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Dogue de Bordeaux

 Photo of Dogue de Bordeaux
Photo: courtesy of Becky Swainston

Dogue de Bordeaux Books

Group: Working - Breed Standard


The Dogue de Bordeaux is an ancient breed of France, thought to be a direct descendent of the Molossus of Rome. They were used on the French estates in the 12th century as hunters. They hunted pigs, boar, wolves and bears. During the middle ages they were used to drive cattle. They were even used in wars and to guard the flocks. Also they have been known to be used for sports such as animal baiting and dog fighting. The breed declined in its popularity during the 20th century but today seems to rising in its numbers.They were originally used as guard dogs and for hunting game, today it is used as a watchdog and family pet.


Ideal height at the shoulder: dogs 60-68 cms (23¾ ins); bitches 58-66 cms (22¾ - 26 ins). Weight: dogs at least 50 kgs (110 lbs); bitches at least 45 kgs (99 lbs).

A large, powerful dog that is stocky and muscular. A distinctive head that has a forbidding expression, with a short, powerful muzzle that turns up slightly. His drop ears are relatively small, not reaching beyond the eye, and set high and falling forward, not hanging limply.Their bite is undershot. The neck is strong and muscular, with loose, supple skin. A broad and powerful chest that is deeper than half the height of the dog at the withers. His back is broad and muscular, and longer in body than height. He carries his thick tail low in a curve, but raises it when in action, although never over the back or curled. His coat is fine, short and soft to the touch with thick skin that is loose fitting. Colours can be all shades of fawn, from mahogany to Isabella with or without a mask. Masks can be black or brown according to pigment colour. Black mask must not extend above the eyes, but some black shading is allowed on the ears, skull, neck and down the topline. Some white patches are allowed on the chest and feet, but white on the head or body are highly undesirable.


The Bordeaux is a dog that bonds closely with its family. They are not suited to homes where they will be left alone for long periods of time, as they associate this separation as a punishment. They will protect their family and territory if threatened. They are very good with children and will will accept other household pets if introduced to them when young.

Breed Health

Being big, heavy dogs, hip dysplasia is known in the breed and breeders should hip score their dogs. Average life expectancy is 10 years.

Breed Care

Grooming is relatively easy. A rubber grooming mitt over the short coat once a week, to remove any loose or dead hair is all that is needed. The skin folds on the face should be cleaned regularly to stop any skin infections from starting.


They do not require as much exercise as may be expected. Several walks throughout the day should be sufficient, allowing short periods for free running and playing. It has to be remembered that even when this dog is 6 months old, and is relatively large, it is still a puppy. Too much exercise too young can lead to bone and joint related health problems in later life.


These dogs need to be trained in a consistent and calm manner. They are quite intelligent, love to please and can become very attached to their owner. See our books on training

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Last link added: 12 Mar, 2008