The Dogue de Bordeaux is an imposing breed. That massive head, their energy of quiet confidence which covers an ancient heritage of the quintessential canine warrior, and the sheer aura of power they exude add up to make a head turning dog that attracts attention, no demands attention from everyone.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is also known as the French Mastiff and often called the Dogue for short, by is many fanciers. This ancient breed has been used for hunting, guarding people and property, and as a fighting dog. In the dog fighting rings or pits, they fought other breeds of dogs, bears, wild boars, wolves, tigers, leopards and lions.
An ancient breed, some believe the Dogue descends from the ancient Molossers of Europe, which “goes back” to the Middle Ages. Many believe they trace their heritage to an ancient Spanish breed, the Alano and others believe they descend from Tibetan Mastiffs and came west with the Alans, an Asian tribe. Yet others believe the Greco-Roman Mollaser dogs are the basis of the breed. And some consider them French through and through with roots in an old extinct French breed.
It is thought the Dogue de Bordeaux was used to enhance the Bulldog and Bullmastiff breeds, while others are convinced it is the other way around!
Dr. Raymond Triquet, famous Dogue de Bordeaux expert, is quoted as saying: “It is often said that the common stem of all European Dogues was a big dog coming from the confines of India and China, more than 3000 years ago, and by stages would have gone from Thibet to Mesopotamia, there, where begins the history of men, then to Epire, small kingdom of ancient Molosse; then to Rome and from there to Gaule. He would have made this long journey by the side of conquerors, warriors, and merchants. It is possible that this prestigious connections part true, but let us not forget the fact, maybe preponderant, that archaeologists have found in the land that would become France, bones of dogs dating from prehistory, bones that were those of a Dogue.”
They were prized as protectors and were the guard dog of choice for the nobility and wealthy of France, which actually ended up causing problems for the breed. Many of the Dogues were killed during the French Revolution, as they were associated with the rank and privilege of their owners. Thankfully, many of the “common people” also shared their lives with this breed.
A Dogue de Bordeaux Club was formed in 1897 and a description of the breed was written and appeared in Bylandt’s book “Dogs of All Nations”.
Hitlers’ SS were ordered to destroy the breed during WWII, as the, French Resistance used the Dogues as to guard, protect and defend them. Their protective, ferocious nature was a threat to the SS and they destroyed countless Dogues.
Dr. Raymond Triquet was instrumental in rebuilding the breed during the 1960s. In 1970 he wrote the new standard for the Dogue de Bordeaux.
The Dogue de Bordeaux can be a wonderful companion dog for those who are willing to honor their ancient heritage as a powerful dog who needs a job. Though not overly active, they cannot be allowed to self-exercise. Short walks are needed as is regular mental exercise to keep them from becoming destructive when bored. For more info on this breed visit the AKC or the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America.
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