DES FLANDRES BOUVIER
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
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Official Standard of the Bouvier des Flandres General Appearance: The Bouvier des Flandres is a powerfully built, compact, short-coupled, rough-coated dog of notably rugged appearance. He gives the impression of great strength without any sign of heaviness or clumsiness in his overall makeup. He is agile, spirited and bold, yet his serene, well behaved disposition denotes his steady, resolute and fearless character. His gaze is alert and brilliant, depicting his intelligence, vigor and daring. By nature he is an equable dog. His origin is that of a cattle herder and general farmer's helper, including cart pulling. He is an ideal farm dog. His harsh double coat protects him in all weather, enabling him to perform the most arduous tasks. He has been used as an ambulance and messenger dog. Modern times find him as a watch and guard dog as well as a family friend, guardian and protector. His physical and mental characteristics and deportment, coupled with his olfactory abilities, his intelligence and initiative enable him to also perform as a tracking dog and a guide dog for the blind. The following description is that of the ideal Bouvier des Flandres. Any deviation from this is to be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Size, Proportion, Substance: Size - The height as measured at the withers: Dogs, from 24½ to 27½ inches; bitches, from 23½ to 26½ inches. In each sex, the ideal height is the median of the two limits, i.e., 26 inches for a dog and 25 inches for a bitch. Any dog or bitch deviating from the minimum or maximum limits mentioned shall be severely penalized. Proportion - The length from the point of the shoulder to the tip of the buttocks is equal to the height from the ground to the highest point of the withers. A long-bodied dog should be seriously faulted. Substance - Powerfully built, strong boned, well muscled, without any sign of heaviness or clumsiness. Head: The head is impressive in scale, accentuated by beard and mustache. It is in proportion to body and build. The expression is bold and alert. Eyes neither protrude nor are sunken in the sockets. Their shape is oval with the axis on the horizontal plane, when viewed from the front. Their color is a dark brown. The eye rims are black without lack of pigment and the haw is barely visible. Yellow or light eyes are to be strongly penalized, along with a walleyed or staring expression. Ears placed high and alert. If cropped, they are to be a triangular contour and in proportion to the size of the head. The inner corner of the ear should be in line with the outer corner of the eye. Ears that are too low or too closely set are serious faults. Skull well developed and flat, slightly less wide than long. When viewed from the side, the top lines of the skull and the muzzle are parallel. It is wide between the ears, with the frontal groove barely marked. The stop is more apparent than real, due to upstanding eyebrows. The proportions of length of skull to length of muzzle are 3 to 2. Muzzle broad, strong, well filled out, tapering gradually toward the nose without ever becoming snipy or pointed. A narrow, snipy muzzle is faulty. Nose large, black, well developed, round at the edges, with flared nostrils. A brown, pink or spotted nose is a serious fault. The cheeks are flat and lean, with the lips being dry and tight fitting. The jaws are powerful and of equal length. The teeth are strong, white and healthy, with the incisors meeting in a scissors bite . Overshot or undershot bites are to be severely penalized. Neck, Topline, and Body: The neck is strong and muscular, widening gradually into the shoulders. When viewed from the side, it is gracefully arched with proud carriage. A short, squatty neck is faulty. No dewlap. Back short, broad, well muscled with firm level topline . It is supple and flexible with no sign of weakness. Body or trunk powerful, broad and short. The chest is broad, with the brisket extending to the elbow in depth. The ribs are deep and well sprung. The first ribs are slightly curved, the others well sprung and very well sloped nearing the rear, giving
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proper depth to the chest. Flat ribs or slabsidedness is to be strongly penalized. Flanks and loins short, wide and well muscled, without weakness. The abdomen is only slightly tucked up. The horizontal line of the back should mold unnoticeably into the curve of the rump, which is characteristically wide. A sunken or slanted croup is a serious fault. Tail is to be docked, leaving 2 or 3 vertebrae. It must be set high and align normally with the spinal column. Preferably carried upright in motion. Dogs born tailless should not be penalized. Forequarters: Strong boned, well muscled and straight. The shoulders are relatively long, muscular but not loaded, with good layback. The shoulder blade and humerus are approximately the same length, forming an angle slightly greater than 90 degrees when standing. Steep shoulders are faulty. Elbows close to the body and parallel. Elbows which are too far out or in are faults . Forearms viewed either in profile or from the front are perfectly straight, parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. They are well muscled and strong boned. Carpus exactly in line with the forearms. Strong boned. Pasterns quite short, slightly sloped. Dewclaws may be removed. Both forefeet and hind feet are rounded and compact turning neither in nor out; the toes close and well arched; strong black nails; thick tough pads. Hindquarters : Firm, well muscled with large, powerful hams. They should be parallel with the front legs when viewed from either front or rear. Legs moderately long, well muscled, neither too straight nor too inclined. Thighs wide and muscular. The upper thigh must be neither too straight nor too sloping. There is moderate angulation at the stifle. Hocks strong, rather close to the ground. When standing and seen from the rear, they will be straight and perfectly parallel to each other. In motion, they must turn neither in nor out. There is a slight angulation at the hock joint. Sickle or cow-hocks are serious faults. Metatarsi hardy and lean, rather cylindrical and perpendicular to the ground when standing. If born with dewclaws, they are to be removed. Feet as in front. Coat : A tousled, double coat capable of withstanding the hardest work in the most inclement weather. The outer hairs are rough and harsh, with the undercoat being fine, soft and dense. The coat may be trimmed