Bouvier des Ardennes

Other names: Ardennes Cattle Dog, Ardennes Droving Dog, Petit Bouvier

Bouvier des Ardennes

The Bouvier des Ardennes is a very strong, adaptable, medium sized dog. Originally known as a cattle dog, it was bred initially in the forest regions of the Ardennes. While it is a breed that is quite curious and playful, at times these dogs may be quite territorial about their family and surroundings. This heavy-boned canine has quite a rough looking appearance with a tousled coat. 

Key facts about the Bouvier des Ardennes

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Playful Intelligent

Size :

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Origins and history

Although not much is known about the origins of this breed, it is thought to have come about during the early 1800s, in Belgium in the Ardennes region.  After both World Wars, the breed was thought to be extinct, however two small groups were discovered, which over the following years, have been used to build up the presence of the breed once more.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)


Section 2 : Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)

Physical characteristics of the Bouvier des Ardennes

Adult size

Female : Between 20 and 22 in

Male : Between 22 and 24 in


Female : Between 49 and 62 lb

Male : Between 62 and 77 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



The breed is very muscular but also very flexible. The dog’s thick coat makes it look less agile than it actually is. The face and head have the appearance of being on the small size, being a flat shape. The muzzle and head are very distinct on this breed. The short muzzle has a broad black nose while the ears are triangle-shaped and short. 

Good to know

This is a very adaptable breed, capable of working in the mountains or on the lowlands. Their characteristics are to hunt and herd, and indeed, any other tasks you throw at them too. They are very keen to please their owner and show their devotion.


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    The Bouvier des Ardennes is known for being extremely affectionate, devoted to its family and also known for their intense loyalty. 

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    If you are a person that loves exercise, this is the dog for you. You just cannot seem to tire out the Bouvier des Ardennes dog.

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    Calm until provoked. This dog will defend his family and territory without backing down.

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    Very intelligent breed, easy to train.

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    This breed is eager for hunting as they have an excellent sense of smell. They are often used as herding and hunting canines.

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    Fearful / wary of strangers

    Initially can be quite wary of strangers, but once trust is held, the dog will be accepting of others.

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    Known to crave the constant company of those it loves. However this can also be a problem as he is anxious when separated from his owners for any length of time.

    Behaviour of the Bouvier des Ardennes

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      Tolerates solitude

      Loves the company of its owner, but may develop anxieties when left alone.

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      Easy to train / obedience

      As herding dogs they are quite easy to train and are certainly obedient dogs. Very intelligent and will learn quite complex commands. A tireless and dedicated worker.

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      Will only bark in a territorial manner when guarding and defending. However, can be quite excitable and barks if he doesn't get sufficient exercise.

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      Tendency to run away

      Although quite independent, these dogs love being with their owners and tend not to stray.

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      Can sometimes be quite hyperactive and has high energy levels. You will need to provide plenty of exercise to prevent destructive tendencies.

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      Greedy / Gluttony

      An active dog that needs sufficient food to meet his high energy levels. It is probably best to offer meals twice a day, rather than just one.

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      Guard dog

      Very alert and territorial – makes an excellent watchdog and will look after his home and family very well.

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      First dog

      Probably best as an only dog in the home to prevent any aggression between pets. Primarily kept as hunting and working dogs, although some are chosen as companion dogs.

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        Bouvier des Ardennes in a flat

        Not suited to being cooped up inside. Needs intense exercise so better suited to larger outside living spaces.

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        Need for exercise / Sporty

        This dog is very lithe and extremely muscular. As hunting dogs they need lots of exercise. He will happily join you on any adventures, needing  a minimum of one hour jogging each day.

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        Travelling / easy to transport

        Quite happy to travel in a vehicle, especially if you are heading off to exercise.


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          Bouvier des Ardennes and cats

          Will get along happily with a cat they live with, but don’t tolerate other small animals in the home environment.

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          Bouvier des Ardennes and dogs

          This breed will be fine with other dogs they have been socialised with, although dominance and same sex aggression is known.

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          Bouvier des Ardennes and children

          Very good with children in the family, but can be rather wary of strange children. As a herding dog, may tend to be too robust with toddlers.

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          Bouvier des Ardennes and the elderly

          Quite a strong, boisterous dog so not really suitable as a pet for an elderly person.



          This dog will cost you between £400 to £600 to buy. Monthly feeding costs will be around £30, with an additional budget required for vaccinations and health insurance for your pet. 


          As the coat is quite dense, it needs regular grooming at home, rather than in the salon. A long coat, prone to tangles and matts that often look unkempt, even after grooming.


          The coat will shed lightly twice a year, then more heavily too. This won't be too much of a problem with regular grooming.

          Nutrition of the Bouvier des Ardennes

          A dry food diet is recommended, however as this dog uses lots of energy, a high protein and carbohydrate mix is suggested. 

          Health of the Bouvier des Ardennes

          Life expectancy

          No known major health issues, other than hip and joint problems associated with larger, agile dogs. During previous years, close breeding has caused reproductive complications such as ovarian cysts and endometritis. The average life expectancy is between 11 and 12 years.

          Strong / robust

          This dog is quite a muscular pet, and will very easily pull you along on the leash.

          Withstand heat

          With his thick, dense coat, this dog is much better suited to being outside, and is certainly not a sofa dog.

          Withstand cold

          As he has high energy levels and is always on the move, this dog doesn't have a problem with chilly temperatures.

          Tendency to put on weight

          As a dog that never seems to stop, be it hunting, herding or just running, he doesn't put on weight too easily.

          Common illnesses

          The Bouvier des Ardennes is a generally healthy breed of dog. However, there are some common canine health issues that can affect this dog.

          • Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
          • Eye Problems 
          • Gastric Dilation
          • Volvulus (GDV) or Bloat

          In addition, Epilepsy is occasionally diagnosed.

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