DE BORDEAUX DOGUE
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
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Official Standard of the Dogue de Bordeaux General Appearance : The Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the most ancient French breeds. He is a typical brachycephalic molossoid type. The Dogue de Bordeaux is a concave lined breed. He is a very powerful dog, with a very muscular body yet retaining a harmonious general outline. Built rather close to the ground, the distance from the deepest point of the chest to the ground is slightly less than the depth of the chest. A massive head with proper proportions and features is an important characteristic of the breed. His serious expression, stocky and athletic build and self-assurance make him very imposing. Bitches have identical characteristics, but less prominent. Size, Proportion, Substance : The length of the body, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, is greater than the height at the withers, in the proportion of 11/10. The depth of the chest is more than half the height at the withers. Size - Dogs: 23½ to 27 inches at the withers. Bitches: 23 to 26 inches at the withers. Weight - Dogs at least 110 pounds. Bitches at least 99 pounds. Head : The head is large, angular, broad, and rather short. It is trapezium shaped when viewed from above and in front. Eyes - Oval and set wide apart. The space between the eyes is equal to about twice the length of the eye (eye opening). Frank expression. The haw should not be visible. Color - hazel to dark brown for a dog with a black mask, lighter color tolerated but not sought after in dogs with either a brown mask or without a mask. Fault - Protruding eyes. Ears - The ear is small in proportion to the skull and of a slightly darker color than the coat. The front of the ears ’ base is slightly raised. They should fall back, but not hang limply. The front edge of the ear is close to the cheek when the dog is attentive. The tip is slightly rounded and should not reach beyond the eye. Set rather high, at the level of the upper line of the skull, thus emphasizing the skull width even more. Skull - Back Skull in the male: The perimeter of the skull measured at the point of its greatest width corresponds roughly to the height at the withers. In bitches it may be slightly less. Its volume and shape are the result of the spacing of the lower jaw bones, and the very well-developed temporal area, upper-orbital area, and zygomatic arches. The cheeks are prominent due to the very strong development of the muscles. The skull is slightly rounded from one side to the other. The frontal groove is deep. The forehead, characterized by well-developed eyebrows, dominates the face but does not overhang it. However, the skull is still wider than high. The head is furrowed with symmetrical wrinkles on each side of the median groove. These deep ropes of wrinkle are mobile depending on whether the dog is attentive or not. The wrinkle which runs from the inner corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth is typical. If present, the wrinkle running from the outer corner of the eye to either corner of the mouth or dewlap should be discreet. Stop - The stop is very pronounced, almost forming a right angle with the muzzle (95 to 100 degrees). Fault - Extreme characteristics such as a very short muzzle, flat skull, a swollen fold behind the nose that protrudes over it and a prominent fold that extends across the head without a break or definition between the eyes. Muzzle - Powerful, broad, thick, and rather short. Should not be fleshy below the eyes. When viewed in profile, the foreface is very slightly concave with moderately obvious folds. Its width decreases only slightly from the root of the muzzle to the tip. When viewed from above it has the general shape of a square. When viewed from the side, the top lines of the skull and muzzle form an angle that converges at, or near the end of the muzzle. When the head is held horizontally, the end of the muzzle, which is truncated, thick and broad at the base, is in front of a vertical tangent to the front of the
