The Dogue's history is believed to predate the Bullmastiff and the Bulldog. It is said that the Dogue can be found
in the background of the Bullmastiff, and other claim the the Dogue and the Bullmastiff breeds were both being accomplished
at the same time. Some believe that the Bulldog is the building block of the Dogue, and again, another group believes that
the Bulldog was used in the breeding programs further down the line. Another theory, is that it originates from the Tibetan
Dr. Raymond Triquet 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."
There are notions that the Dogue has ties to the Alano, an extinct dog of Spain, similar in many ways to
the Bordeaux. It is said that this dog was brought to Europe by the Alans, an Oriental tribe. It is also said the Bordeaux
is related to the Greco-Roman mollosids used for war, as there was a breed similar to the Dogue de Bordeaux in Rome at the
time of Julius Caesar's reign. This would make the Dogue a cousin to the Neapolitan Mastiff. Yet another theory suggests
that the Dogue is a descendant of a breed which existed in France a long time ago.
In France, the
Dogues were bred depending on the region and jobs they were required to do. The general appearance was inconsistent,
the Dogue had various colors and varieties of coat, they had scissors bites in some regions, undershot in others, but they
all had a general type similar to today's Dogues.
We do know the Dogue de Bordeaux was used as a guardian,
a hunter, and a fighter. They were trained to bait bulls, bears, and jaguars; hunt boars; heard cattle; and protect
the homes, butcher shops and vineyards of their masters. The Dogue de Bordeaux were prized as protectors and were often found
in the home of the noble and wealthy of France.
During the French Revolution, many of the Dogues are thought
to have perished with their wealthy masters during the uprising of the classes, but the Dogues of the common man must have
thrived. These Dogues became the champions of the arena, and were powerful dogs bred to do their jobs and do them well.
It was in 1863 when the first reference of the Dogue can be found, at the first canine exhibition at the Jardin
d'Acclimatation in Paris, France. It was more of an inventory of breeds than a conformation event. The winner
was a bitch named Magentas, and the Dogue de Bordeaux was given the name of the capital of their region of origin.
There is not other known reference to the Dogue until the year 1883. There was such diversity in the breed at
this time, and much controversy over this. They had big heads and small heads, some were exceptionally large in body, while
others very small. Some breeders preferred the scissors bite, others the undershot. The mask color was the subject of many
debates and discussions. There were three styles of Dogue at this time, the Toulouse, the Paris, and the Bordeaux. Our
modern Dogue is a mixture of these different types, but is primarily Bordeaux.
The Toulouse was a Dogue that
had almost every color in its coat, a fawnish tiger (a light brindle perhaps), with a longer body and smaller bones.
Dogues in Paris had a scissors bite, while others had a undershot of almost one inch. Finally the breeders came together
and decided upon the undershot, which is today's standard.
In 1895 a few breeders tried to establish the
Dogue in England, and also that year, John Proctor or Antwerp, who had judged the Dogue de Bordeaux, published an account
of his experiences with the "fighting dogs of the South of France" in the magazine, The Stock Keeper.
In 1896, Pierre Mengin put together a synthesis of the best Dogue de Bordeaux shown and know from 1863-1895.
He published Le Dogue de Bordeaux, that featured a description and characteristics true to the Dogue. This effort,
put forward by Mr. Brooke, Mr. Mengin, Dr. Wiart, and a group of authorities in France, was the first standard of the Dogue
In 1897, Henry de Bylants work, The Breeds of Dogs, introduced the breed standard to
the world of dog breeders. J. Kunstler, Professor of Comparative Anatomy of the Science Facility of Bordeaux, studied
the Dogues in 1907 and in 1910 published A Critique Etude du Dogue de Bordeaux (A Critical Study of the Dogue de Bordeaux).
During the 1960's, Dr. Raymond Triquet headed the rebuilding of the breed, and in 1970, Dr. Triquet wrote the new standard
for the Dogue de Bordeaux. The standard has once again been updated, this time by Dr. Triquet and Mr. Tim Taylor.
The Dogue can also be credited to taking part in the breeding programs of two other mastiffs, the Argentine Dogo and
Dr. Martinez, who bred "The Fighting Dogs of Cordoba" or the Argentine Dogo, used a menagerie of
breeds to produce the Dogo, and the Bordeaux was used to increase the size of the head and accentuate the overall courage,
strength and jaw strength.
During the 1930's, the Bordeaux were imported to Japan to cross with the Tosa
(Fighting Dog of Japan). This increased the head size and the overall body size of the Tosa.
It was a Dr.
Philip Todd who is credited with bringing the Dogue to the United States in the 1960's, although evidence of Dogues in the
1920's has been found.
Dr. Todd moved to Holland with his Dogues, and there were no other records of any
in the country until 1969 when Steve and Wendy Norris, with the help of Dr. Todd, began to import Dogue de Bordeaux into the
It was in the 1980's when the United States saw a small Dogue boom occur. In 1986 Touchstone
released Turner and Hooch, showing a big messy slobbering Dogue, which was believed to be a Bullmastiff or mutt. In
reality, it was the Dogue de Bordeaux.
The Dogue was brought in to the country mainly by dog brokers,
and many people received below par stock. But thorough the years, the Americans have improved this stock, with selective
and careful breeding, to have some of the finest Dogues in the world.
Today there are breeders of Dogue de
Bordeaux that stretch across North America. One must be careful when purchasing a Dogue de Bordeaux, although they are
considered a rare breed in the US & Canada, they carry a hefty price tag and are a favorite breed among the puppy millers.
The Dogue is now recognised by both the Akc & CKC. Canadian Breeders worked together in an effort to
gain CKC Recognition which they accomplished in July 2011.
They are recognized world wide by the FCI, and are a UKC recognized breed. There are a myriad of rare breed shows
for the Dogue, that they are eligible to compete in.
Appearance and Temperament:
The Dogue is classified as Molossoidae Brachycephalus. The FCI standard is quoted
as saying "It is a powerful dog with a muscular body, while retaining a harmonious outline. They are built close to the ground...They
are stocky, athletic, imposing and has a very dissuasive aspect."
Breeders recognize the red, black, and no
mask varieties, but unfortunately, in the United States as well as abroad, the consensus is the red mask, which Deiter Fleig
notes is the result of a mutation.
We must always remember the Dogue's original purpose was to protect. The
Dogue is sweet and even tempered, it protects what is theirs, including their owners. The Dogue is devoted to its family
and friends, and it is very important to socialize the Dogue in its early stages of life.
Remember that even though the
body is large, the mind is till young. It is common for a 7 month old puppy to knock over the largest man while playing, or
They are stubborn, and arrogant, yet once they learn a command or task, they rarely forget it. They possess
a dominate nature, "To ignore this aspect of this breeds temperament would be to produce atypical and so inferior Bordeaux
Dogue." (Carl Semenic).
They have a keen sense of smell and hearing and are intelligent and balanced. They
are also a product of their environment.
Breeders and Exhibitors of exceptional Dogue De Bordeaux's
Marcia Murray-Stoof C.P.D.T.
"The Dog Nanny"
Certified Professional Dog Training Instructor
Certified Canine Behaviourist
Certified Therapy dog/cat Evaluator
Director of Evaluators for TPOC
Certified CKC Evaluator for CGN
Breeder & Exhibitor of Dogue de Bordeauxs