Showsight Presents The Bouvier Des Flanders


Let’s Talk Breed Education!



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.




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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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.” BelgianMalinois – “… 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












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.

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 (ARSHTEXTURETOTHEOUTERCOATNOT soft, not hard, but harsh. Weather- proof. Raspy, like a Briard) s 0RESENCEOFUNDERCOAT4HEREISUSU - 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 .OTENDENCYTOSILKINESSORWOOLI - 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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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.


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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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 ( 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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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.

Straight front, washed out colors and improper colors that are not in the standard. 3. What do handlers do in presentation that you wish they would not? Over grooming, coloring coats and trying to move the dog with its head up. 4. Cropped or uncropped ears? Do undocked tails affect judging? My personal preference is cropped ears, but in judging it is one of the last things. Tail is to be cropped until the standard is changed. 5. What traits do you see popping up these days that are going in the wrong direction? Getting too small and losing bone and substance. 6. Has your Bouvier competed in performance events? I have Bouviers that are conformation and obedience champions, as well as high in agility trials. 7. What previously campaigned Bouvier come close to your ideal? Please explain. There have been some wonderful dogs over the years; the one that sticks out is Ch Leevy Astra La Petite Colline that excelled in substance, movement and temperament. 8. How does the breed in North America compare to other parts of the world? Some North American dogs have been top dogs in the world. 9. What sets the Bouvier apart from the Black Russian and Giant Schnauzer? I believe the temperament of the Bouvier sets it apart. 10. Do you have anything else to share? The Bouvier is an ideal, wonderful family dog that is very intelligent and loves to please—he is also good with children. NANCY EILKS 1. In order, name the five most important traits you look for in the ring. Square and cobby build. Harsh coat. Easy and efficient movement. Appearance of power yet agile. Intelligent expression. 2. What, if anything, do you feel non-breeder judges get wrong about the breed? The proper coat is difficult to understand. The harshness properly stripped. I also see a lot of poor movement and lack of good physical condition being rewarded. 3. What do handlers do in presentation that you wish they would not? There is too much trimming and fluffing, but more annoying is having the dogs gait around the ring too fast with their heads held up high. 4. Cropped or uncropped ears? Do undocked tails affect judging?

I am a traditionalist and personally like the cropped and docked look of the breed. That said, I have shown and bred many that have not been cropped. I have seen undocked Bouviers in performance events but have yet to see an undocked Bouvier shown to me. I would find it hard to look at, but if the set is proper and carriage reasonable, I don’t believe I could disregard a good dog for such a man-made fault. 5. What traits do you see popping up these days that are going in the wrong direction? What’s better? Proper coat preparation is giving way to clipping and scissoring. A good coat can survive such treatment, but a marginal coat cannot be improved by these methods. Too much use of product in the coats is starting to show up. Lack of balance in movement is becoming the norm. Heads and bites have improved. Light eyes are rarely seen. Size has gone from being too big, to being too small and seems to have moderated. 6. Has your Bouvier competed in performance events? Did that experience affect judging decisions? Can today’s show Bouvier still perform the functions for which he was bred? In years past, my husband and I have trained in obedi- ence and some Schutzhund. We worked our show dogs. Some of my dogs are too large and less agile, but could still do the work. Some of today’s show dogs are not bal- anced enough to hold up for a long day of work. If the dog being shown today has the willingness to work, he would still be able to do the job. Some of that drive is missing. 7. What previously campaigned Bouvier come close to your ideal? Please explain. Early on in our showing, we saw a dog called Beaucrest Ruffian and the look of that dog is what comes to my mind as the ideal. He was moderate in all aspects, cobby and powerful looking. He had a confidence and presence that stuck with me. 8. How does the breed in North America compare to other parts of the world? Mostly the breed looks different due to the grooming. Underneath they are not all that different. The American dogs may tend to be heavier and shown in poorer condition. 9. What sets the Bouvier apart from the Black Russian and Giant Schnauzer? The Black Russian is larger, softer coated and a more high-powered dog. They also carry more angulation than the Bouvier. The Giant Schnauzer is quite different in the head, being rectangular where the Bouvier is more square. They are narrower in body and elegant. Elegant is not a word used to describe a Bouvier. 10. Do you have anything else to share? So much of our breed, as with other breeds, is about the character of the breed. Please do not accept poor temperament. Also, please DO go over the dogs, but they