slightly only to accent the body line. Overtrimming which alters the natural rugged appearance is to be avoided. Topcoat must be harsh to the touch, dry, trimmed, if necessary, to a length of approximately 2½ inches. A coat too long or too short is a fault, as is a silky or woolly coat. It is tousled without being curly. On the skull, it is short, and on the upper part of the back, it is particularly close and harsh always, however, remaining rough. Ears are rough-coated. Undercoat a dense mass of fine, close hair, thicker in winter. Together with the topcoat, it will form a water-resistant covering. A flat coat, denoting lack of undercoat is a serious fault. Mustache and beard very thick, with the hair being shorter and rougher on the upper side of the muzzle. The upper lip with its heavy mustache and the chin with its heavy and rough beard give that gruff expression so characteristic of the breed. Eyebrows, erect hairs accentuating the shape of the eyes without ever veiling them. Color : From fawn to black, passing through salt and pepper, gray and brindle. A small white star on the chest is allowed. Other than chocolate brown, white, or parti-color, which are to be severely penalized, no one color is to be favored. Gait: The whole of the Bouvier des Flandres must be harmoniously proportioned to allow for a free, bold and proud gait. The reach of the forequarters must compensate for and be in balance with the driving power of the hindquarters. The back, while moving in a trot, will remain firm
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and flat. In general, the gait is the logical demonstration of the structure and build of the dog. It is to be noted that while moving at a fast trot, the properly built Bouvier will tend to single-track. Temperament : The Bouvier is an equable dog, steady, resolute and fearless. Viciousness or shyness is undesirable.
Approved January 10, 2000 Effective February 23, 2000
JUDGING THE Bouvier des Flandres
by nancy eilks
T his article is not meant to be a thorough guide to judg- ing the Bouvier des Flan- dres. That level of detail is available through the Judge’s Educa- tion Committee for the breed. This is intended to be a refresher of some of the most important aspects of the breed for those judging our Bouviers. The Bouvier is a combination of general farm dog and guardian, being shown in the herding group. He still has a strong work ethic, even temperament and a belief that his teeth should not be used unless necessary. In the general appearance section in the standard the terms used to describe his demeanor are agile, spirited and bold, yet serene, well behaved disposition, steady, reso- lute and fearless character. As such, it is important to treat him with respect but not fear. If you are afraid of this breed, please do not agree to judge it.
Be aware that the dog often has hair in front of its eyes, and if the groomer has left extra fullness, the dog may not be able to see you well. Approach the dog at a slight angle. Reach under the chin and proceed with your examina- tion. Do not be afraid to push the hair back to see the eyes. Those eyes looking back at you should impart confidence, intelligence and maybe the impression that he is examining you as much as you are examining him. Some dogs are trained to stand for long periods of time, but generally Bou- viers tend to become impatient at being made to stand still, or if they think the exam is taking too long. They may start to clack their teeth or chew their mous- taches. Proceed efficiently, and try to ignore their antics. Like most of the herding breeds, we want our Bouviers to have good reach and drive, and efficient movement.
Our standard calls for a square breed, with a short loin and our standard calls for moderate angulation. This con- struction does not allow for excessive reach and drive. There is a tendency to reward pretty flashy movement that may include a lot of lift, especially in the rear. On the opposite extreme is the balanced dog with short mincing steps. Please reward the dog with good reach and drive that is also balanced with a smooth efficient stride having the “har- monious, free, bold and proud gait” described in our standard. The dog should be light on his feet moving with little apparent effort while maintaining a level topline. You may be confronted with a range of styles in your ring. The Bouvier standard was a compilation of three distinct styles. The Bouvier Roulers was a tall black hard coated dog. The Bouvier Ardennes (or Paret type) was a
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2 ½ inches. The coat may be trimmed slightly only to accentuate the body line. Overtrimming which alters the natural rugged appearance is to be avoided.” A properly stripped and pre- pared ‘jacket’ on a Bouvier should lay down, following the outline of the dog. It should be held a bit away from the body by a layer of undercoat. It will often present a wavy, almost marcelled look, giving the “touseled” appearance described in the standard. When mov- ing the coat will stay in place—not flow like a Beardie. With all of this coat I have watched judges get lost in it or confused by it. You must look beyond the hair, imagin- ing the naked dog underneath. This is where you have to—MUST—trust your hands to tell you what your eyes may not see. You have to be able to find what is under the haircoat or you will never find the correct animal to reward. One of the biggest errors in judging our breed is to not find the actual dog, or not judging it as the true working animal that the standard describes. I ask you to help in assuring we do not fall prey to the generic dog show syndrome. Heads up, beards flying and feet flailing may catch your eye, but is not what our standard asks you to reward. ABOUT THE AUTHOR American Bouvier des Flandres Club having served in many capacities. Nancy is a founding member of the Northeastern Illinois Bouvier des Flandres Club, and had been a mem- bers of the Badger Kennel Club and the Wisconsin Schutzhund Associa- tion for many years, again serving in many capacities. Nancy has bred or handled over 85 Bouvier Champions and multiple obedience titles. Nancy is a Breeder/Owner/Handler and is now also an AKC judge and is active in UKC events, as both exhibitor and judge. Nancy has judged two Bou- vier regional specialty shows, and both futurity and breed classes at the National Specialty. Nancy Eilks, along with her husband, have bred Bouvi- ers for over 35 years under the Blackstone prefix. Nancy is actively involved in the
cropped-uncropped: equally acceptable, ears can be either cropped or uncropped.
