History and Origin: Very old herding breed originating in Belgium by the monks of the Ter Duinen monastery. They were developed using crosses with Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds and farm dogs from the local region. The vast farming area required a dog capable of performing many tasks. The Bouvier was used as a cattle drover, sheep herder, draft dog, carting dog, guardian of the farm and protector of the family. Ear cropping and tail docking were to prevent injuries and also working dogs were not taxed. Both Great wars nearly caused the loss of the breed. Many died in the front lines as military workers. Today the breed still excels in police and military work. Recognized by the AKC in 1931.
General Appearance: large and imposing breed with shaggy coat. Powerful. Muscular. Heavy boned. Burly, with large chest, barrel ribs. Ears cropped or uncropped. Tail docked. Square in outline. Back is strong and level. Rugged looking. Large head, full beard and moustache. Size: Males 24 ½ – 27 ½ Females 23 ½ -26 ½ 70-100 pounds.
Coat and Colour: Double coated. Very thick. Top coat is rough, harsh and wiry, rather messy looking. Undercoat is soft and dense.Excellent protection from the elements. Coat should be 2 ½ inches in length. Leg coat a bit shorter but still harsh feeling. Colours are fawn, grey, grey brindle and black. Requires regular brushing.
Feeding: Quality kibble fed twice daily.
Training and Obedience: start early obedience training. Must know owner is in charge. May not be a breed for first time owners. A somewhat independent breed due to his historical use as the ultimate farm dog, herding dog, and control of predators near his flock, doing all this while working alone. Intelligent breed, easily trained in obedience, herding, scent discrimination, tracking, rally, agility, carting, as a therapy dog, guide dog for the blind, police and protection work. Excels in so many dog sports. The Bouvier is truly a versatile breed.
Activity: Needs plenty of daily exercise. Good breed for joggers, hikers, cyclists and swimmers. Daily run in a secure fenced area is encouraged.
Temperament: can be strong willed, affectionate with family and children. Steady calm, agreeable nature. Good family pet. A natural guard dog and protector.