Q&A ouvier

may not be appreciative of a full body massage from a stranger. With the amount of coat, what you see may not be what is there. Don’t be fooled by pretty grooming. There is no excuse for any product in the coat. DEBBIE LONG GSCHWENDER 1. In order, name the five most important traits you look for in the ring. Square dog, nice reach and drive, level topline and tail- set, head in proportion to body and good coat. 2. What, if anything, do you feel non-breeder judges get wrong about the breed? Most non-breeder judges get fooled by the grooming or just don’t understand the need to put up a SQUARE dog, one with a short loin. Over emphasizing the coat proper- ties, it’s an owner/handled breed with owner/handlers doing the grooming. And most of them do not know how to properly maintain a coat for the show ring. Also, Bou- viers are not necessarily a flashy breed and most judges go for the flash, not correct structure and movement, they need a well laid back shoulder with a moderate rear. 3. What do handlers do in presentation that you wish they would not? Move the dogs too fast. 4. Cropped or uncropped ears? Do undocked tails affect judging? I prefer cropped, but uncropped ears do not bother me. I do not care for an undocked tail. 5. What traits do you see popping up these days that are going in the wrong direction? What’s better? Wrong direction: straighter shoulders and overangulated rears, LONG loins. Better: coat texture and cleaner mov- ing dogs on the down and back. 6. Has your Bouvier competed in performance events? Did that experience affect judging decisions? Can today’s show Bouvier still perform the functions for which he was bred? Yes, I have competed with a couple Bouviers in Herding Trials. Yes, it has affected what I look for in the ring. And yes, the Bouvier can still perform many of the func- tions he was bred to do. He was and still is an all-round farm dog. 7. What previously campaigned Bouvier come close to your ideal? Please explain. Ch. Avalon Frontier Sleeping Lady Webber. He had a won- derful temperament, good substance, good coat and was a very nice moving dog. 8. How does the breed in North America compare to other parts of the world? I think there are some breeders in North America who do a very nice job of trying to improve the breed. Here

in the US, we are most definitely producing Bouviers that are equal to anywhere in the world. 9. Do you have anything else to share? Handlers/Owners need to take the time to learn the proper way to trim a coat. The jacket is to be 2 ½ inches long and should be tousled. RICK GSCHWENDER 1. In order, name the most important traits you look for in the ring. 1. Temperament equable, steady,

resolute, fearless character 2. Compact, short-coupled 3. Powerfully built, strong boned, well muscled 4. Back short, broad, well mus-

cled, firm level topline 5. Harsh double coat 6. Expression bold and alert 7. Free, bold, proud gait, reach in balance with driving power 8. Shoulder blade and humerus form angle slightly greater than 90 degrees 9. Chest broad, brisket extending to elbow 10. Proportions of skull to muzzle 3 to 2 11. Hindquarters firm, well muscled with large, powerful hams 12. Moderate angulation at the stifle 13. Scissor bite 14. Toplines of muzzle and skull parallel 15. Feet rounded, compact, toes close and well arched 16. Beard and mustache 2. In order, name the most serious faults. 1. Color chocolate brown, white, or parti-color 2. Deviating from minimum or maximum size limits 3. Undershot or overshot 4. Long-bodied 5. Skull not well developed 6. Coat too long, too short, silky, or woolly

7. Sickle or cow-hocks 8. Topline weakness 9. Slabsidedness 10. Steep shoulders 11. Slanted croup

12. Yellow or light eyes 13. Short, squatty neck 14. Upper thigh too straight or too sloping 15. Snipey muzzle 16. Ears too low or closely set 3. Which movement characteristic is most important?

