The French mastiff, better known as the Dogue de Bordeaux, is notorious for being a very expensive dog. With prices for puppies ranging from $1500-$2500, this is definitely not the right dog for anyone on a budget.
Despite their price range, though, they remain one of the most popular dogs on the market. According to the American Kennel Club, they rank at 68 out of 193 this year. Now, to address the elephant in the room: What makes a Dogue de Bordeaux so expensive?
The Dogue de Bordeaux was well known in France early in the fourteenth century; however, it wasn’t until the early 1860’s where it started gaining worldwide popularity.
Very early on, they weren’t easy to com across, so breeders priced puppies pretty high. Even now, the number of the french mastiff dogs in registries is significantly lower than most other breeds.
More times than not, these dogs are found mixed (and very rarely purebred) outside of registries such as the American Kennel Club.
It’s no secret that bigger animals tend to mature at a slower rate than those drastically smaller than them. The Dogue de Bordeaux is considered a working giant, so they aren’t considered to be matured until at least the age of two. Breeding a French mastiff too early can cause a number of problems, including (but not limited to):
- hip and elbow dysplasia
- patellar luxation (trick knee)
- torn cranial cruciate ligaments
Moreover, Dogues de Bordeaux are born with very small pelves, which can cause life-threatening complications during birth and often requiring c-sections to deliver the litter. Because of this, it is advised that female dogs should not be bred before the age of two, with a lot of breeders opting to wait until the age of three.
Health and Life Span
Dogues de Bordeaux have a significantly lower life span than most dogs. Their average life span is only 5-8 years, with some sources (Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America) minimizing that bracket to 5-6 years.
The French mastiffs are prone to a large number of health issues and diseases, making Dogue de Bordeaux owners dropping a large amount of money on veterinary costs alone.
Aside from being very susceptible to bacterial and viral infections, they are highly likely to become obese, which can cause or worsen joint, metabolism, and digestion problems.
Also, because these dogs have a deep and narrow chest, they have a higher chance of developing gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV/bloat), in which the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself. Other health issues can include:
- dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart with thin, weakened walls)
- aortic sternosis (narrowed aortic valve)
- retinal dysplasia
- lymphoma/lymphosarcoma (cancer of the lymph nodes)
- epilepsy (seizures can start as early as 6 months-3 years after birth)
- renal disease (kidney failure)
- ichthyosis (severely dry and flaky skin)
- hypothyroidism (low functioning thyroid glands)
- dental disease
- complications stemming from giving birth (including birthing stillborns and high neonatal mortality rate)
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All in all, it’s important to remember that, at the end of the day, Dogues de Bordeaux are still sweet and charming creatures that deserve a caring and loving home. If you have the money to buy a puppy and decide to go through with a purchase, never forget that though you will need a great deal of patience and understanding for this dog. In sickness and in health, this gentle giant will forever love its owner, and it deserves exactly that in return.