Showsight Presents The Bouvier Des Flanders

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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