Dogue de Bordeaux Breed Characteristics & Traits

The Bordeaux Mastiff (Dogue de Bordeaux, French Mastiff or BX) is, as the name would suggest, a breed of dog from France. With Scott and Hutch, an American action film was released in 1989, which not only helped Tom Hanks but also the breed to become better known. The Dogue de Bordeaux was able to continue its cinematic qualities in the series Tequila and Bonetti. However, not only movie buffs know that Dogue de Bordeaux is a very special dog.

History & Origin

The Bordeaux mastiff is one of the oldest known dog breeds and comes from France. The “Dogue de Bordeaux” was mentioned for the first time in 1863 and provided with a breed standard in 1896. After the two world wars, the breed was almost completely threatened with extinction. However, there were already enough animals in circulation, also outside of France, so that the breeding could be gradually rearranged and the continued existence is secured to this day.

The origin of the French Mastiff cannot be fully reconstructed. There are different opinions and thoughts, as well as theses and speculations about the breed. Even in the days of Alexander the Great, guards and war dogs were carried and fascinated by a mythical Molossian king. Hence the generic term “Molosser”, which includes many of the large dog breeds today. What is certain, however, is that the Dogue de Bordeaux, as we know them today, has one of its ancestors in the Dogues or Doguins de Aquitaine. At that time, in the 19th century, there was no uniform breed standard and so the ancestors were bred depending on the purpose.

Numbers, Data, Facts

  • Country of origin: France
  • Life expectancy: 8-10 years
  • Weight BX males: > 50 kg
  • Weight BX bitch: > 45 kg
  • Males 60-68 cm
  • Bitches: 58-66 cm

Note: Depending on the source, there is a wide variety of data on the life expectancy of the Bordeaux mastiff. While some sources attest the BX only 4-6 years, other sources assign up to twelve years. Since accidents or stomach torsion treated too late are also included in the statistics, an exact determination of life expectancy is hardly possible.

Timeline Highlights

  • 1863 First mentioned as a breed
  • 1896 The breed standard was introduced
  • 1910 The first illustrations appear in the “Etude Critique sur le Dogue de Bordeaux” by Prof. J. Kunstler
  • 1944 The breed is almost completely extinct
  • 1960 The breed recovers
  • 1989 The BX becomes a movie dog


The original purpose of the breed was hunting and fighting with bears and wolves. Today it is mainly used as a family dog ​​and less often as a guard dog or protection dog. Due to his imposing appearance and wrinkled head, many people consider him a fighting dog, which in no way does his calm and level-headed demeanor justice.

Classification, breed standard & breed standard

  • Group 2: Pinschers and Schnauzers – Molossoids – Swiss Mountain Dogs
  • Section 2: Molossoids
  • 2.1 Great Dane Dogs
  • Without work test

The Character & The Essence

Contrary to what its bulky and powerful appearance might suggest, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a very relaxed and gentle dog with a very high tolerance and irritation threshold. The term “The Gentle Giant” is so aptly applicable to hardly any other breed of dog. Bordeaux mastiffs are good-natured and sensitive animals that will, however, protect their owners in case of doubt and will not avoid confrontation.

The descriptions and the nature may be understood as an indicator, but are no guarantee that every dog ​​behaves exactly as described here.

Dealing with family & children

The Dogue de Bordeaux is ideal as a family dog if you give it the necessary attention and think about consistent training during the formative phase. There are rarely if ever problems with children since the BX treats children very devoutly and lovingly.

The gentle giants have an incredibly high stimulus threshold and are considered the most peaceful of their kind among the Molossians, which is also reflected in their dealings with children Do not overtax the animal’s patience.

In dealing with strangers

However, she is reserved to strangers towards strangers. She keeps a polite distance without losing sight of strangers. She decides for herself whether she makes contact or ignores the newcomer.

When dealing with other dogs

The peaceful nature of the Dogue de Bordeaux is also reflected in their dealings with other dogs. Something that really upsets the French is rarely the case, but it can happen. If you are planning to get a second dog, you should first introduce the new resident to your BX before you buy it, e.g. by introducing them to neutral territory. So you can see in peace whether the spark jumps over. If violent defense reactions are shown or aggressive behavior occurs, please reconsider the purchase.

When dealing with other pets

Based on the nature of the Dogue de Bordeaux, there is a high probability that your dog will also get along with other animals such as cats, birds, or rodents. Of course, there are always two parties involved in contracting at this point – but there are definitely dog ​​breeds that are more difficult to bring together or expand the family.

Urge to move

With puppies, it is important to ensure that they do not overstrain their bodies. Large dog breeds are particularly prone to cruciate ligament tears and other orthopedic injuries during the growth phase. You should therefore absolutely avoid long walks and prefer to walk a few meters several times a day instead of one long walk.

If your animal is nine months old, it can also belong for walks, but with common sense, you will see the signs of exhaustion and fatigue and turn back accordingly or give your Molosser a breather. The Bordeaux mastiff is less suitable for cycling. The physique is too bulky – you would damage the joints more than the dog.

Balls and sticks mostly arouse interest in a secondary way. A real retriever and ball catcher definitely look different. You may be able to use this for a few minutes, but it usually signals fairly quickly that you are losing interest in sticks and the like.

Every Dogue de Bordeaux owner knows how to fuss and romp or the famous wild five minutes. Then, as if stung by a tarantula, she shoots off as if there is no tomorrow. Then it rolls around in the meadow, turns around its own axis, and is thrown onto its back. A sometimes wonderful and amusing spectacle.

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