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nose (The nose is slightly set back from the front of the muzzle.). Its perimeter is almost two thirds of that of the head. Its length varies between one third and one quarter of the total length of the head, measured from the nose to the occipital crest. The ideal length of the muzzle is between these two extremes. Nose - Broad, with well opened nostrils. Self-colored according to the color of the mask. Slightly upturned permissible. Upper lip - Thick, moderately pendulous yet retractile. When viewed in profile it shows a rounded lower line and covers the lower jaw on the sides. When viewed from the front, the edge of the upper lip is in contact with the lower lip, and drops on either side thus forming an inverse, wide V. Jaws - Very powerful, and broad. Undershot so that there is no contact between the upper and lower incisors. The lower jaw curves upwards. The chin is very pronounced and should neither overlap the upper lip exaggeratedly nor be covered by it. Disqualification - Mouth not undershot; wry jaw. Bite - Undershot. Fault - Incisors constantly visible when the mouth is closed or very small incisors unevenly set. Severe Fault - Canines or tongue constantly visible when the mouth is closed. Teeth - Strong, particularly the canines. Lower, canines set wide apart and slightly curved. Incisors well aligned especially in the lower jaw where they form a straight line. Fault - Disproportioned head (too small or exaggeratedly voluminous). Severe Fault - Long narrow head with insufficiently pronounced stop, with a muzzle measuring more than a third of the total length of the head (lack of type in head). Neck, Topline and Body : Neck - Very strong and muscular, almost cylindrical. The skin is supple, ample and loose. The average circumference almost equals that of the head. There is a noticeable, slightly convex, furrow at the junction of the head and neck. The well-defined dewlap starts at the level of the throat forming folds down to the chest, without hanging exaggeratedly. The neck is very broad at its base, merging smoothly with the shoulders. Topline - The topline should be as level as possible with a slight dip behind the well-marked withers. The back is solid and broad when viewed from above. The loin is broad, rather short and solid. Fault - Arched back (convex). Chest - Powerful, long, deep, broad, and let down lower than the elbows. The forechest is broad and powerful with a lower line that is convex towards the bottom. The ribcage is deep and well sprung, but not barrel shaped. The circumference of the chest should be between 10 and 14 inches greater than the height at the withers. Underline - Curved, from the deep brisket to the firm abdomen. Slight to moderate tuck-up. Should be neither pendulous nor extreme. Croup - Moderately sloping down to the root of the tail. Tail - Very thick at the base. The tip preferably reaches the hock but not below. Carried low, it is neither broken nor kinked but supple. Hanging when the dog is at rest; generally carried level with the back or slightly above the level of the back when the dog is in action, without curving over the back or being curled. Fault - Fused vertebrae but not kinked. Disqualification - An atrophied tail or a tail that is knotted and laterally deviated or twisted. Forequarters - Strong bone structure, legs very muscular. Shoulders - Powerful, prominent muscles. Slant of shoulder - blade is medium (about 45 degrees to the horizontal), with the angle of the scapular-humeral articulation being a little more than 90 degrees. Upper Arms - Very muscular. Elbows - In line with the body. Should be neither too close to the chest nor turned out. Forearms - When viewed from the front, straight or inclining slightly inwards, especially in dogs with a very broad chest. When viewed in profile, vertical. Pasterns - Powerful. Slightly sloping when viewed in profile. When viewed from the front, may bend slightly outwards, thus compensating for the slight inclination of the forearm inwards. Feet - Strong. Toes should be
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tight, nails curved and strong, and pads are well developed and supple; the Dogue is well up on his toes despite his weight. Hindquarters - Powerful legs with strong bone structure; well angulated. When viewed from behind, the hindquarters are parallel and vertical thus giving an impression of power. The hindquarters are not quite as broad as the forequarters. Upper Thigh - Well developed and thick with visible muscles. Stifle - In a parallel plane to the median plane or very slightly out. Second Thigh - Relatively short, well-muscled. Hock Joint - Short and sinewy, with the angle of the hock joint moderately open. Hock - Strong, no dewclaws. Hind feet - Slightly longer than the front feet, toes should be tight. Coat : Fine, short and soft to the touch. Skin - Thick and sufficiently loose fitting without excessive wrinkles. Color : Coat - Self-colored, in all shades of fawn, from a dark red fawn to a light fawn. A rich coat color is considered desirable. Individual patches of white on the forechest, a secondary patch of white on the throat is allowed but not