A litter of Dogue puppies with both nose colors. Photo: Sanna Sander.
Coat / Color
Color in the Bullmastiff is red, fawn, or brindle (a pattern), ranging from the lightest of the “biscuit” fawns to the deepest reds to all shades of brindle with fawn or red stripes, ideally evenly spaced with a chevron pattern on the back. Except for a very small white spot on the chest, white marking is considered a fault in theBullmastiff. We do not want to see the soft red coat color of the Dogue de Bordeaux in the Bullmastiff, as this color is often accompanied with a lighter mask and ears, light eyes. Two-toning and smuttiness are both undesirable in the coat. Mask should be black, ears significantly darker than the body. The nose should always be black, eyes darker the better.
The Dogue de Bordeaux coat, which is fine and soft to the touch, is self-colored, in all shades of fawn from a dark red mahogany to a light fawn (isabella), masking includes black, brown and red, with pigmentation matching the mask. The mask is often only slightly spread out and should not invade the cranial region, unlike the Bullmastiff, where the black mask may extend up over the brows onto to the top of the skull. Limited white patches are permissible on the chest and the extremities of the limbs, but the Dogue is faulted when white is on the tip of the tail or on the front part of the forelegs above the carpus and the tarsus. One of three disqualifications in the AKC Dogue standard is white on the head or body, or any coat color other than shades of fawn. Eye color is hazel to dark brown for a dog with black mask, lighter color tolerated but not desirable with dogs with a brown mask or without a mask. Ears should be slightly darker in color than the coat.
The Bullmastiff’s gait should be free, smooth, and powerful. When viewed from the side, reach and drive indicate maximum use of the dog’s moderate angulation with the back remaining level and firm. Coming and going, the dog moves in a straight line feet tending to converge under the body, without crossing over, as speed increases. There is no twisting in or out at the joints. Our standard could not be more simple and concise on the subject of gait and one does not look at a dog’s gait in a search for flash and beauty but as evidence that the dog is both physically fit and functional. In observing how a Bullmastiff moves, one judges the whole dog as a unit trying to assess the ability of the dog to do its historic work …and if correct, it is usually associated with correctly constructed and athletically fit dogs. Equal emphasis should be on correct side, down and back movement and showmanship should not override breed correctness.
The Bullmastiff’s gait should be free, smooth, and powerful with the back remaining level and firm, while the Dogue de Bordeaux is quite supple for a molossoid, almost lion-like.
The breed-specific gait on a Dogue de Bordeaux is quite supple for a molossoid, almost lion-like. In open walking the movement is free, supple, close to the ground with good drive from the hindquarters, good extension of the forelegs, especially at the trot, which is the preferred gait. As the trot quickens, the head tends to drop, the topline inclines towards the front, and the front feet get closer to the median plane while reaching with a long stride. Vertical movement while in a short gallop is rather important. He is capable of great speed over short distances by bolting along close to the ground.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is gifted for guarding, which he assumes with vigilance and great courage but without aggressiveness. He is a very good companion, being attached to and affectionate toward his master and family. He is calm and balanced with a high stimulus threshold. The male in both breeds generally has a dominant character. Similarly, the Bullmastiff is fearless and confident yet docile and combines the reliability, intelligence, and willingness to please required in a dependable family companion and protector. Both of these breeds make excellent family companions.
Both of these breeds make excellent family companions.
About the Author
Helene Nietsch is more than 40-year veteran breeder of Bullmastiffs under the “Banstock” prefix. She has bred or owned 20 Registry of Merit Bullmastiffs as top-producing dogs and bitches (including 2008/2009’s top-producing sire of the year), more than 100 champions, multiple national specialty winners, and a best in show Bullmastiff in each of the four decades she has been breeding. She co-bred the first multiple best in show Bullmastiff in the 1970’s and the top-winning Bullmastiff in the history of the breed, Ch. Bandog’s Crawdaddy Gumbo. She has judged the American, French, Canadian and New Zealand Bullmastiff national specialties, the Bullmastiff World Cup in Hungary and the Spanish Bullmastiff Molosser specialty show and is currently approved to judge all working and hound breeds, several sporting and non-sporting breeds, junior showmanship and miscellaneous breeds.
Dogue de Bordeaux photos courtesy of the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America.