The Dogue de Bordeaux, sometimes known as the French Mastiff, is one of the oldest known French dog breeds documented as far back the early 14th century. The breed's name was derived from the Bordeaux region of France after an 1863 Paris show where it was the winner and thus named after the capital of its region. Historically this breed was a heavy working breed and guarding breed known for its guard work of many European castles.
Historically the breed is believed to have existed even before the Bullmastiff and Bulldog and is believed by some to have influenced their development. Some even believe the breed is related to the Greco Roman molossus of war as there is documented evidence of a very similar breed in Rome during Julius Caesar's rule. Others also postulate that it may be related to the Neapolitan Mastiff. The truth is forever lost to history, but possible that there is a little bit of truth in all of the above theories.
In the distant past, various varieties exhibited different colors and markings, but the expected norm has become the red color over time.
While the breed is known to have existed in America as early as the 1890's their lines were not kept pure, others later were imported, but the breed never was established officially. By 1982 there were no recorded Dogue de Bordeaux in America and only 600 documented left in the world, most of which still resided in France, Holland, and East Berlin.
In 1989 the breed gained stardom in the classic Hollywood picture Turner and Hooch. Since then, it has had additional appearances in media and is enjoying significantly greater popularity.
One of the biggest negatives to the breed is its expected short life span. On average, the breed lives only six years. Also, due to their large size and lack of significant genetic diversity, hip dysplasia is common.
Because the breed shares much of the same history as other molosser breeds, it is not a surprise that some are believed to have been used in the now developing American Bully breed.