The herding instinct: introduction to sheep, having fun.
much smaller dog, mostly tawny, sorrel or gray in color with pricked ears and a long tail. The Bouvier des Flandres was the middle sized dog of the three, being a gray and brindle. As long as the individual dog meets the standards requirements for size, square and not too racy nor too bulky, each style is equally acceptable. A final important point is the coat. Bouvier coats are an important aspect of the breed, and very subject to manip- ulation through grooming, manage- ment and climate making it difficult to judge well. Our current show Bou- vier seems to have gradually developed into a breed where appearance of the dog and grooming of the coat seems to take precedence over other factors; the more coat the better. The coats are profuse, puffed and fluffed, blown dry and sculpted to perfection. It some- times appears that we have competition
in Bouvier Topiary. We, as judges seem to be losing sight of the proper texture and grooming. The standard describes a “rough- coated dog of notably rugged appear- ance”. You can only judge what is in front of you, but please look for the fol- lowing coat qualities: s (ARSH TEXTURE TO THE OUTER COAT NOT soft, not hard, but harsh. Weather- proof. Raspy, like a Briard) s 0RESENCE OF UNDERCOAT 4HERE IS USU - ally plenty, as groomers leave it in to add body and lift to the coat. But sometimes overzealous stripping may remove most of it. s .O TENDENCY TO SILKINESS OR WOOLI - ness, nor curliness. Some natural wave in the coat is quite acceptable, but not curly like a poodle, which only adds to wooliness. The standard states “trimmed, if necessary, to a length of approximately
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DOG BY THE JUDGES’ EDUCATION COMMITTEE OF THE AMERICAN BOUVIER DES FLANDRES CLUB
L et’s take a trip back in time. Let’s go back well over a hundred years to the country of Belgium, prior to the industrial revolution. The land is lush and level in the lowlands, but the climate, while temperate, is frequently damp. Up in the mountains to the North, the climate gets much colder and the land is rocky and poor. It is here that you own a small farm; no more than twenty acres. It is here that you scrabble to house and feed your growing family. You own very little; a few head of dairy cattle. The days are long and you need help to complete all the chores. There is no money to pay for a helper, and a horse is expensive to buy and feed. For the farmers of Belgium, a dog was the answer. A bouvier , the Belgian word for a drover’s dog. Not a breed yet; merely a farmer’s dog. But what kind of dog to help with all the work around the farm? You needed a dog capable of moving the cows into the field in the morning and bringing them back to the barn at night. Or driving them to market down tight country lanes. Once you had milked, you needed a dog to pull a cart—laden with the heavy milk jugs—to market. (And, perhaps, to pull you home if you had spent some of your money at the local pub.) You wanted a dog to help churn the butter and work the gristmill stone. At night, the dog that you required would remain outdoors to guard the farmyard from intruders… not only humans, but the large gray wolves of the European continent. And he needed to be an easy keeper, living off table scrapes. You did not need a specialist, but a combination of a herding dog and a cart dog… a dog with no exaggerations. A dog that was willing and physi- cally able to do what you asked of him.
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A FARMER’S DOG
FROM THE ABDFC JUDGES’ EDUCATION COMMITTEE: A Final Thought
First, the dog needed to be power- fully built with an imposing presence. (Cows will challenge a dog, and they are capable of a kick to the side, backed by a thousand pounds.) a dog with well- sprung ribs and strong bone to absorb the kick should he find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time! A com- pact, short-coupled dog capable of quick turns and short bursts of speed to head off the stock if they decided to wan- der from the path. A dog with an easy, balanced, ground-covering gait, so he would not tire. A dog with a thick dou- ble coat because he was asked to work in all weather conditions; a coat that kept him warm and shed water. A dog well- muscled, especially in the rear quarters, and broad across the chest and back to push into the harness to move a heavy cart to market—often miles away. But a dog not too large, for he needed to be agile as well, to dodge the cow kick, to jump the fence, and to chase off an intruder. He needed to be spirited, bold, and fearless. He was loyal and resolute;
a sensible dog that took his rest when he could, for he worked all day and all night. A high-strung dog would not do. He needed to be even tempered, for he controlled a good part of the world he lived in. This is the dog that fanciers were thinking of when they gathered in 1912 to come up with a standard of perfec- tion that would forever change the bou- vier of Belgium into the Bouvier des Flandres. When describing the body of the Bouvier, they used the term “well- muscled” seven times, and “wide” and “broad” five times. This is the blue- collar working dog they admired and wished to advance. While a Bouvier in proper coat and trim can be quite strik- ing, he is never an elegant dog. Under- neath the trappings of the dog show, the Bouvier must still possess the qualities that made him indispensable to a poor Belgian farmer. A Bouvier des Flandres must always remind you, in body and mind, that he is still a farmer’s dog; the Dog of Flanders.
