Dogue de Bordeaux Breed Magazine - Showsight


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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