Dogue de Bordeaux Breed Magazine - Showsight


Let’s Talk Breed Education!



HISTORY T he Dogue de Bordeaux is an ancient breed whose origins are not exactly clear, but there are “hints” of such a classification of this breed dating back to the 1200s where Brunetto Latini mentions a type of dog called the Matin as, “The others are mastin, great and fat and with very great power, which hunt wolves, boars, bears and all big game, they fight fiercely, even against men.” These Matins did not look like our mod- ern day dogue; different colorations and different builds, but it is likely that these Matins were the forefathers of our breed. Phoebus, in the 1300s, describes this type of dog by saying, “The mastins (matins) aren’t rare. Everybody has seen them. Their task is to guard the animals and the dwelling of their master. They defend and guard but are ‘mean’ dogs of ‘mean’ size (in this text ‘mean’ equates with ‘ugly’).” Not much store was set by these dogs. They were used to guard and hunt, but if one was killed during hunting it was not a great loss. In the 1500s, Jean de Clamorgan uses the word ‘dogue’ to describe this canine, stating, “Others are called dogues, to attack, bite and hold boars, bears or wolves.” Charles Estinne in the same century wrote, “The dogues… for guarding the house, of which there are always one or two, enclosed during the

day and on the chain, which are freed at night to roam and guard the courtyard against thieves.” So it is clear to see that our modern day dogue has a long his- tory of hunting large game and protect- ing the dwelling of his master, the latter quality he continues to do to this day. In 1863, listed in a Paris exhibition catalogue were four “Dogues de Bor- deaux”, where our name was first offi- cially used. A second exhibition took place in 1865 with no dogues attend- ing and the next time they were listed was the exhibition of 1883, a span of 20 years, during which France experi- enced war and unpleasant conditions. The dogues that were listed in these exhibition catalogues did not look like our modern day dogues; different color- ations of coats were described and not until the exhibition of 1887 were the dogues shown properly called “Dogue de Bordeaux”. Fast forward to the Second World War. By this point the Dogue de Bor- deaux is an established breed and show- ing in exhibitions, puppies are being bred for not only the show ring but for their ancient purpose—to guard the farms in the French countryside. The Germans very quickly occupied parts of France and it was very hard for the peo- ple of France to feed themselves on their rations, let alone their dogues. Dogues were put down for lack of food, some were turned loose to fend for themselves

and many were killed outright by the occupying army. Dog shows continued during this time and on July 5, 1942 a show was held where only one bitch and one male are present. On February 14, 1943, L’Eleveur magazine reports, “We regret to record that among the kennels, which have been seriously affected, are those of the Dogue de Bordeaux, at least in the Bordeaux region. Practically the only one who has been able to keep some dogues is Mr. Jagourt, one of the oldest breeders.” The war was over on May 8, 1945. The first post-war show is organized for July 29th and per L’Eleveur magazine, “the Dogues de Bordeaux were conspic- uous by their absence”. In 1946 at the Paris show there is not a single Dogue de Bordeaux exhibited. A list was com- piled of breeding stock as of January 1, 1946 and sadly only four Dogues, young enough to be bred, remained. Slowly additional Dogues emerge from the provinces and the rebuilding process begins. HEALTH & TEMPERAMENT As a result of their unfortunate his- tory, the Dogue de Bordeaux does have health issues. Some are just the result of being a larger breed (orthopae- dic issues), but owners can see heart issues, cancers, thyroid and skin and allergy issues. Owners of this breed need to be prepared for possible future


compete or even earn multiple titles with your Dogue. What is important is that you “work it” together! The DDBSA has a formal Working Dog Ability Program to recognize those Dogues that exemplify the qualities of a true Working dog. There are three lev- els of achievement and dogs receive a certificate acknowledging their accom- plishment. They also offer a mentoring program to encourage those new to the Dogue de Bordeaux to build a working relationship with their Dogue, as well as an end-of-the-year Awards Banquet at our National Specialty to celebrate the Dogue’s successes. AKC Therapy Dog titles have also been incorporated into the DDBSA Working Dogue Levels of Achievement. Therapy titles can range anywhere from 10 to 400 visits—wow! We have Dogues that provide therapy relief in airports to calm passengers, therapy Dogues that visit children sick in the hospital and Dogues that go to libraries and par- ticipate in Tutor Dogs. Children read to the dogs in an environment safe from criticism where they don’t have to be self-conscious reading aloud in front of other children. We even have Dogues following in the footsteps of the infamous Beasley to our breed, from the movie “Turner and Hooch” and taking up an acting career—with appearances in interna- tionally syndicated television shows and commercials. The Dogue de Bordeaux is even being used as Service Dogs and Emo- tional Support Dogs. The breed is natu- rally empathetic and provides a great source of comfort and understanding. In service work, they are often used in Mobility and Balance; their size giving them an added advantage. The Dogue de Bordeaux is so much more than just a pretty face! THE STANDARD: H.E.A.R.T.S. At the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America’s (DDBSA) Judges’ Education seminars, our comprehensive Power Point presentation begins with an acro- nym which the DDBSA has developed that defines the 6 major points of our breed. This acronym, H.E.A.R.T.S., stands for Head, Expression, Athletic, WRinkle, Trots like a lion and Sub- stance. Not only are these 6 points beneficial in helping determine what to look for in a Dogue de Bordeaux,

