Strong, stubborn—and intensely devoted to family—the massive Dogue de Bordeaux is a loving breed that makes a wonderful companion for dog-experienced households. With his large frame, inquisitive face, and strong personality, this breed makes his presence known in your home. The Dogue de Bordeaux isn't ideal for first-time dog owners or people who do not want to devote large amounts of time to training. The Dogue's roots go back to ancient Rome, and they have a long history in France, but the breed didn't grow in popularity in the US until it starred with Tom Hanks in the 1989 movie Turner and Hooch. Today, more people than ever are willing to take on the high-maintenance breed for the reward of their outsized, at times goofy personality.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is also known as French Mastiff, Bordeaux Mastiff, Dogue, Bordeauxdog, and DDB for short. The plural form of the breed's name is Dogues de Bordeaux.
The Dogue de Bordeaux's short coat is fine and soft. The breed's skin is notably thick and loose fitting. The coat colors are fawn, mahogany, red, and Isabella, which is a greyish/taupe mix. They may have markings, such as a black or brown mask, white markings, or white patches.
Average Height: 23-27 inches
Average Weight: 90-160 pounds
Breed Standard & History
The Dogue de Bordeaux has the flat muzzle of brachycephalic breeds and a colossal head. Their intelligent, observant eyes are surrounded by an abundance of charming wrinkles. They give the appearance of great power, with their stocky build, defined muscles, thick neck, and broad chest. Despite their bulk, Dogues are surprisingly fast over short distances and have a measure of grace in their stride. Dogues de Bordeaux have a self-possessed demeanor, though males can be dominating. The breed makes an amiable companion, loyal to his family.
The history of the Dogue de Bordeaux is a puzzle that remains unsolved. The breed is likely ancient, and many consider Dogues a likely relative of the mastiff breeds, including the Tibetan Mastiff, and the Bullmastiff. Others say the breed is a direct descendant of the molossoid war dogs used in ancient Rome. In France, Dogues de Bordeaux have been popular for at least 600 years. They were favorites of the aristocracy until the French Revolution, when the dogs who survived lost their noble status and were put to work on the farm. Dogues began participating in dog shows in France in 1863, and came to America in 1959. They were rare in the US until their popularity soared due to a Dogue's starring role in the movie Turner and Hooch in 1989. The American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the breed in 2008.
AKC Breed Category
Dogues de Bordeaux are calm companions who are alert to signs of trouble, and courageous in the face of new activities or danger. They exude a natural confidence, and the well-trained Dogue is gentle and loving with his family. Training and socialization are essential with this breed because of its combination of brute strength, stubbornness, and possible aggression towards other dogs. You'll have difficulty managing your Dogue if you allow him to become the leader of your family pack. The breed is not a good choice for first-time dog owners.
Are Dogues de Bordeaux Good with Kids? Dogues tend to be loving, protective, and gentle with the children they are raised with, but should not be left alone with young kids. Also, children shouldn't be responsible for walking this powerful dog until they are old enough to control him.
(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)
Are Dogues de Bordeaux Good with Other Pets? Ideally, a Dogue de Bordeaux is your only pet. They are known to become aggressive towards other animals and dogs, especially if they haven't been thoroughly socialized.
Dogues de Bordeaux are highly protective of their territory and their families.
Are Dogues de Bordeaux Good Guard Dogs? These descendants of war dogs make excellent guard dogs. They are stout and strong and will go on the offense if needed.
Despite their muscles and strength, Dogues are a low-energy breed. Their favorite pastimes are playing, walking, and laying around the house with you.
- Dogues drool excessively so expect to cover furniture with a dog-proof blanket or furniture protectors.
- They are stubborn and willful.
- They may become aggressive with dogs and people if not well socialized.
- Training must be consistent, and continue through your Dogue's life.
- They are not ideal for first-time dog owners because of their size and dominant personalities.
- The Dogue is a brachycephalic (flat-muzzled) breed, which makes him prone to overheating.
- The Dogue's skin requires protection from bright sunlight.
Dogues de Bordeaux consider themselves a part of the family pack and won't be happy pups if left outside for too long. They are also brachycephalic, which makes them prone to heat-related illnesses. In hot weather, they should be inside in an air-conditioned room. The breed sheds, but not heavily. Cleanup will mostly involve the puddles of drool they leave around the house.
Limit your Dogue's time outside during hot weather because of his sensitivity to heat. Other than that, he'll enjoy time outdoors as long as he is playing or strolling with his favorite people.
Dogues de Bordeaux need a few moderate walks a day, along with a few play sessions to remain healthy and fit.
This is a laid-back breed who runs out of steam and will want to rest up after playing for 30 minutes to an hour.
Activity distance rating
- Running Miles: Brachycephalic breeds like the Dogue de Bordeaux do not make good running partners because they cannot cool themselves down easily.
- Hiking Miles: Your Dogue de Bordeaux can hike with you on the easy trail for a few miles. Be aware of the heat, however, and return him to the air conditioned car if it gets too hot.
This large but mellow breed requires approximately four to five cups of high-quality dog food each day given in two meals. Because activity levels can vary significantly between dogs depending on their age and health, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about the best amount of food for your Dogues de Bordeaux.
Dogues prefer spending time with their families, but will tolerate being left alone for a few hours at a time. They may develop destructive behaviors if left alone for longer, so if you must be out of the house for the day it's best to hire a dog sitter to spend time with your Dogue. Crate training your dog can help minimize destructive chewing when you leave for an hour or two.
Health and Grooming
To reduce the risk of infection, clean the wrinkles on your Dogue de Bordeaux's face once a day with a damp cloth, and dry them completely. His coat is low-maintenance: brushing him once or twice a week, and bathing him once every month, or whenever he gets dirty, is all he needs. Clean the visible part of his ears with a gentle, dog-safe cleanser when they appear dirty, and clip his toenails once a month to prevent cracking.
Common Health Issues
The large breed Dogue de Bordeaux may have a short life expectancy and breed-specific health concerns, such as:
- Heat-exhaustion and stroke due to being brachycephalic
- Infection in the face folds
- Heart-related illnesses, including aortic stenosis and dilated cardiomyopathy
- Ectropion, a condition in which the eyelid pulls away from the eye
You can minimize serious health concerns in Dogues de Bordeaux by purchasing from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
Dogues de Bordeaux are smart and learn quickly, but their stubborness can slow down their education. This breed needs an owner who is equally strong-willed and who can gently, but firmly, establish themselves as the leader of the pack. Early socialization is critical with this breed so they are easy-going around strange people and dogs. Aggression should never be encouraged.
After basic training, Dogues are excellent candidates for more advanced training. They love participating in cart-pulling, agility, rally, and advanced obedience training and competitions with their families.
Sporting Dog Training
Though historically used for hunting big game, Dogues de Bordeaux are not considered a sporting breed.
No. While not heavy shedders, Dogues do shed and will leave pet dander in your home. Pet dander is the cause of most pet-related allergies.
Yes. Owners often keep a drool towel handy to wipe under their Dogue's jowls every so often, as well as to clean up drool on the floor.
Dogues de Bordeaux will appreciate cool water on a hot day, but more for wading than for swimming. While the breed can learn to swim, their stout chests and brachycephalic faces mean they cannot doggy paddle for very long. Get your Dogue a dog life vest and watch him closely when he is in or near water.