Dogue de Bordeaux vs Rottweiler: A Detailed Breed Comparison

Wondering whether the Dogue de Bordeaux or the Rottweiler would be the best fit for your growing family? No doubt, deciding which one to go for is not easy. Large, powerful, and brave- all these qualities can be found on both Mastiff breeds. If you are looking for a guard dog, either one of them can be excellent at safeguarding your property. They also are highly affectionate dogs that will always beam with happiness at the sight of their owners.

Breed Origins

Dogue de Bordeaux

Photo from: suzlipman (IG)

The giant Dogue de Bordeaux which is also commonly referred to as the French Mastiff has a mysterious past. What we are clear of, however, is that he is a Molosser, a descendant of the ancient Molossus dog. He is highly related with St. Bernards, Pugs, and other Mastiff dog breeds, who all, except for the Pug, share the same feature- their massive size. 

The roots of the Dogue are muddled until now and there are several claims, different from each other, that try to explain his coming about. Other people suggest that he is a descendant of the extinct Alano dog, a Spanish canine. There’s also a claim stating that the Dogue comes from the Tibetan Mastiff. The rest continue to believe that the Dogue is the ancient French breed that was known as the Dogues de Bordeaux of Aquitaine. 


What people commonly believe about the Rottweiler is that the canine evolved around 74 AD when a group of Roman soldiers settled in a city in Württemberg, Germany. They then crossbred the German Shepherd (GSD) with the Mastiffs or Roman drover dogs that are capable of herding large flocks such as the bulls. Out came the Rottweiler Mastiff that is named after the town “Rottweil” from which he came from. He was widely used as a herder, a cart puller, and a boar-hunter, extensively. 

Unfortunately, around the 19th century, the land became industrialized and many Rotties were forced out of work. They have discovered their luck with butchers, however, and they did tasks such as pulling carts filled with meat, going to the town, and selling up the produce.

There came a time when the Rottie almost went extinct, but breeders strived hard to preserve the Mastiff and this resulted in him having his breed standards written.  

Size, Appearance, & Coloring

Dogue de Bordeaux

The massive French canine stands tall at around 23 to 27 inches when measured at withers and weighs about 99 to 110 pounds or up. His face has a few wrinkles and his nose is color-coordinated with his coat shade. The eyes are hazel and when he stares, you can somehow sense his mood. 

The chest is broad, the body robust, and the legs sturdy. Both his ears fold and flop. His double-coat is surprisingly soft and it should always be short. There can be a few white markings in some parts of his body, but it should never be seen on the tail.

The Dogue de Bordeaux sports the following natural breed colors:

  • Red 
  • Isabella
  • Fawn 


The Rottweiler is a medium to large Mastiff-type dog whose body is longer than tall. He has a non-existent tail which is docked while he’s still young to avoid injury as a working dog. Others chose to have his tail cut either for dog shows or aesthetic purposes. He has a compact body frame with hind legs longer than the ones in the front. The muzzle is wide and his jaws powerful while his two small triangular ears are set high on his prominent head. 

Just like most Mastiff breeds, the Rottie also boasts of its short double-coat that consists of guard hair that is dense, coarse, and water-resistant. There is only one major color found in this breed and that is black. Brown markings can be seen in various areas mainly in his chest, feet, muzzle, and the renowned two tan points above his eyes. 


Dogue de Bordeaux

True to its history, the Dogue is indeed a strong and dependable guard dog who will not let anyone trespass his owner’s home. Although he is a serious canine as a guardian, a softer side shows when he’s around his family. He loves to spend his time with his loved ones, especially the kids who can match well his thirst for fun.

It would take some time for him to adjust to the presence of new dogs, but socialization and constant behavioral training will eventually make him develop desirable habits. Always show him your love and care and he’ll gladly reciprocate it, more so when you are feeling down!


As what his appearance portrays, the Rottie is a dignified and confident dog perfect for families who need added security. He has several traits that make him interesting such as being quirky, clownish, or serious and observant. He is a good guard dog due to his alertness and power to defend his home and family. However, he shouldn’t attack a suspicious person right away but rather confirm his speculations. 

The Rottie also tends to herd children and he’s better off with older kids than toddlers. Exposure and constant interaction with other dogs, pets, and people are necessary so he doesn’t grow up to be overly protective. No doubt, he’s highly intelligent and all you have to do is take advantage of him while he’s still a puppy. This explains why you can see lots of Rotties doing service in several countries as police dogs, therapy dogs, and such. 

Exercise Needs

Dogue de Bordeaux

Even though the Dogue is a large dog, his energy levels remain to be moderate. He should not be over-exhausted nor left outside under the sun for long periods. At least an hour of activity each day will keep him fit and his muscles well-developed. 

Allowing him to take his daily walks either in the morning or afternoon as well as permitting him to go off-leash in a fenced yard will keep the canine happy both physically and emotionally. Never let him be a couch potato or else prolonged immobility may strike his health. 


Photo from: rottieluca (IG)

Let’s not forget that the Rottweiler loves to please his owner. He can always be up for anything that is thrown at him! Running, fetch games, swimming, you name it and you’ll see him getting excited to sweat off. This is a pretty active dog and he would require at least 2 hours of activity each day. Should you want him to run, long-distance running won’t be right for him. He does better in sprinting.

Since this is a smart dog, he can also learn new games such as hide and seek, tug of war, and bite work training.

Grooming Requirements

Dogue de Bordeaux

Luckily, it isn’t that burdensome to take care of the large Dogue de Bordeaux. Thanks to his short coat, brushing him will only have to take place once a week. Baths are not to be done very frequently as well. Simply stick on a 6 to 8-week schedule or whenever it is needed. Make sure your grooming tools are always ready to combat the shedding of the dog. The spring and fall seasons will make his body release more hairs than normal.


Even during the shedding season, the Rottie only requires minimal grooming. That means a weekly brush will keep his coat in top condition. Occasionally, he would also need to be wiped down. As observed, the breed has nails that grow very quickly, so be sure that his nail clippers are always ready for action. Moreover, regularly clean his teeth and keep his ears from wax build-up. Wash him only when it’s needed.

Health Problems

Dogue de Bordeaux

With his short lifespan of 6-8 years, you can try to lengthen the average years by immediately addressing diseases and conditions he’s vulnerable to which are the following:

  • Conjunctivitis
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Cardiac issues
  • Footpad hyperkeratosis


The Rottie is prone to various medical conditions. Most of them can be eliminated when treated early while others might need maintenance or immediate surgery. The following are the Rottie’s common problems:

  • Osteosarcoma
  • Gastric torsion
  • Panosteitis
  • Hypothyroidism 

Breed Popularity

The American Kennel Club sets out the current rankings of the following Mastiff dogs according to breed popularity. Check it out below:

Dogue de Bordeaux: 67th

Boerboel: 121st

Which Mastiff Should You Get?

Prospective owners should recognize that the Dogue and the Rottie can be similar in so many ways. However, the Rottie’s temperament and purpose as a dog are slightly different from the Dogue. Aside from guarding, the Rottie can be used for several types of dog work thanks to what he’s been bred for. However, if you prefer the Dogue due to its appearance and suitability to your lifestyle, then that might be the perfect Mastiff for you!