The Dogue De Bordeaux, also known as a French Mastiff and Bordeaux Bulldog, is a big, muscular breed of dog that looks a bit more intimidating than it actually is. They were originally bred to be guard dogs for the rich and powerful, but now are known for being great, large family pets.
Thanks to Ataraxia Kennels for the pictures of puppies & adults used on this page, and the additional information provided.
The first thing that everyone notices about the breed is that it is a very big breed. It's not their height that makes them big, it's their width and huge muscular frame.
What sets the breed apart from every other Mastiff (and other big breeds) is the size of its head. In fact, the DDB has the biggest head of any breed in the world. Its body is similar to other Mastiffs, but you'll always know that you are looking at a Dogue De Bordeaux once you see that head.
DDBs usually grow to be just above 2 feet tall and can weigh anywhere from 100 pounds to 120 pounds.
This breed has a short, soft coat that will normally either be light or dark fawn. A pure bred will have black or brown coloring under and around its nose.
The breed is one of the more human-like dogs around because of the way it can sometimes be as serious as any dog can be, while other times it can be very playful. You also can't predict the personality that you will get in your Dogue De Bordeaux. Some of them will be the nicest dogs that you will ever meet, while other times they will just be goofy most of the time. No two French Mastiffs will be the same, which most owners will like because they want their dogs to be unique.
Puppies get to be a pretty big size rather quickly, so they need more space than a typical puppy to stretch their legs and to be comfortable. They can be pretty stubborn puppies, so it's important that owners know how to teach these types of pups.
Most people believe that the Dogue is one of the best breeds for children because of their calmness and tolerance of the little ones. They aren't overly energetic and they fully realize that they need to be careful around children, so it is usually a perfect match no matter how old the children are. Of course, owners should always keep an eye on larger breeds around children and should never leave them alone.
As long as a DDB is socialized with other dogs early on in its life, it will learn to respect them and not get aggressive. However, if they aren't socialized, they can become overly protective of their owners and attack other dogs or even people if they believe there is a threat to a family member. They aren't pack dogs, so by nature they are going to like humans more than they will like other animals.
They can be a great watch dog or guard dog because of its attachment to its owners. While they aren't naturally aggressive, they will do anything to keep their owners safe, which means that they can get confused when someone comes to the door that they don't know. It's important that owners train their DDBs to stay under control when they have new visitors coming over.
Most DDBs struggle when they are left alone for an extended amount of time, so it is recommended that owners make sure that they keep them company most of the time. While it is okay in most situations to leave a Dogue De Bordeaux alone for an hour or two, they can quickly become depressed if it is any longer than that.
Every dog needs to be trained, but a larger breed like this has additional reasons to be trained early on in its life and very often. Not only can it be a stubborn breed, it can sometimes not realize how big it is (especially at a young age), so owners have to be willing to take the time to show them the ropes.
It can take a while for individuals to learn commands because of its stubborn nature, but in the end this breed really does want to please its owners. Positive reinforcement when the DDB does something well will go a long way, but punishing them by leaving them alone when they do something wrong can be just as effective. Once DDBs know that learning new things pleases their owners, training usually becomes a lot easier.
DDB owners have to know that they can't overwork their dogs when they are puppies because this is a breed that is susceptible to joint issues. Once they reach adulthood, though, they can run around and train a bit harder.
Dogue De Bordeaux owners have to be patient. The breed is pretty high up on the intelligence rankings, but they are also get bored and need a bit of time in between training sessions. An hour or less a day of training early on in their lives is perfect for this breed.
Many people will look at an adult Dogue De Bordeaux and think that it needs to get a lot of exercise to get that big and muscular. The fact is that they don't need a lot of exercise to be healthy and they don't like to be on their feet for very long periods of time. As long as they get about an hour of exercise (or even a little less), they will be happy.
Even though this breed doesn't need to get a lot of exercise, it does need space to move around both inside and outside of the house. A small apartment or a house with a small backyard isn't recommended for this breed because they like to have the space to stretch their big legs.
Owners need to keep an eye on their DDBs when they go to a dog park or even when they are out in their own yards. While the Dogue De Bordeaux isn't overly aggressive, they will attack another animal if they feel like they need to protect their owners. Training early on can help this problem, but you can never be sure if a breed's instincts will kick in.
The breed is an easy breed to groom because of its short coat and the fact that they aren't the type to get dirty very often. Even with this being true, though, they still do need some unique grooming needs that smaller breeds wouldn't need.
All DDB owners should get used to keeping a towel around them or in their pocket because the breed drools a lot. If their mouths aren't cleaned off every time they eat or drink, they will shake their heads and get drool everywhere.
All of their other grooming needs are the typical needs of any breed. Check and clean their ears once or twice a week, brush their teeth often, and cut their nails when they need to be cut.
The breed like other mastiffs, does not have a very long life expectancy because of its large size and common health issues. They typically live 7 to 10 years, but there have been some cases of DDBs living a little bit longer than that.
While DDBs do live pretty short lives, they are known to be a very healthy breed until they get into old age. Heart and hip issues are the most common ailments that this breed deals with later on in life.
Who Should Own One:
Most people would love to own a Dogue De Bordeaux because of its ability to be both a guard dog and a loving family pet, but they really do have specific needs that only some people will be able to give them.
Every DDB owner should have plenty of space both inside and outside of their homes for the dog to move around easily. It doesn't necessarily have to be a huge house and a huge backyard, but more space than a typical townhouse has.
The other thing every Dogue De Bordeaux needs to have is a lot of patience. If you have the time to spend training a DDB and will give it the attention it needs, you might just be a good fit.
Who Shouldn't Own One:
Obviously, people who have small living spaces won't be a good match for this breed. They also won't be happy if they have owners who work all day and leave them alone at the house. These are the two types of owners that just won't work with this breed.
While it's okay for a Dogue De Bordeaux to be someone's first dog, it's important that these owners take the time to learn how to raise a big breed. Potential owners have to know what they are getting themselves into before they make the commitment.
The breed is loved because of its huge size and its human-like personality. It's one of those breeds that owners rarely complain about because of their loving and loyal nature.