The goal of proper care (proper nutrition and exercise) is to allow the connective tissues and muscles to catch up to the bone growth as the dogue develops and to prevent strain on joints before they are able to handle it.

   Size of bowl used - 8-10 in ; you don't have to fill it to the top. The puppy will let you know how much he/she eats and when so just watch him/her.

   Adjustable food stand: you can increase the height as he/she grows. It helps prevent bloating.

   Kibble: Diamond Natural's Large Breed Adult 60+,  Taste of the Wild,  Blue Buffalo, California Naturals, Native, Victor. We usually vary our kibble and mix 2-3 different brands together - our dogues appreciate us keeping it interesting. We recommend high quality grain free kibble.

   The "Gravy" - to keep our dogs interested, we prepare different blended mixes that we use in the kibble - just a couple of spoonfuls, so they get even more variety. The mixes also contain vitamins and minerals that the kibble do not. The vitamins are kept at a minimum unless we are supplementing pregnant females.

Here are some examples of gravy recipes (keep in mind that with the resulting quality we feed all our dogs):

1) - 1 can dog food
    - 2-3 hotdogs
    - multivitamins
    - fish oil
    - vit C
    - glucosamine and chondroitin

2) - ground deer meat
    - rice pilaf with chicken broth
    - glucosamine and chondroitin
    - vit C

3) - ground beef
    - carrots
    - banana
    - vit C

Twice a week, our dogs get cottage cheese or yogurt instead of the gravy.

Age: 8 - 12 weeks

   Feed 4 x/day

   Kibble mixed with water, vitamin C powder (250-500mg), and 1 small fistful of ground beef or ground chicken necks,  OR topped with 1-2 tbsp of: cottage cheese, yogurt, or canned dog food. The mix should be mostly kibble.

   Leave bowl in stand for him/her to free feed. If he/she does not eat everything. Add some gravy to the his/her leftovers for the next meal. After he/she eats twice from the same mix, we recommend making new one.

   You also add herring oil on top of the food for joint and coat development.

   You can also add egg to the mix every now and then.

   At night you can give him/her raw pork neck bones about every other day for right now. 

Age: 12 weeks - 6 months

   Feed 3 x/day

   Same mix as described before twice a day.

   At night start incorporating a raw dinner. Talk to a local butcher and get chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish, and organ meats. We feed our bordeaux a variety of raw meats. We feed them organ meats 2x/week incorporated with some of the other meats and bones.

Age: over 6 months

   Feed 2x/day

   Kibble mix in AM and raw in PM

   DO NOT give calcium supplements. The only supplements you should use are vitamin C, glucosamine and chondroitin, and fish oil (pure form). You can also add some probiotics and colostrum powder.
   DO NOT overfeed. Sometimes they do not feel like eating and that is fine. If your puppy gets overweight he/she will be at risk of structural and cardiac problems.


   Try to keep your dogue de bordeaux (French mastiff) puppy active and do not allow him/her to become a couch potato because lack of exercise can be a problem as well. However, during the first 6 months, do your best to prevent overexercising your puppy.  

   Allow him/her to get moderate exercise by swimming or walking preferably on soft ground. Try to keep off concrete as much as possible. Gravel is fine every now and then, as it helps strengthen the pasterns.

   Do not let your bordeaux puppy get too rowdy with older dogs. They love to wrestle and it can be fun to watch but they can get hurt; try to get him/her to play with dogs closer to their age and weight.

   We recommend breaking the daily exercise time in shorter sessions rather than one large one.

Medications and vet care:

   We know that vet bills can cost and arm and a leg and that is why we strongly recommend that dogue de bordeaux (French mastiff) owners maintain contact with us for lifetime support for their puppy and strongly consider getting a health insurance plan for their new addition to the family.

   Please keep in mind that the dogue de bordeaux has particularities in regard to certain medical treatments that the vast majority of vets are unaware of, unless they have experience with this exact breed. Complications can be avoided by contacting us for any advice before having your puppy treated by an unexperienced professional.