males than they are of females. Bitches may also be intolerant of other dogs. The Dogue is intelligent and trainable, but some may not live peacefully with other animals. This is not to say that they cannot be trained to have manners around other animals when going for a walk on leash or say, at the vet. It is very necessary to establish your control of the dogue and obedience training is often the easiest and most rewarding way to do so. The dogue can often be controlled using verbal repri- mands alone and while they occasion- ally require physical corrections (col- lar corrections), sensitive, patient and positive training methods work best. Patience is an important factor in train- ing the Dogue de Bordeaux. The Dogue de Bordeaux is a sensi- tive, intelligent and loyal animal and usually wants to please its owner. Occa- sionally it can be quite stubborn though and requires more attention. It is imper- ative that training is consistent and firm without being overly rough. Ownership isn’t for the timid or very busy person who cannot or is not inclined towards careful supervision of his/her pet and willing to spend the time to train and exercise. THE WORKING DOGUE The Dogue de Bordeaux is a Work- ing breed and they are capable of doing just that—working! There are many areas to get involved with, other than traditional obedience competitions or conformation. For example, there is the fun sport of rally, there is also agility, scent work, lure coursing, weight pull- ing, cart pulling, tracking and many other games and activities, including trick work and even acting! Working venues allow you to test the bond—that centuries-old relation- ship. You will be required to test your trust in your Dogue. They will like- wise have to rely and trust in your direction. With that reliance and trust comes mutual respect. You will never experience such a symbiotic trust and respect then training and working with your DDB. Working with your Dogue in many avenues requires you to become a team of one mind and one purpose. When you “click”—which actually can take years—it is a beautiful thing. The DDB thrives on positive reinforcement, any negativity and you might find your- self working alone. You do not need to

financial responsibilities in caring for their Dogue. For this reason it is imperative that potential owners seek out reputable breeders who health test their breed- ing stock. Hearts, eyes, elbows and hips being some of the most important. Potential owners should visit (if possi- ble) the breeder and see exactly where their puppy is coming from. Ask to see the health certificates of the parents and see the parent or parents if both are there. While this will not guarantee the health of any particular dogue, the new owner will have done everything possible to try and avoid health issues down the road. They do drool! As owners we laugh about it, but the drooling factor is not for the faint-hearted or anyone who is a neat freak. Some Dogues drool more than others and this really needs to be a consideration before deciding to get this breed. The area of floor surround- ing the water bucket can become a skat- ing rink if not careful! When they are eating and drinking, you will want to stay as far away as possible! The Dogue de Bordeaux is an out- standing companion and is a guardian breed, but ownership of a Dogue car- ries much greater-than-average legal and moral responsibilities due to the traits possessed by this breed, their size and strength. They can be dog aggressive and may only show this after fully mature. Intro- ducing a new pet when there is an adult Dogue in the household should be done slowly and with care. Dog-to-dog aggres- sion is influenced by the early socializa- tion of puppies, their bloodlines and sex; males are less tolerant of other


but by defining the components of each, the goal is to provide a clearer picture of what constitutes a proper representa- tive of our breed. They are as follows: Head: The head is large, angular, broad and rather short. It is shaped like a trapezoid. That is to say, when viewed from above and from the front, it is trapezium-shaped. The head should be wide and have prominent cheeks, the forehead is high and the stop is very pronounced. Expression: The expression in the Dogue de Bordeaux is the sum of all of the components that make up expres- sion, i.e., ear set, eye set, eye shape and color, length of muzzle (length varies between one third and one quarter of the total length of the head measured from the nose to the occipital crest), wrinkle and the chin mark. Chin mark means that the chin is very pronounced (bite is undershot) and along with the other “Expression” attributes noted, creates the “sour mug” or “dissuasive look” of the Dogue de Bordeaux. If one or more of these attributes is off, it will change the desired expression. Athletic: In spite of the fact that the Dogue de Bordeaux is heavy, low and lumbering, it should be athletic and be able to move well with power and drive. This cannot be emphasized enough. The Dogue de Bordeaux should be able to move with good drive from the hindquarters and good extension of the forelegs, especially at the trot, which, according to our breed standard, is the preferred gait. Also, according to our

