Bouvier – standard

Bouvier standard

Use: Primarily a herding dog, used to drive, herd and guard cattle in open pastures,. Even today, without special training, is an excellent and versatile working dog, especially suitable for guarding and watching livestock.

FCI classification: Group 1 – Shepherd and herding dogs.
Section 2 – Stocking dogs.
Working tests required.

Long established cattle dog from the Belgian Ardennes, selected for its performance characteristics. Distinguished not so much by its appearance as by its excellent work in herding and guarding the herd. The breed type was shaped mainly under the influence of harsh climatic conditions, difficult terrain and modest living conditions in that area. Only the hardiest and most promising puppies were kept to earn their meagre living guarding herds, usually dairy cows and sheep, but also horses and pigs. In the 19th century, Ardennes bouviers were also used to hunt wild boar and deer, and during both world wars they were poachers’ dogs. By the end of the 19th century, they resembled sheepdogs somewhat, but differed from them in their tougher hair, greater height and weight, and more forceful character and ease of biting. With time, at Belgian dog shows, classes for cattle dogs were created in order to standardize their type. At the exhibition in Liege, held on April 27, 1903, Professor Reul discovered a dog named Tom, who embodied for him the ideal type of cattle dog (details are not known). In 1913, an association was formed in Liege with the aim of
„improvement of cattle dogs from the provinces of Liege and Ardennes” and this is when the first breed standard was created. The Belgian Wirehaired Sheepdog was adopted by the Belgian Kennel Club in 1923 and approved years later by the FCI (16 June 1963). The decline of agriculture and dairy farming in the Ardennes led to the almost complete disappearance of local dogs. It was not until the 1990s that a group of breeders set themselves the goal of reproducing the dog described in the pattern, using the last remaining Ardennes dogs. It is interesting that these were not breeders from that region, but from the north of Belgium, where the Ardennes bouviers were imported by cattle and sheep breeders as late as the 1930s. Their efforts, although little known to cynologists and carried out on a small scale, achieved the desired effect, but the breed did not become known to official cynology again until 1996.

Resilient, strong dog of medium size, without pretensions to elegance. He is short and stocky, his bones are stronger than his height suggests and his head is massive. The terms compact, short and well muscled best describe the Ardennes Bouvier. His coat is hard and tousled, only on the forehead shorter and smooth, and a small beard and mustache give him a somewhat menacing appearance. This dog should be judged in its natural stance – it should not be positioned or held by the exhibitor.

– The length of the trunk from the shoulder joint to the sit bump about the same as the height at the withers.
– The depth of the chest is about half of the height at the withers.
– The head is relatively short, and the muzzle is supposed to be noticeably shorter than the cerebrocranium, which is slightly longer than it is wide.

The Ardennes Bouvier is a very energetic and sturdy dog. Eager to please, inquisitive, sociable and lively, highly adaptable, able to adapt to a wide range of situations. When it is necessary to defend people, property and territory, it is brave and fierce.

Strong, rather short.
Broad and flat, its upper line parallel to the upper line of the muzzle. Frontal furrow and occipital bump virtually invisible. Arches accentuated by bushy eyebrows. The zygomatic bone and the cheeks are hardly visible.
Foot: pronounced, but not overly so.
Nose: large, always black.
Muzzle: broad, strong, well filled under the eyes, distinctly shorter than the skull. Covered with hard standing hair, covering the inner corners of the eyes. The sides of the muzzle and the cheeks form a continuous line.
Lips: thin, close fitting, edges always black, no sagging at the corners. Upper and lower lips, mandible and chin decorated with hair 5-6 cm long, forming a moustache and small beard.
Dentition: strong jaws, complete dentition according to tooth pattern. Absence of M3 meaningless, absence of up to two P1 acceptable.
Scissor bite, incisors slightly arched. Acceptable, but not preferred, claw bite. Mucous membranes of the mouth must be as pigmented as possible.
Cheeks: well muscled, but flat.
Eyes: medium size, not too wide apart, oval, neither round nor convex, as dark as possible. Eyelids with black edges, third eyelid invisible.
Ears: uncut, high set, triangular, rather small. When applied flat to the head, they should not reach further than the outer corner of the eye. Desirable standing and pointed at the ends, can also be broken at the ends or in the middle, with the ends pointing forward or sideways.

Strong, well muscled, good length, cylindrical, slightly arched, carried sufficiently high, without jowls.

Strong but not heavy, well boned, ribs rounded rather than flat. Length of body from shoulder joint to sit bump about equal to height at withers. Top line: horizontal, strong. Withers: slightly pronounced.
Back: well muscled, broad, strong, supple but should not appear weakly boned.
Loins: short, broad, well muscled and not very arched.
Rump: wide, as horizontal as possible, may be slightly sloping.
Chest: deep, reaching the elbow, well arched ribs, especially in the upper third. Underside of chest slightly rounded. Viewed from the front – wide.

