French Mastiff is like a big bunch of wrinkles and driveling jowls, but there are more about this dog that will surely capture your heart. The owners were so happy with their very own French Mastiff because according to them these dogs are so sweet and lovable. They are very loyal to their family and they will do their very best to keep them protected all the time. This breed came from a calm and very reliable sire and dam, so you can be sure that they are of the same type. These are some of the best qualities that you would want your canine to have too.

This dog breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club until the year 2008 when it was still known as the Dogue de Bordeaux, even if it came from the French Mastiff ancestry. But there are other organizations that recognize this dog breed like the Federation Cynologique Internationale, the New Zealand Kennel Club, Australian National Kennel Club Council, National Kennel Club & the Continental Kennel Club.


Even if its origin is still unclear, there are theories going around. Some consider this dog breed came from European Mastiff breeds and were probably crossbred with other big working dogs. Others do believe that they came from Greco-Roman dogs from the war. There is also news that this dog breed came from the Tibetan Mastiff that actually played an important role in the foundation of the breed. It’s just that this dog breed belongs to the family of Mastiff. The French Mastiffs were built to work, these dog breeds have served as cattle dogs, guard dogs, rescue dogs and they even fought during the Roman Empire. They have lived as house pets today, but they will still enjoy doing some job for their owners.




As stated in the history of the French Mastiff’s breed, early French Mastiffs look quite different from its breed today. They are available in different colors aside from fawn shades. Though the markings are not that desirable to this day and they have a limited patch on the chest area, the earlier breeds have more white markings though. The jaws were not similar too and some of the dogs had bites similar to scissors wherein the upper teeth rested at the front of the lowermost teeth when the jaws are closed.

These days, the dogs have undershot bites and there was a discrepancy with the size of the head too. There are some with smaller lines, while some have smaller heads. The breeding has led to a more uniform look these days. There were 3 kinds of breeds and they are the Bordeaux type, which is the closest to the ancient French Mastiff and it showed the familiarity of the head with a distinct part. There is the Paris type, which looks close to Great Danes, but their built looks heavier.  Lastly, the Toulouse type, which is close to the look of the Bordeaux and they are in various colors.


French Mastiff is better known as Dogue de Bordeaux. The looks may be threatening, but he can be one if the instance calls for it. This type of dog usually has a rectangular physique with deep chests from half of their height. They have thick tails that may be extended to the back of the hocks. The build is very sturdy and the skin is thick as well folded and wrinkled. The wrinkling is noticeable at the face, neck & head parts.

The male French Mastiff weight around 110lbs. while the female weighs around 99lbs. this dog breed has an impressive feature because its head is packed with a wide nose and very sturdy jaws. Its muzzle is around 1/3 of the total length of its head and you will surely stop when you come across the forehead.

Its bite is undershot because the lower teeth are located at the front part of the upper teeth when its jaw is closed. The loose jaws drape down from the muzzle that makes this dog breed slobber. Their eyes are ovate in shape and very wide compared to other dog breeds. Its skin is loose and thick with wrinkles all over the head and the face. Its ears are short and hang down. Its coat is just short yet it is soft for a big dog like him. The color may be light to red fawn.


Because the French Mastiff is a big and very powerful dog, it is important to keep his temper stable and reliable. Its perfect breed is very calm and is not easily get excited according to the American Kennel Club. This dog breed must have a very keen affection to his owner and must act as a great companion to his family. Even if this dog breed is a known guard dog, it must be observant all the time and not destructive.


The French Mastiff must be taught how to socialize with people and other animals at an early age since it is naturally sociable. This can help him become calm and not aggressive all the time. During training sessions, you need to be consistent with your rulings. You shouldn’t allow him in places that you wouldn’t want to see him when he is fully grown up. For instance, if you do not want him to be on the sofa, you shouldn’t start training him not to be there as early as now. Biting shouldn’t be tolerated as well, because that may be a dangerous habit when he grows up and when the jaws are fully grown.