moved to the AKC Miscellaneous Class and on July 1, 2008, the breed officially moved to the AKC Working Group! Also in 2006, the DDBS officially changed its name to the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America—the DDBSA. The DDBSA has a list of ongoing goals that it pursues and maintains, such as running a breed rescue, promoting canine education, exhibiting the natu- ral working ability of the Dogue, wel- coming all owners and fanciers to the club, improvement of the breed, adher- ence to the AKC breed standard, com- munity outreach and encouraging the highest standards and ethics of breed- ing and care of the Dogue de Bordeaux. The day-to-day activities of the club are handled by a group of individuals who make up the Officers and Board of Directors. We encourage open commu- nication among members and welcome all Dogues—conformation, working, agility or the family companion. Some of the accomplishments of the club were to begin and run a breed rescue for the Dogue de Bordeaux and Dogue de Bordeaux mixes. The rescue has successfully fostered, placed and assisted with over 50 dogs. Additionally, the club has established a club champi- onship, awarding over 40 champions as well as a working recognition program that awarded and continues to award many WD1-3 titles. A website for the club and rescue has been established and is visited by hundreds of people a week. A bi-monthly newsletter is pub- lished and sent to all members, filled with interesting news, veterinary notes, member spotlights, etc. The DDBSA holds a Nationals show each year in different regions of the US with some years having over 130 Dogues de Bordeaux entered. Many of our members have travelled overseas to watch conformation shows and also participate in the SADB National Dogue de Bordeaux Show in France. The DDBSA will continue to be a dedicated steward and guardian of the Dogue de Bordeaux and strive to promote our beloved breed in a positive and informa- tive way in order to provide the recogni- tion, knowledge and nurturing that our breed truly deserves. REFERENCES History: The Saga of the Dogue de Bor- deaux by Raymond Triquet; published by Bas Bosch Press

breed standard, the Dogue de Bordeaux is capable of great speed over short distances by “bolting along close to the ground.” WRinkle: The Dogue de Bordeaux’s wrinkles sets it apart from other mas- tiff breeds in that the wrinkles are not static. That is to say, the Dogue de Bordeaux should have what is termed, “mobile ropes of wrinkle” that change in intensity and proportion as the face expressions change. Trots Like a Lion: The Dogue de Bordeaux’s movement is similar to that of a lion. It is heavy and powerful, has good reach and drive and the head and shoulders drop low to the ground especially as the movement quickens. Additionally, with a quickened gait, the front feet move closer to the middle or median plane. Substance: The Dogue de Bor- deaux is a substantially built dog that is massive and built rather close to the ground. It should be noted that “mas- sive” doesn’t mean “fat” or “obese”. The Dogue de Bordeaux’s substance should be a result of strong and heavy bone and muscle, not obesity. Ample muscling in the shoulders and hindquarters should be evident as well as strong and heavy bone in the skull and limbs. In summarizing the six H.E.A.R.T.S. acronyms, it is important to note that the acronyms connect with and com- plement each other. Each one, in and of itself, is vitally important and each con- tributes to the sum of all of the parts. They all paint a picture of the Dogue de Bordeaux being a powerful and sub- stantial breed that should be capable of athletic and powerful movement, has a unique expression and a massive head with proper proportions and features. THE DOGUE DE BORDEAUX SOCIETY OF AMERICA The Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America is a nonprofit organization that was formed by a team of individuals who wanted to provide a common area for the Dogue de Bordeaux breed and it’s enthusiasts to come together as one for the love of the breed. The Dogue de Bordeaux Society was officially a recog- nized organization in February of 1997. In 2004, the DDBS was appointed as the club that the AKC FSS recommend- ed for AKC Parent Club representation for the Dogue de Bordeaux. In 2006, the Dogue de Bordeaux was officially



N aturally, the same basic principles and methods used to judge other breeds apply to judging the Dogue de Bordeaux (DDB). However, when viewing and examining each dog, it is important to know how much emphasis to give exceptional quali- ties as well as the faults that are listed in the breed standard. Not only does the Breed Standard include three disquali- fying faults (DQ), but it also lists five faults and two severe faults to consider in your evaluation.

