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Two Dogue de Bordeaux sitting outside in leaves

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Working group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height — 23-27 inches
  • Weight — 100-120 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Fine, short, and soft
  • Coat color — Fawn, mahogany, red, and a pale gray-yellow. Brown masks are common and noses are a dark black. White markings around the chest are also common.
  • Exercise needs — Average
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Moderate barking
  • Life span — 5-8 years
  • Temperament — Loyal, affectionate, courageous, protective
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — France

Dogue de Bordeaux fun facts 

  • They’re a breed of many names. The Dogue de Bordeaux, while an impressive name, can be a bit of a mouthful, so many people simply call this breed the French mastiff, the Bordeaux mastiff, or bulldog.
  • They are also favored by famous footballers. Lionel Messi, world-famous soccer player, is a passionate fan of the breed.
  • They are powerhouses. In addition to their broad shoulders and powerful legs, the Dogue de Bordeaux has a mighty lower jaw bite, one of the strangest of all dogs.
Dogue de bordeaux closeup outside

Dogue de Bordeaux temperament and characteristics 

These stocky, powerful dogs with broad shoulders and loose-fitting skin carry the might of other mastiffs in a shorter frame built for defense. Despite their impressive strength and striking profile, the Dogue de Bordeaux is also a deeply affectionate and loving companion to its owners. They take to training well and tend to get along fairly well with other dogs and new people when properly introduced. However, given how powerful this breed is, owners should be wary of leaving smaller animals, pets, or children around unsupervised just in case.

These dogs are not particularly active, but they still crave movement and activity, and with their impressive width, small apartments may not be the best option for this breed. New owners should also be aware that this breed is known for its shedding and unrivaled drooling volume, so you should prepare to form unique grooming steps to keep this large dog clean and healthy.

Common Dogue de Bordeaux health problems 

Even though this dog is a little shorter than other large dog breeds in the working group family, the Dogue de Bordeaux suffers from many of the same problems other large dog breeds encounter. Owners should also be aware of a handful of other manageable problems more unique to the Dogue de Bordeaux.

  • Hip Dysplasia. As larger dogs age, hip joints wear down and can contribute to canine arthritis, joint degeneration, and lameness, all which can impair your dog’s ability to walk. Hip dysplasia, specifically, can cause problems early in life, too, so owners should be vigilant for any signs of discomfort.
  • Bloat. Dogues de Bordeaux are a gassy bunch, but bloat is much more serious that you may think. Gas expands the gut, causing the stomach to twist and rotate, which may cut off blood flow to the stomach and other vital parts of the body. Owners should be wary of their dog  eating too quickly as this may lead to bloat.
  • Heart disease. Larger dogs often suffer from heart problems, and the Dogue de Bordeaux is no exception. Owners should be on the lookout for signs of heart problems like persistent coughing, fainting, or other dramatic changes in behavior. Dogues de Bordeaux are especially prone to dilated cardiomyopathy , an enlargement of one the heart’s chambers.
  • Obesity. While Dogues de Bordeaux like a nice walk as much as the next breed, they also love sitting by the couch or under a shady tree for hours and hours. A sedentary life can quickly lead to obesity, so owners should work to keep their pooch active.

Cost of caring for Dogue de Bordeaux

These health conditions can be concerning, and prospective owners should also be aware of the potential costs of treatment. On top of the typical costs for routine vet visits, emergency fees for injuries and complications from these conditions can be pricey..

To counter the surprise expense of such issues, owners should consider investing in pet health insurance, where a few dollars a month can end up saving you thousands. A pet savings account may also be a good idea.

Dogue de bordeaux puppies playing

History of the Dogue de Bordeaux

The Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the oldest French breeds, documented as far back as the 12th century, even though the true origins are unknown. As you would expect, they originated around the Bordeaux region, and thanks to their raw power and loyalty, they quickly spread across the country. The breed became better documented and more popular on an international scale after the British took control over France and began to cross the original Dogues with the English bull mastiff.

With their imposing nature and power, this breed made for an excellent working dog pulling carts or a guard dog watching over homes and flocks alike. French vineyards in particular were often graced by these mighty mastiffs.

Sadly, as with many other large breeds in Europe, the Dogue de Bordeaux faced near extinction in the wake of conflicts like the French Revolution and the World Wars, but as Europe recovered from years of violence, Raymond Triquet and his French Dogue de Bordeaux club worked to revitalize the breed in the 1960s. Since then, the breed has continued to grow in popularity, eventually hopping across the water to America, where it was eventually recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2008.