During several recent tele- vised dog shows, the announcers have stated that a Bouvier moves cattle with his head. I believe they are conflating the herding term “to head” stock (which simply means moving to the front of the animals to turn them) and using the Bouvier’s broad, flat skull as a battering ram to move a cow. A nano second of thought should tell you that this is never going to happen! A Bouvier moves cattle by working off its flank, driving them forward using the full power of his presence and an occasional, well-timed heel nip.
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HAIR OF THE DOG HERDING BREED COAT REQUIREMENTS
BY SUE VROOM
SHOWSIGHT magazine is deeply saddened to report the passing of AKC Executive Field Representative, Sue Vroom. We are indebted to the former professional handler for her many contributions to this publication and to the sport of dogs. Our sincere condolences are offered to her family, friends, and colleagues.
L isted below are the breeds in the Herding Group whose stan- dards contain very specific coat requirements. Coat require- ment descriptions have been taken from each standard as they are written. Australian Shepherd – “… medium texture… weather resistant and of medium length. The undercoat varies in quantity with variation in cli- mate… Non-typical coats are severe faults .” Bearded Collie – “… outer coat is flat, harsh , strong and shaggy…” Severe fault is a “…long, silky coat. Trimmed or sculpted coat.” Belgian Malinois – “… straight, hard enough to be weather resistant…” Beauceron – “… coat is… course , dense…” DQ – “Shaggy Coat.” Bouvier Des Flandres – “A tousled double coat… outer hairs are rough and harsh … Topcoat must be harsh to the touch… A flat coat, denoting lack of undercoat is a serious fault …” A “silky or woolly coat… is a fault .” Briard – “The outer coat is course, hard and dry (making a dry rasping sound between the fingers).” Canaan Dog – “Outer coat-straight, harsh , flat-lying…” Rough Collie – “The well-fitting, properly-textured coat is the crown- ing glory of the Rough variety of Collie… The outer coat is straight and harsh to the touch. A soft, open outer coat… regardless of quantity is penal- ized … The texture, quantity and the extent to which the coat “fits the dog” are important points .” German Shepherd Dog – “… double coat of medium length… hair straight, harsh and lying close to the body… Faults in coat include soft,
the Maltese coat is his defining characteristic. The white, silky hair makes him what he is. A Yorkshire Terrier is not a Yorkie without the luxurious, single-coated, dark steel blue curtain of hair. These are examples of dogs whose sole function on the planet is to look the part and be a home companion, even though the one breed was originally bred down from farm ratters; this no longer being the attraction to own one. Bouviers have the distinction of being one of the highest functioning AKC recognized breeds, anatomically designed for great diversity in their duties and responsibilities. This demands a variety of essential physical characteristics in order to perform vital tasks. An efficient, well-constructed body means the difference between a tireless farm worker and a porch pooch. Compact, short-coupled, well-boned, deep-chested, and proportionately balanced front to rear are essential for maximum functional efficiency. Coat quality and texture is one of the physical compo- nents that enable the dog to more effectively perform his outside duties in varying weather conditions and climates. In hot, dry, and humid areas, the cuticles of the hair shaft and the top coat open to allow air to flow to the skin and cool the body. (Many of us complain about our “fuzzy hair” in hot humid weather.) In cold, wet weather condi- tions, guard hair and undercoat act as a seal, and close to protect the skin from moisture and warm the body. The skin and coat are the thermal protectors that function as a sensor mechanism to shield and aid in survival in harsh conditions. Upon touch, one may expect to feel a variation and a range of texture qualities depending on the weather and the temperature. In evaluating the characteristics of hair, one must remember that it is a living organism on the body of a living thing for a specific reason… protection. It acts and feels differently in various climate conditions because it is doing its job. A fur pelt will feel the same to the touch in all conditions as it has been stripped from the body of an animal. The coat is no longer living. Why, when evalu- ating fur on a live animal, are we expecting to feel the
silky, too long outer coat, woolly, curly, and open coat.” Norwegian Buhund – “Outer coat is thick and hard …”
Old English Sheepdog – “Coat… of a good hard texture … Quality and texture of coat to be considered above mere profuseness . Softness or flat- ness of coat to be considered a fault .” Shetland Sheepdog – “… outer coat consisting of long, straight, harsh hair… Faults -…wavy, curly, soft or silky.” Swedish Vallhund – “Medium length hair, harsh … Fluffy coats… are a serious fault . The following faults are to be so severely penalized as to effectively eliminate the dog from competition: Fluffy Coat …” Hair… is it the sole defining characteristic of a Herding breed or is it one key element among other essential qualities? A defining character- istic by direct definition means that without possessing this particular type component, the breed ceases to be the breed. Most will agree that
HAIR OF THE DOG
same thing in all weather conditions? It would not be function- ing properly if the texture was the same in tepid humidity as opposed to a dry, 50-degree climatized air conditioning. The ratio of guard hair to undercoat is an important consid- eration in evaluation. In humans, each hair follicle yields one strand of hair. In canines, one hair follicle is possessed of both properties—undercoat and guard hair. The density of the coat is of crucial consideration. If the coat is comprised of silky or woolly texture and quality, it will not have the ability to provide protection, no matter what the conditions are. Poor quality coat can be a genetic trait, or it may be indicative of a nutritional defi- ciency or a coat that has not been cared for properly; essentially, poor condition. In both cases, this would be a consideration for evaluation in a show ring by a judge. Given the variables of coat quality and the external condi- tions that affect it, should undue emphasis be placed on it to the exclusion of other physical characteristics in the show ring? Why does it seem that many discussions with a judge in regards to the evaluation of a Bouvier START with only the coat; its texture and trim without mere mention of any structural components? Bouviers are not the only Herding breed with a very specific coat texture requirement as specified in its breed standard (see stan- dards listed previously), yet very seldom do we hear judges say that the reason for not awarding an otherwise quality Briard a ribbon was because the hair failed a make a dry rasping sound
