These two large dog breeds, the Dogue de Bordeaux and the Neapolitan mastiff, look like family. If you are thinking about getting a puppy, you should consider whether you have the experience to deal with either of these breeds, which pose similar challenges, particularly to a novice dog owner.
Dogue de Bordeaux
If you've ever watched the film, "Turner and Hooch" you've seen a Dogue de Bordeaux. That is what Hooch is. This French mastiff breed traces his origins back to the medieval period when he was used as a dog of war and a hunter. Over time the breed developed into an all-purpose working dog. He is notable for his massive head and reddish-tawny coloring, and he usually weighs between 99 and 150 pounds. He has a few facial folds. An adult dog measures 23 to 27 inches in height. He drools, snores and snorts a fair amount, and although he has a short coat, he sheds a lot, too.
Environment and Owner
Because of his size, the Dogue de Bordeaux is not really suitable for apartment living. He's quite playful indoors, but clumsy with it, so in confined spaces he can cause havoc. Ideally he needs a home with a large outdoor space that is securely fenced, and he should have a daily walk. He is not a dog for the newbie owner. He is strong-willed and needs an equally strong-willed owner with experience handling a large, strong breed. Temperamentally he is gentle, affectionate and loyal with his family, but he does not always react well to strangers or other dogs and you need to get his instinct to guard and protect under firm control early on in training.
This mastiff of Italian origin is even larger than his French cousin. His heavily muscled body weighs between 110 and 154 pounds and his adult height is between 23 and 29 inches. His trademark feature, which distinguishes him from the Dogue de Bordeaux, is his loose skin, and his copious wrinkles and folds, especially around his head. Typical coat colors are gray, black or mahogany, which also differentiates him from his tawny French relative. The Romans used the breed as combatants in the Colosseum and as a dog of war, and his fighting instincts need a strong, experienced owner who doesn't allow this dog to get his own way. He's not as amenable to training as a Dogue de Bordeaux and is known for being stubborn, lazy and something of an independent thinker when it comes to obedience classes. They aren't that keen on exercise and aren't much of an outdoor dog, but they do need daily walks whether they like it. Like the Dogue de Bordeaux, the Neo, as fans call him, is susceptible to heatstroke, so owners have to make sure both breeds stay cool in hot weather. This scary looking dog, however, likes nothing better than lying by your side, and he shows a gentle, loving temperament to his family.
There are more similarities than differences between these dog breeds and both provide similar challenges to an owner. Both dogs are excellent guard dogs, if that is what you want, and you can firmly lead the dog. In the hands of an inexperienced owner both breeds can cause serious damage to people and other dogs, and you need to consider this before getting a puppy. The Neo, in particular, may be unstoppable if he perceives a threat to his owner. Neither of these breeds likes being left alone for long periods of time; he feels miserable and can become destructive if he doesn't have company. The main difference between a Dogue de Bordeaux and a Neapolitan mastiff is in appearance and size.
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.