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French Mastiff dog walking in the autumn forest

A Guide to Caring for a French Mastiff Puppy

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French Mastiff Breed Overview

This giant dog breed is bold in almost every way. The French Mastiff is a stocky, large, loyal, and loving dog breed. These dogs got their name from a region in France and are also sometimes called “Dogue de Bordeaux” dogs. Even though they are native to France, French Mastiff dogs have gained popularity in the United States.

Powerful dogs like the French Mastiff can seem intimidating at first, but people will quickly realize these calm giants live to please their owners. French Mastiff dogs are calm dogs with short coats that require little grooming. These dogs are low maintenance in many ways but still need a confident owner.

Some breeds like the French Mastiff fit a particular brachycephalic category, which is a fancy way of saying that dogs in this breed have short snouts that look like they’ve been smooshed into their faces. It’s entirely normal for dogs in this breed to have these faces, and this breed will also have small ears and wide-set eyes. Many dogs in this breed also have a lot of excess skin fitting loosely on their neck and face. Their brachycephalic quality means it will be harder for them to catch their breath than some other breeds, so fun sports like running or swimming might tire these dogs out quickly.

French Mastiff puppies are often very strong-willed and proud, and they are incredibly loyal pets and very protective. However, while dogs in this breed exhibit these qualities regularly, they also show many contradictory qualities. Some French Mastiffs can be stubborn, but they can also become eager to please their owners when their mood changes. These dogs can be very affectionate and gentle with the right owners, so only experienced dog owners should adopt any French Mastiff puppies.

Two French Mastiff puppies playing in grass

History of the French Mastiff Breed

The French Mastiff dog breed is an ancient breed but only gained widespread notice in the 1980s. In 1989 Tom Hanks starred alongside a French Mastiff in a famous movie, Turner and Hooch, which increased the demand for these dogs.

Mastiff breeds are ancient and provide a lot of work for their owners. Although French Mastiffs today don’t live anywhere close to their ancestors’ busy lives, they still have some working dog instincts. These dogs prefer staying close to their owners because of their history. They also maintain their large size, force, and courage because of the traits passed down from their ancestors.

French Mastiff Size

Based on size alone, French Mastiff puppies can look like terrifying dogs. These dogs can grow to be 27 inches tall at their shoulders and typically weigh at least 100 pounds. Male French Mastiffs are on the larger end of this scale and often weigh 110 pounds minimum.

Even though these dogs have massive bodies to lug around, they have more than enough muscle to support them. These dogs aren’t the most energetic dog breed, but thanks to their impressive size and build, they can quickly spring into a sprint at any moment if they want to.

French Mastiff Puppy Temperament

Many dogs can be both protective and carefree. However, not many dogs have mastered duality, and the French Mastiff dog breed has. It’s well-known that an adequately trained French Mastiff is gentle, calm, friendly, and affectionate. These dogs can be quite loyal and sophisticated, but they have no problem goofing off with their owners.

Because of their massive size, it’s more important than usual to socialize these dogs at a young age and begin obedience training as young as possible. Their large size can make it much harder to socialize them in their adult years, so this breed isn’t an excellent fit for first-time owners. They easily get along well with children but may accidentally knock small children over because of their large size. Because of their large size and natural determination, early training and consistency are necessary for providing the best environment possible for a French Mastiff puppy.

Even though these dogs are calm when they’re well trained, they can happily play for a solid thirty minutes or an hour during the day. Many French Mastiffs are great additions to families and are very protective of kids. They’re known for being great with kids and constantly taking on a watchdog position. Because of their loyalty, they can be very reserved for strangers, so owners need to introduce as many new people as possible to these dogs.

These dogs can get along well with other furry animals, but it typically depends on the individual dog. Any dog can learn to live with another pet if they go through socialization methods and training to get along with other animals.

This breed enjoys being as close to its owner as possible for as long as possible. Because of their intense loyalty, these dogs will want to share everything with their owners, including beds and couches.

Woman hugging a French Mastiff in grass

Intelligence

Dog breeds like the French Mastiff are often very intelligent, making them intuitive and incredibly stubborn pets. These dogs learn fastest when they receive positive and short training sessions. Many owners will see the best results when creating a consistent routine and regularly practicing their dog’s commands. It can take several weeks for French Mastiff dogs to memorize a command entirely and be able to perform it on the first try. Because of how complex their training process can be, only experienced owners must adopt these dogs. If you’re a novice owner looking to get a French Mastiff, you may find that you will need to hire professional dog trainers to provide obedience lessons and socialization training for your dog. A poorly trained 100-pound dog can become a big problem.

Shedding Habits

Many Mastiff-type breeds have short fur, and French Mastiffs fit that bill. Their fur is very fine and can come in all shades of fawn. Sometimes, these dogs have black or brown masks and white patches on their chest and limbs.

Even though they have shorter fur, they are sure to get their hair all over your freshly cleaned work pants. Owners can prevent the mass spreading of their French Mastiff dog’s fur by brushing them weekly. These dogs will always shed year-round, but they’ll likely experience rises in shedding during dramatic changes in the weather, like in spring and fall.