when rubbed between the fingers, and was not hard and dry. There is no question that this feature of the Briard is inherently impor- tant, but it is not the first thing one typically remarks on. It would appear that the Bouvier seems to be the only herder whose primary consideration is a fur pelt held up by four legs and a spine to the sacrifice of other functioning aspects. If ribbons are to be awarded based solely on this, then a study of what a correct Bouvier coat is made up of (and the properties that make it so and in which climate conditions) is necessary. Bouviers are not hard-coated Terriers. On exam, the initial visual assessment of the dog should give one an impression as to whether the coat’s density would have the capability to protect the body in a variety weather conditions. A hands-on inspection should confirm texture and the ratio of under- coat to guard hair. As far as the outline of the body in regards to the trim, on stepping back several feet, one should be able to notice the tips or ends of the guard hair rather than a uniformly blunt-cut hair shaft that is more typical of a Bichon or a Poodle… breeds that do not require a harsh, tousled coat. Do not mistake a “tousled” coat with an “open” coat. An open coat lacks the sufficient under- coat to provide protection. This does not mean that the hair cannot be stripped, mucked-out, and trimmed to create the pleasing body outline of a show ring finish. Learning how to correctly evaluate an all-weather coat—and becoming familiar with the properties that make it so—is the key to the appreciation of the Herding breeds.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, SUE VROOM My relationship with the Bouvier des Flandres started in the early 1970’s as the owner of a large boarding and training facility in southern California. My trainer-in-residence, Dan La Master, did protection training and police work, specializing in the Bouvier. This is when my admiration and attraction to the breed began. I obtained my AKC Professional Handler’s license in 1976 and joined the Professional Handlers’ Association shortly thereafter. I was also a charter member of the AKC Registered Handler Program. After my marriage to Corky in 1981, we were fortunate to have campaigned a number of Bouviers; nine ranked #1 in the nation. Some career highlights for Corky and I include being awarded the last Best in Show on a Bouvier from the Working Group in December 1983, before the formation of the Herding Group, with Ch. Galbraith’s Faire La Roux. A few years later came the Top Dog All-Breeds award for Ch. Galbraith’s Iron Eyes with 101 Bests in Show, making him the top- winning Bouvier in breed history, a record that stands to date. We handled both Iron Eyes and his son, Ch. Ariste’s Hematite Dragon, to Herding Group Ones at the Westminster KC, then a first for the breed at the Garden. Bouviers have played a huge role in my life—191 all-breed Bests in Show and four National Specialty wins. I have enjoyed close relationships with many of the top breeders of the breed. It is due to their dedication that Bouviers have been beloved family members for 40+ years. I served as show chairman for the Southern California Bouvier des Flandres Club for eight years, American Bouvier des Flandres Club JEC from 2009 until 2013, and have been a member of the SCBdFC and the ABdFC since 1993. Having bred 100+ champions of several other breeds, I am currently a member of AKC’s Breeder of Merit program. Since my retirement as an all-breed handler in February 2005, I have been employed by the American Kennel Club as an Executive Field Representative.
LIVING WITH THE BOUVIER DES FLANDRES
By Cindi Stumm & Fritz Dilsaver
T he Bouvier des Flandres originates in the Euro- pean region of Flandres. Th eir name means cow herder or cow herder from Flandres. Th ey were bred to be a versatile farm dog and was used to herd cattle, guard the family and the farm, pull carts, and help the farmer and the family with a multi- tude of tasks. Th e Bouvier worked as a service dog in both World Wars. Th ey were used as a messenger, a sentry dog, and as a search dog to locate ammunition and mines. Photo courtesy of Judy Casper.
Bouviers love spending time with their family and being able to go with you when you go out or just spending quiet time by your side in the house makes for a happy Bouvier. Th ey are deeply devoted to the family and love being a part of the action. As soon as you bring your puppy home it is important to start showing the puppy the rules and the guidelines of the household. Th e puppy will be calm and attentive and eager to please you. Th ey learn very easily and tend to retain what they have learned. You need to be very consistent and be in charge while laying out the ground rules of the life of your new Bouvier. Th ey will grow
into a much happier dog when everything is clear to them and they have a boss to follow. Th ey like to have structure in their lives. If this is not made clear the Bouvier will make up his own rules and test you to see what he can and cannot do. Even though the Bouvier has a strong personality, they are a sensitive breed. Th ey react better to kind- ness and gentle commands with con fi dence and leadership rather than the hard drill ser- geant approach to enforce guidelines. You have the power to mold this cute, fl u ff y fur ball you brought home into a bright, loyal, well mannered, obedient adult, stable and con fi dent!
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Photo courtesy of Judy Casper.
