Dogue De Bordeaux

The striking red Dogue de Bordeaux is a French mastiff, most recognizable in the US as "the Hooch dog". It is a loyal, intelligent breed with a dramatic history of near extinction and rebirth.

Lovers of the Dogue de Bordeaux breed know their dogs to be loyal, calm, and intelligent. Although their life expectancy is so short, an average life span of only 5 to 8 years according to the AKC, aficionados of the breed would think of having no other dog.

With their stocky build, crumpled face, and permanently worried expression, Dogues get attention wherever they go, often from people who recognize “Hooch”.

turner and hooch

Although the Dogue de Bordeaux  ‘cracked’ America in the 80s when Beasley the dog, starred alongside Tom Hanks in Turner and Hooch, the breed has a long history in its native France.

History of the Dogue de Bodeaux

The Dogue de Bordeaux is such an old breed that its true history is not fully known. Some say that it can be traced back to the war dogs of ancient Rome. Others say it originated in France in the 12th century and claim it as France’s oldest native breed.

Certainly The Molossers group to which the Dogue de Bordeaux belongs, which includes Neapolitan Mastiff, Fila Brasileiro, Cane Corso, Boxer, Great Dane and similar deep chested, strong set breeds is one of the oldest known dog groups in the world.

 

There were originally three different strains of Dogue named after the provinces in which they originated, Paris, Toulouse and Bordeaux. The Parisien lacked the underbite of today’s Dogue. The Toulousian had a longer muzzle and a variety of coat colors. Today’s Dogue de Bordeaux is closest to the Bordeaux branch.

 

Champion Dogue de Bordeaux

The Father of the Dogue de Bordeaux

Interestingly, the breed would have likely died out if it had not become the passion project of a young teacher in the 1960s. Raymond Triquet was introduced to an old Dogue de Bordeaux by one of his students. So impressed was he by the magnificent creature, which he likened to a lion, that he devoted the rest of his life to saving and bettering the breed.

He wrote the first modern breed standard in 1970 which was revised in 1995 and 1999, and he collaborated with the AKC on the creation of the American bred standard.

Triquet’s love story with the breed is immortalized in his book, “The Saga of the Dogue de Bordeaux,” and you can read more about this remarkable man in Modern Molosser’s article: 
An Interview with The Father of The Dogue De Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux in snow

General Breed Information and Facts

Dogues de Bordeaux are in the Working Group which the AKC describes as “Quick to learn, dogs of the Working Group are intelligent, strong, watchful, and alert. Bred to assist man, this dog breed excels at jobs such as guarding property, pulling sleds and performing water rescues.”

Size:

Dogues are big heavy dogs with the weight minimum for females being : 99 lbs and size at the shoulder, 23 inches. They have large heads, with a bulldog-like, underbite and many wrinkles. Their coats are short and fine and come in a variety of shades of orange, specifically/; Fawn, Isabella, Red, and Mahogany.

Life expectancy:

According to the AKC, Dogues will live 5 – 8 years but the venerable Kennel Club in the UK states that they will live, on average, over 10 years.

Temperament:

Dogues are calm and even-tempered. Obtaining a Dogue from a good breeder, you can expect an affectionate, loving and loyal companion, who with appropriate early socialization is good with both children and other animals.

However, like the Rottweiler and Doberman, the breed suffered for a while through a surge of interest from those who like the macho look. Whenever bad elelments pay money to unsrupulous breeders for the threatening aspect of a breed, you can expect both breed temperament and health to fall by the wayside.

Victoria Stilwell Talking Dogues de Bordeaux at the Westminster Dog Show

DDB Common Health Issues:

As with all the big doggo breeds, joint and bone issues are prevelant and this may manifest in pano growing pains or in hip/ elbow dysplasia as the dog ages. The combination of abundant wrinkes and excess drooling can result in infected skin so keeping wrinkle folds clean is a must.

The following chart shows the health issues that OFA requires and recommends health certification for. These should be checked with any breeders you speak to.

CHIC health tests for a Doge De Bordeaux

Common Questions about the Dogue De Bordeaux

Do Dogues de Bordeaux drool a lot?

Oh yes, they drool a lot. They are both brachycephalic and jowly, both of which contribute to the amount of slobber produced by Dogue de Bordeaux. Saliva also gathers in the folds of skin around the muzzle, and more of that is produced at feeding time and when your Dogue is hot.

Get in the habit of having slobber cloths around the house, mats extending out from under the food and water bowls and get crafty with old towels to make snazzy slobber bibs.

Are Dogues de Bordeaux hypoallergenic?

No, the Dogue would not be recommended to allergy sufferers. In general it is flakes of skin called dander that people react to, and, like most dogs, Dogues produce dander.