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.
The head is large, angular, broad, and rather short. It is trapezium shaped when viewed from above and in front. Eyes - Oval and set wide apart. The space between the eyes is equal to about twice the length of the eye (eye opening). Frank expression. The haw should not be visible. Color-hazel to dark brown for a dog with a black mask, lighter color tolerated but not sought after in dogs with either a brown mask or without a mask. Fault-Protruding eyes. Ears - The ear is small in proportion to the skull and of a slightly darker color than the coat. The front of the ears' base is slightly raised. They should fall back, but not hang limply. The front edge of the ear is close to the cheek when the dog is attentive. The tip is slightly rounded, and should not reach beyond the eye. Set rather high, at the level of the upper line of the skull, thus emphasizing the skull width even more.
Neck - Very strong and muscular, almost cylindrical. The skin is supple, ample and loose. The average circumference almost equals that of the head. There is a noticeable, slightly convex, furrow at the junction of the head and neck. The well-defined dewlap starts at the level of the throat forming folds down to the chest, without hanging exaggeratedly. The neck is very broad at its base, merging smoothly with the shoulders. Topline - Solid with a broad and muscular back, withers well marked, broad loin, rather short and solid. Chest - Powerful, long, deep, broad, and let down lower than the elbows. The forechest is broad and powerful with a lower line that is convex towards the bottom. The ribcage is deep and well sprung, but not barrel shaped. The circumference of the chest should be between 10 and 12 inches greater than the height at the withers. Underline - Curved, from the deep brisket to the firm abdomen. Slight to moderate tuck-up. Should be neither pendulous nor extreme. Croup - Moderately sloping down to the root of the tail.
Strong bone structure, legs very muscular. Shoulders - Powerful, prominent muscles. Slant of shoulder - blade is medium (about 45 degrees to the horizontal), with the angle of the scapular-humeral articulation being a little more than 90 degrees. Arms - Very muscular. Elbows - In line with the body. Should be neither too close to the chest nor turned out. Forearms - When viewed from the front, straight or inclining slightly inwards, especially in dogs with a very broad chest. When viewed in profile, vertical. Pasterns - Powerful. Slightly sloping when viewed in profile. When viewed from the front, may bend slightly outwards, thus compensating for the slight inclination of the forearm inwards.
Fine, short and soft to the touch. Skin - Thick and sufficiently loose fitting.
Powerful legs with strong bone structure; well angulated. When viewed from behind, the hindquarters are parallel and vertical thus giving an impression of power. The hindquarters are not quite as broad as the forequarters. Thigh - Well developed and thick with visible muscles. Stifle - In a parallel plane to the median plane or slightly out. Second Thigh - Relatively short, well muscled. Hock Joint - Short and sinewy, with the angle of the hock joint moderately open. Hock - Strong, no dewclaws.