Health Overview of the French Mastiff Breed

French Mastiff dogs have their fair share of health risks, as every dog breed does. Some large dog breeds have more health issues and are at risk than smaller dogs. French mastiff puppies are at risk of conditions like entropion and brachycephalic syndrome. Even though these dogs are at risk of minor physical health issues, many will never experience physical health conditions. Most dogs in this breed will live healthy lives with an average lifespan of 5 to 8 years.

Even though many of these dogs will not struggle with physical health issues, many of these dogs will experience psychological problems like stress and anxiety. These symptoms will be minor and easily treatable in most cases, but sometimes these conditions are severe and require more attention.

Common Psychological Health Conditions

Stress

Every dog will face symptoms of stress at some point in their lives. Small dogs tend to get stressed out because they rely more on their owners’ presence and reassurance. Large dogs are also likely to experience stress, especially if they are very loyal.

Dogs might experience stress during loud noises like fireworks, police sirens, or around large crowds. Many different events can cause a dog to experience stress symptoms. Dogs’ common symptoms when stressed are tucking their tail between their legs and lowering their head. Stressed-out dogs often shake like they’re wet and pace around as well.

By spending time with your French Mastiff puppy through training and obedience lessons, you will come to know their stress signs naturally. Owners will unconsciously learn their dog’s body language and only need to be able to see their dog’s stress symptoms to aid them.

Many owners provide temporary relief to aid their dog’s stress if they provide anything. Some owners like to give their pups delicious snacks to distract them from a stressful event. Some owners give their pets CBD or other calming supplements. Owners should try various methods to see what works best with their French Mastiff puppy.

French Mastiff lying on a rug

Anxiety

All dogs face anxiety, and they commonly deal with separation anxiety. Animals will experience separation anxiety when developing a close and dependent bond with their owners.

Some dogs are more likely to develop anxiety than others. For example, dogs who have experienced homelessness, neglect, abuse, or abandonment are more likely to experience stress because of any reminders of their previous traumatic events. Any dogs that have lived in a shelter are also more likely to experience anxiety symptoms.

French Mastiff dogs don’t regularly struggle with anxiety, but owners of French Mastiffs will want to provide a remedy to prevent these dogs from having a meltdown.

Anxious dogs react by showing their emotions with their body. Many dogs destroy their house when their owners leave because they’re experiencing a panic attack and have no way to express their stress. When dogs tear up a couch cushion or trash can, they might be messy, but they are most likely trying to show their nerves. Other symptoms anxious dogs show can be pacing, drooling, restlessness, or crying. The more anxious a dog is, the more severe the symptoms are. Incredibly anxious dogs will destroy their houses. They might also defecate in the house or urinate. Dogs with severe anxiety won’t even eat treats to distract themselves from their nerves.

Every French Mastiff dog is different when helping them with their anxieties. Owners can help their dogs best when they identify what the cause of it is. After that, they can determine the severity and what methods should help their pet.

Many owners use anti-anxiety remedies like home snacks, calming supplements, CBD treats, or other calming methods. Some owners provide calm, safe spaces for their anxious dogs to retreat to, and some get anti-anxiety medication prescribed by their vets. More anxious animals will need more permanent options like anti-anxiety medication or an intensive training session like counterconditioning to help them overcome their condition.

Calming Dog Products

There are many products out there that aren’t necessary but can greatly improve your dog’s life. Dogs are completely content resting on the sofa and your bed. However, providing your dog with a calming dog bed can give them something that is just theirs. Dogs also benefit from some toys as they can bond incredibly close with some. Many pet parents find that calming dog treats are very handy when they know their dog will be anxious.

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French Mastiff chewing on a toy on a bed

Common Physical Health Conditions

Every dog breed is at risk of developing a few health conditions. French Mastiff puppies are a very healthy dog breed, but they still have genetic conditions they pass throughout their breed. Thankfully, most French Mastiff puppies will live with few health issues.

Any dogs that experience conditions are more likely only to have mild issues. French mastiff dogs commonly deal with problems with their joints and eyes. You can treat most of these conditions at home.

Hip Dysplasia

One condition French Mastiff dogs are commonly born with is hip dysplasia. Many dogs are born with hip dysplasia but don’t experience any symptoms until later. This condition occurs when the hip joint doesn’t align correctly, causing the joint to deteriorate prematurely and leading to symptoms of pain and arthritis.

Many dogs that experience this live their entire lives with minor pain. Some dogs might have more severe cases, and owners might notice changes in their French Mastiff puppy’s movements. Some dogs with hip dysplasia begin to lose range of motion or gain muscle mass in their shoulders as they overcompensate for their hind legs.

Although more severe cases of this condition can require surgery and even complete hip replacement, most dysplasia cases only require supplements to help their pain. Owners provide anti-inflammatory products and joint supplements to help their French Mastiff puppies with hip dysplasia.

