Bouvier des Ardennes are medium-sized service dogs with a beard and mustache and can be of completely different colors. On the one hand, these dogs are unremarkable, but on the other, they have great character and amazing abilities. Representatives of this breed are strong and determined. They adore their owner and are completely inhospitable with strangers, they can even show aggression. These dogs are very fond of playing near the water, in particular, one of Bouvier’s favorite activities is to lie in the mud.
History of the Breed
Bouvier is a representative of the old Belgian breed of herding dogs. This dog is very rare and even in its homeland is on the verge of extinction. There is an opinion that the Bouvier des Ardennes originated from the Bouvier des Flanders and the now extinct Bouvier des Rouler. Bouvier is herding dogs and excellent guards. In the past, these dogs were used mainly as shepherds, as well as watchdogs: they guarded homes and property. During the First World War, Bouvier was used as messengers and orderlies. These dogs, under bullets, searched for the wounded and helped the doctors transport them to the hospital, and they also helped deliver provisions and weapons to the front lines. Unfortunately, due to heavy bombing and enemy occupation, dogs of this breed have almost ceased to exist. And only thanks to amateurs who collected units of these dogs, it was possible to preserve this breed. In 1990, dog handlers decided to restore the breed, guided by a standard that was written in 1963.
The rock restoration work was carried out in the north of the Ardennes and was kept in the strictest confidence. The International Federation of Cynologists officially recognized the Bouvier des Ardennes in 2006. Today, these dogs are very rare, both in the world and in their homeland. Urbanization processes have a detrimental effect on the main profession of this breed, due to the technical progress, dogs are less and less in demand. But here there are also advantages – dogs are retrained for work in the police and the army, and it is worth noting that they do an excellent job with the tasks assigned.
Bouvier des Ardennes are strong dogs of medium size and strong build. They have a massive, large head with a broad and flat skull. The transition from the forehead to the muzzle is not particularly pronounced. The muzzle is voluminous and wide, shorter than the skull. The nose is large, black. The lips fit tightly to the teeth, they are thin with a black border. The eyes are medium in size, oval in shape, dark in color with black rims. The ears are set high, of medium size, triangular in shape, erect; semi-standing is allowed, but undesirable. The neck is slightly arched, strong and muscular.
The body is massive but compact. The back is flexible and strong. The loin is short and wide. The rib cage is deep and wide, round in shape. The tail is set high, thick, of medium size; some dogs do not have a tail from birth. The limbs are straight, parallel to each other. The coat is coarse, shaggy, of medium length with a dense and dense undercoat. On the muzzle, the hair forms eyebrows, mustache, and beard, on the back of the limbs – feathers, on the hips – “pants”. Color can be any color other than white. There may be white markings on the chest.
Bouvier des Ardennes is friendly, however, towards strangers these dogs are suspicious, and towards other four-legged dogs, they are often aggressive. They love their owner very much – they are ready to unconditionally obey his orders and are ready to spend literally every minute with him. They love water – this dog will not pass by a puddle, it will surely “float” in it. Bouvier des Ardennes has the excellent qualities of a reliable guard. If the owner is in danger, this dog will always be on the alert; he is ready to desperately protect all people close to him, and he can only stop if the appropriate command is heard from the owner; no one else is able to influence the behavior of the Bouvier des Ardennes.
The dogs of this breed have a very good coat, which is why in the past they were kept outdoors, believing that the wool would protect them from frost, precipitation, and strong winds. Harsh weather conditions hardened these dogs, they have developed a strong and persistent immunity to various colds. The Bouvier des Ardennes is in excellent health and does not have any specific ailments. The most common among the representatives of this breed is dysplasia of the hip joints and malfunctions of the digestive system. Hip dysplasia is a hereditary disease, so when choosing a puppy, be sure to check out its pedigree. Proper nutrition will help you avoid digestive problems.
The Bouvier des Ardennes is a completely omnivorous dog. These dogs are used to living on farms, where their owners did not pay enough attention to the diet of their pets, they fed them once a day with the leftovers from the master’s table. Of course, this should never be done. Food should always be fresh, of high quality, and balanced.
Remember that it is better to feed your dog several times a day in small portions than to feed him the entire daily allowance at one time. After eating, the dog must necessarily rest for about an hour, otherwise, there may be a volvulus of the stomach or intestines. Do not feed your dog legumes, white cabbage, onions, bread, potatoes, cereals (except for rice, buckwheat, and oatmeal), as well as fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, plums. Prevent your dog from eating fatty meats, smoked foods, and sweets. Do not forget that the water in the animal’s bowl should be around the clock.