Dogue de Bordeaux

Georgina Ushi, DVM
By Georgina Ushi, DVM on Sep. 13, 2023
red dogue de bordeaux lying in grass and smiling at the camera

In This Article

General Care

The Dogue de Bordeaux, also known as the Bordeaux Mastiff or French Mastiff, is a large and powerful breed that originated in France. Historically, the Dogue de Bordeaux was mainly used as a working dog, fulfilling roles such as guarding estates, protecting livestock, and even assisting in hunting large game. The breed’s lineage can be traced back to the 14th century, and they gained popularity in the Bordeaux region of France.

A tall and muscular dog, the Dogue de Bordeaux has a broad head with a distinctive and wrinkled forehead. Males typically stand 24–27 inches at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller, ranging from 23–26 inches. As for weight, male Dogues de Bordeaux can weigh 110–145 pounds, and females typically range from 99–120 pounds.

You might recognize this eye-catching dog from the 1989 Tom Hanks movie Turner & Hooch. The film significantly increased the Dogue’s popularity among dog enthusiasts and families wanting a large-breed dog.

Caring for a Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogues de Bordeaux are known for their calm and gentle temperament. They are extremely loyal to their families and are typically patient and affectionate with children.

While Dogues enjoy daily walks and playtime, they are not overly active. But providing mental stimulation through interactive games like fetch is important to prevent boredom.

Grooming needs are relatively low for this breed; they have a short, dense coat that requires weekly brushing to keep shedding under control. But Dogues de Bordeaux can drool quite a bit, especially after eating or drinking, so keep a towel handy to wipe their face.

Dogue de Bordeaux Health Issues

Dogues de Bordeaux are generally healthy, but because of their extra-large size they typically only live 5–8 years. Like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions. Responsible pet parents may consider pet insurance to help manage potential healthcare costs.

Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis

With this condition, the skin on the footpad develops abnormally. Initially, dogs’ smooth footpads will harden, leading to the formation of splits and cracks that can cause pain, lameness, and infection. Severe cases may result in difficulty walking.

Dogue de Bordeaux puppies with footpad hyperkeratosis will begin showing signs at 4–6 months old. While there's no cure, management of this condition includes footbath soaks, keratin removal, prescribed creams for cracks, and antibiotics for infections.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common orthopedic issue in many large breeds, including the Dogue de Bordeaux. It involves abnormal development of the hip joint, leading to discomfort and a stiff gait.

Pet parents can manage this condition by keeping their dog at a healthy weight; allowing low- or moderate-impact exercise; and anti-inflammatory medications for pain as needed. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Elbow Dysplasia

Similar to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia involves abnormal growth in the elbow joint. It can cause lameness, pain, and arthritis. Management may involve pain medication, weight control, and surgical correction of the elbow joint.

Bloat and Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

Bloat in dogs is a serious condition where the stomach fills with gas. The stomach can then twist upon itself—a life-threatening situation called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Signs of bloat and GDV include:

  • Excessive drooling

  • Retching

  • Gagging

  • Distended stomach

  • Decreased appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms in your Dogue, take them to the vet immediately.

Eye Conditions

Dogues de Bordeaux have big, droopy eyes that can develop a few issues, including:

Regular eye exams, drops to prevent eye irritation, and surgical correction of the eyelids (if necessary) can help alleviate discomfort.

Skin Issues

The breed's loose skin can be sensitive, and their folds can be prone to allergies and infection, especially in hot and humid conditions. Regular bathing and cleaning between their skin folds with pet-safe wipes can help prevent this.

Respiratory Challenges

Due to their short muzzle, Dogues de Bordeaux might experience airway dysfunction, especially in hot weather. Pet parents can help their pup by avoiding strenuous exercise in high temperatures and keeping them cool.

What to Feed a Dogue de Bordeaux

Because Dogues de Bordeaux are a large and muscular breed, look for foods with a moderate to high protein content (20–30% protein) to help support muscle health. It can also be beneficial to pick a food with added glucosamine and chondroitin, which can support joint health and mobility. Give your dog a food formulated for their life stage (puppy, adult, or senior).

Always talk with your vet about the best dog food for your individual Dogue.

How to Feed a Dogue de Bordeaux

Feeding your Dogue de Bordeaux involves more than just selecting the right food; it's about establishing a good feeding routine that caters to their nutritional needs as a large-breed dog.

