From its name, the French Mastiff seems to have originated in France but there are numerous hypotheses surrounding this breed. It may have descended from Greek and Roman Molossus, mastiffs from Europe and also some breeds from Spain. In this guide, we will be studying the French Mastiffs temperament, size, personality and lifespan.
Facts and characteristics of French Mastiffs
- The Dogue de Bordeaux is an ancient breed that has evolved into a multi-talented guard dog, warrior and hunter. It has spread throughout the world influencing many breeds and cultures. They are known as Bordeaux bulldogs, French mastiffs or simply as DDB.
- French mastiffs have unique physical characteristics. They are massive dogs with a heavy bone structure, large broad muscular jaw and short muzzles. Their forehead is heavily wrinkles and tail is long and tapering. The eyes are alert and brown and they have small drop ears.
- According to Trupanion, an American pet insurance company, the Dogue de Bordeaux is one of most expensive dogs when it comes to vet bills.
- Dogue de Bordeaux drools a lot; so keep plenty of rags handy if you plan to adopt/buy this dog.
- French mastiffs weigh between 80 and 100 lbs while their height is between 22.5 and 26 inches. They come in various colors like fawn, reddish brown, mahogany and Isabella with black or self colored mask. French mastiffs in black are rather popular.
- This is the oldest French dog breed. It was used by butchers to guard property and also for blood sport. They were often made to fight large animals including bulls, elephants, jaguars and wild boars. Many French mastiffs were trained for police work but they were found to be rather ferocious and aggressive in these fields.
- The dog from Turner and Hooch, starring Tom Hanks, was a Dogue de Bordeaux played by 3 different dogs.
- During the French Revolution, many French mastiffs were massacred because they were considered to be dogs of the wealthy people.
- French mastiff lifespan – these powerful dogs live up to 8-11 years.
Expect to pay anywhere between $1000 and $5000 for a French mastiff puppy coming from pure lineages. The price varies from area to breeder to health of the puppy. Always buy your French mastiff from reputed and ethical breeders and not from puppy mills. You must talk to several breeders before selecting one. They should be willing to answer all your queries and help you understand the responsibilities of dog ownership. There ideally needs to be a wait time for getting your puppy; after all, good breeders will be much in demand so they might not have a puppy waiting for you to take home. Ask your breeder what you should do to prep your home for the puppy’s arrival. To find registered French Mastiff breeders visit the official website of the Dogue de Bordeaux.
The French mastiff is considered to be a highly aggressive dog. However, years of domestication, good breeding and evolutionary changes have all softened this breed. This is a friendly, loyal dog who loves his family. He can be wary of strangers and will be guarded around them. Socialization and training are both very important especially if you want your puppy to get along well with other dogs or family pets. French mastiffs are good around kids as they are generally tolerant, affectionate and loving dogs.
You will find your Dogue de Bordeaux will try to get his own way. Therefore, early obedience training is very important. If possible, read up on early housetraining and understand the development of young dogs. With consistent positive training, you should easily be able to teach basic commands like sit, stand, come, fetch etc. Like all breeds, your Dogue de Bordeaux will respond well to positive, gentle and consistent training. Keep training sessions short and end them with plenty of play time. Use healthy treats to reward and praise your pet for positive behavior. Breeders usually train puppies to void on newspapers. So if you do not want your Dogue to relieve indoors, do not place newspaper on the floor. Housing is also essential part of training so crate train your pet as soon as he comes home. Make sure the crate is just the right size for your pet’s height and weight.
Dogue de Bordeaux need moderate exercise. Puppies get most of their exercise from play time and training. Older French mastiffs are prone to bloat-a serious health condition which can occur due to excessive exercise right before or after eating or drinking. French mastiffs love regular jaunts like hikes, hunts and jogs with you. You should walk your Dogue twice a day for at least 40 minutes each and schedule more serious walks or runs once or twice a week.
Common health issues in the French mastiffs include bloating, sun sensitivity, deafness, and hip dysplasia. As already stated, these are expensive dogs when it comes to vet bills. Dogues are severely allergic to anesthesia. Even a small dose can kill your pet so make sure you go to a vet who is truly knowledgeable about this breed. They are brachycephalic which means they could be prone to snoring. As mentioned above, they are also massive droolers.
Due to their flat, squashed faces, care should be taken while bathing the French mastiff so that water does not enter into its nose while still cleaning the flaps. As they drool severely, you need to pay attention to certain areas which can become red, sensitive or develop yeast infection. This breed has special needs when it comes to grooming and you might want to schedule professional grooming once every 4 weeks, especially to keep the nails and ears clean. Drooling causes foul odor so you might want to use deodorants, wipes or powders between baths.
Choose quality puppy food for your Dogue; your breeder or vet can guide you. You can also cook homemade dog food but it is best to select standard portions of good dog food rather than trying to figure it out on your own. Note that overfeeding does not mean good nourishment in any way. Also, your pet’s protein needs change with age, stress levels, environment etc. So talk to your vet from time to time. Introduce new food slowly to ensure your pet does not develop any allergies. Serve dog food at room temperature with some warm wet food or chicken broth. Always provide plenty of fresh drinking water to your pet. Dogues are prone to bloat-so avoid strenuous exercise just before or after meals. Feed small meals and encourage your dog to eat and chew the food slowly.