History of the Dogue De Bordeaux
The Dogue de Bordeauxs’ history is a mystery that is speculated upon by many. The 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 others claim that the Dogue and Mastiff 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 breeding programs further down the line. Another theory is the Dogue de Bordeaux originates from the Tibetan Mastiff and it is also said that the Dogue is related to the Greco Roman molossoids used for war, as there was a breed similar to the Dogue de Bordeaux in Rome at the time of Julius Caesar’s reign, possibly a cousin of the Neapolitan Mastiff. Others suggest that the Dogue de Bordeaux is a descendent of a breed which existed in ancient France, the Dogues de Bordeaux of Aquitaine. Which ever theory is true, it is obvious that the Dogue de Bordeaux shares the same common links as all modern molossers.
The Dogue de Bordeaux was once classified into three varieties, the Parisian, the Toulouse and the Bordeaux, types which were bred depending on the region of France and the jobs they were required to do. Ancestral Dogues de Bordeaux had various coat colors, such as brindle and majority of white markings that carried fully up the legs. They had scissor bites in some regions, undershot in others, big heads, small heads, large bodies and small bodies, very inconsistent in type. Another controversial aspect was the mask, red (brown), none or black. The Dogues de Bordeaux of Bordeaux of the time also sported cropped ears, for fighting purposes. Regardless, they all had a general type similar to today’s Dogue de Bordeaux.
In 1863 the first canine exhibition was held at the “Jardin d’Acclimatation” in Paris, France. The winner of the Dogue de Bordeaux was a bitch named Magentas. The Dogue de Bordeaux was then given the name of the capital of their region of origin, today’s Dogue de Bordeaux.
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, herd cattle, and protect the homes, butcher shops, and vineyards of their masters. The Dogue de Bordeaux was prized as protectors and was often found in the homes of the wealthy of France. A setback in the breed came during the French Revolution when many of the Dogues de Bordeaux perished with their wealthy masters. The Dogues de Bordeaux of the common man have thrived. These became the champions in the arena, and were powerful dogs bred to do their jobs and do them well. Another setback for the breed was following World War II, Adolph Hitler was said to have demanded the execution of all Dogues de Bordeaux de Bordeaux because of their devout loyalty to their owners.
During the 1960s, a group of breeders of the Dogue de Bordeaux in France, headed by Raymond Triquet, worked on the rebuilding of the foundation of the breed. In 1970 a new standard was written for the breed, with the most recent update in 1995. This standard is the basis of the standard written for the AKC in 2005.
Although the Dogue de Bordeaux first came to the USA in the 1890’s for the ring, the first documented Dogues de Bordeaux of modern times was in 1959, Fidelle de Fenelon, and in 1968, Rugby de la Maison des Arbres. Between 1969 and 1980 imported Dogues de Bordeaux in the USA were scarce, limited to a few breeders who worked closely with the French Dogue de Bordeaux Club, the SADB. In the 1989 the typical American family saw the Dogue de Bordeaux for the first time on the big screen in Touchstone’s movie “Turner and Hooch” about a police man and his canine partner, although many people did not know that the massive slobbering animal was a Dogue de Bordeaux.
Since then the Dogue de Bordeaux has taken hold in the United States and can be found in numbers across the country. The Dogue de Bordeaux has been supported by multiple breed clubs throughout the years, and has finally found security in being assisted by the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America. Since 1997 the DDBSA has taken the breed’s welfare in its arms, nurtured it and allowed it to flourish and take its deserved place beside the many noble breeds of the AKC.