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Origin and Purpose:

Originated from France. Used in ancient times as a fighting dog, and used today as a companion and guard dog.

General Appearance:

The Bordeaux Mastiff is a massive, powerfully built dog, with a very muscular body that retains a harmonious general outline. In stature, somewhat low to the ground. Distance from sternum to ground is at most equal or inferior to the depth of the chest, seen in profile and measured behind the elbows. Has the appearance of an athlete, imposing and proud, demanding respect.


Assumes guard with vigilance and great courage, but without aggressiveness. Very attached to the master and very affectionate with children.


Weight for dogs is at least 50kgs; for bitches at least 45kgs. Size should more or less correspond to head measurement. Males: 60-80cms at the withers; bitches 58-66cms at the withers.

Coat and Colour:

The colour should be a solid colour of mahogany (reddish brown), or in the range of the fawn shades. Good pigmentation is desirable. Small white patches on the chest and feet are allowed. The coat should have fine hair, short and soft to the touch. A red or black mask is desirable and both acceptable.


In the male the perimeter of the skull measured at the level of it's greatest width corresponds to the height at the withers. In the female it might be slightly less. It's volume and it's shape are the consequences of the very important development of the temporal, supraorbital ridges, zygomatic arches, and the spacing of the branches of the lower jaw. The upper region of the skull is slightly convex from side to side. Frontal-nasal depression of stop is very pronounced, almost at a right angle with the muzzle. The frontal groove is deep, diminishing toward the back of the head. The forehead dominates the face, yet is still wider than it is high.


Powerful, broad, thick, rather short, upper line very slightly concave, moderately obvious folds. Its width hardly decreases toward the end of the muzzle. When seen from above it is the shape of a square. In relation to the upper region of the skull, the line of the muzzle forms an obtuse angle upwards. When head is held horizontally, the front end of the muzzle is blunt, thick and broad at the base, in front of a vertical tangent to the anterior face of the nose. Its perimeter is close to two thirds of that of the head. Its length varies between a quarter and a third of the total length of the head, from the nose to the occipital crest.


Broad, well opened nostrils, well pigmented black or brown according to the mask. Turned up nose permitted.


Jaws are very powerful and broad. Undershot bite. Lower jaw must project 0.5cms minimum to 2cms maximum. The incisors and canines must not be visible when mouth is closed. Teeth are very strong; strong canines; lower canines set wide apart and slightly curved. Incisors well aligned especially in lower jaw where they form an apparently straight line. Lips are thick, moderately pendulous, retractable, rounded over the lower jaw.


Oval and set wide apart. The space between the two inner angles of the eyelids equals about twice the length of the eye (eye opening). Frank expression. Hazel to dark brown for a dog with a black mask; lighter colour tolerated but not desirable in subjects with a red mask.


Relatively small, of a slightly darker colour than the coat. At its set on, the base is slightly raised in front but must fall back, without limpness along the cheeks. The tip is slightly rounded and must not reach much beyond the eye. Quite high set, at level of the upper line of the skull, the width of which they seem to accentuate even more.


Very strong, muscular, almost cylindrical. Enormous neck with ample skin, loose and supple. Average circumference equals that of the head. It is separated from the head by a slight transversal furrow, slightly curved. Its upper profile is slightly convex. The dewlap, well defined, starts at the level of the throat and forms folds down to the chest.


Strong bone structure, legs very muscular. Elbows neither turned in or out too much. Forearm is straight or slightly inclined inward in order to get closer to the medium plane, especially with very broad chests. Pasterns are powerful, slightly sloping, sometimes a little turned. Feet are strong and tight. Nails curved and strong, preferably well pigmented. Pads well developed and supple.


Chest is powerful, well ribbed up, broad, let down deeper than the elbows. Powerful fore chest. Sternal ribs rounded. Other ribs well sprung and well let down. The circumference of the chest must be 0.25m to 0.30m superior to the height at the withers. Shoulders are powerful, muscles prominent, obliqueness of the shoulder blade about 45 degrees to the horizontal. Angle of the scapular-humeral articulation a little more than 90 degrees. Topline is straight, with a broad, muscular back. Withers well defined. Loin broad, rather short and solid. Rump moderately oblique down to the root of the tail. Underline is curved, from the long brisket to the tucked-up and firm abdomen.


Thighs are well developed and thick, muscles vi sable. Stifle in a parallel plane to the vertical median plane or slightly turned inward or outward. Lower thigh is relatively short, muscular and well let down. Hock is short, sinewy, angle of the hock moderately open. When seen from behind, the parallel hind legs give the impression of power, although the hindquarters are slightly less broad than the forequarters.


Identical characteristics, but less pronounced. Height is generally less than that of the males.


None given.


Very thick at the base. The tip does not reach below the hock. Carried low, deeply set. Hanging when at rest, generally raised at 90-121 degrees in relation to this vertical position when dog is active.


Male dogs should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

* Text and image courtesy of "Dogue De Bordeaux" by Joseph Janish                                                                                       

Bordeaux Standard