Early socialization is very important. Exposure to as many situations, people, sights, sounds and experiences helps ensure the puppy will grow up to be a well rounded, stable adult dog Puppy kindergarten is the fi rst good place to start. Also inviting visitors over regularly, and taking the puppy to as many places as allows (stores, shopping centers, etc). Taking the puppy for short walks to meet the neighbors and others on the street is also good beginning training for your new puppy. One of the wonderful traits this breed possesses is that what you teach them they remember. Th ey are not a dog that needs repetition or refresher courses. Th is is true for commands and behavior.
Th ere is a good story that proves that trait. A girl had a service dog for her MS and the dog was getting on in years and she thought she should fi nd another pup- py to bring home to start training to be her new service dog. She would have the old Bouvier train him, at the same time the owner would take him to training to teach him the tasks he would need to do to carry on when the old girl could no longer do her job or was gone. Th e puppy took to the training right away and seemed like he was going to be a good candidate to take over when the time was right. Th e trainers were very impressed with how quickly the puppy picked up on all his jobs. However, shortly after going through quite a bit of training the owner of the dog noticed that
the young dog was not following through at home. After awhile, they thought that maybe the dog would not be a good ser- vice dog after all. Th en the old girl had a back problem and at 14 years old had back surgery and had a bit of di ffi culty at fi rst recovering but then made a full recovery and continued her job until she could no longer do it and she past away. Th e young dog was there when she passed and he returned home and immediately took over as the service dog they originally thought he could be. Everyone decided he did not want to take over the old dogs job until it was necessary. But, he never forgot his commands and when he needed to do them he was right there willing and able to carry through.
“One of the wonderful traits this breed possesses IS THAT WHAT YOU TEACH THEM THEY REMEMBER.”
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“THEY ARE GREAT READERS AND CAN NATURALLY DETECT WHEN DANGER IS PRESENT.”
Bouviers are dogs that like to think that it was their idea to do something. So you need to know your dog very well and be one step ahead of him and be creative in having your dog do what you want them to do but let them think it is their idea. If properly socialized and a strong bond made from an early age with your Bouvier then you can be sure that your dog is learn- ing the trait of reading situations. Th ey are great readers and can naturally detect when danger is present. Th is is not some- thing that needs to be taught. A great example of this is a true story. A girl raised her Bouvier right by giving him lots of socialization. She took him to work with her everyday and the dog attended
meetings and traveled with her all over the country. He was always well behaved and friendly, quiet and calm. By the time the male Bouvier was 5 years old the girl gave up ever thinking that the dog would be protective. She had hoped he would be because she was single and active and wanted to be able to count on the dog if the situation came up that she needed him. Two weeks after his 5th birthday she was on her way home from a meeting and stopped for gas. She was driving her Porsche and the dog, of course, was with her in the back seat. While she was pump- ing gas and washing the windshield a man came over and asked her for money. When she told him “no” he walked around
behind the pumps and came towards her from behind the car waiving his fi sts and screaming obscenities at her and demand- ing money. When he came closer to the girl, the dog fl ew out of the window leap- ing at the man and used his head to the chest to push him up against the gas pump. Th e dog sat up close right in front of him and stared. When the man tried to get away, the dog immediately raised up on his hind legs and again butted him with his head to the chest and against the pumps. Th is time he sat closer with a very low growl. By that time the police arrived and walked over got the handcu ff s out and the dog stepped aside letting the o ffi - cer take the man away. While the o ffi cers
Photo courtesy of Judy Casper.
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CONs • Lots of grooming • Th ings stick to the coat • Beards get wet while drinking and they shake all over • If you are gone to long, they may get bored and boredom can make for trou- ble such as digging, chewing, or bark- ing or maybe some sort of destruction • Without proper training and direction they will try to take over the house and may become unruly • Needs to be exercised • Th e Bouvier is a big dog and takes up space in the house and car PROs • Loyal • Easy to train • Good with children, good family dogs • Protective • Calm and quiet indoors • Versatile and can be trained for almost anything • Sensible and thinks on his own • Good memory for commands and people • Does not shed the way you normally think of shedding but you will fi nd pu ff s of hair to pick up
Photo courtesy of Judy Casper.
Cindi Stumm and Fritz Dilsaver have been actively breed- ing, training and showing the Bouvier for over 40 years.
talked to the girl about what happened they told her how impressed they were with the dog and asked where she had had him trained? Th ey used to work allot with the Bouviers and missed the breed. She laughed and said she had only taken him to puppy kindergarten classes. Th at story shows one of the wonderful characteristics of the Bouvier. It demon- strates that the Bouvier will do whatever it takes to take care of the situation, no more and no less! Th e Bouvier is a very multifunctional dog and has been used for many purposes in the lives of the people that own them. Th ey have been used in police and military work, watchdogs and family guardians.
Th ey have also been used as service dogs and search and rescue dogs. Th eir qualities can be used to participate in competitions or real life work in herding, tracking, and carting. Th ey compete in many levels of obedience, agility and protection sports. Th e Bouvier is not one for exercising himself. He will wait to go with you on a walk or out to play with him. Th ey need regular exercise, but if you don’t take him out they will be happy just laying around waiting. Once you get them out they are happy to be out to exercise. Before making a decision to own a Bou- vier it is important to talk to good, long time breeders and evaluate if you are the right owner for a Bouvier.
