Height: 23-27 in
Weight: 99-130 lbs
Life Span: 6-10 yrs
Coloring: Any shade of fawn; richer colors are most desired
Area of Origin: France
Similar Breeds: English Mastiff, Bullmastiff, English Bulldog, Cane Corso, Neapolitan Mastiff
History and Origin:
The French Mastiff (also known as Dogue de Bordeaux, Bordeaux Mastiff, Bordeaux dog) is an old breed dating back to the fourteenth century. Along with the English Mastiff, the French Mastiff is likely a descendent of the Roman Molossus dog, and was used as an overall working dog; driving cattle and serving as a guard dog. Like its English cousin, the French Mastiff was used as a fighting and bull-baiting dog, and served alongside wealthy soldiers during the French Revolution. Many dogs died during the war, and only the Mastiffs of the common people survived; these are the dogs from which the modern French Mastiff is descendent. Numbers dwindled again during World War II, when Adolf Hitler was known to have ordered the all French Mastiffs be destroyed because of their devout loyalty to their owners. A little-known breed in North America, the French Mastiff as it appears today arrived in the United States in 1959, and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2008.
Personality and Temperament:
In general the French Mastiff is loyal, calm, patient, and fearless. However, each individual dog possess it’s own unique personality. Some are feisty, sweet, independent, social, or even comical. If socialized well, it will be a fantastic companion; it is devoted to children and extremely protective of its family. Due to its history as a fighting and war dog, the French Mastiff tends to be aloof with strangers, and may become aggressive if it perceives a threat. While it can be a wonderful dog, the French Mastiff is unsuited for a nervous or first-time dog owner as it requires firm and consistent leadership.
Exercise & Training:
The French Mastiff requires a good deal of exercise in order to keep it happy and healthy. However, this will often go against their personality, as they are often content laying around the house all day, which can lead to lazy habits. A daily walk is necessary for the Douge de Bordeaux, in addition to play time. When playing with other dogs, a young French Mastiff needs to be closely supervised to ensure they aren’t overly aggressive. Because of their size and strength they can seriously injure other dogs quickly if they feel threatened or scared. Early socialization at a young age will help to familiarize them with being around other dogs of different personalities and help avoid future problems.
The French Mastiff needs a strong, dominant handler when training, as it can be strong-willed. It is recommended you start training the very first day your puppy arrives home, even as young as 8 weeks old. Waiting until a Mastiff is older to begin training can lead to problems with stubbornness. Enrollment in obedience classes is advised in order to ensure the commands are communicated effectively.
An average shedder, the French Mastiff needs only a brushing a few times a week (with a rubber curry brush) to remove dead hair and to keep the skin healthy. Wipe any wrinkles on your dog with a damp cloth every few days to avoid infections and skin problems caused by the build up that can form in their skin creases. Bathe only when necessary to avoid drying out the skin.
The French Mastiff is a molosser, and thus has shared ancestry with other Mastiffs, such as the English Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Cane Corso, Neapolitan Mastiff, and the English Bulldog. It is likely that the French Mastiff influenced the development of the Bullmastiff and possibly the English Bulldog. Selective breeding stopped the occurrence of the black mask that frequently appears in the English Mastiff and the Bullmastiff, helping to create a breed standard that differed from that of the English dog.
Interesting Facts about the French Mastiff:
1. The breed was nearly unheard of in the United States until 1989, when a French Mastiff was seen as Hooch in the movie, Turner and Hooch, alongside Tom Hanks.
2. The French Mastiff is a prolific drooler.
3. French Mastiffs will get along with other pets if raised alongside them, but their hunting instincts will likely lead to them chasing unfamiliar animals when they encounter them.
4. Along with “Turner and Hooch”, the French Mastiff has made appearances in the TV shows “General Hospital” and “Sex and the City”