preferred, white on the toes (not above the carpus or tarsus) and backs of pasterns is acceptable. Disqualification - White in any location other than what is listed above or any coat color other than shades of fawn on the head or body or any coat color other than shades of fawn. Black Mask - The mask is often only slightly spread out and should not invade the cranial region. There may be slight black shading on the skull, ears, neck and back. Pigmentation of the nose will be black. Brown Mask - Pigmentation of the nose, edge of lips and eye rims will also be brown. There may be non-invasive brown shading. No Mask - The coat is fawn: the skin appears red (also formerly called "red mask"). The nose is then reddish. Gait : The gait is free and supple, for a molossoid. In open walking the movement is free, supple, close to the ground. Good drive from the hindquarters, good extension of the forelegs, especially at the trot, which is the preferred gait. As the trot quickens, the head tends to drop, the topline inclines towards the front, and the front feet get closer to the median plane while striding out with a long reaching movement. Vertical movement while in a short gallop is rather important. He is capable of great speed over short distances by bolting along close to the ground. Temperament : Dogue de Bordeaux is gifted for guarding, which he assumes with vigilance and great courage but without aggressiveness. He is a very good companion, being attached to and affectionate toward his master. He is calm and balanced with a high stimulus threshold. The male normally has a dominant character. The foregoing is a description of the ideal Dogue de Bordeaux. Any deviation should be penalized in direct proportion to the extent of that deviation. Extreme deviation in any part should be penalized to the extent that the dog is effectively eliminated from competition. Disqualifications : Mouth not undershot; wry jaw. An atrophied tail or a tail that is knotted and laterally deviated or twisted. White in any other location other than what is listed above or any coat color other than shades of fawn on the head or body, or any coat color other than shades of fawn.
Approved April 12, 2021 Effective June 9, 2021
JUDGING THE DOGUE DE BORDEAUX
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 general appearance of the DDB are serious, stocky, athletic, self assured and imposing. But while 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, taller dogs are not preferred to those at the lower end of the height range for the breed. All else being equal, the middle of the range is preferred. Balance 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.
DQs: t"OBUSPQIJFEUBJMPSBUBJMUIBUJTLOPUUFEBOEMBUFSBMMZEFWJBUFEPSUXJTUFE t.PVUIOPUVOEFSTIPU wry jaw – this should be checked when looking in the mouth.
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, BOEUIFTLJO UIJDLBOETVċDJFOUMZMPPTF 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.BMFTUZQJDBMMZIBWFBEPNJ - 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[BUJPOJTOFDFTTBSZXIFOJUDPNFT 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 &ZFTo0WBMTFUXFMMBQBSU 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[[MFTIPVMENFBTVSFCFUXFFO 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$IFDLGSPNUIFTJEFTUPMPPLGPS 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
“VISUALIZATION IS NECESSARY WHEN IT COMES TO EVALUATING THE HEAD AND EXPRESSION OF THE DDB.” 4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& " 13*- t
'SPNUIFTJEF UIFEPHTIPVMECFXFMM 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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DOGUE DE BORDEAUX The Athletic Molosser
BY VICTOR C. SMITH
T he Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America’s (DDBSA)-developed acronym, H.E.A.R.T.S., defines major points of our breed consisting of H ead, E xpression, A thletic, w R inkle, T rots like a Lion, and S ubstance. These six acronyms represent the very essence of the Dogue de Bordeaux. However, this article will focus on the acronym “Athletic,” which, like the other five acronyms, represents an attribute crucial to the breed’s conformation to the American Kennel Club (AKC) Breed Standard. The Dogue de Bordeaux’s functional roots trace back to his roles as a guardian, gladiator, and hunter. As a work- ing breed, he has proved versatile at many tasks, includ- ing draught work, weight pulling, agility, obedience, and even lure coursing! In order to be capable of these activi- ties, athleticism would be a prerequisite, and it cannot be emphasized enough how vital athleticism is to the Dogue de Bordeaux’s conformation to the AKC Breed Standard.
