Bouvier des Ardennes, a Scraggly and Gentle Dog

Today we're going to discuss Bouvier des Ardennes. Note that in the past, every dog that worked with cattle was referred to as Bouvier, which means bovine herder in French. 
Bouvier des Ardennes, a Scraggly and Gentle Dog

Last update: 17 November, 2019

The Bouvier des Ardennes dog is often confused with the Bouvier des Flanders. But, these are, in fact, two different species. This is a rustic and robust animal of semi-long hair and a rather sullen look.

In spite of their appearance, their personality and behavior will pleasantly surprise you. Stay with us to find out more.

To do so, we think it best to thoroughly get to know the Bouvier des Ardennes, because it’s a very peculiar dog that seldom goes unnoticed by anyone who comes across them.

All you need to know about the Bouvier des Ardennes


A Bouvier des Ardennes standing by a person.

This dog breed is originally from Belgium and they worked as shepherds, driving herds of cattle — hence their name. In ancient times, the dogs that served this purpose were referred to as Bouvier, the French term for “bovine herder.”

However, these dogs began to disappear as soon as mechanization reached the agricultural sector.

So, people reassigned these animals to do other tasks such as pulling small milk transport cars, and even as an occasional hunting dog. Even so, the breed nearly disappeared by World War I.

It wasn’t until 1985 when some dog lovers who collected colostrum from dairy herds discovered there were still some survivors of the Bouvier des Ardennes breed. Thus, they’ve been trying to preserve it by breeding them, a task started and driven by shepherds.

Despite the years that these animals had been away from driving cattle duties, many shepherds of that time still recognized their good aptitudes. Thus, they began to breed them in order to preserve them. Oh, the irony …


This breed can measure up to 25 inches and weigh between 48 and 77 pounds. It comes in almost any color with the exception of all-white. A full white Bouvier des Ardennes doesn’t qualify as “authentic.”

Their erect ears are short and their gaze is rather discerning. Also, their hair is semi-long, highly coarse and curly, which leads to tangles, matting, and knots if you don’t brush them regularly.

As a general rule, people dock their tail even though it’s naturally short and stiff. This dog has many similarities with the Berger Picard, the Bouvier des Flanders, and other shepherd dogs breeds from the Belgian and French areas.

The personality of the Bouvier des Ardennes

A dog in a field.

Despite their scraggly appearance, they’re very gentle and kind. They have a watchdog instinct because it’s just what humans bred them for. Thus, they’re ideal as guard dogs to protect your property. They love the outdoors and are ideal for country houses in rural settings.

This kind of dog is always alert, tenacious, and fearless. Surely they’d risk their lives to save you if they had to. Also, they’re very happy and affectionate so they’re perfect for family settings. In addition, they’re ideal for children because their protective instinct is a lot more acute around them. Of course, you must teach your little ones what’s the healthiest way to interact with them.

As a general rule, these animals don’t like living with other dogs. So, in spite of their gentle demeanor, you must begin to properly socialize them at a very young age. This is to ensure they can interact well with all members of a family and their different pets.

How to care for a Bouvier des Ardennes

This dog’s hair would be your greatest challenge. If you wish to keep it from knotting then you’ll have to brush them daily. Actually, you may even have to resort to the use of conditioners to facilitate this task.

This kind of dog needs daily exercise because they bore easily and this can lead to destructive behavior and excessive barking. Thus, they should remain active to avoid these sorts of behavioral problems and health issues.

The Bouvier des Ardennes is a scraggly looking dog and yet it’s ideal for families with children. So, are appearances deceiving or what? Well, apparently so …

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