Th ey are an AKC Breeder of Merit and use the prefix ARISTES for their two breeds the Bouviers and the Black Russian Terriers. ARISTES means Protector God of Hunter and Herdsman. Th ey are very passionate about the breed and are always available to help anyone who may have questions or need their help of any kind. When breed- ing they pay special attention to tempera- ment and health issues. Th ey have traveled all over the world showing their dogs. Th eir dogs have won National specialties and Best In Shows in many countries and have won special honors over the years. Th ey love the breed and can’t imagine living without a Bouvier in their lives.
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Q&A ON THE BOUVIER DES FLANDRES
RS: Must haves are square body and hard coat. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? LC: Rears are over-driving and backs and loins are becoming too long. YS: The breed is leaning too much to the generic show dog with hair. Also concerning is the straight front with too much rear, too long in body and over-extended gait with improper head carriage. RS: I don’t know of any required traits that are being exag- gerated, but as far as undesired traits are concerned, I think there are far too many specimens that are too long in body. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? LC: Yes, with educational seminars, mentors and health test- ing, the breed is becoming much better as a whole. YS: In some aspects yes, for instance better heads with good muzzle depth and width as well as coats. In some ways, no—there is more over exaggeration of movement, lon- ger bodies and loss of the square picture, thereby losing breed-specific type. RS: The breed may be somewhat improved during this period, but the breed had a lot of good ones when I first started to judge them. I do think there are a lot more Bou- viers being shown now, and so we see a lot more that are not so good. 5. What do you find Bouviers to have most and least consistently? LC: Substance is the most consistent in my rings. Coat tex- ture, compactness and balance are the least consistent things I see. 6. Where do you find Bouviers to be most and least consistent? YS: They are most consistent in Australia and least in North America. RS: I think the most consistency is found in Canada; the least in the Deep South and the mountain states. 7. How do you estimate size in a Bouvier, given that oversize and undersize are one of only three severe penalties under the standard? LC: I look at them and ask myself, ‘Can they do the function that they were bred for? Are they agile? Are they balanced?’ YS: We see out of standard Bouviers winning in spite of the severe penalty. The size range in Bouvier is very
I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Outside of dogs, my husband and I do volunteer work and I love to shop. I’ve been in the dog world for 39 years, showing for 34 years and I’ve been judging since 2012. YVONNE SAVARD I live in Pitt Meadows, British Colum- bia, Canada. I work full time as a Veteri- nary Pharmaceutical Territory Manager. I went to my first dog show in 1969. I’ve been showing dogs for 47 years and judging for 20 years.
DR. ROBERT D. SMITH
I live in St. Stephens Church, Virginia and am retired after a career in the fields of education and economic development. My wife, Polly and I began our dedica- tion to the sport of purebred dogs in 1960, showing German Shepherd Dogs. In 1963, Polly bought me an American Foxhound puppy for a Christmas present. Needless to say, Foxhounds became our primary breed. Later, after I had started judging, we showed and bred Welsh Ter- riers. I was approved to judge American Foxhounds and Bea- gles in 1969 and judged my first show in March 1970.
1. Describe the breed in three words. LC: Powerful, compact and intelligent. YS: Square, bold and steady. RS: Big, square and hard-coated.
2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? LC: The must have traits are balance, compact, substance, movement, coat texture and temperament. YS: Square, correct movement, proud, bold, moderate front and rear angulation with overall correct balance.
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bouvier des flandres Q&A WITH LINDA CLARK, YVONNE SAVARD & DR. ROBERT D. SMITH
large—24 ½ " to 27 ½ " for dogs and 23 ½ " to 26 ½ " for bitches. We do not have a disqualification for height, so judges need to look at overall dog. Bouviers today run the full gamut of sizes. We have an “ideal” size in our standard—26" for dogs, 25" for bitches. If the dog or bitch appears way out of range, that’s your call. RS: First of all, I think judges are much more likely to find ones that are too small than too big. Ironically, ones that are too large are more likely to win than ones that are too small. That is probably because people are more likely to confuse “big” with “giant.” 8. With the standard calling for a scissor bite and a severe penalty for overshot or undershot, do you penalize a level bite? LC: Scissor bite please, with the rare exception being if the dog is outstanding enough to override the level bite. YS: I do not penalize a level bite. Bouviers have dropped center incisors as well; this is not an issue for me if the side bite has correct occlusion and full dentition. The standard does not mention full dentition; however, for me it goes with a strong, broad, well filled out muzzle. RS: I do not penalize a level bite. 9. Have you ever excused a Bouvier for a foreign substance or a dyed coat? LC: No, I have not. YS: No, I have not. That being said, it is a more common practice than one would think. When I judged the 2007 National, I was surprised at how black my hands were upon completion. I will make it known to the handler that I know and likely not place the dog. I check for color alteration, particular pigment coloration of noses and eye rims. If sprays are used, (the mouth wash smell that is a dead giveaway) that alerts me to really check the coat as obviously the handler thinks the coat needs masking. A good Bouvier coat only requires water. RS: I have not. Regarding suspected dyed exhibits, I do not think dying can be proven without taking hair samples and having them examined under a microscope. As for foreign substances, that too would be hard to prove, so my alternative is to just penalize the exhibit. 10. What part does grooming play in your placements? LC: At least one-third, symmetry is important in standing and in movement. YS: This is a hands-on breed, if you scissor the coat, then the texture is gone. The “prettiness” of the grooming does not influence me; correct preparation of the coat will. RS: According to my interpretation of the standard, the Bouvier should be shown with a minimum of grooming, so my policy is to fault excessive grooming.
