Dog Breed Group: Working Dog
Life Span: 12-14 years
Weight: Male: 28-35, Female: 22-28
Height: Male: 22-25, Female: 20-22
Origin of Name: Bouvier des Ardennes is a rare dog breed from Belgium.
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Very little is known with certainty about the history of Bouvir des Ardenis. This breed was probably developed before the time when written records were kept for dog breeding, and in any case developed by farmers who only cared about the dog's ability, and not Its genealogy or history. Bower first records written records in 1800, and it appears that the breed was already well established in its homeland by that time. This may mean that the breed evolved somewhat earlier, perhaps the 17th or 18th century. It is almost certain that the breed was developed in Ardennes, a hilly and heavily forested area located in the south of Belgium. The first records of the dog all come from the Ardinens, and it does not appear that the breed existed elsewhere before the 20th century.
The Boovier des Ardennes was originally almost exclusive to shepherd and driving cattle. The name of this breed literally translates to either, "The Cattle Dog of Ardennes," or, "The Dog of the Ardennes Gira." The breed rounded the cattle and moved them from one place to another. This was necessary for several reasons. This allowed farmers to move cattle to different areas to graze anew. This allowed them to bring their cattle to the barn at night or during winter. Perhaps most importantly, farmers were able to take their cattle for sale in the market. In an era where there was no motorized transportation and the market could be several miles away from a farm, the use of dropping dogs was an absolute necessity.
It is not clear which breeds were used to develop the Bower des Ardenis. Many claim that it was developed exclusively from local dogs which evolved over time into a different local variety. Others claim that it was banned by crossing the Picardy Shepherd with the Belgian Cattle Dog. In this writer's opinion, the breed is most likely the result of crossing the Schnauzer and Dutch Shepherds with local Belgian dogs. The breed apparently shares with other Belgian Buvivars, and is native to the same country. The coat and appearance of many breed members is very similar to that of Schneizer, which was used to release cattle in the neighboring country of Germany. The color of the brindle coat found in the breed is similar to that common among Dutch Shepherds, which at one time was commonly found in the Belgian region of Belgium.