I think these dogs look very sad and grumpy all the time, but I guess they can't help how they look. They also drool and snore, but they can't help that either. And really, they're supposed to be very nice dogs. Other names for this breed are Bordeaux Mastiff, French Mastiff, Bordeaux Bulldog, or Bordeauxdog. But mostly what I've heard people call them is Dogue de Bordeaux.
Nobody is sure how the breed got started, exactly. There were Dogues in France as early as the 14th century, especially in the south part of the country, near the city of Bordeaux. Some people think that the Dogue de Bordeaux was around before the English mastiff, but other people think the mastiff came first. Anyway, these dogs are all related to the Molossus, which was the big war dog of the Ancient Greeks and Romans.
But besides being used for war, the Dogue was also used to guard flocks, herd cattle, hunt boars, and bait bulls, bears, and jaguars. A bunch of Dogues got killed during the French Revolution. I'm not sure why, except maybe it was because they belonged to the nobility.
In the 1960s, a group of breeders in France started to work on making the foundation of the breed better. In 1970, they wrote a new standard for the breed. Meanwhile, in the U.S., Dogues first showed up in 1890 at dog shows, but they weren't very popular, and a new standard wasn't written until 1970.
The breed got noticed a little more when an American anthopologist named Dr. Carl Semencic wote an article about Dogues for Dog World magazine. But when the movie Turner and Hooch came out in 1989 is when Americans really discovered the Dogue de Bordeaux. Another standard was written for the AKC in 2005, and the breed was officially recognized in 2008.
Dogue heads are supposedly the largest of any dog in the world, in proportion to the rest of the body. Dogues have a short muzzle and thick upper lips that hang down over the lower jaw. Their neck skin is loose, which gives them a really big dewlap.
Because of their short muzzles, Dogues de Bordeaux can have breathing problems. Also, they don't tolerate heat very well. Other health issues include heart problems, hip dysplasia, and epilepsy. Their lifespan is pretty short, only an average of 5 to 6 years.
When Dogue de Bordeaux puppies are born, some sad things can happen, probably because of their large heads. For instance, a lot of puppies are stillborn or die right after they are born. Which is why about 27.8% (5 of 18) Dogue litters are done by caesarean. The size of a litter is usually about eight.
The Dogue de Bordeaux has a very good temperament and gentle manner, even though it looks fierce and scary. This kind of dog is loyal, patient, and devoted to his family. You can actually even keep a Dogue in an apartment, if you make sure he gets lots of exercise every day.
Mom and I agree that this breed of dog is way too big for us. Also, we don't like dogs that slobber a lot. Mom accuses me of snoring, and she says that having one dog who snores is plenty. But I've never heard myself snoring, so I don't know what she is talking about!