Bouvier des Ardennes

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48-50 lbs
20-25"
Belgium
Ardennes Droving Dog, Ardennes Cattle Dog

The Bouvier des Ardennes is a Belgian herding breed that originated in the region of Ardennes. He is a large dog with a rugged look and can be adaptable to his surroundings. The Bouvier des Ardennes is not just a working dog; he also enjoys playing and spending time with his family. He is intelligent and relatively easy to train. Since he is a large herding breed, he is not well suited for apartment living; he needs a large fenced yard to run and play. He does need a job to perform to keep him healthy and from becoming a nuisance. The Bouvier des Ardennes is a rare breed, even in his native Belgium. 

Purpose
Herding and Driving Cattle
Date of Origin
1600s
Ancestry
Unknown

Bouvier des Ardennes Health

Average Size
Height: 20-25 inches Weight: 48-50 lbs
Height: 20-25 inches Weight: 48-50 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually A Very Healthy Breed
Minor Concerns
  • Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
  • Eye Problems
  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) or Bloat
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Epilepsy
Occasional Tests
  • CERF
  • Yearly Physical Examination
  • OFA on hips and elbows

Bouvier des Ardennes Breed History

A Bouvier is simply a bovine herder or a dog that is used to work or herd cattle. All Bouvier breeds are also given the name of the region they hail from as a way to distinguish them from other Bouviers. Therefore, the Bouvier des Ardennes was bred in the Adrenne region of Belgium. It is believed that he is a very old breed and dates back to before written breeding records were kept, possibly the 1600s. The Bouvier des Ardennes was developed to withstand harsh terrain and climate while working with cattle. They were used to move herds to grazing grounds and then to market when it was time to sell the cattle. The first document portraying the Bouvier des Ardennes as a well established breed was written sometime in the 1800s. Researchers have not been able to accurately determine what breeds were used to develop the Bouvier des Ardennes. Some researchers and breed enthusiasts believe that the Bouvier des Ardennes was used not just for herding, but also for hunting purposes. Many speculate that he was used to hunt wild boar and deer near the end of the 1800s. Near the end of the 19th century, dog shows became increasingly popular and breeders in Belgium began expressing an interest in standardizing dog breeds within the country and giving them individual recognition. The Liege Society for the Improvement of the Cattle Dog was founded in 1913 and shortly after the breed standard for the Bouvier des Ardennes was proposed. Standardized dog breeding in Belgium came to a halt when World War I struck and German occupation of Belgium caused the number of purebred dogs to plummet drastically. The Bouvier des Ardennes did eventually earn recognition by the Belgian Kennel Club in 1923, but by this time there were only a handful left from the war. World War II almost completely wiped out the breed and it took many generations of devoted breeders to bring the breed back to where it is today. In fact, people believed that the breed had become extinct until the 1980s when researchers found a group of purebred Bouvier des Ardennes owned by local farmers in the southern region of Belgium. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, breeders began cultivating the breed and breeding according to his standard. While he is still a very rare breed, the Bouvier des Ardennes was accepted into the United Kennel Club in 2006.

Bouvier des Ardennes Breed Appearance

The Bouvier des Ardennes has a rugged, hardy appearance with thick bone and a heavy look. He is well muscled and compact but surprisingly light on his feet and agile. Overall, the Bouvier des Ardennes has a rather forbidding appearance with a tousled look. He has triangular shaped ears that are set high on his skull and appear small. Ears that are fully erect are preferred; however semi-erect ears are also acceptable.  His nose is broad with well defined nostrils and is always black in color. He has oval shaped eyes that are medium sized and set somewhat close together. His eyes should be a very dark brown, almost appearing black in color with his eye rims also being fully and darkly pigmented. He does have a moustache and beard that is about 2 inches long and should hide the inside corner of his eyes. The Bouvier des Ardennes has a very dense, double coat that is weatherproof. His topcoat is dry, coarse and about 2 ½ inches in length. He should look tousled but never unkempt. His undercoat is also very dense and is about half the length of his topcoat. He has supple, tight fitting skin. The Bouvier des Ardennes can be any color except white. Generally, he is seen in a mixture of black, grey and fawn. 

Eye Color Possibilities
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
Blue
Silver
Fawn
Red
Brown
Gray
Black
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Bouvier des Ardennes Breed Maintenance

The Bouvier des Ardennes requires regular grooming to keep his coat from matting. He should really be brushed daily; however, every other day will also keep his coat in condition and tangle-free. He is an average shedder, except when he sheds heavily during the spring and fall. Brushing him should not take long when you are brushing him daily. Use a pin brush, slicker brush and metal comb; a dematter or matt-splitter may also be used for persistent tangles. A leave-in shampoo or de-tangling spray may also help keep extreme matting from occurring. Some Bouvier des Ardennes owners opt to have him shaved to keep from having the high maintenance, however, shaving him too close to the skin can cause skin irritation or sunburns when outdoors. He only needs to be bathed a few times each year since he does not have a strong dog smell. If he is used to work livestock, then bathing him more often will be required. Clean his ears weekly and check for any irritation, foul odor or redness that might indicate a problem. 

Brushes for Bouvier des Ardennes
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Dematter
Comb
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Bouvier des Ardennes Temperament

The Bouvier des Ardennes is a hard worker and is the type of dog that must have a job to do to be happy. He is also adaptable to his surroundings but expect to provide him with plenty of toys and activities to keep him from becoming a nuisance. Being a herding breed, the Bouvier des Ardennes can be vocal and will let you know when he is happy or displeased. Generally, he makes an excellent family companion when he is properly socialized and trained. He can be an independent dog and many times may seem to prefer his own company rather than be with people or other dogs. When raised with other dogs, the Bouvier des Ardennes should do well with them. He will show aggression towards anyone he perceives as a threat to his family. Do not allow him to wander the neighborhood; he needs a secure fence to keep him from getting into trouble because he is naturally curious and will investigate or explore everywhere. The Bouvier des Ardennes can easily develop separation anxiety once he forms a strong bond with his family.

Bouvier des Ardennes Activity Requirements

The Bouvier des Ardennes is a working breeding and is therefore a very active dog. He has to be kept busy with either toys or a task to perform. He can easily become hyperactive or destructive when he does not have anything to occupy his time. This will make him extremely difficult to live with and frustrate his family. He does need plenty of room run therefore, a large fenced yard is ideal for him. Since his herding instincts are still very high, performing in herding trials is a good way to expend his energy and form a bond with his owner. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
14 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Bouvier des Ardennes Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.2 - $1.4
Monthly Cost
$34 - $45

Bouvier des Ardennes Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 23 lbs
Height: 18 inches Weight: 23 lbs
12 Months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 35 lbs
Height: 20 inches Weight: 35 lbs
18 Months
Height: 22 inches Weight: 49 lbs
Height: 22 inches Weight: 49 lbs

Bouvier des Ardennes Owner Experiences

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