The Bouvier des Ardennes temperament makes her a good family dog if she is trained well. She has a loving and protective disposition.
However, she can be mildly stubborn at times and needs a firm and consistent trainer.
Bouvier des Ardennes Temperament and Pesonality
The Bouvier des Ardennes is a smart breed. She learns quickly and is able to learn to do many different jobs.
2. Eager to Please
The Bouvier des Ardennes is obedient overall. She is happy to please her master, but there are occasional exceptions to this.
3. Mind of Her Own
The Bouvier des Ardennes temperament can be stubborn at times. She needs a certain level of independence to do her job properly.
4. Good with Children
This breed is gentle with people she knows well and enjoys kids. You will need to supervise her with very young ones, though, because of her herding behaviors. She tends to circle and nip at ankles.
She enjoys giving and receiving affection. It’s one of the nicest Bouvier des Ardennes traits.
This breed likes to be with people. They form close bonds with their families and may follow family members around the house. They don’t like to be left alone and are prone to separation anxiety.
The Bouvier des Ardennes temperament is fun-loving. She enjoys playtime with her family—both adults and children.
As long as she gets enough outdoor exercise, the Bouvier des Ardennes temperament is “go-with-the-flow.” She can be content indoors or out, with whatever activity your family is doing. She also adapts easily to hot or cold climates.
If she doesn’t get enough exercise, though, you will see a different dog.
The Bouvier des Ardennes is watchful and protective of her family. This is not surprising, as guarding is what she was bred for.
If she is not well socialized when she’s young, she may show aggression if she senses a threat to her people.
The Bouvier des Ardennes temperament is adventurous and curious. She loves to explore new environments. She would especially enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking with the family.
Her work ethic is one of the defining Bouvier des Ardennes temperament traits. She loves her herding job and will work contentedly for hours.
Her bravery is another defining Bouvier des Ardennes temperament trait. She is well known for facing down threats to her herd of any kind, including boars and wolves.
She is a force to be reckoned with when defending her charges, her people, or her property. This dog rarely backs down when there’s a job to do.
The Bouvier des Ardennes temperament is suspicious of strangers. She needs early socialization to them in lots of situations.
Without it, she is likely to be aggressive if she perceives a threat to her family or her herd.
15. Prey Drive
Her prey drive is not as strong as a hunting dog’s, but she will chase small animals.
Bouvier des Ardennes History
The Bouvier des Ardennes history goes back to at least the 1800s. Some believe it may go as far back as the 1600s.
This dog is one of five Belgian Bouvier breeds, all named for the regions they originated from. Sadly, three of those breeds are now extinct. Only the Bouvier des Ardennes and the Bouvier Des Flandres survived World War I.
She has historically been a livestock herder. However, she has an impressive history of hunting large game also. She played a heroic role in helping hungry Belgians to survive following each of the world wars.
The Belgian Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1923. Unfortunately, following World War I, local dairy farms began to decline. By the end of World War II, the Bouvier des Ardennes dog was thought to be extinct.
In the 1980s, a small group of Bouvier des Ardennes was discovered on a farm in Belgium. Breeders began reconstructing the breed. They found a second group as recently as 1996.
The Bouvier des Ardennes today is still used mostly as a livestock herder. It is a rare breed even in Belgium. It is rarely seen anywhere else.
The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the Bouvier des Ardennes in 2006.
Bouvier des Ardennes Training
The Bouvier des Ardennes is an intelligent dog, and she is generally eager to please. This makes her an easy dog to train.
She can have a mind of her own, though. Sometimes she will challenge an owner or trainer. With a firm, consistent trainer she respects, she is less likely to do this.
Herding comes naturally to her. If you plan to use her for this purpose, she won’t need much coaxing to do what she loves.
If your Bouvier des Ardennes will not be used for herding, she will need to be trained not to nip at ankles. This instinctive behavior will need to be watched if she is around young children.
Overall, training a Bouvier des Ardennes should be an enjoyable process. Make it fun, and it will be a great bonding experience for the two of you.
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Bouvier des Ardennes Appearance
The most striking thing about the Bouvier des Ardennes’s appearance is, of course, her coat. She was bred for abilities, not for looks.
She has a double coat that is wiry, rough, and waterproof. The hair of the outer coat is about 2-1/2 inches long, and she has a dense undercoat that she does not shed.
Bouvier des Ardennes color varies widely. She can be black, gray, red, fawn, or brindle—practically any color except white.
She’s a medium-sized dog, muscular and compact. She has a square shape (height and length about equal) and long legs.
The head is rather small in proportion to her body. Her ears are high-set and triangular in shape. The eyes are medium-sized, oval-shaped, and dark brown to black.
Her nose is broad, well-defined, and always black. She has a short muzzle and a moustache and short beard (about 2 inches). The bite is level or scissor.
She may have a thick, high-set tail or no tail at all. They can be born either way.
Bouvier des Ardennes Size
The average Bouvier des Ardennes weight for males is 60 to 75 pounds. And for females, it ranges from 45 to 60 pounds.