Caring for your Dogue de Bordeaux

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a rewarding breed, but it does have plenty of needs and common health problems. If you start strong with early vet visits and proper vaccinations, you can feel confident you’ll start your new adventure off on the right paw. If you’re looking for even more ways to prepare your home for a new pup or puppy, betterpet has detailed how-to guides for puppy-proofing your home and prepping for the teething process of young dogs. And, of course, to ensure you know where your dog is at all times, consider looking into FidoAlert, a community-based tool for quickly recovering missing pooches.


Since this breed can easily pack on the pounds and is known to have seemingly low energy, you need to be attentive to a regular exercise routine, or help them lose weight. A 30-minute morning and evening walk will usually be enough exercise to keep your Dogue fit, but sessions of fetch and other games will help burn fat and stimulate this breed’s sharp mind. They do not do well in the heat, though, so plan those walks in the early morning or evening during the hotter parts of the year.

Dogue de bordeaux exercising outside


The Dogue de Bordeaux’s coat is very undemanding, despite the shedding. A bath every four weeks and a weekly brushing will keep your Dogue looking sharp and refined. The tricky part about grooming a Dogue de Bordeaux, though, comes from managing the breed’s trademark facial folds and battling the ever-present drooling. Those nooks and crannies need constant cleaning because bits of food and moisture can easily become trapped and cause all sorts of problems. For general grooming tips and tricks, make sure to check out betterpet’s extensive guides and informative articles about brushing teeth, trimming nails, and more.

Diet and nutrition

The Dogue de Bordeaux has a lot of muscle to feed, and this breed needs quality, protein-rich foods to keep it healthy. On average, you’ll want to feed your adult pooch 6-10 cups a day, depending on your furry friend’s activity level, and you should portion that out into two or three meals. Remember to keep an eye on your puppy’s weight, though, and adjust food intake accordingly.

Note that growing puppies require more food, so consult with your breeder and vet to determine the best feeding schedule. Dog food subscription and delivery services make staying stocked up on high-quality kibble a simple task, and when selecting the specific type of food, consider options that balance high-quality protein and grains.

Training your Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux puppies can be rather strong-willed and have big personalities, so early, dedicated training is necessary to wrangle this powerful pooch into the attentive, loyal, and compassionate dog it can be. First-time dog owners might find this breed initially intimidating, though. Fortunately, Dogues de Bordeaux are intelligent and will take to a confident and determined trainer well as long as you remain consistent and firm throughout.

As with other dogs, focus on positive reinforcement training, rewarding and encouraging good behaviors with treats or bits of food. Using a clicker or similar device can help your new dog pick up on cues easier and quickly associate specific actions with a nice snack. Just work out a training routine that you can stick to, and you should have your new puppy in line in no time.

Dogue de bordeaux standing outside

Breeds similar to the Dogue de Bordeaux

Not quite sure that a Dogue de Bordeaux is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • American bulldog. If you’re looking for another watchful and loyal breed, the American bulldog is a great choice. These powerful dogs make both great companions and guardians.
  • Great Dane. If you’re looking for size of the more vertical variety, Great Danes fit the bill—even if they don’t fit into much else. These gentle giants are a great alternative breed.
  • Mastiff. With impressive jowls and a booming bark, the mastiff leaves quite the impression, even among other giant breeds. Even with their huge frame, they are cuddly and loving family dogs.

Frequently asked questions

Are Dogues de Bordeaux good family dogs?

They are a loving and committed breed, which, with good training and early socialization, will be a great family pet. Just be wary of letting small children mess with them unattended.

Can the Dogue de Bordeaux be left alone?

These dogs form tight bonds with their owners, so they become dependent quickly. As a result, you do not want to leave this dog alone for more than a few hours at a time.

Is the French mastiff aggressive?

While they are quite vigilant and protective, the Dogue de Bordeaux is not known to be aggressive at all.

How much do they drool?

It’s hard to place an exact amount  on how much these dogs drool, but the drooling is near constant. If you’re cuddling with this noble beast, be prepared to get a bit damp. Dedicated owners have been known to carry a rag or cloth around specifically for wiping away drool.

How much do they like to cuddle?

As mentioned before, owners need to get accustomed to the drooling because these pooches love to snuggle. They are more than happy to spend a lazy day on the couch with you.