Balance, being square I will forgive a little on side move- ment when a dog is square. 4. Which movement fault is the most serious? Sickle and cow-hocks. 5. What 4 to 6 essential characteristics must a Bouvier have, that you look for when you judge? Temperament, compact, substance, head in proportion to body, balanced movement and good topline. JEANETTE NIEDER

handler move the dog on a loose lead letting the head go slightly down and forward to allow a level firm topline with the foot striking under the nose when moving. 3. What do handlers do in presentation that you wish they would not ? I want handlers to show me the dog they want me to see. It’s my job to find the real dog. If a dog can be shown on a loose lead without cranking up the head, you have my attention! String them up and race them around without reach or drive and I’m thinking, ‘All show and no go!’ 4. Cropped or uncropped ears? Do undocked tails affect judging? Not in the show ring. Our standard states IF cropped: “… They are to be a triangular contour and in PROPORTION to the size of the head.” I focus on the placement of the ear whether cropped or uncropped. As for the tail, again I quote the standard, “Tail is to be docked, leaving 2 or 3 vertebrae” and “Any deviation from this (standard) is to be penalized to the extent of the deviation”. I honor the breed’s traditions. 5. What traits do you see popping up these days that are going in the wrong direction? What’s better? In my opinion, work on keeping good scissor bites in the breed. Over the years the bites had improved dramati- cally but we need to keep them. Head proportions have improved. The most common head fault is the 50/50 head that many may consider to be impressive in scale. The back skull will be broader with a shorter, plushier muzzle. Remember the old timers described it as a “Bel- gian brick” (not a cobble stone). Watch out for stuffy necks that might be a result of steep shoulders. A dog with straight shoulders and rear can appear to be balanced standing but you will see the proof in the movement. As a breeder you can work on improve- ment incrementally. As a judge you have to work with the dogs presented to you on the day and remember Mrs. Clark’s advice to choose the soundest of the typiest dogs and then be a little bit forgiving. 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 believe the standard is a job description for breeds with form following function. I have tried obedience, herd- ing, tracking, carting, barn hunt and agility (though not competitively) over the years and they have served as therapy dogs. I am an advocate for giving the Bouvier opportunities to work. The key is really the owner’s time and wherewithal to commit to the performance events. I have bred dogs that have multiple titles (thank you Robbie Avery) and can do it all—thanks to their owners’ understanding of the breed and commitment to the ver- satility of the Bouvier. And, yes I do ask myself as I judge, ‘Could this dog herd? Cart? Do they have the alert, bold expression to be watchful?’

1. In order, name the five most important traits you look for in the ring. During my first look, I want to see a compact Bouvier with balanced and harmonious propor- tions including head to body with a slightly

arched neck and balance of dry, harsh top coat to undercoat. On the go around, I look for a free, proud, balanced gait with equal reach to drive. Hands on, I want a well-muscled dog with the substance being in the bone and muscle not in the weight of the dog. Skull to muzzle proportion 3:2 with parallel planes, correct set ears and a U-shaped lower jaw permitting strong white teeth in a scissors bite. 2. What, if anything, do you feel non-breeder judges get wrong about the breed? I think non-breeder judges get more right than wrong when they judge the breed. No one can go wrong if they judge dogs and judge by the standard. If fellow judges ask my opinion, I caution them not to get caught up with size and discount a well-made dog with great breed type that may appear too small or too large compared to the com- petition. That could be the only dog within the standard with the others being over or under the size range. Our standard permits one to choose the best dog within the size ranges. Don’t be drawn to a tail that is carried straight up at all time. If you follow your hands down the hind leg you will probably find a straight stifle leading to a straight hock. Though set high, the tail is aligned naturally with the spine and carried upright in motion. Get your hands into the coat. Though I love to hold a beautiful Bouvier head in my hands, I don’t consider the Bouvier to be a head breed. The head—though impres- sive—is in proportion to the body. Often it is the mus- tache and beard that shapes the head making it appear larger. The Bouvier is a trotting breed. I prefer to see the

