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Here are a few suggestions and a bit of advice I have on caring for your Dogue De Bordeaux, it is very important to do your research with any breed, preferably before you bring one home. This gives you knowledge, peace of mind and a happy, healthy Dogue!

Before buying a puppy, many buyers decide which Bordeauxs they like the look of by looking at websites, books, magazines etc before even contacting a breeder! They might have an 'ideal' Dogue in mind and may even tell the breeder: “I want a puppy that will look like that Dogue when it grows up!”

As a breeder, it is my passion to breed dogs that are sound in body and mind and I do my utmost best to rear pups so they are healthy, happy, well socialized and ready for their new homes. The care and dedication starts even before the pups are born, with the complete and total care of the mother. Starting with before she is even pregnant, her health and needs while she is pregnant and continuing with the non-stop 24 hour-a-day attention she needs and deserves up until and after the litter has arrived. Then my dedicated care is shared between mum and pups up until they are ready to leave to their new homes.

Complete care of your Dogue ranges from diet and exercise to vets and health checks. It is always wise to pick a vet that you are comfortable with and that will take the time to answer all your questions. If you don't have a vet, ask your friends who they use and who they would recommend. A good vet is a God send, not only for help and advice but especially in times of trouble!

From the moment the pup leaves my care and goes to its new home, the responsibility of the well-being and health lies on the new owner. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming as it is a big responsibility!

To have that healthy, well balanced dogue with the physical qualities you expected from its lineage, is solely down to you, its new owner! The exercise, socialization, training and overall health the puppy receives in the first 12 months is vital.

In the first year of it's life the puppy does a huge amount of growing, and can increase in size and weight on average from 8/10 kgs to 50/60 kgs!

It is incredibly important to get the diet and exercise right for your pup at this stage of development.

Your pup needs long periods of rest, to allow all those joints, muscles and ligaments time to strengthen and develop. Some people choose to introduce their pup to a crate, which can help you achieve this. This way the pup has his own time and space away from the hustle and bustle to rest and recoup.

I also believe a good quality diet is incredibly important, there are certain brands of food dedicated to Large and Giant breeds of dogs, some are cheaper than others but as long as it provides your pup with what it needs it will be fine.

You can also add fresh meat to the main meal as it can give the pup extra nutrition, this can be in the form of tripe, mince or lamb. Good pet shops will have a specific range of meats geared towards dogs and not humans! Another tip is to feed your pup to match their appetite, but obviously don't allow your puppy to get fat, as overweight puppies will have more stress on their joints and will lead to health problems later.

 Your pup should get enough nutrition and energy from their food to be able to grow correctly and healthily if given the right amount and the right quality.

Your pups exercise is also very important. All play and activity should be controlled by you, the owner, a puppy that is allowed to run around constantly will have very little energy left to grow correctly and may end up with health problems such as Hip Dysplasia. Hip dysplasia has four major causes: genetics, diet, overfeeding, and too much exercise at a young age.

Puppies can also sometimes suffer from Eosinphilic Panosteitis or sometimes called 'Pano'. Better known to us as 'growing pains', Pano is an acute lameness which is totally unrelated to any trauma. It might shift from one location to another as the pup grows. If you think your pup is suffering from this condition it is best to consult a vet, it's usually nothing to be overly concerned about but it is always best to double check.

The Dogue de Bordeaux is supposed to be a athletic dog, with a powerful, muscular body and legs. Any Dogue that is not true to type or fit will not even be considered for breeding.

Dogues, as with many of other large or giant breeds or breeds with deep chests - are prone to bloat. Bloat is what happens with over-feeding over a period of time, creating a twisting of the stomach that can lead to death.

Unfortunately there is no one specific cause of Bloat, but it is widely believed that excessive exercise and excitement after eating and drinking can result in the problem as well as over-feeding. Bloat is commonly blamed on the dogs gulping air quickly during eating and drinking which then gets caught in the stomach.

To help prevent this, you should avoid feeding your Dogue straight before or after exercise, you should also not let them get over excited about the meal itself. It's also a good idea not to leave food down all day as you can't keep an eye on them.

Exercise needs to be restricted until around 6 months old, a young puppy should never get to the point of exhaustion, usually if your pup is excessively panting he's had more than enough play!

A puppy whose exercise is mainly made up from free play, to the point of exhaustion, will grow into an adult who may have health problems later, is lacking in bone and muscle and can become leggy, even if his breeding has promised otherwise!

Your pup should avoid long walks and a lot of time spent running or jogging until they are around 12 months old.

If you already have another dog, your pup should not be allowed to have unsupervised and endless play with the older dog. As restrictive as it may sound, limit their play time to short periods of time, for example two 10 minute sessions a day. This way the pup is exercised and socialized but not overly excessively.

You must also be careful that the older dog is able to play with the pup and not lose patience with them, otherwise your older dog could begin to act aggressively towards your new puppy. This teaches the puppy to be aggressive to other dogs and may also become aggressive to others as it gets older! This is a definite no-no as you don't want a full grown aggressive Dogue!

Do not let your dog get fat. Overweight dogs have lots of different health problems. If you feed a healthy diet, one that's recommended by the breeder or vet, this will minimize the chances of severe health problems. Being overweight at a young age is going to add stress on soft puppy muscles and bones and this has been proven to have an effect on skeletal development.

Many puppies are over-exercised and over-fed, resulting in very ill dogs with hip problems, pain for the dog and costly vets bills for the owner.

Also please remember that although children and puppies were made for each other, playtime with child and pup should always be supervised. It is essential for the child's safety but also the pups! Children can be impulsive and can unintentionally hurt the puppy during play, and of course puppy teeth are like little pins to small fingers can also get hurt!

If you ever need extra advice you can ask your vet or your breeder and they will calm your worries and help with any problem you may have.

The average Dogue lives from 7 - 10 years and if you do things the 'right' way, and take proper care of your cute puppy, you will eventually have an adult Dogue De Bordeaux to be proud of which has a full, fit and happy life!

Diet and Exercise