Most dogs are born with shortened tails, some also with vestigial tails. Tail is thick and high set. Short tail is an extension of the topline. In countries where cutting the tail is forbidden, it should remain of natural length.

Strong bones. Well muscled limbs are completely straight, no matter from which side you look, and viewed from the front they are parallel.
Shoulders: Good length, obliquely placed and strongly muscled. With the shoulder makes an angle of 110 degrees.
Shoulders: Long, well muscled.
Elbows: close fitting, not turned inwards or outwards.
Forearms: straight and strong.
Wrists: strong, well defined, low to the ground.
Middlebones: strong, short and only slightly sloping.
Paws: round, compact, arched, dark, strong and springy pads, strong, dark claws.
Hind Limbs:
Strong, well muscled, properly angulated, viewed from behind – parallel. When viewed from the side, the paw is just outside the vertical line drawn from the sit bump.
Thighs: very well muscled, with well defined muscles.
Upper legs: of good length, very well muscled.
Hocks: close to the ground, strong, dry.
Metatarsals: viewed from the side slightly sloping, without wolf claws.
Paws: like forefeet.

Limbs move parallel to each other, in one plane, without tangling. The typical step is a quick walk and a vigorous trot. The Ardennes Bouvier rarely gallops, but is capable of sudden turns at any pace. The trot should be spacious and rhythmic, with good drive from the hind legs; the back line remains straight. Should not fall into the inoculum. It is a lively dog, therefore rarely remains motionless. When leashed on a walk, it usually circles its owner, as it does with the herd.

Close fitting, without folds, but not too thin. The edges of the eyelids and lips always well pigmented.

Coat: Must allow the dog to stay outside and with the herd all the time, regardless of weather conditions. Coat is dry, hard and tousled, about 6 cm long on the trunk, shorter and clinging on the head, where, however, it forms eyebrows above the eyes. A moustache covering the inner corners of the eyes and a small beard 5-6 cm long are necessary. Forelegs covered with shorter, dry hair, somewhat shaggy, which together with small feathers on hind legs gives them a columnar appearance. Longer hair on the back sides of the thighs forms small breeches. Outer sides of ears are covered with short, soft and straight hair, here and there overgrown with longer hair. Ear canal covered with longer hair, together with the hair on the neck forms a moody collar. Between the toes the coat is dense and very short. Undercoat: dense in all seasons, especially abundant in winter, also on limbs, about half as long as outer hair, gives good protection against the weather.
Coat color: any color except white is allowed; the color of the undercoat corresponds to the color of the coat. Tolerable but not desirable white spot on chest and white fingertips. Often the coat is a mixture of grey, black and fawn hairs, ranging from light to dark grey, otherwise reddish or straw coloured.

Height at withers: dog 56-62 cm
female 52-56 cm
Tolerance of 1 cm down or up.
Weight: dog 28-35 kg
female 22-28 kg.

Any deviation from the given pattern should be considered as a fault and judged according to its severity.
General impression: too heavy, too elegant , high legged.
Head: wrong proportions, uneven profile lines, too light muzzle, chin and moustache too little or too much, convex nose, stop too distinct or too little marked, round skull.
Teeth: misaligned incisors. Missing incisor, premolar P2 or P3.
Eyes: bright, round, convex or sunken.
Ears: too wide at the base, low set, with rounded ends, if standing – worn converging or diverging.
Neck: thin, long, tucked in shoulder blades.
Top line: weak, long and not wide enough back or loin, sunken or arched back.
Chest: not deep enough, not round enough, too narrow.
Tail: set too low, carried too high, tucked up or tilted to one side.
Movement: limb action narrow, tangled, short, paws raised high.
Coat: not quite coarse, smooth fitting, weak or not abundant beard and whiskers, too short, too long or not dense undercoat.
Coats: excess white on chest or paws.
Temperament: sluggish, timid.

Temperament: nervous or aggressive.
General impression: no type.
Nose, lips, eyelids: lacking pigment.
Dentition: Anterior overbite, even without loss of incisor contact, or posterior overbite, crooked jaws; missing one of the cusps (P4 or M1), one of the molars M1 or M2 (M3 does not matter), missing one premolar P3 in combination with missing any other tooth, missing 3 or more of any tooth.
Eyes: yellow, porcelain, with a wild expression.
Ears: cut or hard hanging by the cheeks.
Tail: carried vertically upwards or curled over the back.
Coat: trimmed, short or distinctly long, wavy, curly or silky, no moustache or beard, or so abundant that it covers the eyes and blurs the shape of the head, no undercoat.
Coat: white, white in places other than on chest and toes.

Size outside the limit given in the pattern.
Any dog clearly showing deformities of conformation or character shall be disqualified.

Males must have two, properly formed testicles, completely placed in the scrotal sac.