Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux pictures ➜

ORIGIN: France.

UTILIZATION: Guard, defence and dissuasion.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: The dogue de Bordeaux is one of the most ancient French breeds, probably a descendant of the Alans and, in particular, the alan vautre of which Gaston Phebus (or Febus), Count of Foix, said in the 14th century, in his Livre de Chasse that ” he holds his bite stronger than three sighthounds”. Bordeauxdogge… The word “dogue” first appeared at the end of the 14th century. In the middle of the 19th century these ancient dogues were hardly renowned outside the region of Aquitaine. They were used for hunting large animals such as boar, for fighting (often codified), for the guarding of houses and cattle and in the service of butchers. In 1863 the first French dog show took place in Paris in the Jardin d’Acclimatation. The dogues de Bordeaux were entered under their present name. There have been different types: The Toulouse type, the Paris type and the Bordeaux type, which is the origin of today’s dogue.

The breed, which had suffered greatly during the two world wars, to the point of being threatened with extinction after the second world war, got off to a fresh start in the 1960’s.
1st standard (Caractère des vrais dogues) in Pierre Megnin, Le Dogue de Bordeaux, 1896.
2nd standard in J. Kunstler, Etude critique du Dogue de Bordeaux, 1910.
3rd standard by Raymond Triquet, with the collaboration of Vet. Dr. Maurice Luquet, 1971.
4th standard reformulated according to Jerusalem model (F.C.I.) by Raymond Triquet, with the collaboration of Philippe Serouil, President of the French Dogue de Bordeaux Club and its Committee, 1993.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: 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 sternum-ground being slightly less than the depth of the chest.
Stocky, athletic, imposing, he has a very dissuasive aspect.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: The length of the body, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, is superior to the height at the withers, in the proportion of 11/10.
The depth of the chest is more than half the height at the withers.
The maximum length of the muzzle is equal to one third of the length of the head.
The minimum length of the muzzle is equal to one quarter of the length of the head.
In the male, the perimeter of the skull corresponds more or less to the height at the withers.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT: An ancient fighting dog, the dogue de Bordeaux is gifted for guarding, which he assumes 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.


Voluminous, angular, broad, rather short, trapezoid when viewed from above and in front.


  • In the male: the perimeter of the skull measured at the level of its greatest width corresponds roughly to the height at the withers.
  • In bitches: it may be slightly less.

Its volume and shape are the consequences of the very important development of the temporals, supra-orbital arches, zygomatic arches and the spacing of the branches of the lower jaw. The upper region of the skull is slightly convex from one side to the other.

Fronto-nasal depression or stop is very pronounced, almost forming a right angle with the muzzle (95o to 100o).
The frontal groove is deep, diminishing towards the posterior end of the head. The forehead dominates the face. However it is still wider than high.
The head is furrowed with symmetrical wrinkles, each side of the median groove. These deep ropes of wrinkle are mobile depending on whether the dog is attentive or not.


Nose: Broad, well opened nostrils, well pigmented according to the mask. Upturned nose (snubbed) permissible but not if it is set back towards the face.

Muzzle: Powerful, broad, thick, but not fleshy below the eyes, rather short, upper profile very slightly concave, with moderately obvious folds. Its width hardly decreasing towards the tip of the muzzle, when viewed from above it has the general shape of a square. In relation to the upper region of the skull, the line of the muzzle forms a very obtuse angle upwards. When the head is held horizontally the tip of the muzzle, truncated, thick and broad at the base, is in front of a vertical tangent to the anterior face of the nose. Its perimeter is almost two thirds of that of the head. Its length varies between one third and one quarter of the total length of the head, from the nose to the occipital crest. The limits stated (maximum one third and minimum one quarter of the total length of the head) are permissible but not sought after, the ideal length of the muzzle being between these two extremes.

Jaws: Very powerful, broad. Undershot (the undershot condition being a characteristic of the breed).

The back of the lower incisors is in front of and not in contact with the front face of the upper incisors.
The lower jaw curves upwards. The chin is well marked and must neither overlap the upper lip exaggeratedly nor be covered by it.

Teeth: Strong, particularly the canines. Lower canines set wide apart and slightly curved. Incisors well aligned especially in the lower jaw where they form an apparently straight line.

Upper lip: Thick, moderately pendulous, retractile. When viewed in profile it shows a rounded lower line. It covers the lower jaw on the sides. In front the edge of the upper lip is in contact with the lower lip, then drops on either side thus forming a reversed wide V.

Cheeks: Prominent, due to the very strong development of the muscles.

Eyes: Oval, set wide apart. The space between the two inner angles of the eyelids is equal to about twice the length of the eye (eye opening). Frank expression. The haw must not be visible. Colour: hazel to dark brown for a dog with a black mask, lighter colour tolerated but not sought after in dogs with either a brown mask or without a mask.

Ears: Relatively small, of a slightly darker colour than the coat. At its set on the front of the base of the ear is slightly raised. They must fall back, but not hang limply, the front edge being close to the cheek when the dog is attentive. The tip of the ear is slightly rounded; it must not reach beyond the eye. Set rather high, at the level of the upper line of the skull, thus appearing to accentuate its width even more.

