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Spin off from Dog Show thread...Bouvier des Flandres

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  • Spin off from Dog Show thread...Bouvier des Flandres

    Just curious...always interested in 'new to me' breeds as possible future dog...we are not very breed loyal. In fact when I have a 'heart' dog, I am somewhat afraid to get another.

    High energy is ok. We currently have had/currently have Border Collies and find them particularly easy to work with and train. On the whole I prefer my Cattle dog's more laid back and less eager personality. Although somewhat more stubborn than the BC's, still quite trainable.

    So anyway, would love to hear from those with experience, tell me about Bouvier in context of farm dog/companion/.

  • #2
    we have a Bouv and love him!
    He is laid back, great with people, great with cats. Was wonderful with older lab we did hospice for, but definitely territorial with other dogs (always amazed at people that come and bring their dogs and then let them out of the car without asking!). As they say, great transporter of things outside to inside! Likes to be with us - on car drives, out side, likes to "help" herd horses (but keeps his distance). When younger definitely plenty of energy but certainly manageable. Likes to swim! Sheds! Has done very well on our small "ranch" but a) needs regular exercise, b) needs to be with us - not crated or left outside when we are inside, c) don't expect a clean house as every weed/burr/flower/hay stalk will find it's way in, and d) does need regular clipping!

    Awesome dogs! At least ours is!

    Comment


    • #3
      I knew someone who had a bouv. cross, she was definitely dog aggressive and not particularly people friendly either. Taking her out in public was anything but relaxing.

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      • #4
        Sound like awesome dogs. I loved how proud they looked in the ring but also seemed pretty chilled out.

        Regular exercise meaning going for a medium length run everyday kinda thing? I would eventually be looking for a running partner.

        P.
        A Wandering Albertan - NEW Africa travel blog!

        Comment


        • #5
          An acquaintance has one and two little kids. They love her, and she's often photographed playing dress-up with the kids and being a generally patient soul.
          I have had poodles my whole life and the combination in bouvs of shedding plus needing extensive grooming would be my main hesitation.

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          • #6
            I was at a barn whose barn manager had three--my main memories are loud, unfriendly to downright aggressive, and stinky, stinky, stinky. When she left the job (after her male bit the BO), they had to gut, Serve-Pro, and repaint the entire house due to the dog stink.

            Not a breed I'd gravitate to.
            Phoenix Farm ~ Breeding-Training-Sales
            Eventing, Dressage, Young Horses
            www.phoenixsporthorses.com
            Check out my new blog: http://califcountrymom.blogspot.com

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            • #7
              You know, I don'tknow about Bouvs and running! My husband does not run (ifhe is as he says you'd better believe something's chasing him) and I only do intermittently depending on my knee. But..doggie in his younger years went on plenty of walks, went swimming, ran around the pasture, was reguarly wrestled with/light sabered, etc with kids. He is 12? now so mostly naps and goes for drives which he loves.

              The grooming is important (and there will be less shedding!) They have a LOT of hair! But smart, smart, smart! Show him something and he does not forget (for better or worse - myhusband taught ours a "dinner song" which he now "sings" EVERY EFFING time his meal is being prepared! Thank you, honey, for that!

              They say with a Bouv to establish leader ship early on and we have. He waits for us to go in and out of doors first, waits for his dinner until cued. Barks at strangers but never jumps (he had plenty of energy for it but he'd look at me or my husband and would refrain).

              My sense is that they would not do as well if just left outside to guard something or hang out. They really like to be with their people!

              I sure love him and would definitely get another.

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              • #8
                I have no idea why they'd be stinkier than any other animal!
                Their hair needs to be brushed and groomed or crap can get caught in it, I guess, but I certainly have not known ours or others to be stinky unless they have gotten into something (elk entrails, something dead).
                They do pass gas!

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                • #9
                  A fellow herding student has a Bouv. She is smart, has great instinct, and is a real handful. She gives her handler the middle finger every single chance she gets and he has to learn how to be smarter and better than her every time he goes out. She's a lot of dog. You have to be quite the owner to keep up with the chess game.

                  This same guy's wife runs a preschool and she's the "preschool dog". The kids can do anything with her and she watches over them like a nanny. She has a job with those kids and takes it very seriously.

