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  • Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Courageous
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 63 of 194
  • Height: 23.27 inches (male), 23-26 inches (female)
  • Weight: 110 pounds & up (male), 99 pounds & up (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 5-8 years
  • Group: Working Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Dogue de Bordeaux lying sideways, head turned forward
grapes
Dogue de Bordeaux head facing left
Dogue de Bordeaux coat detail
Dogue de Bordeaux standing in grass in three-quarter view facing forward
Dogue de Bordeaux head in three-quarter view
Dogue de Bordeaux

Find a Puppy: Dogue de Bordeaux

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

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.

HEAD

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.

BODY

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.

FOREQUARTERS

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.

COAT

Fine, short and soft to the touch. Skin – Thick and sufficiently loose fitting.

HINDQUARTERS

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.

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dogue de bordeaux illustration

About the Dogue de Bordeaux

The Dogue de Bordeaux is an immensely powerful mastiff-type guardian. Males can go 27 inches high and 110 pounds. The short, eye-catching coat is a richly colored fawn. The massive head features a Bulldog-like undershot jaw, expressive eyes, and a deeply furrowed brow. It is, proportionately, the largest head in the canine kingdom. The body is stocky and close to the ground, but Dogues can move like lions when duty calls.

DDBs of proper temperament are sweet and sensitive souls. Owners appreciate their breed’s loyalty to loved ones of all ages, but also say DDBs can be stubborn and will dominate those who fail to apply firm training in puppyhood. When acquiring such a strapping super-dog, finding a responsible breeder is key.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Dogue de Bordeaux

Find a Puppy: Dogue de Bordeaux

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Dogue de Bordeaux Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Dogue de Bordeaux should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

GROOMING

The breed is well-known for how much they drool, and the wrinkles on their facial area need special attention at least weekly, sometimes daily, to see that they are kept clean and dry. At least once a week it’s also important to clean the ears and check for debris or signs of infection. nails should be trimmed monthly. The Dogue de Bordeaux should get a full bath every four weeks or so. In between baths, wiping him down with a damp towel can keep him looking and smelling great. The breed’s short coat will shed year ‘round; using a rubber curry or a shedding blade can keep the loose hair that falls to the floor to a minimum.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Occasional Bath/Brush

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Regularly

EXERCISE

To avoid strain on developing bones and joints, the young Bordeaux should be limited to low-impact exercise until at least 18 months of age. They should not be overexerted and should not be allowed to run up and down stairs or jump off of surfaces higher than their back. Swimming is an excellent exercise for Bordeaux of any age. An older Bordeaux can work more strenuously, including doing jobs such as pulling carts.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

Socialization and early obedience training are an absolute must. The Dogue de Bordeaux is a sensitive breed who requires trust, and a rough trainer or heavy-handed approach should be avoided. Discipline should be firm and consistent without being harsh; ownership of the breed is not for the timid or the very busy person.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

Bloat, or gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), is a serious concern in the Dogue de Bordeaux. Owners should educate themselves to recognize the signs that bloat could be happening, and know what actions to take if so. Heart disease, cancer, orthopedic issues (such as hips and elbows), and epilepsy are also issues of concern in the breed. Responsible breeders will screen their stock for conditions the breed can be prone to. As with all breeds, a Dogue de Bordeaux’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Shoulder Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Dogue De Bordeaux Care
Dogue De Bordeaux
Dogue de Bordeaux

History

The Dogue de Bordeaux is among the several AKC breeds who history stretches so far back into ancient times that pinpointing its exact origins is impossible. One theory maintains that the Dogue is an indigenous French breed developed over thousands of years. Other theories name the Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Tibetan Mastiff, and Greek mastiff-types as possible close ancestors.

A prevailing origin tale has it that the Dogue’s ancestors were introduced to France (then called Gaul) by Julius Caesar’s conquering legions in the first century b.c. These immense mastiff-types were utilized by the Romans as both war dogs and ferocious gladiators who did battle with other dogs and wild beasts in the arena.

For centuries the “Bordeaux Mastiff” or the “Bordeaux Bulldog,” as it was sometimes called, apparently came in two size varieties. The smaller variety, the Doguin, disappears from the historical record after the 1700s, leaving the slightly larger version as the breed we know today as the Dogue de Bordeaux.

During the breed’s long history, Dogues outlived their usefulness as fighting dogs and came to be employed at various times as hunters, drafters, and guarders. By the late 1700s, they were used as guard dogs on the nobility’s vast estates. This employment abruptly ended with the French Revolution, when the Dogue’s aristocratic masters were trotted off to prison and the guillotine.

The breed survived the bloodshed and found work as livestock drovers, a job that earned them the nickname “Butcher’s Dog.”

In modern times, the breed was virtually unknown outside of France until the 1989 release of the movie “Turner & Hooch.” The comedy, starring Tom Hanks as a police detective assisted by a drooling, stubborn, but lovable Dogue, introduced the breed to audiences around the world.

Did You Know?

From the May 2012 Board Meeting the Dogue de Bordeaux Society has requested the Stud Book remain open for the breed till August 17, 2017.
The Dogue de Bordeaux moved to the Miscellaneous Class on July 1, 2006.
At the December 2005 Board Meeting the Dogue de Bordeaux was approved to compete in the Miscellaneous Class this became effective January 1, 2005.
The Dogue de Bordeaux has been recorded in the foundation stock service since 1996.
From the October 2007 board meeting the Dogue de Bordeaux became eligible for AKC registration on October 1, 2007 and was eligible to compete in the working group at shows held on and after July 1, 2008.
The Dogue de Bordeaux has been assigned the working group designation.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

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.

HEAD

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.

BODY

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.

FOREQUARTERS

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.

COAT

Fine, short and soft to the touch. Skin – Thick and sufficiently loose fitting.

HINDQUARTERS

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.

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dogue de bordeaux illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Fawn Check Mark For Standard Color 082
Isabella Check Mark For Standard Color 390
Mahogany Check Mark For Standard Color 128
Red Check Mark For Standard Color 140

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Black Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 004
Black Mask, White Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 005
Brown Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 076
White Patches Check Mark For Standard Mark 096

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