Here is a list of common issues and basic medications / treatments that we found to be effective:



Skin infection / Hot spots – Bacterial

      -          Bath

      -          Topical Antibacterial - Neosporin

      -          Cephalexin

      -          Vitamin C, fish oil, colostrum powder

Skin infection – Fungal

      -          Bath

      -          Topical Antifungal

      -          Ketonazole

      -          Vitamin C, fish oil, colostrum powder

Insect bites / snake bites

      -          Benadryl – for swelling

      -          Clean area 2x/day:

      - Rub lesion with Clorox dipped cotton ball for a couple of minutes

      - Rub lesion with Alcohol dipped cottonball for a few minutes

      - Dry area

      -          Apply Neosporin 1-2x/day  in between cleanings  

Ear infections

      -          Tresaderm ear drops

      -          Zymox  enzymatic solution with hydrocortizone

Upset stomach

      -          Immodium

      -          Boiled rice with chicken breast

      -          Metronidazole

      -          Probiotics

Growth pain / Sprains

      -      Baby aspirin


      -          Benadryl

      -          Prednisone – Please note that this medication can cause mood swings, degeneration of joint cartilage, and severe acne in dogues de bordeaux

Immunological deficiency – manifested through infections and/or demodectic mange

      -          Boost immune system with Vitamin C, fish oil, colostrum powder

      -          Treat infections with antibiotics

      -          Mitaban dip for demodex


Internal parasites

      -          Ivermectin

      -          Pyrantel Pamoate

Both can be purchased in bulk from your vet

External parasites

      -          Biospot

      -          Frontline

Please Note: Antibiotics and Antifungals can be obtained without prescription from certain sources. However, you are risking of doing more harm to your pet if you administer them before knowing how and when to use them properly. You must know how to find out what medication to use for which condition, if the product is genuine, the expiration date, proper dosage, proper administration method, length of treatment, side effects, etc.



   The healthiest dogs in the world are mixed breed or mutts. This is due to their high genetic variation. In the case of purebred dogs, there is a higher incidence of health issues due to the toll inbreeding takes on their genetic variety. 
   Inbreeding had to take place in order to create the dog breeds of today. As such, health issues are found in all breeds, including the Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff). While some breeds are prone to certain problems, others are more likely to show other issues.

   The health problems of the Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff) are predominantly due to the very limited gene pool that was available for reestablishing the breed following World War II; a small gene pool resulted in a lot of inbreeding, causing certain issues to become more prone in the Bordeaux. Although over the years the numbers of Dogues has increased, the breed is still prone to many of these conditions due to the fact that the vast majority of them share the same genes. Therefore, there is no such thing as a perfect dog or a dog free of problems or faults.  Even 2 Dogues de Bordeaux (French Mastiffs) that are as close to "perfection" as possible will produce puppies with health issues not shown in the parents. This is due to certain genes that are not expressed in the parents but are expressed in some of the puppies due to a certain genetic combination.
   By continuing to concentrate mostly on line breeding, breeders hope to produce strong dogs by doubling up on certain "good genes". The problem is that often they also double up on "bad genes" as well. Therefore, they can end up producing puppies in each litter with a consistent wonderful look due to the phenotypical expression of certain genes that are shared by these puppies. However, they may start showing serious problems as they develop later on (ie epilepsy, seizures, etc). Line breeding is a useful tool as long as it is used in moderation.

   At the Palma ut Incendia Diabolus Dogue de Bordeaux Kennel, we focus on breeding dogs that are similar in type but genetically different as much as possible. This raises the chance of producing healthy puppies due to genetic diversity. We are working on creating lines that are true to the breed type but have the robustness and health of working lines. Ultimately, we hope that more and more breeders will adopt this method in order to increased genetic diversity and decrease the incidence of current health problems within the breed. We are making a continuous effort in regard to finding like-minded enthusiasts; at times it can be a very challenging task because we often run into individuals that clearly lack well intentions in regard to the breed or the people they come across. It is VERY IMPORTANT to first understand what the breed has to offer (in regard to qualities as well as shortcomings) in order to be able to accurately determine what to expect and to avoid being mislead. 


   These are some of the health problems associated with this breed:

Skin Infections

    The Bordeaux is prone to a variety of skin infections that can be caused by demodectic mange, bacteria, or fungus. Puppies are prone to these conditions because their immune systems develop late, or if they inherit weak immune systems from the parents; some lines are more prone then others. Puppies usually recover from these issues. However, some do not and have flare ups; dogues that reach adulthood and do not completely recover, should not be bred due to the possibility of transmitting the genes coding for weak immune systems to the offspring.



