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What Kind of Dog Is Hooch? Turner & Hooch in Real Life

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on March 2, 2024 by Dogster Team


What Kind of Dog Is Hooch? Turner & Hooch in Real Life

Turner & Hooch is a beloved buddy-cop comedy film from the 1980s starring Tom Hanks and Beasley the Dog. The slobbery mastiff-type Hooch captured the hearts of millions, but many don’t know what kind of dog he actually is.

Hooch, like Beasley the Dog, his movie alternates, and his stunt doubles, are all Dogue de Bordeaux, a French Mastiff. Learn more about this remarkable breed that Turner & Hooch introduced to American audiences.

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Beasley the Dog

Beasley the Dog, the main actor playing Hooch, was a Dogue de Bordeaux. He was born in a dog kennel in Merrimac, Wisconsin, before being purchased along with other dogs for the film.

Like other Dogues, Beasley was a powerful, muscular dog that showcases the breed. According to the breed standard, Dogues should measure 23 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh 99 to 110 pounds. Males are larger than females.

Employed as hunting, herding, and guard dogs, Dogues have an intimidating appearance but a gentle and calm nature with their owners. Their size and strength, combined with their undershot jaw, expressive eyes, and furrowed brow, made the breed a perfect choice for the canine “muscle” in the buddy cop duo.

One of Hooch’s most famous traits is also a hallmark of the breed: excessive drooling and snoring. Otherwise, these dogs are clean and easy to keep, so a little drool never hurt anyone.

Beasley lived a long life, passing away in 1992 at the age of 14. However, like other large breeds, most Dogues have a shorter life span of 5 to 8 years.

The Dogue de Bordeaux has been around since before France was even France, but the breed did not gain AKC recognition until 2008. They’re now part of the Working Group.

Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock

Filming Turner & Hooch

In Turner & Hooch, Detective Scott Turner must adopt a rambunctious dog, Hooch, the only witness to a murder. Though it deals with serious subject matter, the film is an entertaining and silly comedy about a cop and his canine companion.

Despite his illustrious career, Hanks would refer to Turner & Hooch as one of the more demanding experiences he had making a film, all because he had to play off the reactions of a dog. In his words, “We will not ask the dog to do anything specifically; this dog will just do things.”

That paid off because many critics praised Hanks’ performance, noting the chemistry between him and the dog. One critic even characterized their relationship as “the seeming near-telepathic sensitivity of longtime vaudeville partners.”

Not all reviews were positive, but critics still loved the partners. As Desson Thomson of The Washington Post said at the time, “We all know Tom’s gonna warm up to that pooch Hooch because, in Hollywood, a dog is always man’s best friend. And Hanks is always a movie’s best friend.”

Since the original film, five burly Dogues de Bordeaux—Arnie, Hammer, Obi, Cyd, and Mya—played “Hooch” in the sequels and television series. The legacy also spawned endless pop-culture references in movies and television.

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One of several AKC breeds with ancient histories, the Dogue de Bordeaux is an indigenous French breed that’s been developed over thousands of years for herding, hunting, fighting, guarding, and more. But it was one Hollywood Dogue, Beasley, and his memorable role in Turner & Hooch that brought this relatively unknown dog breed into the spotlight.

Featured Image Credit: EvaHeaven2018, Shutterstock

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