Dogue De Bordeaux Breed Information and Personality Traits


The Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. It’s considered a descendent of the Mastiff family and was bred over thousands of years in France – mostly for guarding and fighting. Despite its aggressive appearance, most Dogues de Bordeaux are sweet tempered and make loyal loving family dogs.


Dogue De Bordeaux at a glance
The Dogue de Bordeaux breed

Until the Tom Hanks movie, Turner & Hooch in 1989 (in which a Dogue de Bordeaux stared as slobbering, lovable investigative assistant), this breed was virtually unknown outside of France.


Weight Range:

Male:  50 - 65 kg
Female: 45 - 60 kg

Height at Withers:

Male: 59 - 69 cm in height
Female: 58 - 66 cm in height


Physical characteristics: Very powerful build. Strong muscular neck and body. Broad chest. Large, broad head with a wrinkled forehead. Short snout. Strong jaws. Short pendant ears. Short soft coat. Long tapered tail.

General pros: Bonds closely with owners. Extremely protective, loyal and loving. Good with children and other pets. Doesn’t need excessive exercise. Relatively intelligent. Excellent guard dogs.

General cons: May be aggressive if threatened. Stubborn and dominant if not trained well. Highly sensitive and can be shy. Needs firm experienced owners.


Exercise Requirements: Moderate. Low impact until fully grown.
Energy Level: Moderate
Longevity / Life Expectancy: 5-8 years
Tendency to Drool: High
Tendency to Snore: High
Tendency to Bark: Moderate
Tendency to Dig: Low
Social/Attention Needs: Moderate
Mental Stimulation Needs: Moderate

Bred for:

Fighting / Hunting / Guarding / Farm work / Companionship


Length: Short.
Characteristics: Soft and straight. Moderate shedding.
Colours: Fawn, mahogany, Isabella, red. Can have black or brown mask and white patches on coat.
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate. Wrinkles cleaned daily to prevent infections. Bath every 4 weeks and wipe down with damp towel in between. Rub down with rubber mitt weekly to remove loose hair. Trim nails and clean teeth regularly.

Club recognition:

AKC Classification: Working Group
UKC Classification: Guardian Dog Group
Prevalence: Regaining popularity since 20th century

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a fierce looking beast with a big soft heart.

Coming from the Mastiff family, this dog breed has a reputation for aggression and savagery. In reality though, they’re very sweet, lovable dogs that are loyal to their family. And when trained properly they’re gentle giants. But good early training is essential – as these dogs can be stubborn and dominant. A calm firm approach is necessary. Not recommended for busy people or novice owners.


Dogues de Bordeaux are solid units of sweet, devoted dogginess. Their priority in life is to please those they love - but considering their physical nature and desire to dominate, firm early training and socialisation are essential. Also, strong consistent discipline needs to occur without being harsh or heavy handed – as the Bordeaux is quite sensitive, shy and needs to trust its trainer/owner.

Beyond that, a Bordeaux is a loving dog that will protect you at all odds. It gets along well with children when socialised early and doesn’t mind other pets. Because they get so attached, however, they do have separation anxieties – so don’t leave this big fur baby alone too long.

Living With:

Despite not being energetic, Dogues de Bordeaux still need exercise. A number of short walks each day with bursts of trotting is ample. Be sure not to overexert your Bordeaux though – as their sheer weight can cause health issues. Also, low impact exercise is essential up until 18 months of age (while joints are forming). No running up and down stairs and never let them jump off high platforms.

Because these dogs are so docile, living in apartments isn’t an issue. Expect a decent amount of slobber, however – along with loose fur if you don’t rub them down regularly. And did we mention stubbornness?

Diet Suggestions:

Puppy: Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Adult: Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food; Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Mature: Hill's Science Diet Adult 6+ Senior Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food


The exact origins of the Dogue de Bordeaux are unknown. It’s possible that the breed was purposely developed in France over thousands of years – with its forbearers being a likely mix of Neapolitan, Tibetan and Greek Mastiffs.

Other people believe its original ancestors arrived in France during the first century BC with Julius Ceasar’s legions. At this time Mastiffs were used as war dogs and gladiators that fought other dogs and large wild beasts. After centuries of fighting, though, the breed became popular for its hunting abilities – particularly with savage large animals.

Fast forward to the 1700s and you’d find these dogs guarding French Nobility. After the French Revolution, however, the ‘Nobility were no more’ and the breed was without a job – until, they were found to be excellent cattle drivers. Today the Bordeaux dog breed is growing in popularity as a family pet.

Health Concerns:

The sheer size and weight of the Dogue de Bordeaux makes it predisposed to a number of conditions:
- Orthopaedic issues: such as hip and elbow dysplasia causing joint pain.

Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV): commonly referred to as "bloat", is another potential health issue for Maremma Sheepdogs. GDV can happen when the stomach fills with gas and twists. It can be dangerous if left untreated.

Idiopathic epilepsy: is a neurological condition due to an unknown cause which can cause recurring seizures in dogs.

Respiratory problems: due to their short muzzle, they may experience respriatory distress, especially in hot weather.

• It is advised that all prospective pet parents are aware of potential health challenges faced with this breed and that you do your own research before ownership.

• Remember, regular vet check-ups, a balanced healthy diet, and proper exercise will help to maintain overall health and wellbeing. Being proactive here can help to prolong the life of your dog by avoiding common canine health problems such as obesity.