This article also relates to: French Mastiff
As its name would suggest, the breed originates from the Bordeaux region of France, with a heritage that dates back to the Middle Ages. Although its parentage is unknown, the Dogue de Bordeaux is believed to have descended from the Bulldog, Mastiff and Bullmastiff, with some suggesting that the Tibetan Mastiff and native Spanish dogs contributed to its development. Originally bred for the purposes of guarding the homestead and as a personal protection dog, the Dogue de Bordeaux rose to great popularity, more commonly seen as a flock guardian, bull baiter and cattle herder. With the French Revolution came an increased threat to breeds associated with the aristocracy, and many Dogue de Bordeaux were slaughtered in this period, diminishing numbers significantly. Reappearing at a French dog show in 1863, the breed was saved and re-bred, finally being recognised by the American Kennel Club in 2008.
A dog of solid and muscular build, the Dogue de Bordeaux is easily distinguished by its wide and pronounced muzzle, loose and wrinkled facial skin and stocky body and limbs. The coat is typically short and loose fitting, common in colour deviations of mahogany, fawn and darker red, with black outlines around the eyes, lips and under the nose. The Dogue de Bordeaux is perhaps most recognised for its part in the Tom Hanks film, 'Turner and Hooch,' where a Bordeaux named Beasley occupied a prominent movie role.
A breed boasting a strong prey drive and protective instincts requires firm leadership, consistent obedience training and early socialisation from puppyhood in order to adapt it to relaxed domestic life. When trained, the Dogue de Bordeaux has the potential to be a gentle, affectionate and docile breed, compatible with children and other house pets when introduced gradually, but fearless in safeguarding its home and family when potential threat is perceived. On average, a healthy Dogue de Bordeaux will weigh 54-64 kg with discrepancies across gender, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years when cared for accordingly.
As with most giant breeds, various health complaints are identified in the Dogue de Bordeaux. Despite the average life expectancy being between 10-12 years, there is a large demographic of these dogs only reaching their 5th birthday. Cardiac disease, epilepsy, skin allergies and optical disorders are common with the breed, and the Dogue de Bordeaux is further susceptible to suffering in extreme temperatures, making it best suited to indoor living.