According to the official FCI breed standard, the Bouvier des Ardennes is a strong and hardy dog breed with athletic and powerful body. The average height is typically between 52-62 cm which is 20-24 inch and weight should be between 22-35 kg, which is 49-77 pounds. The females are naturally little bit smaller than males.
Overall, the Bouvier des Ardennes has a rustic appearance, and even though these dogs were always bred for work and not for appearance and showring, i do like how they look. They have compact and well muscled body, deep chest, broad back, broad muzzle, oval shaped medium sized eyes and triangular ears that stand naturally.
The Bouvier des Ardennes has a very very dense and thick double coat, which is weather resistant which helps them to work even in harsh climate. This coat gives the dog tousled appearance. The furt is shorter on the head. You can find the Bouvier des Ardennes in almost all the colors, the most common is probably combination of black, gray and fawn.
Interesting fact is, that those dogs can be born with either long tail or naturally short tail or even tailless and all those types are allowed by the breed standard.
This dog breed was originally used for guarding and herding the cattle, which formed its personality and temperament. Just like all the guard and herding breeds, even the Bouvier des Ardennes is endurant, agile and energetic, suspicious and alert when they see strangers, but very friendly and affectionate to people they know.
These dogs are also known to be very brave and courageous when it comes to defending its people and territory. The Bouvier des Ardennes is also very playful and curious dog that will enjoy almost any activity with its people. And they definitely need daily longer walks or hikes accompanied with some mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.
Even today, this adaptable and versatile dog is still working as a cattle dog, but they are more and more popular as family companions as well. And they are great companions, because they are known to be very playful, affectionate and loyal. They can live with other dogs, especially if they are raised together from the puppyhood and they are great playful partners for older kids.
These dogs can be little bit dominant, but the training is not very hard, as they are naturally pretty obedient and quick learners. Just like with all dogs, a lot of patience and consistency is needed to raise an obedient dog.
The Bouvier des Ardennes has a very descriptive name. All the Belgian and French cattle herding dogs are called Bouvier and different regions had different Bouvier dogs. And as you can probably guess, the Bouvier des Ardennes is associated with, well the Ardennes.. So the name can be translated as Ardenes Cattle Dog.
So as you already know, this dog breed was developed in Belgium Ardennes to work as cattle dog. It is believed that this is quite old dog breed, but the certain ancestry or date of origin is unknown. It possibly dates back to before written breeding records were kept, possibly the 1600s.
According to the UKC breed standard, these dogs were not only used to herd and protect the cattle, but also to track deer and wild boar, and during the two World Wars they became poachers’ dogs.
During the 20th century, the numbers of this breed declined a lot and there were more reasons to it. The most obvious are the two second worlds, which were very bad for all the Belgium breeds. But another reason was the disappearance of farms in the Ardennes and the reduction in the herds of milking cattle. The Bouvier des Ardennes almost dissappear, but around 1985 a few survivors of this breed were discovered and from those the breed was saved.
Health and grooming
The Bouvier des Ardennes coat is prone to matting and they need regular brushing to keep it tangle free. These dogs are average shedders, but they do shed a lot seasonally. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, teeth and nails and clip them or clean them if needed.
This is usually a very healthy dog breed with average lifespan between 12-14 years. Ocassionally they can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems or bloating.