History and Origins
Country of Origin: France
The precise origin of this breed is unknown with some thinking that is it was originally an ancient Roman breed while others suggest it is descended from the Tibetan Mastiff and the Greek Molossus. Others say it has always been a French dog that has slowly been developed over 2000 years. Whatever their history, the Dogue de Bordeaux started their working life as a highly successful fighting dog and was pitted against bulls, bears and other dogs. As well as being a fighter, the Dogue turned their paws to other roles and over the years has been a war dog, a guard dog, a hunting dog and even a cattle driving dog. It was this latter role that saved the breed after the French Revolution when most noble dogs met the same fate as their noble masters. Those working as mere ‘butcher’s dogs’ (who may indeed have been the more peaceable individuals), survived and were later able to re-establish the breed. As part of this re-establishment, they were crossed with the Bulldog which reduced their size.