar Breeds

If a Dogue de Bordeaux makes you smile, you might also like his relatives: the Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Tibetan Mastiff, Bulldog, and Neapolitan Mastiff.

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