The Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the oldest French breeds that have managed to make it into the present. Over the course of its long existence, the breed has taken on many roles because of its incredible physical power as well as its stable temperament. Nowadays, those characteristics remain as useful as ever, which is why the Dogue de Bordeaux continues to see widespread use as protectors and more. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about the Dogue de Bordeaux:
1. The Name Is a Bit Misleading
Dogue de Bordeaux translates to “Bordeaux Mastiff.” However, this isn’t because the breed came into existence in Bordeaux but rather because it was common in the southern French region centered upon Bordeaux.
2. Unclear Origins
Unfortunately, the Dogue de Bordeaux is one of those breeds that are so old that their exact origins will remain unclear for the rest of time. However, there are still numerous theories for how the breed came into existence, with examples ranging from it having been brought to Europe by the nomadic pastoralists called the Alani to it having been related to Greco-Roman Molossers meant for war.
3. It Is a Molosser
Regardless of its exact origins, the Dogue de Bordeaux is considered to be a Molosser, which is a term that encompasses numerous breeds such as Boxers, Bulldogs, and Great Danes. It is believed that Molossers are descended from a big, powerful dog that was popular in the ancient region of Epirus, but in practice, the term is sometimes used for breeds with dubious connections to said shared ancestors because of pure convenience.
4. Used to Be Two Main Varieties
There wasn’t a uniform breed of the Dogue de Bordeaux until the earlier part of the 20th century. However, it is interesting to note that at one point in time, there used to be two main varieties, with one being the Dogue and the other being the Doguin. The records state that the Dogue was much bigger than the Doguin, which became less and less popular over time until it was reduced to its current status of a historical footnote.
5. Often Served as Protectors
It is known that the Dogue de Bordeaux took on a wide range of roles over the course of their existence. For example, they have been used to both herd cattle and take on boars, which is a notoriously dangerous activity even in the present. However, it is interesting to note that the Dogue de Bordeaux was particularly popular as a protector for the French elite, serving as both guard dogs and watch dogs.
6. Saw Use as Fighting Dogs
Later on, the Dogue de Bordeaux acquired a new role when the breed started seeing use in dog fights because of the same powerful build that made them useful in other physically demanding activities. Nowadays, dog fighting is rightfully regarded as cruel. However, dogs fights and other dog-related bloodsports were very popular in pre-modern times, so much so that the earliest efforts to ban their existence struggled because of the challenges in enforcing such laws.
7. Calm and Quiet
Luckily, the Dogue de Bordeaux isn’t a breed that is famous for its aggressiveness. In fact, it is actually known for being a calm and quiet breed as full-grown adults. However, interested individuals should never forget that the Dogue de Bordeaux is fully capable of flying into action when sufficiently provoked.
8. Needs Socialization
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Dogue de Bordeaux needs proper socialization as puppies to prevent them from developing serious problems such as shyness and aggression as adults. Should they receive proper socialization, most members of the breed should prove to be relatively mild-mannered protectors that won’t start fights on their own.
Like a lot of Molossers, the Dogue de Bordeaux needs a dog owner who is capable of taking charge, showing consistent leadership, and strengthening desired behaviors via positive reinforcement. This is particularly true because of its stubborn temperament, meaning that dog owners who can’t provide those things might want to look elsewhere.
10. Slobbers a Lot
The Dogue de Bordeaux is prone to some issues that can prove to be rather irritating. For example, they are prone to snoring loudly. Furthermore, they are prone to slobbering, meaning that their owners might want to have some slobbering towels on hand.