Feed an adult Dogue twice a day. Puppies should eat more frequently—three or four times a day. Set specific mealtimes and stick to the schedule, as this helps with portion control and training.

Consider using slow-feeder bowls or puzzle feeders to make mealtime more mentally engaging. These slow their eating, reducing the risk of bloat and GDV. To further prevent bloat, avoid exercise directly before and after your Dogue de Bordeaux eats.

How Much Should You Feed a Dogue de Bordeaux?

Individual needs can vary based on factors like age, activity level, and metabolism. Talking to your vet is the best way to know how much to feed your dog, but you can also follow the feeding guidelines on the food packaging and adjust amounts based on your dog's weight and activity level.

Use a measuring cup to accurately portion your Dogue de Bordeaux’s meals. Avoid free-feeding (leaving food out all day), as it can lead to overeating and obesity.

Nutritional Tips for Dogues de Bordeaux

While balanced and high-quality dog food is the foundation of a Dogue de Bordeaux's nutrition, some supplements can support their overall health and address specific nutritional needs. These include:

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin: These support joint health and can be particularly beneficial for large breeds prone to joint issues, like the Dogue de Bordeaux.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fish oil supplements, these improve the overall coat quality and immune system function in dogs.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, aiding in digestion and supporting the immune system.

Talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog any supplements.

Behavior and Training Tips for Dogues de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux Personality and Temperament

The Dogue de Bordeaux possesses an endearing personality that makes them a beloved companion for many families. Known as gentle giants, Dogues de Bordeaux typically have a calm and gentle demeanor. They can be great with kids, especially when socialized from a young age.

Dogues de Bordeaux are not overly active. While they enjoy daily walks and playtime, they are not a high-energy breed that requires constant exercise. A moderate amount of physical activity generally keeps them content.

Dogues de Bordeaux are known for their calm and gentle temperament. They are extremely loyal to their families and are typically patient and affectionate with children.

Dogue de Bordeaux Behavior

Because of their breeding history, Dogues have had a propensity to be protective of their families. This means they may bark when they sense an unfamiliar presence (like a stranger approaching the home). Proper training can help manage barking.

Early and thorough socialization is important for all dogs, especially for Dogue de Bordeaux puppies. Proper exposure to different people, pets, and environments can help prevent shyness or fearfulness as they grow.

This breed is relatively adaptable to different living situations. They can adjust to apartment living as long as they receive proper exercise and mental enrichment.

Dogue de Bordeaux Training

The Dogue de Bordeaux's temperament can influence the training process, making it important for pet parents to adopt a consistent approach. Their loyalty can make them eager to please, but their history as protectors might lead to cautiousness around new experiences. They can be willful, so patience is needed, as well as consistent and positive training methods.

  • Start with basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and come. Consistent training with positive reinforcement helps establish a strong foundation.

  • Socialization is important to help your Dogue de Bordeaux become comfortable with different people, pets, and environments. Being around other dogs at a park can reduce cautiousness and fearfulness.

  • Due to their size and potential strength, leash training is essential. Teaching them to walk calmly on a leash prevents pulling and ensures enjoyable walks.

  • Training them to differentiate between normal visitors and strangers can be valuable. Reward calm behavior around familiar visitors.

  • When working with this breed, extra patience is required. Avoid frustration and remain calm, using positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors.

  • Given their moderate energy level, training sessions should be balanced and not overly strenuous. Short and engaging sessions work best.

Fun Activities for Dogues de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux Grooming Guide

Dogues have a short, dense coat that’s relatively easy to maintain. While they do shed, the shedding is usually not excessive compared to breeds with longer coats.

The main thing to know before bringing home a Dogue de Bordeaux puppy is that this breed is known to slobber, especially after eating or drinking. Keep a towel handy to help manage drool; you’ll also need to clean their face and wrinkles regularly.

Skin Care

Dogues de Bordeaux, with their wrinkled skin and short coat, require some special attention to maintain good skin health.

  • Wrinkle care: If your Dogue de Bordeaux has facial wrinkles or skin folds, moisture and debris can get trapped in these folds, leading to irritation or infections. Regularly clean and dry these areas with pet-safe wipes, paying extra attention to the folds around the face, neck, and body.
  • Bathing: Keep your Dogue’s skin clean by giving them regular baths using a mild, dog-specific shampoo. Be sure not to give them too many baths, as this can strip their skin of natural oils and cause irritation. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on how often to bathe your dog. After baths (or any exposure to moisture), thoroughly dry your Dogue de Bordeaux, especially around their facial folds. Moisture can lead to fungal or bacterial infections if not properly dried.
  • Sun protection: The Dogue’s short coat provides minimal protection against the sun's UV rays. If your Dogue de Bordeaux spends a lot of time outdoors, especially in sunny conditions, consider using dog-safe sunblock on areas with exposed skin.