 The eyelids turn inwards, affecting one or both eyes. It most often occurs in the lower eye lids.  This condition generally appears soon after birth. Entropion may also appear later in life secondary to other changes in the eye. The result is that the eyelashes continuously rub against the cornea.  This can cause significant discomfort and trauma to the eye. Dogues suffering from this problem should not be bred.




Is a defect in the lower eyelid which results in sagging or rolling out of the eyelids, resulting in abnormal exposure of the eye, which often leading to irritation. Dogues suffering from this problem should not be bred.


Hip, Knee, Shoulder or Elbow Dysplasia

Aside from possible congenital predisposition, the biggest issue  in regard to the bordeaux's structural development is the discrepancy between skeletal growth and soft tissue growth; many times, the development of bone in a growing puppy takes place at a much faster rate than the development of muscle and connective tissue. Without proper support, the joints are likely to get deformed to a certain degree, resulting in the appearance of dysplasia.

Hip dysplasia can affect one or both hip joints, making them loose and wobbly.  HD is a progressive condition and left untreated will result in arthritis and lameness.  It is a painful and crippling disease that results in a weakened hip joint which causes painful inflammation and decreased flexibility.

Dysplasia is polygenic and has a multitude of causative factors including genetic predisposition, obesity, strenuous exercise, and trauma. Symptoms include, limping, inability to walk, lameness of the joint/limb, bunny hopping, etc. The congenital predisposition is caused my multiple genes and therefore cannot be eradicated. In a breed such as the dogue de bordeaux, the gene pool is extremely small and most dogues share most genes but in different combinations. The factors that are more easily influenced in order to prevent this condition are the environmental - that is the reason why proper nutrition and exercise are key.

Unfortunately, LESS THAN 1% of the Dogues de Bordeaux have been shown to be free of Hip Dysplasia. In other words, more than 99% of the breed radiologically displays this condition. It is the responsibility of the breeders to educate the public in regard to this issue and to strive to improve their lines by not breeding severely dysplastic dogues, but once the puppies go to their new homes it is the responsibility of the owners  to ensure that they provide the proper environment, exercise, and nutrition to ensure their puppy's best chances to develop appropriately.

Please note: This is considered a "functionally dysplastic breed" - this means that the vast majority of the dogues de bordeaux  (French mastiffs)have a certain degree of change in their joints (aka dysplasia) as they develop and age, but they function just fine. What is considered to be a problem is when a bordeaux's functional ability is severely impaired by the condition.


Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)


This is a disorder of the immature long bones and can appear in the shoulder, ankle or elbow joints.  In OCD, cracks appear in the cartilage of the bone joints, eventually over time a section of the joint cartilage will separate from the underlying bone, leading to inflammation of the joint.    Which can degenerate  further to cause scar tissue and calcium deposits on the affect joint.  Age of onset is usually 4-9 months. Males appear to be affected more than females. Treatment includes rest and/or surgery; the recovery can be 100%. Dogues with this condition should not be bred to prevent the transmission of faulty genes.




Commonly called “long bone disease”, this is a painful condition that is apparent in puppies under 13 months old.  The puppies bones are growing faster than their bodies.  Puppies will become incredibly lame on and off for a few months until they eventually grow into their bones.  The cause of panostetitis is unknown.  This has been seen in other breeds and not just the Dogue de Bourdeax.




This is a curse among all dogs built with deep chests, narrow waists and an extreme love of gorging on their food. It can be prevented by allowing plenty of rest time before and after eating. This can happen to mongrels as well as purebreds like the Dogue. It is similar to colic in horses.  Symptoms include swollen abdomen, dry heaves, whimpering, excessive drooling, restlessness because the dog is unable to get comfortable in any position and panting.  Call a vet immediately - THIS IS AN EXTREME EMERGENCY


Cardiac Disease


The Dogue is a large, heavy dog that can tip the scale at 110 pounds.  Making sure they stay at a healthy weight will not only help lessen dysplasia symptoms but may also help the dog from developing cardiac disease.  The Dogues do better in cold weather than hot.  Heat and humidity may cause heat stroke which can compromise a Dogue’s heart.

(Thank you Raymond Smith from Heritage Bordeaux for allowing us to use your site as a resource for some of this information)

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