By Mark & Cindy McElderry

As the dogs line up in the ring, a good DDB will give the impression of power and confidence. He will have a massive head, and because the chest is so deep, he will have the appearance of being built rather close to the ground. A large head and the DDB’s distinctive expression is the focal point of the breed. Th e impor- tance of the head to the breed is not only conveyed in the General Appearance sec- tion of the breed standard, but by the fact that over one third of the breed standard is dedicated to describing its components and proportions. Also, one of the DQs, three of the five faults and both of the

severe faults listed in the Breed Standard all refer to the head region. Other words used to describe the genera l appearance of the DDB are serious, stocky, athletic, sel f assured and imposing. But whi le the DDB is a large, powerful dog, he is not a giant. The proper proportions for a DDB describe a compact, powerful, mus- cular dog. Larger, ta l ler dogs are not preferred to those at the lower end of the height range for the breed. Al l else being equa l, the middle of the range is preferred. Ba lance and proportion is paramount.

Standard Disqualifications & Faults

While as judges, we prefer to focus on the positive attributes of an entry, it is important to ensure possible faults are not overlooked during the examination. Some of the faults listed in the Breed Standard are readily apparent; however, some faults might require a closer inspection to detect.


t8IJUFPOUIFIFBEPSCPEZ PSBOZDPBUDPMPSPUIFSUIBOTIBEFTPGGBXOo Th is would be readily apparent in the case of coat color, but white markings on the underside of the body may not be noticeable in all cases . Closer inspection is probably warranted in dogs with excessive white markings on the chest that invade the neck and forelegs. Severe Faults: t-POHOBSSPXIFBEXJUIJOTVċDJFOUMZQSPOPVODFETUPQ XJUIBNV[[MFNFBTVSJOHNPSFUIBOBUIJSEPGUIFUPUBMMFOHUIPG the head (lack of type in the head) t$BOJOFTDPOTUBOUMZWJTJCMFXIFOUIFNPVUIJTDMPTFEo it is di ffi cult to hide in extreme cases, but with constant attention by the handler, or if the dog is panting, it is possible to miss. t&YUSFNFDIBSBDUFSJTUJDTTVDIBTBWFSZTIPSUNV[[MF nBUTLVMMBOEBTXPMMFOGPMECFIJOEUIFOPTF t8IJUFPOUIFUJQPGUIFUBJM PSPOUIFGSPOUQBSUPGUIFGPSFMFHTBCPWFUIFDBSQVTBOEUIFUBSTVT t*ODJTPSTDPOTUBOUMZWJTJCMFXIFOUIFNPVUIJTDMPTFEo again, it is possible for an attentive handler to keep the teeth covered, or if the dog is panting, it may be di ffi cult to detect. t'VTFEWFSUFCSBF PGUIFUBJM CVUOPULJOLFEo Th is is a quite common condition that typically a ff ects the vertebrae at the base of the tail. It can normally only be detected by feeling the tail between your fi ngers. Th e fuse is most commonly toward the base of the tail. Faults: t1SPUSVEJOHFZFT

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Working your way back from the head, there is a noticeable indent at the junction PGUIFIFBEBOEOFDL'FFMZPVSXBZCBDL BMPOHUIFOFDL*UTIPVMECFCSPBE DZMJO - ESJDBM BOE NVTDVMBS *UT DJSDVNGFSFODF should be nearly equal to that of the head. Th e neck merges smoothly with the heav- ily muscled shoulders. At the deepest point of the chest, you should ensure it is firm muscle rather than loose skin that consti- tutes its depth. Th e forechest is broad and powerful. Th e back is solid and broad; withers are well marked and the loin is broad and rath- er short. Remember that the body length to height proportion is just o ff square at 11/10. Th e coat should be soft and short, BOE UIF TLJO  UIJDL BOE TVċDJFOUMZ MPPTF fitting. Th e croup slopes moderately down UPUIFCBTFPGUIFUBJM'FFMUIFUIJDLCBTF of the tail to ensure there are no fused ver- tebrae. Th e tail should hang loosely and straight, and not extend below the hock. Th e hindquarters are muscular and wide, but not as wide as the shoulders. Because of the heavy muscling in the shoulders and hindquarters, and the well sprung ribs, you will see each part distinctly when viewing from above. 'PSUIFEPXOBOECBDL POFCSFFETQF - cific focus should be on a strong push from the rear; a good balance of push from the rear and pull from the powerful front of the dog. On the return the forearms will incline inwards, especially in dogs with a particularly broad chest. Th e movement of the DDB has been described as simi- lar to that of a lion because it is powerful and low-to-the-ground, yet quite easy and HSBDFGVMGPSIJTTJ[FBOENBTT When viewing the DDB in the free stand from the front, note the distinctive DDB expression; the convex lower line of the chest; and the allowable inclination of the forearms and slight bend outward of the pastern and feet due to the breadth of the chest. Th e feet should be strong, with tight toes.