The average Bouvier des Ardennes height is 22 to 24-1/2 inches for males and 20-1/2 to 22 inches for females.
You may also hear this dog called the Ardennes Droving Dog or the Ardennes Cattle Dog.
Bouvier des Ardennes Lifespan
The life expectancy of a Bouvier des Ardennes is 12 to 14 years.
Bouvier des Ardennes Health Issues
Because this breed is rare, there haven’t been any health studies done on it. However, there are a few conditions they appear to be susceptible to.
Because there is such a small gene pool, it’s important that screening is done for these conditions before an individual dog is bred.
Hip Dysplasia – This is a deformity of the ball-and-socket joint of the dog’s hips. It can lead to lameness, arthritis, and loss of function.
Elbow Dysplasia – This condition is similar to hip dysplasia, but it affects the dog’s elbow joints.
Epilepsy – This is a neurologic condition in which dogs will have seizures from usually unknown causes.
Eye Conditions – These include progressive retinal atrophy, retinal dysplasia, entropion, and ectropion.
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Caring for the Bouvier des Ardennes
Bouvier des Ardennes Grooming
The Bouvier des Ardennes’s long, wiry coat needs to be brushed every day or two to keep it free of matting. You may want to consider having her shaved for the summer.
You should only bathe this dog when she absolutely needs it with a shampoo made for dogs.
Other than that, the Bouvier des Ardennes needs her nails trimmed regularly like any other dog. She also needs her teeth brushed regularly.
Bouvier des Ardennes Diet
This breed has no specific dietary requirements. She should do well on any high-quality commercial food. If she works hard, you may want to consider an active dog formula.
If you choose to do that, you’ll need to keep an eye on her weight to be sure she’s not getting too many calories.
Bouvier des Ardennes Exercise
This working dog is not likely to be content relaxing on the couch. She has a lot of energy, and her exercise need is high.
She needs at least an hour a day of vigorous exercise.
A brisk walk or jog would be great, but a leisurely stroll around the block will not be enough. She would also love to be asked along for outdoor family activities. The Bouvier des Ardennes also loves to swim.
Because she is so active, she’s not a city or apartment dog. She needs a rural environment with a large enclosed area to run in.
This breed also needs a lot of mental stimulation. Having a job to do is the best way to keep her mind busy.
An ideal way to provide both at once is training for and participating in canine sports such as rally, flyball, or agility. Herding trials would be the ultimate form of fun for this dog.
If you are not able to keep up with the Bouvier des Ardennes’s exercise and stimulation, be forewarned. You will probably have to deal with some undesirable Bouvier des Ardennes behaviors.
Finding a Bouvier des Ardennes
Buying a Bouvier des Ardennes from a Breeder
The Bouvier des Ardennes is a very rare dog, even in its native Belgium. If you’re interested in finding a Bouvier des Ardennes for sale, you may have your work cut out for you. But that does not mean it’s impossible.
A good place to start your search for a Bouvier des Ardennes breeders is online. There are Facebook groups and online forums for owners of nearly every breed of dog.
Try joining one or two. You may connect with someone who can give you the name of a reputable breeder.
YouTube is another potential source. Many dog owners and breeders post videos of their dogs. Some publish contact information as well.
As a last resort, you may want to consider importing a Bouvier des Ardennes puppy from Europe. The Belgian Kennel Club maintains a directory of expected Belgian dog litters. But expect to be put on a waiting list for this rare breed.
Eurobreeder.com is another possibility. Eurobreeder includes the Bouvier des Ardennes in its breeder directory. At the time of this writing, there are no listings, but that can change at any time.
When you do find a breeder, be sure you have trustworthy recommendations. You want to be sure you’re not buying a dog from a puppy mill or backyard breeder.
The best estimate we can find for Bouvier des Ardennes price is $900, which is quite low for a purebred. Of course, if you have to ship one from Europe, you will need to add the cost of shipping to that.
Bouvier des Ardennes Rescue/Adoption
Again because of its rarity, you are unlikely to find this breed in your local shelter. It’s possible to find a Bouvier des Ardennes for adoption, though. Start with the hints given above for finding Bouvier des Ardennes puppies.
If you would consider a mixed-breed, you may have more options for finding an adult dog. Try searching online for herding dog rescues. You may stumble upon a mixed-breed with the Bouvier des Ardennes traits you’re looking for.
Of course, adopting from a rescue would have a lower Bouvier des Ardennes cost, anywhere from $75 to $300 plus transportation fees.
Is the Bouvier des Ardennes the Right Breed for You?
The Bouvier des Ardennes has the makings of a wonderful family companion. With good training and early socialization, she can be a loyal and loving family member.
However, with her high energy and need for exercise, she prefers to have a job to do. This breed is best suited to an active family who can provide that.
If that family is yours, then you will be delighted by the Bouvier des Ardennes temperament for years to come.
Calvin is the co-founder and one of the main contributors to dogtemperament.com. He has been an avid dog lover all his life. He enjoys researching and sharing great ideas on how you can avoid common pitfalls of dog ownership and build the most loving and enjoyable relationship with your dog.