Neck: Very strong, muscular, almost cylindrical. The skin is supple, ample and loose. The average circumference almost equals that of the head. It is separated from the head by a slightly accentuated transversal furrow, slightly curved. Its upper edge is slightly convex. The well defined dewlap starts at the level of the throat forming folds down to the chest, without hanging exaggeratedly. The neck, very broad at its base, merges smoothly with the shoulders.


Topline: Solid with a broad and muscular back, withers well marked, broad loin, rather short and solid, rump moderately sloping down to the root of the tail.

Chest: Powerful, long, deep, broad, let down lower than the elbows. Broad and powerful breast whose lower line (inter-axillae) is convex towards the bottom. Ribs well let down and well sprung but not barrel shaped. The circumference of the chest must be between 0,25 to 0,30 m greater than the height at the withers.

Underline: Curved, from the deep brisket to the rather tucked up, firm abdomen, being neither pendulous nor whippety.

Tail: Very thick at the base. Its tip preferably reaching the hock and not below. Carried low, it is neither broken nor kinked but supple. Hanging when the dog is in repose, generally rising by 90o to 120o from that position when the dog is in action, without curving over the back or being curled.


FOREQUARTERS: Strong bone structure, legs very muscular.

Shoulders: Powerful, prominent muscles. Slant of shoulder-blade medium (about 45o to the horizontal), angle of the scapular-humeral articulation a little more than 90o.

Arms: Very muscular.

Elbows: In the axis of the body, neither too close to the thoracic wall nor turned out.

Forearms: Viewed from the front, straight or inclining slightly inwards thus getting closer to the median plane, especially in dogs with a very broad chest. Viewed in profile, vertical.

Metacarpial region: Powerful. Viewed in profile, slightly sloping. Viewed from the front sometimes slightly outwards thus compensating for the slight inclination of the forearm inwards.

Feet: Strong. Toes tight, nails curved and strong, pads well developed and supple: the dogue is well up on his toes despite his weight.


Robust legs with strong bone structure; well angulated. When viewed from behind the hindquarters are parallel and vertical thus giving an impression of power even though the hindquarters are not quite as broad as the forequarters.

Thigh: Very developed and thick with visible muscles.

Stifle: In a parallel plane to the median plane or slightly out.

Second Thigh: Relatively short, muscled, descending low.

Hock: Short, sinewy, angle of the hock joint moderately open.

Metatarsus: Robust, no dewclaws.

Hindfeet: Slightly longer than the front feet, toes tight.

MOVEMENT: Quite supple for a molossoid. When walking the movement is free, supple, close to the ground. Good drive from the hindquarters, good extension of the forelegs, especially when trotting, which is the preferred gait. When the trot quickens, the head tends to drop, the topline inclines towards the front, and the front feet get closer to the median plane while striding out with a long reaching movement of the front legs. Short gallop with vertical movement rather important. Capable of great speed over short distances by bolting along close to the ground.

SKIN: Thick and sufficiently loose fitting.

HAIR: Fine, short and soft to the touch.

COAT: Self-coloured, in all shades of fawn, from mahogany to isabella. A good pigmentation is desirable. Limited white patches are permissible on the chest and the extremities of the limbs.


  • Black mask: The mask is often only slightly spread out and must not invade the cranial region. There may be slight black shading on the skull, ears, neck and top of body. The nose is then black.
  • Brown mask: (used to be called red or bistre). The nose is then brown; the eyerims are also brown.
  • No mask: The coat is fawn: the skin appears red (also formerly called “red mask”). The nose is then reddish or pink.
  • SIZE: Height should more or less correspond to the perimeter of the skull.
  • Dogs: 60-68 cm at the withers
  • Bitches: 58-66 cm at the withers.
  • 1 cm under and 2 cm over will be tolerated.


  • Dogs: at least 50 kg
  • Bitches: at least 45 kg.

Bitches: Identical characteristics but less prominent.

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.


  • Hyper aggressive, timid.
  • Head short and round with protruding eyes.
  • Hypertypical bulldoggy: flat skull, muzzle measuring less than a quarter of the total length of the head.
  • Important lateral deviation of the lower jaw.
  • Incisors constantly visible when the mouth is closed.
  • Arched back.
  • Fused but not deviated vertebrae of the tail.
  • Forefeet turning inwards (even slightly).
  • Forefeet turning outwards too much.
  • Flat thighs.
  • Angle of hock too open (straight angulation).
  • Angle of the hock too closed, dog standing under himself behind.
  • Cow hocks or barrel hocks.
  • Stilted movement or serious rolling of rear.
  • Excessive shortness of breath, rasping.
  • White on tip of tail or on the front part of the forelegs, above the carpus and the tarsus.


  • Long, narrow head with insufficiently pronounced stop, with a muzzle measuring more than a third of the total length of the head (lack of type in head).
  • Muzzle parallel to the top line of the skull or downfaced, Roman nose.
  • Twisted jaw.
  • Mouth not undershot.
  • Canines constantly visible when the mouth is closed.
  • Tongue constantly hanging out when the mouth is closed.
  • Tail knotted and lateraly deviated or twisted (screw tail, kink tail).
  • Atrophied tail.
  • Fiddle front with splay feet.
  • Angle of the hock open towards the rear (tarsal deviated towards the front).
  • White on the head or body, any other colour of the coat than fawn.
  • Identifiable disabling defect.

N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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