You should always keep in mind that what you have raised is what you will get. It is a fact that this dog breed is not appreciative of sharing their home with other animals, so you have to teach him how to become sociable at an early age and while you can still manage. Adult male French Mastiff will have a hard time dealing with males of the same breed. You need to teach your dog how to become obedient during training sessions, this way you can build a good relationship. If you will not show your leadership to the dog, he will soon lead you, which is not a good thing though. When you have developed his social skills and obedience, he will be very much suited for a search and rescue training and he can also be a very good therapy dog.


The French Mastiff is very supple for its size and he can go along even on an average exercise routine. It’s best to walk him around even in the yard. He will surely love and enjoy simply too strenuous physical activities and he will be very much willing to pull weights for you. He will be obedient with physical exercises too even in competitions. If you consider letting him go through physical activity, you shouldn’t forget that this dog breed has its own mind too. Thru a physical activity, you help him burn off stress and excess calories as well. When you change his environment, it can help him go through a mental stimulation to prevent him from being bored and become destructive too.


Because of the wrinkles on his face and neck area, he can gather moist, it is essential to bathe the French Mastiff every other week to prevent him from having a bad smell. The wrinkles on his face and eye area must be cleaned all the time to keep him free from bacteria and debris. This dog breed is also known as a moderate shedder, so you can brush the coat a few times a week just to keep loose hairs off. Its folded ears must also be swabbed at least two times a month, while the nails must be trimmed all the time, so he can walk properly and prevent joint damage from his weight. It will be best to keep in mind all these grooming routines while the dog is still young, so he will be used to it and will not resist when he is fully grown up.


The French Mastiff may face the same health issues as other big dogs.

  • Heart ailments like heart murmuring and aortic stenosis.
  • Dysplasia, a type of progressive condition wherein the hips and the elbows become painful and lame.
  • Entropion, however, may cause the lashes to rub against the eye and damage the tissues later on.
  • Hyperkeratosis is a condition that makes the production of the keratin that may cause the footpads and the tissues of the nose to become thick and calloused.
  • Epilepsy is also common among big dog breeds. This is a condition wherein the bring cause seizures that recur over time.
  • Arthritis is a type of progressive ailment too that is very painful and it leads to the wearing of the joints and cartilage loss as well.
  • Torsion or bloating is a condition that is not yet known. This may result in a hurtful bloating & winding of the tummy that seals off the organ. It may lead to gas buildup and acidity too.
  • Obesity is common among big dog breeds too. It may lead to a lot of condition like heart ailment and diabetes.
  • Kidney problems. This is an issue with the kidneys when their ability to screen waste materials is lessened. This problem may eventually lead to kidney failure.


Because this belongs to a big dog breed, it will not live as long as the smaller breeds, because of the strained bulk puts in their organs. On the other hand, this dog breed has a long lifespan knowing its size and health risks. Its average lifespan is around 8-10 years, but there are some that live much longer. You must feed him with high-quality dog food and make sure that he will get his daily load of activities. He should also be seen by a vet regularly to extend his life. Proper care and guidance can make a big difference are prolonging the lifespan of a dog.


The French Mastiff is very much known even before 1989 in the film Turner and Hooch. The dog was named Beasly and he is the canine star of this film. He was highly recognized then as the breed that brings joys and trials with the dogs. This star dog passed away in 1992, but his work still remains.


If you still want to know more about French Mastiff there are still books that are available these days about them and how you can take care of this breed. You can find the Comprehensive owner’s Guide about Dogue de Bordeaux, Potty & Obedience Training, diet and others. You can also check on the clubs where this breed belongs to like the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America & New Zealand, the North American Bordeaux Federation and the Dogue de Bordeaux Club of Australia.

Even if this breed is not a good breed for everyone because the ownership and care must not be taken lightly, the pups usually grow fast and so training is really necessary. The costs of health care are also high for this particular breed of dog. You have to make a research and check on other breeders to learn more about this dog breed and only then you can decide if you are ready to bring one home and if you are ready to keep him for life with your family. It is a big responsibility to take care of a dog most especially if the dog breed is French Mastiff. He needs to be trained and your training sessions must always be consistent. He needs a leader since it is known to be a good pack member. If you will not lead him on, he will lead you over.