Dogue de Bordeaux

Breed History

Dogue de Bordeaux is a large sized French Mastiff with a huge head and big bones. Substantial threat due to its strong body and fast movement for its size.

Coming from France from an area that goes by the name of Dogue. It’s a Port in the Southwest part of the country. They took their name from the city they came from.

No one can say with proof where this dog came from or when it came into the breed standard they currently have. Common ancestor to all mastiffs comes from the Molossus dog.

Two dogs came from this area with similar looks and that was the Dogues and the Doguins. Latter dog came to extinction but was a smaller version of the bigger dog. Last mention of them was in the 1700’s.

Fighting dogs was one of the main uses of this dog during their earlier years before it was against the law to do it. Once they weren’t allowed to fight, they became hunters.

Guardians of property was an easy transition due to their sheer size and intimidation factor. Pulling carts or heavy loads is one of their strong suits as well.

Exclusive to France until the 1990’s most people didn’t own this dog outside of their country. After this time, they began to get some attention around the world.

Impressive size and comical facial expressions have made them a movie staple in the United States. Explosion in their popularity.


In 2008, this ancient breed got their first recognition in the United States of America. Late arrival is because of how long they were in their homeland and never being an export for a long period of time.

Top 60 in popularity they are gaining ground quickly. Very popular dog in the States that can be moving up with more litters spreading across the country.

Working Group, or Utility dog, with most of the major Kennel Clubs and they all show recognition to this breed of Mastiff. Here are the major Kennel Clubs and their breed standards.

Male Height: 23-27 inches

Female Height: 3-23-26 inches

Male Weight: 110+

Female Weight: 100+

Boy dogs are considerably bigger than girl dogs.

Litter Size

7 to 8 puppies are the average litter size for the Dogue de Bordeaux. Breeders should be aware of the large number of puppies their dog will bring into the house for the next eight weeks before they are sold to responsible owners. There are no known birth issues for mother dogs, and they can deliver naturally.


  • Fawn
  • Mahogany
  • Red
  • Markings – black mask, brown mask, white marks, white markings

White is not acceptable on the head or body area.

Understanding the colors and markings are important for any owner of this breed.


$1,000-$2,000 is the average price for a Dogue de Bordeaux. Dogs with papers will cost considerably more money than a dog without papers. Prices vary because of location, quality of bloodline, supply, and demand.

Without papers you will expect to pay a few hundred dollars. Parents that lost their ability to apply for papers means that one or both aren’t full blood at some point in their past.


Take your dog on a long exercise session for 45 minutes to one hour to relax them mentally and physically. Large dogs will benefit from getting a long session of exercise so that you can groom them with a leash at first and eventually without a leash.

  1. Brushing
  2. Bathing
  3. Ears
  4. Nails
  5. Professional Help

Brush the coat at least once every two weeks. Dogue de Bordeaux has a low maintenance smooth single coat and without brushing little to no damage will happen to the coat.

Bathing the dog should be on schedule or when the dog is dirty. Longest you should go is six weeks before bathing. Again, take the time to exercise and the water hose will be a treat you use post run or walk.

Ears are large and can accumulate some dirt build up. This dirt will lead to an ear infection and the costs can add up over the years. To prevent this bill, clean the ears at least once per week.

Trimming the nails will happen when you exercise the dog, which we recommend. If you don’t exercise the dog, which we don’t recommend, take the time to buy some clippers.

Professional help is not a recommendation with this breed.

Life Span

5-7 years is the average lifespan for a Dogue de Bordeaux. Large breeds have a shorter lifespan than the smaller dogs, but this breed has a short lifespan amongst other dogs with short lifespans. Owners should be aware of the timeline of the dog’s lifespan and prepare accordingly. Not the best dog to adopt if the dog is already grown due to this fact.

Health Issues

Breathing Issues – due to the small nose and weight of this dog they will have issues breathing and can overheat faster than most. Avoid hot days of 90+ degrees exercising in the direct sun. Take them early in the morning or in the evening when the sun goes down to avoid a heat related injury.

Hip Dysplasia – hips are an issue with bigger dogs and can cause discomfort due to the bones rubbing against each other. Whenever a dog is favoring a leg or limping take them to the vet to get an examination.

Elbow Dysplasia – growth of the elbow can cause stiffness and it is more common among bigger dogs that put a lot of weight on their elbow areas. Take them to a licensed professional to figure out if the condition is mild or serious.

Shoulder Exam – mobility of the front legs should have full motion in different directions.

Eye Examination – cherry eye, glaucoma, and cataracts are all issues that can affect any dog. Let a professional look at the eyes annually every year to determine if any changed.

Breed Group

Working Group, or Utility Group, is a wonder group of dogs that have made strong contributions to society. Rescues, herding, pulling carts, guarding property you will notice that they are the jack of all trades.

Most dogs in the group have been excellent at multiple jobs at different points in their life. These dogs are some of the most popular in the world and show no signs of slowing down.

Here are some of the dogs in the working group

Exercise Needs

Dogue de Bordeaux needs moderate levels of daily exercise. After owning dogs of multiple sizes one thing I have learned is that the bigger dogs can tire out quickly. You want to do this every day as many times as possible.

Failure to exercise the dog will result in the dog beginning unfavorable behavior. Digging, excessive barking, nipping, aggression and other activities can develop. Over excitement and too much energy will be an absolute result of not exercising daily or almost every day.

Changing the program to daily, or almost daily, exercise will make the dog change their behavior. When in the house, backyard, or cage they will be resting and recovery from a long exercise session.

Once you start exercising long enough and for days the dog’s behavior will start to change. Bad behavior will start to melt away because they will channel their efforts into more positive directions.

Here is a basic exercise recommendation every owner should start with

Morning: Hour (run, walk or treadmill)

Evening: 30 min (run, walk or treadmill) optional

Dogue de Bordeaux will need one session in most cases due to their large size. If you haven’t given exercise for a long time period, you can start with two until they are drained of some of their energy.

Adult dogs will need less runs and less two session days. At this point they should be all the way, or mostly trained. You should experience auto pilot and never experience over excitement if you did the work when they were younger.

Senior dogs don’t need daily exercise, but you should take them out enough to reduce excessive energy and bad behavior. Walk around the block will accomplish this for a large size dog. Corrections should be rare at this stage.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Exercise should be done until you don’t have bad behavior with your dog for two reasons. There is nothing you can do to make a dog listen for hours every day other than exercise. Next, is the long game you should play as an owner. 365-700 hours of exercise every day is significant and will change the behavior of a game. Every house should be built on a solid foundation and no foundation is more solid than exercise. Expect to spend most of your time in this area.

Commands are a smaller part of the training program. Repetition will teach the dog how to perform these acts on command. You won’t spend a great deal of time with commands after they learn them. Making them sit, lay or stay to eat, come out of the crate, use the bathroom and other activities will help reinforce the importance for the dog.

Always socialize the dog after a long exercise session. For example, you take them on an hour run when you ride you bike. Take them to the park and take them on a short 30-minute additional walk and then bring them inside to socialize. Makes a world of difference. Does require work but give it a shot and see how you like it.

Correct the dog using verbal, on leash and off leash disagreements. Lowest level of intensity should be the focus while perfecting the timing of the correct and the follow through at the end of it. Understanding the timing and follow through is more powerful and will get your dog to listen to you without force.

Are Dogue de Bordeaux Good Family Dogs?

Yes, this is a great dog for the family, kids, and other dogs. Showing the commitment to exercise, train, and correct the dog properly using our techniques will improve everybody’s relationship with the dog.

Additional Resources