The Dogue de Bordeaux (or French Mastiff, Bordeaux Mastiff, Bordeaux Bulldog, Bordeauxdog) is a medium sized to large sized, short coated, compact, muscular dog that was developed in France. The Dogue de Bordeaux is an ancient breed used for hunting big game and guarding the house and yard, and was even used in medieval battle. Nowadays it is particularly a family and protection dog.
Dogue de Bordeaux History
The Dogue de Bordeaux was known in France as early as the fourteenth century particularly in southern France in the region around Bordeaux, clarifying the name of the breed.
It is an offspring from various strains of the ancient Molossers, that over time developped in each area to the likes and needs of the locals. The Dogue de Bordeaux's origin dates back to the time when English Kings ruled over Aquitaine between 1203 and 1453 (the year when Aquitaine was annexed to France). The French Mastiffs were the result of crossbreeding the large Aquitainian guard dogs with the English Mastiffs that were brought as gifts and war dogs and the like. Originally, they served a dual purpose as war dogs and by guarding flocks from wolves and bears. The Dogue d'Aquitaine (or less correct Dogue de Aquitaine) as it was known at the time, was known to come in two varieties, Dogues and Doguins, the former, the Dogue specialized and known as a protection and butcher's dog, being a considerably larger dog than the latter. The Doguin that was specialized at the time in bull-baiting and donkey-baiting, is no longer in existence.
Later on Spanish Perro de Presa blood (Perro de Toro) including Spanish Mastiffs blood was infused to increase its gameness and baiting capablilities. The Dogue de Bordeaux was around the 1800s classified into three varieties, the Parisian (aka Paris type, similar to an English Mastiff), de Bordelais (Bordeaux type, simular to a bull-mastiff, Dogue type) and the Toulouse (aka Dogue du Midi, longer muzzle, simular to the Perro de Toro type). These types were bred depending on the region of France and the jobs they were required to do and were all used for baiting and dogfighting that was very popular at the time. Used as a hunter, a herding dog, and a guardian. They were trained to bait bulls, bears, jaguars and each other, as well as hunt boars, herd cattle, and protect the homes, butcher shops, and vineyards of their masters. It is interesting to note that dogs that are used for heavily tested tasks focus on purpose over variance in appearance. The Toulouse variant, located near the Spanish border, showed great resemblance to the Perro de Toro which was also such a purpose dog at the time. They just used and bred the most capable dogs together.
In 1863 the first canine exhibition was held at the "Jardin d'Acclimatation" in Paris, France. The winner was a bitch named Magentas and was then named after the capital of their region of origin, the Dogue de Bordeaux.
When fighting was outlawed, the Dogue de Bordeaux regardless its other tasks, was always prized as a protector and was now often found in the homes of the wealthy of France. The breed composition changed during the French Revolution when many of the Dogues de Bordeaux perished with their wealthy masters, in that period the Dogues de Bordeaux of the common man thrived. These became champions, and were powerful dogs bred to do their jobs and do them well.
In the 1890's English Mastiff blood was infused into the breed to upscale the weight and height. A uniform breed type of the Bordeaux Dog did not exist before about 1920. The French since then placed emphasis on the breeds appearance and making sure this breed was diverce from the English Mastiff. Black masks were considered an indication of the crossing in of the English Mastiff (even though in the past black masks did naturally exist within the breed). As an important indication of purity of the breed, attention was paid to the self colored (pink) nose, lighter eye color (dark amber), and red mask. A setback for the breed came with World War II, as the legend goes; Adolf Hitler was said to have demanded the execution of all Dogues de Bordeaux because of their devout loyalty to their owners.
During the 1960s, a group of breeders of the Dogue de Bordeaux in France, headed by Raymond Triquet, worked on the rebuilding of the foundation of the breed. In 1970 a new (show) standard was written for the breed, with the most recent update in 1995. This standard is the basis of the standard recognized and accepted by the AKC in 2008.
Dogue de Bordeaux Appearance
Body: the Dogue de Bordeaux has the appearance of a stocky athlete. It has a broad chest that reaches beyond the elbows. The breast size, measured behind the elbows, is 25 to 30 centimeters more than the shoulder height. The broad and muscular back is straight, with well-drawn withers. The sturdy loins are rather short and the croup runs averagely downwards to the tail. Its tail, hangs at rest, is thick at the base and doesn't extend beyond the jumps. Dogues de Bordeaux have strong and muscular legs with strong bones and powerful, tight and relatively short feet. The slightly arched, muscular neck is almost the same size as the skull (measured around the skull, before the ears). The wattles run from the throat to the chest.
