Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
A couple of months ago, we were doing our regularly scheduled visit to play with puppies because puppies make us feel better about life and life has been kind of shitty these past couple of years. When completely out of character, we impulse-bought a “Dogue de Bordeaux” which I think is French for expensive ass dog but still not as expensive as its much tinier but much more expensive little cousin, the French bulldog. Apparently, if your dog is French he’s going to be adorable, lovable and expensive. These are things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff if you’re nasty.
The thing is you know how when you just know something is right? Like my husband said he knew right away that I was “the one”, his “soul mate”. Well, we all felt the same way about Stella (our big, beautiful, playful, sweet, lovable French mastiff). The thing is when we bought her, we had no idea what kind of breed she was which is very out of character for our family because we like to research and plan the shit out of everything.
This may have been the most spontaneous thing we’ve done in the past decade because since we had children, we’re always thinking long-term and BIG picture but not on Friday, March 11. Nope, we fell head over paws in love with Stella Coco on the spot. The Big Guy was signing paperwork before the girls and I even knew what was happening.
The first couple of days, not going to lie, I was having major buyer’s remorse. Remember, no idea what the Dogue de Bordeaux was before deciding to bring her home. Once I got home and Googled Dogue de Bordeaux, I scared myself because she will be the biggest dog breed we’ve ever owned with the shortest life span and she needs a lot of love and attention. Did I mention she’s only 6 months old and eats 5 cups of food a day? The vet predicts 8 cups a day by the time she is full-grown.
I was intimidated because they are also known for being great family guard dogs but that’s never been what I looked for in a dog. Our dogs are like family members. TBH, I think the Big Guy and I gravitated towards this mastiff because of her HUGE paws. When our Bella was a baby, we called her Big paws and Stella the big paw French Mastiff shares our Bella’s gentle, giant, friendly disposition. How could we not bring her home with us, she was born to be a part of our family.
Things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux
- The DDB is an excellent companion, deeply devoted to her family. 23 hours of the day, she’s calm, affectionate, docile and steady. But for that one hour (at least in my experience, at the puppy stage) she can be needy, hyper and super playful but always loving. She also has a protective instinct and guards her family with courage like a boss b*tch. In my opinion, Dogues de Bordeaux are great for families with older children who won’t be easily knocked over or startled by this big dog that tends to hop when excited.
Be warned, this gentle giant is not a pushover most of the time. Along with that mostly calm temperament comes a stubborn streak that will make a teenage girl seem easygoing, self-confident, and a tendency to dominate. However, in our house, she is very submissive to our much tinier and older Victorian bulldog, Lola. I’m not sure if it’s because Lola’s older, if it’s a doggie respect thing or if it’s the regal Bridgerton aura that Lola emits but Stell tens to just roll over and bear her belly for her big sis. Socialization and patient positive training are a must with Dogue de Bourdeauxs, much like myself, they can’t be forced to do anything. Start early—it’s easier to train a puppy than a DDB who may be bigger (and certainly stronger) than you are.
- Dogues do very well at dog sports. While only moderately active, their willingness to learn and eagerness to please their owners make them adept at cart-pulling, obedience and even therapy work.
Keep in mind, that exercise will tire them out so we’ve figured out that burning off some of that energy before bedtime (much like when we used to dance the sillies out with the girls) is the key to the whole family getting a good nights sleep.
- Do not teach your cute 30 lb. puppy any habits that you wouldn’t want your 130 lb. DDB to have. We’ve always had medium-sized working dogs but never something as massive as our Stella is anticipated to be so our dog babies have always been lap dogs, even at 50 lbs. we’re made of sturdy stock but our pediatrician has assured us that this warning needs to be heeded or we will be the ones who suffer the consequences. She loves to sit on our laps, sleep across my teenager’s chest and cuddle in like she’s tiny. She is currently 60 lbs. at 7 months (honestly, she’s on the smaller size compared to other DDBs of the same age and we are fine with it) and she’s getting too strong for the girls and me to control or pick up so positive reinforcement is the trick in our house. She loves treats like they’re addictive.
- These are tall like ridiculously tall. Our girl can stand up with her front paws at the height of our kitchen island. Did I mention
- They drool. Apparently, they really, really drool! Our Stella is not as wrinkly as some of the others and has not started to drool uncontrollably yet. It’s coming though. She loves to fill her jaws with water and carry it across the house. Anyone who lives with a Dogue de Bordeaux quickly becomes familiar with strings of drool covering furniture, floors and walls. Be prepared that you may have to up your cleaning game. I know, sounds like a shit trade but I promise you, all the love that your French mastiff will give you will be worth every single slobbery kiss you endure. To know a dogue de Bordeaux is to love her sweet face, drool and all.