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BaxterBoo Blog
March 22, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Dogue de Bordeaux

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  • Height: 23"- 30”
  • Weight: 120-145 pounds
  • Historical function: Guard dog, hunter, war dog, flock guard and drover, personal guardian, bull baiter, pulling carts
  • Modern function: Companion, guard dog
  • AKC classification: Working group

Physical Characteristics:

The Dogue de Bordeaux, also known as the Bordeaux Mastiff and The French Mastiff, are massive dogs with an enormous head. In fact, the Dogue do Bordeaux's head is considered to be the largest in the canine world in proportion to their bodies. Their weight comes more from girth than height. They are somewhat low to the ground but well proportioned. The face and neck are heavily wrinkled with a brachiocephalic snout. They sport an underbite with loose jowls. This dog snores and drools. The coat is short and soft with loose skin. The coat comes ranges in color from fawn to mahogany with a black or red mask. The red mask and snout are considered the most true of the breed.

History of the Breed:

The Dogue de Bordeaux originated in Southern France near the city of Bordeaux around 1400. This muscular dog was utilized for many tasks including hunting, bull baiting, cart pulling, personal guard, and cattle driver. These dogs would guard estates and castles. The dog faced near extinction from wars at several points but has been revived by breed enthusiasts. Americans first became more aware of the breed with the 1989 release of the Tom Hanks' movie Turner and Hooch.


The Dogue de Bordeaux is a dog with a calm and devoted demeanor with their family, including children. This dog does make quite an impression as a guard and watch dog, however, as this was what he was bred for. This is not a dog for a first-time owner as a powerful dog needs to be trained and socialized well and early. The Dogue is people oriented but doesn't need a lot of activity or exercise.

  • Best suited for: Families with older children.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog can overheat with their short snout, so be sure to provide air conditioning in the summer.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care short hair. This breed drools a lot, so be prepared with a towel.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk.
  • Life expectancy: 5-10 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia, heart and breathing problems. Their heart problems have put their life expectancy rather low.

Breed Club Links: The Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America Perfect Pairings: You might want to keep pet wipes on hand for these drooling dogs!

Have any stories about a Dogue de Bordeaux? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Troy McKaskle.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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