The Dogue de Bordeaux, like any other member of the large breeds, are very often hard-pressed to reach the age of ten , although exceptions do occur. To date no health problems have been found to be specific to the DDB, but as in the case of any of the large breeds, problems can arise. Hip Dysplasia is the most common problem in the breed. Only a small number have been OFA'd or PennHip'd. More and more breeders in the U.S. are taking the extra measure to X-ray their stock , but unfortunately many will not. Some argue that to concentrate on the hips causes other problems to arise. As a breeder one must look at the total DDB, not just bits and pieces.
In France testing for Hip Dysplasia at ont time consisted of the following criteria. At Two years of age any DDB , with the proper physical and temperamental characteristics , are required to jump a fence that stands three feet high. Any DDB that could not easily clear the fence is excluded from any breeding programs.
The Dogue also has a problem with heart murmurs and skin disease. Heart murmurs are attributed to the small gene pool. They are usually not a threat and more often than not go unnoticed. Demodex Mange is a skin problem sometimes seen in the DDB. It is caused by a mite that lives naturally on all dogs. It flares up when the DDB is young (1 to 6 months) or if the DDB is sick or highly stressed(pregnancy or accidents). Demodex Mange is often mistaken for hot spots or staph infections unless skin scrapings are done. Mitaban Dips have been proven successful in most cases. but sometimes the mites reproduce too fast and unnoticed; localized mange then becomes generalized. In extreme cases DDB have to be euthanized because the mange went too far and compromised the overall health of the subject. It is believed to be passed on from the dam's line but the data is inconclusive.
The Dogue de Bordeaux has a fast growth rate. Puppies gain 2 to 4 pounds per week on average and may experience Eosinphilic Panosteitis or Pano, a condition also known as growing pains or wandering lameness. Pano is unrelated to trauma. It shifts from one location to another and is accompanied by fever, eosinphils in the white blood count, muscle wasting and unthriftiness. An X-ray will show increased density of the long bones. DDBs recover spontaneously but if severely affected may never regain full muscle strength. This condition is hereditary and is much more a nuisance than anything else. Owners may have to assist a suffering DDB outside. The DDB may cry in pain and may not eat because it feels miserable.
Many breeders treat the condition with a simple reduction in the amount of protein they feed The DDB. Changing the diet from puppy to adult and back again when symptoms have subsided. I prefer to treat with a supplement of "Creatine Monohydrate". Although research is still being conducted on this additive, I have had great results with it. As in the reduced protein diet, I stop supplementing the food when symptoms have disappeared. This condition can come and go and usually disappears after 1 year of age.
Some DDB can suffer from Soft Palettes. The Palette does not open and close properly. and can interfere when the DDB needs to vomit. The DDB will "Dry Heave" until its throat opens up and allows passage. Sometimes this doesn't happen and the DDB faints. DDBs are prone to vomit after drinking Cold Water. Provide water at room temperature to prevent the problem. Soft Palettes are also hereditary. But not all problems in the DDB are hereditary. Some problems are brought on by misguidance, misunderstanding and mistakes. The DDB like many of the larger breeds are prone to "Bloat" or twisting of the stomach.
Bloat can be deadly if it goes unnoticed and should be considered an emergency if witnessed by the owner. Excessive excercise before or after eating can cause a DDB to bloat. It is advisable to wait half an hour or so before or after excercising to feed a DDB and water should be given moderately. Dry Kibble dog food should be moistened and allowed to expand before feeding it to a DDB. Food and water bowls should be raised off the floor. The Adult DDB can eat more than 8 cups of dry kibble a day, but it should Not be fed this amount at one sitting.
An increasing problem has arisen in the past few years. Since 1998 several Dogues have died from epileptic siezures. The problem is currently being tracked with the increased usage of DNA Profiling. Hopefully, in the future, they will find a link between epilepsy and lineage.
The Dogue de Bordeaux needs plenty of excercise to develop its muscle structure. Young pups get a lot of excercise from playing with their littermates or by themselves. As a DDB gets older it is still important that they recieve the proper amounts of excercise. A brisk walk two or three times a day will keep the adult dogue in good shape. Be careful of undue stress on the developing DDBs structure. Cautionary excercise is recommended for the growing DDB. As with any dog, walks should never take place in the heat of a summer day but should be reserved for cool mornings and evenings during the summer months.
The Dogue de Bordeaux has short, fine hair and requires a weekly brushing to keep the coat in premium condition. Basic Dental care, Nail trimmings and ear cleaning is also required. Their wrinkles don't usually get dirty with the exception of the area beneath the eyes due to eye discharge. Therefore their faced should be wiped and cleaned daily and since you have the rag in your hands, you can wipe their feet making sure to get between the toes. They are basically a low maintenance dog.