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The Dogue de Bordeaux is a reasonably popular breed in the UK, being the 35th most popular overall out of a total of 241 different dog breeds and types. However, they have fallen in popularity somewhat over the last year – and in 2017, the breed was the 27th most popular, which means a fall of eight places in just a year.
Dogue de Bordeaux puppies are also quite expensive to buy, which is a deterrent to some puppy buyers – as of May 2018, the average purchase price in the UK for a pedigree Dogue de Bordeaux is £936 for a Kennel Club registered pedigree, and £726 for a non-pedigree. Excellent quality examples of the breed with an exemplary pedigree and proven history of good health often change hands for much larger figures too.
In this article, we will look at some of the factors that contribute to making the Dogue de Bordeaux breed as a whole rather costly to buy – and explain what they are. Read on to learn more.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is a giant dog breed, and very large and giant breeds tend to be more costly than their smaller counterparts. Whilst paying a figure of around £1,000 or more for a pedigree dog might seem like a high purchase cost, this figure is well within the average norm for pedigree giant dog breeds, and so in context of their size, the Dogue de Bordeaux’s average purchase cost is not overly high.
Dogues are also one of the most expensive breeds to own and care for – some of which can be attributed to their giant size. When you own a huge dog, everything costs more – from food to accessories to veterinary care, and everything in between.
They are also very costly to insure, part of which can be attributed to the breed’s general health, which is somewhat complex.
These costs don’t just affect new puppy buyers, of course – they also make the cost of caring for breeding stock and keeping adult dogs used for breeding high too, which is reflected in the sale price of their puppies.
The Dogue de Bordeaux’s average lifespan is 8-10 years, which is relatively low compared to all dog breeds, but around the low to average side for very large breeds. However, the breed as a whole also has several health conditions that are significant and prevalent within the breed, which can affect the dog’s quality of life as well as longevity.
This means that the chances of any given dog of the breed possessing at least one breed-specific health condition is reasonably high, and responsible breeders will breed from only healthy dogs. Often, health issue that may mean that breeding isn’t the right decision can take some years to become apparent, which means that the breeder will have to keep and pay for all of the dog’s care even though they aren’t viable breeding stock.
Additionally, some health conditions that aren’t apparent in breeding stock, or for which parent dogs are carriers but not affected themselves can present in their puppies, which means that they cannot be sold on to new homes in good conscience.
Good conformation is a must for breeding stock too, and certain conformation issues like eyelid ectropion may mean an adult dog cannot be bred from, due to the risk of passing the condition on to their litter.
There is also the potential risk for breeders that if a puppy they sell appears to be healthy but a health condition becomes apparent soon after sale, they will need to accept the return of the puppy.
Many of the health problems that can affect the Dogue de Bordeaux breed cannot be tested for or predicted ahead of time, but there are some issues for which health testing is available. Not only is it good practice to undertake these tests on breeding stock, but members of The Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme are required to undertake hip scoring on their parent stock prior to breeding from their dogs.
This test cannot be performed and return a conclusive result until the dog is over two years old, and also, it can cost several hundred pounds per dog. The tested dog might have been kept and reared with a view to becoming breeding stock – but if their hip scores are poor enough to make this unviable, they will have to be removed from the breeding pool.
Elbow scoring is also strongly advised by Dogue de Bordeaux breed clubs, which again comes at an additional cost, and may be necessary to gain registration as a breed club approved breeder.
Dogue de Bordeaux dams tend to have relatively large litters – data collated by the Norwegian Kennel Club indicates an average of eight pups per litter, although up to seventeen have been recorded!
More pups per litter that can be offered for sale helps to ensure that the price per puppy doesn’t need to be raised significantly to account for a small litter size, but on the flipside, the Dogue de Bordeaux breed has a reasonably high level of neonatal mortality and still birth. Again, data from Norway shows a stillbirth rate of just over 14%, and a neonatal mortality rate of just over 10%.
This means that factoring in stillbirth and neonatal mortality, the average litter size of viable pups of the breed drops from eight to six.
The Dogue de Bordeaux is not one of the dog breeds that almost always has to be delivered by caesarean section, but they do have a relatively high rate of caesarean delivery – UK data places this at 27.8% of all litters.
Caesarean delivery is both complicated and expensive, which is reflected in turn in a higher puppy cost. Even in dogs that are able to deliver normally, the potential need for a caesarean and general heath of the breed means that veterinary involvement is advisable throughout the period of gestation and delivery itself – all of which adds up to higher breeding costs, and higher puppy sale prices.
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