Head: the very large head is blocky, broad and fairly short. In males, the circumference of the skull is similar to shoulder height. In females, the skull is less sizable. The head is slightly arched. The abrupt stop is substantially perpendicular to the nose. The prominent forehead is significantly wider than high. On either side of the longitudinal groove lie symmetrical, deep wrikles. The strong muzzle is broad and thick, rather short and the upper profile concaves slightly. The circumference of the muzzle is about two thirds of the circumference of the skull. The length of the snout varies from one quarter to one third of the total length of the head (measured from the occiput to the nose). The wide and powerful jaws contain a well developed and undershot bite. The lower jaw must stick out for at least 0.5 to 2 centimeters. With the dog's mouth closed, there should be no visible teeth. The relatively small drop ears are set high, so that the width of the skull is accentuated. The eyes are oval shaped and set well apart. They have an honest and open expression.
Height at Withers: the dogs have a shoulderheight of 58 up to 67 (22.8 to 26.4 inches) centimetres and bitches measure 57 up to 65 centimetres (22.4 to 25.6 inches).
Weight: for dogs it's between 52 to 70 kg (115 and 154 lbs) and bitches are between 45 to 60 kg (99 to 133 lbs).
Coat: both the undercoat and the top coat is short, fine and soft.
Colors: The coat is red or mahogany color, with a red or black mask. The latter does not occur often. The ears are usually somewhat darker. White markings are only permitted on chest and feet.
Dogue de Bordeaux Temperament
Character: this breed breed is rough on the dges but very loving to his people. They are very brave and physically very hard on themself, but highly susceptible to the mood at home. They bond very strongly to their people. Therefore they belong at home and not in a kennel. The Dogue de Bordeaux is a stabile, quiet, docile and friendly dog. He wants to know what's going on around him and to his boss and family is very affectionate and loyal. He barks very little, which is another reason to check and take the dog serious when his heavy voice is heard. A Bordeaux Dog will protect the members of his family against those with bad intentions and also will take the job of guarding house and home for granted and do so very convincing.
Social Build: a Dogue de Bordeaux that in his early childhood has gained many positive impressions and thus was able to build a balanced character, will cope well with other pets. For children, they are generally loving, tolerant and protective. Unknowns are initially some distrust and will recieve a vigilant approach, but if the boss says it's okay, they are easily accepted. Bordeaux Dogs, especially the males, can be dominating towards other dogs, both on the streets and at home.
Dogue de Bordeaux Socially
Care: during the shedding period, you can use a rubber massage glove to simply remove dead and loose hair. Outside the shedding period the Dogue de Bordeaux requires relatively little coat care. When necessary, you can make the face creases and corners clean. Keep their nails short. A soft place to rest on when sleeping will avoid scar tissue on their legs.
Education: dogs of this breed learn most readily when educated in a consistent, fair and loving way. They are quite sensitive to the intonation of your voice and like to have your approval for what they do. Put the emphasis is on rewarding desired behavior. They are quite sensitive, a hard upbringing will hurt your relation with the dog but will not succeed. Despite their gentle nature towards their owners they are not dogs for everyone. Once mature they are too big and too unwieldy for people who are not literally and figuratively strong and confident. A calm, balanced master that is naturally predominant over dogs, brings out the best in a Dogue de Bordeaux. Although an average Dogue de Bordeaux will not want to disappoint his owners, it's not a dog who delights in having to keep doing exercises or to repeat a variety in their eyes, useless jobs.
Activity: the Bordeaux Dog has an average need for exercise. It is enough to walk the dog on a leash several times a day, and also regularly let it run and play free. Like all large dogs they grow rapidly and the Dogue de Bordeaux needs a lot of energy to build a strong physique. Good nutrition and adequate exercise in the first half year of their lives are therefore recommended. During warm days this dog prefers a shady spot and it would be unwise to tire him.
Usability: Dogues de Bordeaux are excellent guard and family dogs, but because of their physique and mentality are less suited to the various dog sports.
Dogue de Bordeaux Quotes / Trivia