Breed Spotlight: French Mastiff
The French Mastiff, also known as the Dogue de Bordeaux, is a breed that belongs to the working group. They are believed to trace back more than 600 years, originating from the southern regions of France.
Although their size and muscular build might be intimidating to some, the French Mastiff possesses a gentle and loving nature that often surprises those who approach them with an open mind. With the right training and early socialisation, these dogs can become gentle giants and devoted family members.
Read on to learn more about French Mastiffs and see if it’s the right breed for you!
The French Mastiff are known for being highly affectionate, loyal, and protective, making them excellent companions and family dogs.
They are certainly on the larger size with bitches standing at 58-66cm and weighing at least 45kg. Male dogs are at least 50kg with some weighing up to 65kg, and around 60-68cm tall!
While generally obedient and trainable, French Mastiffs can be fairly stubborn at times. Patience and consistent training methods are key to effectively working with their independent nature. When properly socialised (more on this below), they tend to get along well with children and other dogs, although supervision is always advised - this applies to all breeds.
In terms of energy levels, French Mastiffs fall into the medium range. They are not excessively hyperactive, but they still require regular exercise to maintain their overall wellbeing. While they have a deep, resonant bark, it is not excessive or constant.
Potential Health Concerns
When it comes to the health of French Mastiffs, there are a few things to keep an eye on; it’s worth noting here that the first step to a healthy puppy starts with the ethical breeder you choose.
One concern is a condition called bloat, or gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), which can be life-threatening. It occurs when the stomach becomes distended and can twist, leading to restricted blood flow and potential organ damage. Immediate veterinary attention is necessary if you suspect bloat. French Mastiffs are also prone to heart disease, cancer, orthopedic issues like hip and elbow problems, and epilepsy.
Oh, and they can easily pack on the pounds, so make sure to give them two good walks every day to keep them fit and trim (great for your wellbeing too!)
Coat and Grooming
French Mastiffs have some specific grooming needs that you should know about. Let's start with their adorable wrinkly faces. It's a good idea to give them a once-over with a gentle wipe or a damp cloth on a weekly basis, or maybe even more often if they get dirty. This helps prevent any skin issues from popping up.
Checking their ears weekly and giving them a cleaning helps keep them free from debris and reduces the chances of infections. Trimming their nails is another grooming task to add to the list. Aim for a monthly trim to keep their nails at a comfortable length - you’re vet or groomers can assist you with this if need be!
When it comes to their coat, French Mastiffs have short, smooth hair. They usually have a fawn color, but you might also spot Mahogany, Red, or Isabella variations. Bathing your French Mastiff once a month is usually enough to keep them smelling fresh and looking their best.
One aspect to consider is their shedding, which can be moderate. Regular grooming, including monthly attention to their coat, helps manage their shedding effectively. It's worth noting that French Mastiffs are prone to drooling, so be prepared for some slobber - they can get away with it being so cute!
History and reputation
The French Mastiff, or Dogue de Bordeaux, has a rich history and were employed in various roles throughout the centuries. In the 12th century, they were utilised as hunters on French estates, tracking down and capturing game such as pigs, boars, wolves, and even bears.
During the Middle Ages, their skills were put to use in driving cattle and have additionally been used in wars and to guard the flocks. They were unfortunately involved in sports such as animal baiting and dog fighting, activities that are now rightly considered cruel and inhumane.
They've got a high prey drive, which makes sense since they were born to hunt. But don't mistake that for aggression. It's just in their DNA. So, if you ever come across a French Mastiff, don't be scared by their size and appearance, They may look tough, but deep down, they're usually just big softies - evidence below!
Training and Socialisation
French Mastiffs are generally easy to train and adapt well to new situations. However, they do require a good amount of mental stimulation to keep them engaged and prevent boredom. Providing them with interactive toys, puzzle games, and regular exercise sessions will help keep them mentally stimulated.
Early training and socialisation are crucial for French Mastiffs. They require obedience training to ensure they grow into well-behaved companions. However, it's important to note that these pups are sensitive souls who require trust, so a rough or heavy-handed approach should be avoided. Firm and consistent discipline is necessary, but it should never be harsh. It's worth mentioning that owning this breed is not for the faint-hearted or those with busy schedules.
French Mastiffs can be wary of strangers and other dogs, which emphasizes the need for safe and positive socialisation from an early age. If not socialised and trained correctly, French Mastiffs can develop social anxiety, potentially leading to aggressive behavior. That's why positive reinforcement is always the best training method, regardless of the breed. Starting training as a puppy is especially important before they have a chance to become stubborn.
How Paws in Work can help
Without proper training and socialisation, French Mastiffs' size can make them challenging to control, increasing the likelihood of them ending up in shelters or rescues. So how can Paws in Work help?
Our socialisation programme helps alleviate this by socialising them from as early as 5 weeks old. We are helping them grow up to be confident, happy dogs that are less likely to show aggressive or anxious behaviour later in life. This is all whilst being constantly monitored by trained and experienced staff in a safe controlled environment.
We love working with all breeds of dogs at Paws in Work, and are certainly not breed-bias. However, we only work with ethical reputable breeders who also have the wellbeing of the pups at heart as much as we do.
Get in Touch today
We believe that early socialisation for French Mastiffs is vital for their development and helps alleviate some of the initial social anxiety they may possess. We are always looking for reputable breeders to add to our network for future socialisation.
Have you got a litter of French Mastiffs you would like to socialise with Paws in Work? Get in touch today with our breeder team to find out more!