Dogue de Bordeaux
(aka: French Mastiff, Bordeaux Bulldog)
Dogue de Bordeaux Description
Dogue de Bordeaux is a well balanced, muscular and massive dog with a powerful build. The Dogue's size should come mostly from width and muscles, rather than height. The breed is set somewhat low to the ground and is not tall like the English Mastiff. The body of the Dogue de Bordeaux is thick-set, with a short, straight top-line and a gentle rounded croup. The front legs should be straight and heavy-boned. The straight tail begins thickly at the base and then tapers to a point at the end. It should not reach lower than the hocks. The tail is thick at the base and tapers to the tip and is set and carried low. The breed is to be presented in a completely natural condition with intact ears, tail and natural dewclaws. It should be evaluated equally for correctness in conformation, temperament, movement and overall structural soundness.
The Dogue de Bordeaux goes a long way on the strength of its frightening features and its frightening size, which would make the Dogue a valuable guard dog and protector even if he or she never made a sound. It's this frightening size and ferocious appearance that has made the Dogue ideal for purposes of war, purposes of fighting, and purposes of hunting and guarding throughout the breed's nearly thousand-year history. But the secret of the Dogue de Bordeaux is this: its appearance belies its actual temperament. The Dogue de Bordeaux is, in fact, one of the most affectionate, calm, and companionable breeds in existence.
The Dogue de Bordeaux, like some other large mastiff breeds, has very little feeling of pack organization, and thus is more drawn to form bonds of companionship with human beings. The Dogue is extremely loyal to his or her chosen masters, and often feels abandoned when these masters leave for long periods of time. This quality of companionableness with humans also makes the dog a much more useful watchdog then some of the excitable terrier breeds--whereas the latter dogs will yap and bark in order to frighten away virtually anyone who approaches them, the Dogue de Bordeaux relies on its terrifying size to frighten away criminals, and instinctively trusts and respects anyone else--until they prove their bad intentions toward the Dogue's masters, at which point the breed's ferocity takes over with grim results.
This general companionableness, coupled with the Dogue's origins as a herder, makes the Dogue good with children or smaller animals. The Dogue, aware of his or her own strength, will tend to protect and shepherd weaker animals from harm. Larger or equally-sized animals, however, should not be kept with the Dogue de Bordeaux as a rule - the Dogue has a history of hunting and fighting larger animals, and your dog may respond aggressively to these perceived "targets".
The Dogue de Bordeaux has a low energy level, considering its size, which can make it a moderately frustrating breed when it comes to training--although the Dogue is extremely intelligent, it can often become simply too fatigued to work with a trainer for more than an hour or two at a time. Anyone who's interested in the Dogue de Bordeaux because they assume that its large size must equate to a high level of energy and playfulness would be well-advised to look elsewhere, although anyone who's interested in large dogs, but who dislikes their sometimes obnoxious and aggressive activity and playfulness, might find the Dogue de Bordeaux an ideal friend.
An average shedder, this breed requires little to no maintenance. To remove excess hair, brushing with a firm bristle brush would be a good idea, however a wipe down with a dry towel or damp washcloth should be sufficient.
Despite the Dogue de Bordeaux's typically French name and character, its origins are most likely the result of England's comparatively brief occupation of the Northwestern French province of Aquitane. During this period, historians of the breed now believe that English Mastiffs were bread with local French guard dogs, resulting in something similar to the Dogue de Bordeaux known today. (This would in part explain the use of the English-derived word for the breed, "dogue", as opposed to the Latin-derived "chien", from "canis"--for those who like to know exactly where their faithful companion's breed name comes from, of course.)
Although sporadic reports of the Dogue de Bordeaux have been around since the 1200s, the breed wasn't specifically recognized by name until an early dog show in 1863. The generic term "dogue" had been in use to describe larger hunting and working dogs in the French countryside, and in the absence of official breed standards, the winning dog (from the Bordeaux region) was referred to simply as the "working dog from Bordeaux"--or "Dogue de Bordeaux".
Throughout their history, the Dogues have been used for a variety of purposes, most commonly protecting flocks, hunting for foxes and bears, hauling heavy loads, and even during war (to drag wounded soldiers from the battlefields.) More tragically, the Dogue was also considered ideal for dogfighting, with Dogue-vs.-Dogue fights (or Dogue-vs.-bull fights, even) considered spectacular entertainment. Despite the high mortality rate of the Dogue from this fighting, the breed is beginning to make a resurgence today in France and around the world.
The Dogue De Bordeaux has average intelligence, yet is very loyal and obedient and eager to please his owner. Requires a dominant trainer to avoid any problems as this is a fearless, large, and courageous breed. Does well in obedience, working, and watch dog sports.
As with many heavy dogs, hip dysplasia is a significant problem. Dogues de Bordeaux are also susceptible to some forms of cancer. One breed-specific ailment has to do with the Dogue's larger-than-average head, which can cause trouble for female Dogues during the birthing process. Veterinary assistance should usually be secured if you plan to breed your Dogues de Bordeaux - the breed has a fairly high litter size, but problems with birthing (and with the extremely large dogs accidentally crushing or smothering their litters) can reduce this very quickly.