Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

French Mastiff: Dogue de Bordeaux



The Dogue, like all modern members of the mastiff family, is descended from the earlier bear fighting, boar hunting, and war dogs that have lived with people since at least the time of the Roman Empire. At one point there were three variations of French Mastiff; the Dogue is the result of a standardizing of breeding of French Mastiffs.







The first standard for the breed, Le Dogue de Bordeaux was published in 1896. A second standard was published in 1910. The breed underwent a further standardizing process in the 1960s, which culminated in a new written standard in 1970/1. The latest standard modification was completed in 1993.








The modern Dogue is one of the shorter, physically dense members of the mastiff family. The Dogue is meant to be an athletic and powerful dog, although in the house they are not overly active. Moderate exercise  works for a Dogue once they are physically mature; puppies are of course more energetic.






One of the Dogue's trademark features is the heavy head with upper lips that droop down below the bottom jowl. Dogues drool. The heavier the face and more profuse the jowls the more drooling one can expect. This is not a bred for people who appreciate a fastidious dog feeding/drinking area. Face it, when a dog has that much face in the food, the food and water are going to get a rather liberal spreading. A post-eating wipe down of the Dogue's face may be called for.




Long used as a guard dog, the Dogue is watchful without being unduly aggressive. This breed is known for a loving, loyal temperament; very devoted to their own people; naturally suspicious of strangers, and behavior that is unusual within their environment. Dogues were designed to be neither aggressive nor fearful and should be as balanced in temperament as they are supposed to be in physical build (except for the head of course.) The head has been compared to a lion's head.


Dogues should never have a black face mask - this is considered a sign of inbreeding/influence from the English Mastiff family. They may have white markings on the chest; earlier members of the French Mastiff family would sometimes have considerable white markings, including white legs but these extensive white markings are not part of the modern Dogue standard.


With their unique faces, muscular build, and faithful personalities the Dogue is enjoying growing popularity. As happens whenever a breed becomes more popular, the number of members available through rescues and shelters also increase. For a breed that is still sometimes referred to as 'rare', there are a surprising number of Dogues and Dogue mixes available for adoption.



If one is looking for a big loving dog, whose appearance alone will make sure no one walks into their house uninvited, then this is certainly a breed worth considering. The great thing about Dogues is, this isn't just another dog with a pretty face - these are canine companions who usually have a heart of gold.





12 comments:

  1. Lovely :-) If only they didn't drool, I might convince my husband that size doesn't matter ;-)

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    1. I'm with you Sue - I have a little problem with the drool - but the size is great :-)

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    2. ive a dogue de Bordeaux, hes never drools ive also a older male boxer he does drool but only the odd time, both are males and house dogs they get along just great! very docile and have a amazing temperament, full of character and personality,

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  2. I love these guys, the drool doesnt phase me but the short life span and high change of dog aggression does. I dont fault the dogs at all but I hear they are best in an only dog home or with only one other dog oppositve sex

    urban hounds

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    1. I'm not as drool-brave as you are :-)

      This is a breed that it is important to introduce to other dogs and socialize well from a young age. When that is done, then many can live with other dogs.

      I note that in rescue many live in foster homes with other dogs without issue, much more so than breeds like Bull Terriers or English Bulldogs [deliberately using an example of a breed you and I each live with successfully with other dogs but that often in rescue cannot live with other dogs of same gender without issue.]

      Of course some Dogues/dogs will always be other dog aggressive but I think the Dogue gets a bit of an unfair rap about being aggressive...of course, with any breed that has been bred by people just to make money, there will be some litters/bloodlines that are not at all to standard, including personality. It may be that there are some very aggressive bloodlines in your area, which can happen regionally (in my area there are some unfortunately aggressive German Shepherd lines that give a bad name to the whole breed.)

      I imagine it will be a while before you are ready to add another pup to your pack, however, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how some of either the more carefully bred bloodlines, or a temperament tested rescue could slip into your family ;-) ...I just saw a rescue girl I'd like to bring home, if home wasn't full up right now....

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    2. I'm thinking it depends on the individual dog and/or bloodline. I say that because a friend of mine lives with 3 dogs: a lab, a "Heinz 57" mutt, and a Dogue. Nary a problem with aggression. (and I am in love with her Dogue!)

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  3. There are a couple of these in my local park, and when you see one running full tilt at you to say you hello, you learn to do a quick side step....

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    1. That has to be a bit startling :-) I can't imagine how hard it is to look calm the first time or two that happens!

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  4. Hey guys, if you yourself have a French Mastiff puppy or plan on getting one, follow my completely Dog de Bordeaux devoted blog, reporting on mine and my puppies experiences with grooming, eating, potty training and more! ... Read more on; Baileythebordeaux.wordpress.com

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  5. Variety Kennel is one of the best Dog breeders in india and we have worked in many breeds but when it comes to work with the best breed i must say french mastiff dogs is the best breed in which we are working and we have multiple choice of french mastiff puppies so people who are looking for french mastiff any kind of dog or puppy you can visit at our website you will get the proper comfort and best option to buy.

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  6. I love the picture of the two girls in the snow. This is a neat site and your Etsy store is cool too.

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    1. Thank you! And thanks for taking time to comment.

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