When you approach the DDB for examination he should appear calm and TFMGBTTVSFE.BMFT UZQJDBMMZIBWFBEPNJ - nant nature, particularly toward other male dogs. Th ey should be courageous and balanced in their attitude toward strang- ers. Th ey should not exhibit aggressiveness unless threatened. Th e head of the DDB would be dif- ficult to evaluate based purely on the lengthy description of its components and proportions included the Breed Standard. 7JTVBMJ[BUJPO JT OFDFTTBSZXIFO JU DPNFT to evaluating the head and expression of the DDB. Th e following are some of the impor- UBOUDIBSBDUFSJTUJDTPGUIF%%#IFBE t 5SBQF[PJE TIBQF XIFO WJFXFE from above t Very pronounced stop and well developed brow t &ZFT o 0WBM TFU XFMM BQBSU  DPMPS blends with coat t &BSToSFMBUJWFMZTNBMM TFUSBUIFSIJHI 

t Well developed cheeks t 4ZNNFUSJDBMXSJOLMFTPONV[[MF t Th ick pendulous lips but not extreme t +BXT o 6OEFSTIPU XJUI PCWJPVT chin mark t Th e nose should be slightly set CBDLGSPNUIFNV[[MF t .V[[MFTIPVMENFBTVSFCFUXFFOž and ⅓ the total length of the head t 6QQFSBOEMPXFSMJQDPOUBDUGPSNT an inverse, wide V when viewed from the front. *OFYBNJOJOHUIF%%# ZPVNBZCSJOH the ear forward to see if the tip reaches the corner of the eye, but does not reach beyond the eye (in mature dogs). Look in the mouth from the front to verify the undershot condition, alignment of the incisors, and wide space between lower DBOJOFT$IFDL GSPN UIF TJEFT UP MPPL GPS DPNQMFUFEFOUJUJPO*OUIFDBTFPGBTPNF - what extreme undershot condition, manip- ulate the lips to ensure they are hanging naturally and they cover the teeth.

should reach to corner of eye but should not more than cover the eye


'SPN UIF TJEF  UIF EPH TIPVME CFXFMM angulated in the rear; have medium shoul- EFSBOHVMBUJPO EFHSFFTUPUIFIPSJ[PO - tal); a strong forechest, and a chest of excep- tional depth so that it lets down below the elbows. Th e back and topline should be as level as possible for a dog with such a deep and powerful chest. So it is quite common to see a slight dip between the shoulder blades and then a rise toward the rear. But again, the condition should be the result of the depth and breadth of the chest, not due UPXFBLQBTUFSOTPSTUSBJHIUTUJnFT As the dog moves around the ring, you will notice that as the trot quickens the head tends to drop, and the topline inclines, accentuating that “built low to the ground” look. Th e tail should now be level or slightly above level with the back, and still straight. Watch for a good extension of the forelegs; out beyond the

nose. Th e movement of the DDB has been described as similar to that of a lion because it is powerful and low-to-the- ground, yet quite easy and graceful for the %%#TTJ[FBOENBTT As the dogs line up for final inspection and selections, there are many components of the individual dogs to consider. While we should judge for the complete package; for overall balance, correct proportions and soundness. We must be mindful in making our selections that we do a great disservice to a breed if we put up dogs that do not capture the essence of the breed. So while there is room for some dis- agreement among judges on weighing the technical aspects of a breed, we should remember and be in agreement on what characteristics make up the essence of a CSFFE PS CSFFE UZQF.PTU FYQFSUT JO UIF breed will agree that a DDB is a confident,

muscular, powerful dog that is built low to the ground and has a massive head of proper proportions and expression. With- out these primary characteristics, you do not have a good DDB and therefore these are the most important points to remem- ber in judging the breed. BIO Cindy McElderry, along with her hus- band Mark were early pioneers of the Dogue de Bordeaux in the United States. Operating as Northland Bordeaux for over 20 years, Mrs. McElderry has amassed an impressive show record at competitions in North America and Europe with her dogs. Th e McElderry’s played a major role in the e ff ort to achieve AKC acceptance of the breed, including formulating the first AKC Standard. Th ey are also the AKC’s only Breeder Judges for the Dogue de Bordeaux.

“THE MOVEMENT OF THE DDB HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS SIMILAR TO THAT OF A LION because it is powerful and low-to-the-ground, yet quite easy and graceful for the DDBs size and mass.”

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