French Mastiff Pros And Cons
Learn Their 8 Good And Bad Traits

by Ken Alden

Dogue de Bordeaux or French Mastiff is one of the oldest French dog breeds that people used for hunting, protection, dogfights, and cart dragging. It can be tricky to raise this dog, but learning the good and bad about them will give you a good head start.

French Mastiff Pros And Cons...

  • Affectionate and Even-Tempered
  • Easily Groomed
  • Calm and Quiet Indoors
  • A Fearless Protector and Territorial
  • Have High Exercise Needs
  • Have Short Lifespans and Health Conditions
  • French Mastiffs Needs Adequate Socialization
  • Are Independent and Strong-Willed

Need a bit more than just that? There's plenty of reasons why you should and shouldn't raise one, so stick around as we uncover more about good and bad about French Mastiffs. You're in for a surprise, because sometimes, their best characteristic ends up being a huge disadvantage for some people.

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French Mastiff pros and cons

Quick Facts on French Mastiffs

Before we cover the good and bad about the French Mastiff, let's go through some of the facts that make them unique. Here's a fact sheet on the things that you may want to know about these giants: 

Other Names

Dogue de Bordeaux
Bordeaux Mastiff

Life Span

9-11 years


23.6 to 26.8 in.   
(60 to 68 cm) 

22.8 to 26 in.
(58 to 66 cm)


50 to 68 kg 
(110-150 lbs) 
45 to 57 kg 
(99-126 lbs)

Characteristics of French Mastiff

  Affection Level


  Exercise Needs

Energy Level


Sheds Much?











Tend to Bark








Pro-tip: Mastiff anxiety, aggression, destructive chewing, jumping up, fearfulness, and other behaviors can be controlled with the right training program.

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The Good About French Mastiffs

French Mastiff is the quintessential guard dog—massive, powerful, territorial, protective, and loyal to its owners. But did you know that there are even more reasons why you'd want one for your house? Here are some of the best traits that could make French Mastiff perfect for you:

They're Affectionate and Even-Tempered

A French Mastiff can be intimidating for a lot of people and animals, but they're soft-hearted and affectionate towards their owners. They hate conflicts between family members and assume that they should be the intermediary. So, they'll always get in the middle of family members, and parents who are scolding their kids.

This dog may be soft on the inside, but they always have their watchful eyes over their owners—they're suspicious and alert whenever a stranger is around. Despite this, their tendency to make unprovoked attacks is low and will remain calm unless they sense danger. That's why having them around can give you great peace of mind, any time of the day. 

They're Easy Grooming

This breed is advisable for people with minimal experience in raising dogs because of their easy grooming requirements. Aside from seasonal flea, you only need to give it regular brushes to keep its coat sleek and shiny. 

They shed moderately throughout the year, similar to most breeds, but you can minimize it with minimal effort. In fact, you only need to worry about minimal cleaning and vacuuming when they shed because it's a regular cycle for them.

They're Calm and Quiet Indoors

French Mastiffs may be huge, but they won't mind apartment living because adults tend to be calm and quiet indoors. Well, even when outdoors, they can still be quiet, but won't hesitate to take down a stranger—they'll bite before they bark.

This breed is usually mild-mannered with minimal tendency to bark or make unprovoked attacks. The only time that they would is when they're trying to intimidate a person or an animal that is impossible for them to reach—strangers on the other side of the fence. 

They're a Fearless Protector and Territorial

This trait is, perhaps, the biggest reason why a lot of people want to raise a French Mastiff. They do well for various outdoor tasks, but they excel as protectors of their owners and properties. If you give them something to watch over, they'll make it their territory and keep it free from all strangers. 

Socialization will help them understand the difference between the good and bad guys, but they never lose their instinct to watch over your safety or property. It's what makes French Mastiffs tick, and will always be a striking trait that makes them great dogs. 

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The Bad About French Mastiffs

Like any other breed, French Mastiff isn't safe from bad traits. In fact, they aren't as good as you'd expect if you can't train them properly, which isn't simple as well. Here are some of the things that will make you reconsider having this dog:

Demanding Exercise

Dogue de Bordeaux is stronger, more active, and energetic than most mastiff breeds, but they need a lot of daily exercises to keep them healthy. It also helps them develop lean muscles to support their activity. 

A regular exercise regimen is also a proven way to minimize the risks of developing various health issues later in life. So, if you're not a fan of spending a huge chunk of your time doing outdoor activities with your dog, then you may want to look at other breeds.

They Have Short Lifespans and Health Conditions

As you already know, the lifespan of French Mastiffs is anywhere between 9 to 11 years, which is shorter than most breeds. That's not putting into account the various health problems that they tend to develop, such as lymphoma, hip and elbow dysplasia, heat intolerance, kidney failure, hyperkeratosis, epilepsy, and even cancer.

You can minimize the risks of developing some of these health issues through adequate exercises, but it won't make them immune. That's why it can be challenging for busy households to keep this dog in tip-top shape.

French Mastiffs Needs Adequate Socialization

French Mastiffs are always suspicious of strangers. It's part of their protective nature, which could pose a danger to people around you. Without adequate socialization, they can either be too aggressive or too fearful of others, but the outcome will always be the same—defensive attacks. 

As your dog grows, you'll have to introduce him to several people to help him develop a sense of differentiation between good and bad. It's part of their training to become a more effective protector and keep other people and animals around him safe.

They're Independent and Strong-Willed

A French Mastiff is an alpha dog that is confident, independent, strong-willed, and secure of himself. He'll always want to be the boss, and it can be challenging for an owner to train this dog unless he has the same unparalleled will to establish leadership.

Without proper training, this dog will become unpredictable, stubborn, and difficult to deal with. So if you don't want to go through the complexity of establishing your leadership and show your dog that you're the boss, it would be best to reconsider raising one.

French Mastiff Pros And Cons...Conclusion

There's no doubt about a French Mastiff's ability to become an excellent guard dog, but it comes with various disadvantages. It's not easy to raise this dog, because you'll have to deal with the following:

  • Demanding exercise needs to stay lean and healthy
  • Susceptible to various health conditions and short lifespan
  • Require adequate socialization to be an effective protector
  • Independent, strong-willed, and challenging to train 

If you can overcome all of these issues when raising this dog, then there's no doubt that it's one of the best breeds that you can have. Here are the perks of raising this dog properly:

  • Affectionate to family members and even-tempered with strangers
  • Easy grooming that is easy to keep up with
  • Calm and quiet indoors without requiring special attention
  • A fearless protector that won't hesitate to take down threats

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About Author

About the Author...

Ken Alden, a dedicated Mastiff owner for over eight years, is acclaimed for his expertise in care, grooming, and training. Read more About Me and my dog Shadow.

For More Information For French Mastiff Lovers...

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