LC: Exhibitors should show a well-socialized dog in good physical condition with correct grooming of the coat presenting a good outline and correct texture. I like exhibitors to show me the bite. YS: Slow them down; do not race with this breed. More handlers ruin good dogs by trying to get them to move like Sporting dogs. RS: Learn how to condition your dog’s coat and how to properly present the Bouvier as well as bring in a well- conditioned dog. 12. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? LC: I believe they misunderstand the head width and plane, the coat texture and the powerful balanced movement. YS: They judge on silhouette. This is a breed that can be sculptured to look correct by hiding length, masking head size and planes of muzzle to top skull. Use your hands, find the layback, the length of neck, the return of upper arm, the withers, where the front legs are set, the length of rib cage vs. length of loin and the rear angula- tion. Look for sickle hocks, at head carriage and at front reach and rear drive follow through—get past the coat. There should be minimal lift of front and rear legs; no excess kick or lift of that front or rear. RS: I think what most judges, both old and new, do not understand is the proper Bouvier coat.
13. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed?
LC: This is a breed that is very loyal to its owner and property. The Bouvier must have a job and purpose in life. They are intelligent, yet can be stubborn and strong willed. The owners of a Bouvier need to have the time for proper training and grooming. Being a very athletic and highly trainable breed, the Bouvier also needs socialization and training. I believe the Bouvier is an asset to the Herding Group. YS: Do not get caught up on the special of the day, there are good dogs out there that get over looked because they are not with a known name. Please judge the dog. Always remember: square, compact, agile, steady and proud. 14. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? LC: Being interviewed by Borat (www.youtube.com/ watch?v=bT1BXN7bgjA) . YS: I was judging at the International Show in Sidney, Austra- lia and was in the Toy ring. Suddenly this loud commo- tion began. I went to find the source of the noise and it was a large nearby tree filled with cockatoos—I mean hundreds—that got into an argument about something. It was amazing to see and not one Toy dog spooked at the noise.
11. What can Bouvier exhibitors do to make your judging process easier?
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BOUVIER DES FLANDRES SURVEYS ON THE BREED
7. What previously campaigned Bouvier come close to your ideal? Please explain. I’m still in awe of Galbraith’s Iron Eyes, owned and bred by Dave and Joan Galbraith. He was handled by Corkie and Sue Vroom and assisted by Van Pusey. It was almost the perfect storm of perfection. He won over 100 Best in Shows (which is still the record to beat). Iron had bone, coat and attitude. He owned any ring he was in. Today, I’d say anything bred by or handled by Elaine and Louise Paquette of Quiche Kennels. They have a strong breeding program that they augment with Dutch imports from time to time. They have the capacity to keep the dogs with the most potential so they have their choice of major contenders. If you add to that, their ability to groom and condition their dogs to perfection, there’s no surprise they have the top Bouviers year after year. 8. How does the breed in North America compare to other parts of the world? The US standard allows a larger dog. And, while fawn is in both the US and FCI standard, we do not fault a fully pigmented fawn Bouvier. Nor should we. It would be difficult to show one in Europe though. In the past, US breeders were more inclined to have health tests done on their breeding stock than their European counterparts. I’m not sure that’s true anymore. I think European breed- ers are more apt to test for hip dysplasia today. 9. Do you have anything else to share? I think Facebook has done a lot to connect Bouvier lovers from around the world. I love getting updates from Rus- sia and England about their shows and “family flights”. Thank heavens Facebook offers translations, otherwise I’d just have to look at the pictures. There’s a real Bouvier bond between owners and Facebook gives me access to these besotted Bouvier owners all over the world. RICHARD LAKE 1. In order, name the five most important traits you look for in the ring. Square outline, short back, good lay back of shoulders, balanced front and rear, proper coat, head to match body, good bite. 2. What, if anything, do you feel non-breeder judges get wrong about the breed?
1. In order, name the five most important traits you look for in the ring. I look for balance, movement (comes with balance), bone, attitude and coat. Actually, attitude might come after balance.
2. What, if anything, do you feel non-breeder judges get wrong about the breed? Coat. The standard calls for a tousled coat, not the heavy undercoated, sculpted coat seen in the ring today. 3. What do handlers do in presentation that you wish they would not? Move the dog too fast. 4. Cropped or uncropped ears? Do undocked tails affect judging? Cropped is my personal preference for Bouviers I own or breed, but uncropped is also in the standard. I don’t differentiate. Uncropped is fine, but I abhor a natural tail. It’s not in our standard. It’s NOT how the breed was developed. 5. What traits do you see popping up these days that are going in the wrong direction? What’s better? Bouviers are shorter backed, but losing a neck. We are getting back to more moderate dogs with really fine breeders throughout the country. 6. Has your Bouvier competed in any performance events? Did that experience affect judging deci- sions? Can today’s show Bouvier still perform the functions for which he was bred? I have not had the time to work my Bouviers in any kind of performance events. I blame myself, not them. I’m lucky if I can keep their coats up. I’m always proud of owners who prove how well round-ed the breed is. We’ve got a lot of owners who show their dogs in the conformation ring and then go into the obedience and herding rings. Our national specialty includes many multi-faceted events for our breed. I think the Bouvier is only limited by its owner and I’m the classic case.Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30
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