Country Dogues - Canandaigua, NY 14424 - 585-202-5607

 Dogue de Bordeaux
The Dogue de Bordeaux is probably one of the most ancient French breeds, though it only became known by this name in the second part of the nineteenth century Gaston Phe'bus, the Count of Foix, whose book about gun dogs is famous, wrote in the 14th century about the "alans vautres" which were the ancestors of the Dogues de Bordeaux.
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Somewhat disappointingly, few historical details about the Dogue de Bordeaux exist before 1863. In earlier days, this dog was called a Dogue or a Matin. This latter name comes from the same root as the word 'Mastiff' which is why the Dogue de Bordeaux is sometimes called a French Mastiff. The first reference by name appeared in a French show catalogue in that year; when one specimen of the breed was exhibited. The purpose of this show was more to exhibit different breeds than to judge dogs against their Standard. By the end of the century, the name Dogue de Bordeaux was better established. In the old days, Dogues de Bordeaux were kept for all sorts of jobs: hunting, fighting, guarding, and pulling loads. Butchers used them to prevent steers getting away and to keep them in their place and also for pulling loads of meat from the slaughterhouse to their shops. During the First World War; some Dogues de Bordeaux helped to drag injured people to safety Another task given them was hunting animals such as boars. Unfortunately, Dogues were also involved in deplorable dog-baiting spectacles where they were made to fight with other dogs, or even bears or bulls, simply for man's entertainment. It is sad to say that not only Dogues de Bordeaux were thus treated -many Molossers went through this cruel ordeal.

Typical concave lined brachycephalic molossoid. The Dogue de Bordeaux is a very powerful dog, with a very muscular body yet retaining a harmonious general outline. He is built rather close to the ground, the distance from sternum to ground being slightly less than the depth of the chest. Stocky, athletic, imposing, he has a very dissuasive aspect.
An ancient fighting dog, the Dogue de Bordeaux is gifted at guarding, which he does with vigilance and great courage, but without aggressiveness. A good companion, very attached to his master and very affectionate. Calm, balanced with a high stimulus threshold. The male normally has a dominant character.
As with all short-faced Molossers, the Dogue de Bordeaux is one of those dogs which has always had close links with man, one of those dogs used by man for guarding and hunting as well as for fighting in wars or against other animals, one of those dogs whose look alone is enough to deter. That this kind of dog may have descended from the prehistoric short-faced Borophagus or Aelurodon rather than a wolf or a jackal is a tempting hypothesis. This unfortunately remains an unproved part of the legend. But it is certain that this kind of dog, unlike many which tend to form packs, turns more readily to man. As Raymond Triquet puts it, the Dogue de Bordeaux has a sour mug but a golden heart. This, along with an expression of tenderness and sweetness, makes it irresistible.

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Some of the information on this page is from "THE DOGUE DE BORDEAUX" by Anne-Marie Class, found in chapter 12 starting on page 195 in the book The Ultimate Book of Mastiff Breeds edited by Douglas Oliff, published by: HOWELL BOOK HOUSE, A Macmillian Company, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

Nick Fiorentino
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