Everything about your Dogue de Bordeaux

  A powerful and muscular French breed, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a molossoid , “dogue” meaning Mastiff in French. A massive head and stocky body are trademarks of the breed. Americans became aware of the Dogue de Bordeaux when he appeared as drooling, messy “Hooch” in the 1989 Tom Hanks’ film,Turner and Hooch. The breed’s short, fine coat is fawn-colored, ranging from a dark red to a light fawn.



  The Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the most ancient French breeds. He is a typical brachycephalic molossoid type. He is a very powerful dog, with a very muscular body yet retaining a harmonious general outline. Built rather close to the ground, the distance from the deepest point of the chest to the ground is slightly less than the depth of the chest. A massive head with proper proportions and features is an important characteristic of the breed. His serious expression, stocky and athletic build, and self assurance make him very imposing. Bitches have identical characteristics, but less prominent.

Other Quick Facts

  • The Dogue de Bordeaux is a member of the mastiff family and originated in France.
  • The Dogue de Bordeaux can get along with cats and other dogs if he is brought up with them, but he has a strong prey drive and is likely to chase animals who stray onto his property.
  • The Dogue has thick, loose-fitting skin covered in fine, short hair. His coat can be any shade of fawn from light to dark-red, with or without a black or brown mask.
Breed standards
AKC group: Working Group

UKC group: Guardian Dog Group

Average lifespan: 8 – 10 years

Average size: 120 – 145 pounds
Coat appearance: Short and fine
Coloration: Fawn or mahogany with black or red masking
Hypoallergenic: No
Other identifiers: Powerful, muscular body with thick skin; wrinkled face; hazel to brown eyes; muscular legs; and thick tail
Possible alterations: May have white markings on the body.
Comparable Breeds: Bullmastiff, Mastiff


  The translation of Dogue de Bordeaux could perhaps be described as “Bordeaux Mastiff,” but it is also known as a French Mastiff in areas outside of the country, particularly in America. As for its historical origins, the translations are not so clear. Many think the Dogue de Bordeaux could have descended from the Tibetan Mastiff and the Bulldog – which would certainly make the nickname “Bordeaux Bulldog” more appropriate. Dogs in the Middle Ages in the Aquitaine region may have also been ancestors to the modern Dogue de Bordeaux, and by the end of the Middle Ages, its use as a companion and guard dog was more frequent.
  Although the Dogue de Bordeaux took a heavy hit during the French Revolution, it regained its numbers throughout the years and a man named Raymond Triquet helped it to survive by taking the breed under his wing.
  The dog’s very tough history includes use in war, guardianship, and even training in hunting large game like bears, bulls, and jaguars. It was only recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2008.
  The Bordeaux has a good and calm temperament. It is extremely loyal, patient and devoted to his family. Fearless and confrontational with strangers, he is a first class watch and guard dog. Socialize very well with other animals, preferably starting from an early age to avoid him being aggressive with other dogs. 
  The Dogue de Bordeaux snores and drools. Despite his fearsome appearance, the Dogue de Bordeaux is gentle with children and family members.   However, this is a powerful animal, and is not suitable for an inexperienced dog owner. The objective in training this dog is to achieve pack leader status. It is a natural instinct for a dog to have an order in its pack. When we humans live with dogs, we become their pack. The entire pack cooperates under a single leader. Lines are clearly defined and rules are set. You and all other humans MUST be higher up in the order than the dog. That is the only way your relationship can be a success. This breed needs a calm, but firm owner who displays a natural authority over the dog. One who is confident and consistent.
  Like all breeds there may be some health issues, like hip, elbow and cardiac disease. Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of Dogue de Bordeaux are healthy dogs.
  Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Dogue de Bordeaux can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.


  The dog is quite well groomed however sheds seasonally. Brushing twice a week during shedding season and once a week in rest of the year is comfortable for its grooming. The apartment living is not suitable until you accept its drools and snores; generally you will have everything covered in drool. Additionally wide area is required for exercise requirements.
Living Conditions
  This breed will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. They are very inactive indoors and will do okay without a yard.
  Like all large dogs, training with the Dogue de Bordeaux should be handled with care. You will undoubtedly notice the fierce guardian instincts in this dog, and you’ll feel quite safe in its presence, but care should be taken so that the dog does not become suspicious of all strangers and all other dogs. Calm leadership that places clear boundaries on the Dogue de Bordeaux will be important, as will ensuring a pecking order that includes the dog in the family, but makes sure the dog understands its place below every human.
  The two major issues are concerned with these dogs during puppyhood which necessitate regular exercises. Firstly, it is a healthy eater and gains weight rapidly, secondly it possesses high energies, it may be boisterous if not satisfied by its physical activities. Adult dog are more prone to get clumsy and fat. Healthy amount of daily exercises including long walks and accompanying in running and jogging are mandatory. Remember an unsatisfied dog would become too rambunctious to romp all over your house. They need any partner to exercise their activities, if left alone they would avoid exertion and would result in destructive dog instead.
  The Dogue’s short coat is easy to groom. Brush him once a week with a rubber curry brush to remove dead hairs.
  But there’s more to grooming than coat care. The Dogue has wrinkles and they need special care so they don’t become infected. Wipe them out using a damp cloth or a baby wipe, then dry the folds thoroughly to prevent skin infections.
  Carry a hand towel for wiping his wrinkled face after every meal or drink of water. When he shakes that big head, he slings gobs of drool everywhere. He also sheds heavily, so you’ll be spending plenty of time sweeping and vacuuming.
  The rest is basic care. Check the ears weekly and clean them if necessary, brush the teeth as often as possible, and trim the nails regularly, usually every few weeks.
Children and other pets


  The breed is protective to family and remains curious to strangers, this breed needs to be introduced with your friends to accept them. The dog is sensible to differentiate between friendly and threatening elements. The Dogue de Bordeaux are excellent with children of 8 years and above. They may knock over young kids unintentionally due to their massive physique. Young kids should be governed when around them. This breed is aggressive to other dogs, some of them are more aggressive to same sex while some do not like opposite sex in the pack. They are healthy chaser of small animals including cats and other creatures. A demanding socialization from their early age is extremely needed to adapt the dog in multi-pet house
Is this breed right for you?
  Extremely family-friendly, the Dogue de Bordeaux has a much tougher exterior than it does demeanor. Calm and content, the dog will only be aggressive if its home feels threatened or if it is not socialized with other animals as a puppy. Requiring training and a good leader, this breed will become rough out of instinct if not taught how to behave properly. Relatively calm indoors, it will do OK with apartment life but will need regular exercise. A loud snorer and big drooler, the Dogue de Bordeaux is prone to many health problems, including epilepsy, heart problems and hip dysplasia.
Did You Know?


  The Dogue de Bordeaux, related to the Mastiff, starred alongside Tom Hanks in the 1989 comedy “Turner and Hooch.” The canine star’s name was Beasley, and although he stole nearly every scene he was in, this was his first and only film.
A dream day in the life
  This affectionate breed will likely wake up in one of its family member’s room, although it will probably spend most of the night ensuring the home is safe from any harm. Enjoying a long walk, it’ll settle in close to the ones that it loves. A calm and easygoing dog, the Dogue de Bordeaux will enjoy occasional rubdowns and play sessions while it keeps alert for anything out of the ordinary outside of the home.

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