French Mastiff romping on a beach

Ectropion

It’s pretty common for dogs to have minor health issues with their eyes. Many dogs suffer from eye tear stains or excessive eyelash growth. Sometimes, French Mastiff puppies suffer from ectropion, a condition where a dog’s eyelid rolls outward.

Common dog breeds that suffer from ectropion include the basset hound, so they stereotypically have droopy eyes. Not all French Mastiff puppies will suffer from this issue, and many won’t experience any significant side effects.

Dogs with this condition might have swollen or puffy eyes, and their eyes might get irritated or gather debris more easily. Owners often help treat their dog for this condition by providing eye ointment or canine eyedrops.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is another type of joint issue the French Mastiff breed commonly have. Elbow dysplasia comprises a group of different joint conditions that occur when the elbow joint doesn’t meet correctly. This joint consists of three bones that can grow incorrectly and many dogs are born with elbow dysplasia.

Even though many dogs are born with this condition, most animals don’t experience any symptoms until later in life. Dogs with this condition might develop a strange hop or limp, and these dogs might avoid putting weight on one of the front legs specifically.

Many French Mastiff puppies benefit from daily stretches or anti-inflammatory supplements. Many owners provide their dog’s pain supplements such as CBD or joint supplements to aid their elbow.

Joint Health Options We Love

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Oral Health

Many dogs in the US have dental health issues, and their owners don’t even know. A dog’s teeth gather tartar and plaque, and bacteria and can cause other health issues to appear in their bodies,

It’s essential to brush your French Mastiff puppies’ teeth daily to ensure you help their best oral health. These dogs will benefit from dental cleaning treats, and owners should be sure only to use products safe for canines.

Oral Health Options We Love

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French Mastiff Breed’s Needs

Exercise

Because this breed is so large, they benefit from low-impact exercises. Many large dog breeds require special care while they’re puppies because it’s very easy to injure themselves and their growing bones. Under 18 months of age, French Mastiffs shouldn’t go on long jogs or runs to avoid any high-impact activities. After their 18-month mark, many dogs in this breed can happily go for quick jogs or short runs with their owners. They will significantly benefit from enrichment activities.

This breed benefits from an hour of exercise daily and might spend the entire time walking behind its owners. Even though many of these dogs are less than inclined to spend the afternoon running around and playing fetch, physical and mental stimulation are crucial ingredients to create your pet’s best health. Owners can use delicious snacks or other fun, encouraging methods to get their dogs to be more active.

Exercise Options We Love

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Nutrition

Large dog breeds receive special diets to ensure they grow properly and receive all the extra nutrients they require to support their massive bodies. Potential owners should talk to their vet to ensure they give their dog the best high-quality dog food possible.

Your dog’s daily calorie count needs can change based on their sex, age, weight, and activity level. It’s a good idea to use a dog bag’s guidelines to guide you in your mission to find the proper nutrition for your pet.

Two French Mastiff puppies eating from a bowl

Grooming

Dogs with short coats like the French Mastiff are very low maintenance for grooming. These dogs will only need a brushing session about once a week, which will help keep all their loose fur in check. Owners need to bathe these dogs once a month and ensure they use dog shampoo products only.

While these dogs have a terrible habit of leaving their short fur around the house, they also are known to be horrible droolers. Some people recommend potential owners carry towels around or have paper towels hidden in every room to clean up that drool debris they are bound to leave on your bedding, couches, and maybe even clothes. Gross.

These dogs also have excess skin, which creates a multitude of flaps. Sometimes random debris like food, water, or drool can get caught in this and lead to a messy situation. Owners need to watch these areas to know when to give them a quick cleaning.

Dog Food Based On Age We Love

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Top Product Picks for French Mastiff Puppies

Often, the cost of owning a dog runs parallel to the size of the dog, so the bigger the dog, the more money you will spend caring for them. A large part of this is because they will require larger dog beds, more food, and more medicine than regular breed sizes.

Anyone looking to care for a French Mastiff will need a bed, a crate, dog food, and treats. Welcoming a new pet home is fun but a very anxious and vulnerable time for your new pet. Bringing in comforting items like beds and treats can help make your pet feel more comfortable.

Owners will also need to invest in a collar, leash, and harness. Potential owners can also have some dog toys for their pets to help their dogs adjust as best as possible.

It can seem excessive for some pet parents to purchase dog crates or portable dog water bowls, but eventually, dog owners will see that these things can be beneficial. It’s a great idea to have a crate when getting a new dog, especially if you cannot trust them home alone. Also, since bigger dogs need more food, potential French Mastiff puppy owners should purchase a large food storage container to keep their pet’s food as fresh as possible.

Many dog owners know that prepping food and a bed is necessary when adopting a new pet. But the best way to help your dog enjoy their new home is to give them space and encouragement. Please keep all your interactions as positive as possible, and let them explore and come to you independently. Then, you are sure to build a great relationship with your dog.

Other Resources

Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America

Dogue de Bordeaux Club of America

Dogue de Bordeaux Rescue