Coat Care

The Dogue de Bordeaux’s short coat is relatively low-maintenance, but it still requires proper care to keep it in good condition. Brush them at least once a week to remove loose hair. Professional grooming is not typically required for this breed, as their coat doesn't grow long and doesn't need trimming.

You can, however, take your Dogue to a professional groomer for services like nail trims to prevent overgrowth.

Eye Care

Look for any signs of redness, excessive tearing, cloudiness, or discharge. If you notice anything abnormal, consult your veterinarian.

Some Dogues de Bordeaux may experience tear staining, which can cause the fur around their eyes to become discolored. To manage this, gently clean the area around their eyes using a damp cloth or a veterinarian-recommended eye-cleaning solution. Avoid getting anything into their eyes.

When cleaning around the eyes or removing any debris, be very gentle. Their eyes are sensitive, and rough handling can cause discomfort.

Ear Care

Routine care can help prevent ear infections and discomfort. Check their ears regularly for signs of redness, swelling, excessive wax buildup, foul odor, or discharge. These can be indicators of an infection.

Some Dogues de Bordeaux may benefit from occasional ear cleaning to prevent wax buildup. Use a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaning solution and a cotton ball to gently clean the visible parts of the ear. Avoid inserting anything deep into the ear canal.

Dogues de Bordeaux with floppy ears might be more prone to moisture retention, which can create a favorable environment for bacteria or yeast growth. After baths or water activities, use a cotton ball or pad to gently wipe away excess water.

Be gentle when cleaning your dog's sensitive ears, as rough handling can cause discomfort or injury. If you notice constant scratching, head shaking, or signs of discomfort, consult your veterinarian. Ear infections can escalate quickly if not properly treated.

Considerations for Pet Parents 

The perfect home for a Dogue de Bordeaux is one with a spacious living environment and outdoor area, because these dogs are large and need room to move around comfortably. A securely fenced yard is essential as well, because this breed tends to explore. An ideal home should also provide plenty of attention and interactive play, as these dogs thrive on companionship and can become quite attached to their family members. If they’re left alone for extended periods, Dogues may become destructive.

In terms of energy level, Dogues de Bordeaux are generally calm and laid-back pups. They have a moderate energy level and enjoy leisurely walks and playtime. Grooming needs involve regular brushing to maintain their short coat and prevent shedding, but pet parents must also be willing to wipe away lots of drool and dedicate time to their Dogue’s skin care.

Like with all dogs, socialization is important to ensure they develop good behavior around other dogs and people. Positive reinforcement techniques work well, as these dogs are sensitive to their owner's approval. With a dedicated caregiver, a Dogue de Bordeaux can make a loyal and steadfast companion.

Dogue de Bordeaux FAQs

Are Dogues de Bordeaux a good family dog?

Dogues de Bordeaux can be good family dogs because of their loyalty and affectionate, gentle nature. When well-socialized from puppyhood, Dogues get along well with kids and other pets.

Are Dogues de Bordeaux high-maintenance?

Dogues de Bordeaux can be categorized as moderate- to low-maintenance dogs. Their coat care is relatively manageable, and they don’t have as much energy as many other breeds. But they still need daily exercise, and pet parents will spend a lot of time wiping drool and cleaning the Dogue’s skin folds.

How big do Dogues de Bordeaux get?

Dogues de Bordeaux can grow to stand 23–27 inches tall and weigh 100 pounds or more.

Featured Image: Adobe/deviddo


Ph.D LW. Dogue de Bordeaux - Facts and Beyond. Biology Dictionary. Published August 28, 2020. Accessed September 13, 2023.

Breed Predispostion. Accessed September 13, 2023.

Hobi S, Barrs VR, Paweł Marek Bęczkowski. Dermatological Problems of Brachycephalic Dogs. 2023;13(12):2016-2016. doi:


Georgina Ushi, DVM


Georgina Ushi, DVM


Dr. Georgina Ushi completed her undergraduate education at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, where she earned a Bachelor of...

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