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Bouvier des Ardennes

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Is the Bouvier des Ardennes right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Ardennes Cattle Dog

The basics:
As its name suggests, the Bouvier des Ardennes originated in the Ardennes region of Belgium, where it was used by farmers for hundreds of years as a cattle drover. During the 20th Century, the disappearance of farms in the Ardennes and the reduction in the herds of milking cattle greatly diminished the number of working dogs, including the Bouvier des Ardennes. Around 1985 a few survivors were discovered, and some breeders set out to produce dogs that adhered to the original standard of the breed.

Hard-working, with shaggy coats that let them endure rugged weather, these dogs still work as cattle or guard dogs, but they can also serve as loyal family watchdogs.

Appearance / health:
According to the United Kennel Club breed standard, "The Bouvier des Ardennes is a medium-sized, very hardy dog of rugged appearance. It is short and thick set, with bone that is heavier than its overall size might suggest. It is compact and well-muscled, with a harsh, tousled coat and a rather forbidding appearance. The breed should be judged in a natural stance, without stacking by the handler."

Bouviers need be thoroughly combed or brushed at least once a week to prevent matting. They need to thoroughly combed or brushed before giving them a bath to prevent matting. They may be trimmed once in two months. Toe nails can be trimmed once in a week. Ears should be checked and cleaned regularly. Occasional brushing using special toothpaste and toothbrush available at pet stores prevents tartar build up.

A long walk twice a day is necessary to keep the dog physically and mentally stimulated. Puppies can be taken for shorter walks.

Bouviers are prone to hip dysplasia (a hereditary disease that eventually causes lameness and arthritis of joints). They are also disposed to bloat (torsion) and volvulus (twisting of intestine).

Behavior / temperament:
Bouviers make excellent guard dogs. They thrive in the company of their owners and do not like to be left alone for more than few hours. Separation anxiety may lead to destructive behavior like digging and barking. They also have a tendency to chase moving objects.

They are intelligent, calm, and eager to please with a good attention span. Early basic obedience training is must for Bouviers as they can be difficult to control as an adult. They need to be trained firmly and consistently.

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