The French Mastiff, also popularly known as the Dogue de Bordeaux, is a large and imposing breed that has slowly crept its way into the hearts and homes of dog lovers. While the French Mastiff has always been popular in its native country of France, the breed became known worldwide, particularly in the United States, after the film Turner and Hooch aired in 1989. The Tom Hanks-starred film features a Dogue de Bordeaux playing the role of Hooch. Originally bred for fighting purposes, the French Mastiff is now primarily used for as a show dog and an overall companion. Loyal, affectionate and courageous, this dog can become the perfect pet when trained and cared for properly.
Even with such a gigantic body, the French Mastiff can actually get by with just an average amount of exercise, as opposed to other big dog breeds. Hence, there is no need for you to take hour-long walks around the block or take on extreme canine sports. As a matter of fact, your Mastiff will do well in a home that has a small, fenced yard for running and moving around. A fun game that will get your French Mastiff up and running is soccer. No, this is not the traditional game of soccer wherein you have to score a goal. For the doggy version, all you need is a soccer ball and you kick it over and around your dog. It’s amusing to watch your pooch try and chase the ball.
Physical exercise is important to all dogs, especially larger ones such as the French Mastiff. Not only does a workout help keep them in shape, it also does a lot in preventing stress and thwarting off any unwanted behavior. Most of the time, dog owners like to integrate their furry friends into their exercise routines, such as running, swimming and even hiking. While this may seem like a good idea for French Mastiff owners, it should be noted that the breed does not do well in temperature extremes. A short hike is a perfect activity for your French Mastiff. Not only is it physically satisfying, the change of scenery also helps with mental stimulation, which in turn prevents destructive behavior.
In general, dogs love being put to work and given something to do; this helps keep them occupied and active. It also benefits the owners, as most unsolicited behavior (chewing, aggression) can be traced back to dogs not having enough stuff to do. A cool activity that both you and your dog will find entertaining is dog scootering. As suggested by its name, this canine sport involves your dog pulling you as you ride a scooter. With the French Mastiff’s history and ability to pull weights, this activity is ideal for them. Look at it this way – dogs and scooters run at about the same speed, so why not let your pooch tag along on your scooter ride? It’s an awesome way to bond with each other while also having fun and burning off some steam.
When talking about the French Mastiff, one of the qualities that immediately come to mind is protective. After all, this breed was developed for guarding purposes. Therefore, they need to undergo obedience training so that they can be controlled. You may choose to train them with basic obedience commands and eventually hire a professional to teach more advanced commands.
Apart from training, early socialization is also crucial in helping fight off any unwanted aggressive behavior from a French Mastiff. One of the best ways to do this is through a play date. Set a “date” in a neutral area, such as a dog park, and allow your dog to mingle with other dogs. Don’t rush anything and if your French Mastiff shows any sign of aggression, make sure to cut the date short. Otherwise, just let the dogs get to know each other at their own pace.
Despite the breed’s intimidating look, the French Mastiff has a caring personality that will melt the hearts of any dog lover. However, this breed is not for a first-time dog owner and will require someone with a firm hand and strong leadership. Early training and socialization, partnered with the right kinds of activities, will help develop this breed into a great household pet.