A good portion of the current AKC Dogue de Bordeaux Breed Standard notes proper running gear attributes that facilitate correct movement as “powerful legs with strong bone structure, shoulders having powerful, prominent muscles, slant of shoulder blade being 45 degrees to the horizontal, thighs are well developed and thick, and angle of hock joint moderately open” all denote features that contrib- ute to “good drive from the hindquarters, and good extension of the forelegs, especially at the trot, which is the preferred gait. In addition, he is capable of great speed over short distances by bolting along close to the ground.” A literature review offers a multitude of references attesting to the Dogue de Bordeaux’s athleticism. French Professor Raymond Triquet, who established the modern-day FCI Dogue de Bordeaux Standard and is considered “the father of the breed,” wrote in his book, The Saga of the Dogue de Bordeaux , “the Dogue de Bordeaux is also able to spring very quickly, close to the ground, for instance, to catch a spar- row, or, with forelegs wide, to play and change direction at speed.”
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DOGUE DE BORDEAUX: THE ATHLETIC MOLOSSER
strong-jawed, powerfully muscled, awesomely determined dogs needed to actually get hold of the quarry. This was the task of the mastiffs, with their enormous physical strength, immense courage, considerable fortitude, and the remarkable gripping capabilities afforded by their mighty broad mouths.” The common denominator is that a Dogue de Bordeaux needed to function as a working breed in his historical use as a guard- ian, gladiator, and hunter. The breed must be athletic. In most cases, it was the difference between life and death. The breed must be capable of supple, agile movement, with good reach from the forelegs and powerful drive from the hindquarters. This athleti- cism is no less important for the breed’s contemporary activities in conformation, obedience, agility, draught work, weight pulling, lure coursing, or just a pleasant stroll with its human companions in various settings. I was fortunate to be able to make contact with Colonel Han- cock through several emails that we exchanged. I cannot think of a better way to summarize what we have covered in this article other than to use the following statement from Colonel Hancock during one of our email exchanges: “Your breed has a past as a hunting Mastiff in the stag and boar hunt, as a seizer of giant valour and immense value in the hunting down of perhaps the most ferocious quarry pursued by dogs. The blend of power, athleticism, reckless bravery and ana- tomical soundness in the breed just has to be acknowledged.” —Colonel David Hancock, M.B.E.
Referencing judging he has done in Europe and Asia, Triquet fur- ther states, “I drew the attention of the veterinarian in charge to the mobility of the shoulder, which enables the front leg to reach for the ground far ahead, while the head is lowered in direct line with the topline, which inclines forward slightly. That this beauti- ful gait is not seen more often in the ring is because, in general, our Dogues aren’t well trained, their handlers even less so, and the rings are too small. You have to go to Moscow to see those immense rings. In the hall with 60 Dogues de Bordeaux, I too had all the space required to judge their movement.” World-renowned British author Colonel David Hancock, M.B.E. was a career professional soldier in the British Army. While assigned to 22 countries, he devoted his free time to studying their dogs and ancestries. Hancock developed a photo/image library of over 5,000 depictions of dogs (Charwynne Dog Features) that are used by national and international magazines and film companies. As an author, advisor, judge, and researcher, he has devoted over 50 years to studying dogs. Col. Hancock has several recognitions from the Dog Writer’s Association of America among the many tributes to his works. In his book, The Mastiffs - The Big Game Hunters, Col. Han- cock makes the case that mastiffs, called “powerful heavy hounds, were invaluable in times when, before the invention of firearms, man needed to catch and kill game.” He states, “scenthounds could track, sighthounds could chase, terriers could unearth, and set- ting dogs could indicate unseen game. But when big game was hunted, powerful, fearless dogs were needed to risk their lives so that the quarry was either slowed down, pulled down, or ‘held’ for the hunters. Just as in warfare, infantrymen are needed to close with the enemy and destroy him, so too in the hunting field are
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Victor C. Smith is the AKC Delegate for the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America and the parent club’s breed column author for the AKC Gazette. Additionally, he chairs the club’s Judges Education Committee, along with committee members, and conducts presentations on breed standards and judging for the Dogue de Bordeaux. Victor and his spouse have bred and shown Dogues de Bordeaux for approximately 26 years. Victor retired from a law enforcement career as an executive manager after 29 years of service and is currently working on his dissertation as a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership.
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DOGUE DE BORDEAUX the
courtesy of the DOGUE DE BORDEAUX SOCIETY OF AMERICA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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
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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
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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
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