Many ...

believe that the breed is a result of cross breeding between Tibetan Mastiffs and the Molossus of Greece. Some say that the Dogue de Bordeaux is a direct descendant of Roman Molossers. Still, others claim that the Dogue de Bordeaux dates back to the 12th century, during the time when Aquitaine was ruled by English Kings, and was a result of cross breeding English Mastiffs and Aquitaine Guard Dogs. The official history of the Dogue de Bordeaux however, states that the Aalan / Alaunt of the Middle Ages may have been the breed’s ancestors. The dogs were bred primarily to work as hunters and guard dogs of large French estates, and on occasion, used for battle.
Prior to the mid 1800s, the Dogue de Bordeaux remained virtually unknown outside the region of Bordeaux, France. Exportation of the breed from France to other parts of Europe started only in 1865, two years after the dog gained recognition in the Jardin d’Acclimatiation. It was in that year that the breed became known as the Dogue de Bordeaux. The official breed standard of the French Mastiff, however, was not established until the year 1869.

The ...

year 1886 marked the first time the Dogue de Bordeaux was mentioned in a written publication. An article comparing the French and English Mastiffs and Bulldogs was released and this stated that the Dogue de Bordeaux had the temperament and courage of ancient Molossers. In 1892, a reproduction of Sultane, a winner of the prix d’Honneur was published followed by another article on the Dogue de Bordeaux in 1895. These led to the exportation of the dog to other parts of England. Turc, who was a strong fighting dog, has the distinction on being the first Dogue de Bordeaux to have been imported into England.
In 1896, the Dogue de Bordeaux had a class of its own at the Chow Chow show at the Aquarium and the following year, in 1897, due to the increasing popularity of the breed, the Dogue de Bordeaux Club was formed. Through the Club, the breed became better appreciated and more rigid standards of grooming, including anti-cropping laws, and the ban on amputation of the ears, were put into effect. Unfortunately, these changes made the dog look less ferocious thus, the popularity of the breed waned.
It is safe to say that early in the 1900’s the Dogue de Bordeaux neared extinction, especially after World Wars I and II as the breed was used during long battles during the war. The popularity and number of Dogue de Bordeaux was limited after the 1950’s but, thanks to the untiring efforts of dedicated breeders, the popularity of the breed rose again in the 1970s and since then, there has been a gradual resurgence in the number of Dogue de Bordeaux owners, breeders and enthusiasts. Today, the Dogue de Bordeaux is no longer bred to hunt, guard or fight but raised primarily to be house pets or companion dogs.