Q&A bouvier

7. What previously campaigned Bouvier come close to your ideal? Please explain. This is the toughest question, because I have been so for- tunate to have seen many really beautiful Bouviers over the years. I can name outstanding dogs and bitches from every breeding program that shaped my interpretation of the ideal Bouvier and fear omitting a great dog and expect that a month from now, I will say, “I should have mentioned...” I will also focus on dogs that I have never judged. Each of these dogs presented as compact, mod- erately angled and balanced dogs standing. They moved with equal reach and drive covering ground with ease whether on or off lead. The head proportions and angles met the standard and fit the body. Where they perfect? Close enough for me. I traveled quite a bit and was honored to see these dogs in their homes as well as in the show ring. Ch. Glenmill- er’s Bandit, brought me to Bill Miller for our first show dogs sired by Ch. Quiche’s Gabriel (I loved to watch Gabriel move) out of Bandit’s dam, Angel. This led me to their get; Ch. Glenmiller’s Uranus Voltron (Risk) and Glenmiller’s Uproar (Rory). These dogs trained my eye to beautiful heads, balance, proportion and easy movement. Am Ber Can Du Ch. Dayan Claudia v Hagenbeek, a Dutch import, was at his most impressive free-stacking at the end of a long lead. His front was under him showing equal length of shoulder to upper arm. His rear was bal- anced. The Dutch grooming style focused on a power- ful front leaving more coat on the throat, shoulders and neck. I was thrilled when a dog I co-owned with Kurt and Kitty Reifert of Moondance Bouviers, Ch. Celebrant Gil-Galad de Ceara, “Cowboy” was the other Bouvier standing at the last in the middle of the ring with Dayan Claudia during a European Style completion. Cowboy took the trophy and I knew that was a hard won win with very worthy competition. Both dogs had endur- ance, free movement and the ability to free stack because they were sound with moderate angulation and balance. A Dayan Claudia son, Am. Can. Ch. Moondance Nigel was another dog that would take my breath away. His dam was sired by Ch. Quiche’s Geoffrey, Am. Can. Ch. Laurendell’s Gretel and her sister Ch. Laurendell’s Gidget De Quiche were two of my favorite bitches. Their dam, Ch. Adele’s Kristen kept the same balance and move- ment as a Veteran Bitch as she had as a youngster. Other

great bitches were Ch. Dela Baie’s La Joy, Ch. Angel and the Madrone Ledge’s imported and home bred bitches that remain in my mind’s eye especially a bitch called Val. And that is just the early years of my involvement in the breed. During that time, “Arco” Ch. Zarco Iris vd Cerbrushof, “Arco” was another balanced, free moving dog imported by Quiche Kennels. Breeding programs of Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and the US produced the balance and proportion, reach and drive of easy bold movement with the nuances of breed type including correct head proportions and coats that formed my vision of a great Bouvier. I never saw Ch. Beaucrest Ruffian in person but his photo made me wish I had the chance to go over him. More recently, my favorite dogs include Pat Murray’s Int’l Ch Trust-Dusty V.D. Vanenblikhoeve, CGC, ROM. Watching him own the ring and then seeing him at home playing with his sons illustrated the bold, confident, yet equable temperament of the breed. He covered as much ground in the ring as he did free on his property. Again, I am focusing on dogs that I have not judged and it is only the looming deadline for this article that has me move to the next question. 8. How does the breed in North America compare to other parts of the world? In my opinion, the North American Bouviers definitely hold their own anywhere in the world. I watched the Bouvier males enter the ring at the 2011 World Dog Show in Paris. Two dogs caught my eye, but one made me say, “That’s for me!” As I checked the catalog, I found he is from a US breeding program! I also had the pleasure to meet a great Bouvier in Ireland. I attended the All Ireland Dalmatian Show and they knew the one Bouvier begin shown at that time. They assured me he would be at the Cork show the next weekend. I looked for the Bouvier, praying that there was one feature that I could praise— instead the dog filled my eye and could easily have suc- cessfully competed here in the US. Throughout the years, European, Canadian and American breeders have sought the best on both sides of the ocean to improve their breeding programs and continue to do so today. 9. What sets the Bouvier apart from the Black Russian and Giant Schnauzer? First the origins of the Bouvier are from the Belgian Lak- enois and possibly the “Grey Hound” (Irish Wolfhound)


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