Bouvier des Ardennes

This excellent defender of the widow and orphan is a knight at heart. His slightly shaggy appearance hides a big heart on four legs that only thinks of protecting and defending his family. At ease in all situations, the Bouvier des Ardennes defends and protects his sheep or his family as if he were the only one responsible. Widely used for guarding families and their properties, he is nevertheless only found in his country of origin. The breed remains limited and specimens are quite rare.

Height 55 to 65 cm
Weight 25 to 35 kg
Life expectancy 11 to 12 years
Home country Belgium

Quick Overview of the Bouvier des Ardennes


  • Kind and loving
  • High adaptability
  • Reserved with strangers
  • Obeying


  • General hardy appearance
  • Heavy frame
  • Powerful build
  • Rather dishevelled look


  • Hardy and robust
  • Rarely ill
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Generally in excellent health

Temperament of the Bouvier des Ardennes

Kind and affectionate, the Bouvier des Ardennes adapts very well. Reserved with strangers, he is an excellent guardian and good defender who will stop at nothing to protect his own.

Obedient, his education is easy but must be firm because he is can be aggressive towards strangers.

bouvier des ardennes personnalité

Breed Appearance

Ardennes cowherd

His general appearance is quite hardy and shows his great aptitude for hard work. Medium-size, the Bouvier des Ardennes has a heavy bone structure and powerful build. Not at all elegant, he is stocky and short, and his rather tousled appearance gives him a very distinctive look.


Between 55 and 65 cm (21.65 to 25.59 inches) for the male
Between 55 and 65 cm (21.65 to 25.59 inches) for the female


Between 25 and 35 kg (55.12 to 77.16 pounds) for the male
Between 25 and 35 kg (55.12 to 77.16 pounds) for the female


His dress can be of any color.


His curly hair is rough and about 5 cm (2 inches) long on the body but shorter on the limbs and head.


His large head with a flat skull and marked stop is very massive. His dark eyes are oval-shaped, medium size and not too far apart. His small ears are folded back without being cut off. His large nose is black. Several subjects are without tail or with a short tail.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 1, section 2 and is #171

Price and monthly budget

Price you can expect to pay for a Bouvier des Ardennes puppy: between and
These prices are indicative and may vary from breeder to breeder

Tips About this breed

A sedentary or sporty master can own a Bouvier des Ardennes as long as he is present. Used at the time for driving and guarding herds, he has become today an excellent guardian of the family and their property. He is an outstanding defender and does not hesitate to protect his family no matter the danger. His courage is unparalleled and he can even become aggressive if necessary.

He can live just about anywhere. He is very hardy and enjoys outdoor life, but can easily adapt to the interior of the home if the master is present.

His innate distrust of strangers must be mastered early on with a good, firm education. It is essential in order to limit his natural aggressiveness towards strangers. He is naturally obedient but the master must take on the challenge of his education to be perfectly adequate.

Health of the Bouvier des Ardennes

This very hardy and robust dog is rarely sick. A few cases of hip dysplasia have been noted, but it is not a pathology directly affecting the breed. He generally enjoys excellent health and good life expectancy.


His hair is completely tousled and needs a good brushing from time to time. Even though his coat always looks tousled, brushing ensures him good health. No other special care is required.

History of this breed

Originally from Belgium, the Bouvier des Ardennes has always been selected for his aptitudes. According to some, he is a cross between the Picardy Sheepdog and the Belgian Cattle Dog, while others believe that an indigenous Belgian breed evolved in the 18th century through crossbreeding with local sheepdogs.

Called "cow dog" in the Belgian Ardennes, his name doesn't come from his physique but rather from the practice of driving and guarding cattle and the region where his duties were performed.

This type of dog was fashioned at the time to withstand the harsh climate and adapt to rugged terrain and specific and arduous work of these regions.

In the last century, subjects were chosen from the most performing and hardy dogs, for herd driving, mostly sheep and dairy cows but also horses and pigs.

In the 19th century, the Bouvier des Ardennes was used to hunt wild boar and deer and became the poacher's dog during the two world wars. Towards the end of the century, he became much more biting and stronger.

An exhibition was held in Liège in 1903 where the first greyhound dog was discovered by Professor Reul and in 1913, the "Société liégeoise pour l'amélioration du chien de bouvier de la province de Liège et des Ardennes" drew up the first standard. The official standard was finally published in 1923 in Belgium and the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) recognized it in 1963.

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