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                  • #10
                    This is about the best article on Bouvs. And I learned something! They do mention smell - I never noticed ours (he can smell like a wet dog for sure but so do almost every other breed, if you take them swimming then pop them in the car!) but I guess they can!
                    Otherwise, many of these are great tips for any dog but very good for Bouvs.

                    http://bouvierclub.co.uk/dont-buy-a-bouvier/

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                    • #11
                      As with most breeds, there are different lines who are more suited to different things. There are herding lines, protection lines, conformation lines. They are slow maturing dogs. I have friends who have raised and trained the breed for the last 25+ yrs.
                      They have had dogs that I thought were lovely and others I went out of my way to stay away from. They tell a story about a deputy sheriff coming to their back gate and their 2 yr old daughter was out there with one of their protection dogs. The dog backed down the deputy while standing with the two yr old hanging around is neck.

                      You are either a Bouv person or not. As someone once said about their Bouv, they won't start a fight but they will certainly end it. There isn't any bluff or posturing with them. They require a strong handler, not physically necessarily but in their manner and way of handing dogs.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hastyreply View Post
                        As with most breeds, there are different lines who are more suited to different things. There are herding lines, protection lines, conformation lines.
                        And there are poorly bred, accidentally bred, and bad examples of every breed. In reading some of the comments above I wanted to jump in and suggest that the OP get in touch with a breed club and talk to a bunch of owners that really know the breed well -- and/or go to a dog show and talk to the owners/breeders, etc., or listen to COTHers that are truly familiar with the breed.

                        Often people that have known *one* example of my breed (Brittany) will describe it as a nervous, high strung, or naughty dog. Of the 50+ Brittany owners I know, very few of us would describe Brittanys in general as nervous or high strung, although some of us have known a few specimens that weren't great. (Ok, maybe naughty, but that's because they are smart! ) But it only takes one dog in the wrong family to make people think it's the *breed* that is the problem, not the situation.

                        Don't know any Bouviers but I think they are gorgeous!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My former employer had two Bouviers, a male and female, both about the same age and very well bred. (Jack and Jill, go figure). Tremendously loyal and protective of family and home. Very high drive, very energetic. Beautiful dogs. But even though I managed her equestrian property and they often visited, it was a completely other story when I went to their home...it was as if they didn't know me at all. But love their intelligence and their sense of humor!

                          Had a friend in the dog club that bred and showed Bouvs. Beautiful dogs, lovely temperaments. I think not so protective because of their socialization through showing.

                          Tried to rescue the most beautiful Bouv from a bad situation. Loved the dog, but by the time I got him, he had so many issues that I was overwhelmed. This dog had separation anxiety like I have never seen. He would scale ( with nary a hesitation) a four foot fence to be wherever I was. He was bad at fence running the horses, although he loved to play, and played gently with my wire fox terrier. I realized that he needed more than I could give him, and luckily found the perfect place for him. It broke my heart to say goodbye, but it was bestfor both of us.

                          My advice in this would be research, research, research and then buy the very best that you can find and put the time and effort into the training that it will require. A massive effort on your part but oh so worth it to own a Bouvier!
                          "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PhoenixFarm View Post
                            I was at a barn whose barn manager had three--my main memories are loud, unfriendly to downright aggressive, and stinky, stinky, stinky. When she left the job (after her male bit the BO), they had to gut, Serve-Pro, and repaint the entire house due to the dog stink.

                            Not a breed I'd gravitate to.
                            Based upon my own personal experience with 2 of these dogs, I agree with Phoenix Farm, except I never noticed the smell. I was boarding C&C at a barn where the BO owned a jack russell terrier and an old border collie. All was well. Then BO's husband decided to get 2 bouviers "for protection" since there was a double rape/double murder a few miles away. So BO and her husband went to FL and got two 6 month old Bouvier siblings. All was well for a few months and then the dogs attacked the BO, attacked the jack russell terrier, attacked the border collie and go very aggressive towards everyone. Yes they were in obedience school for over a year. But the dogs got more and more aggressive towards people and animals. Callie, who had always ignored dogs, including all dogs who barked at her, suddenly freaked out when the dogs tried to get her. Fortunately the underground fence shocked the dogs. Then they started just getting shocked and coming outside the "invisible fence." And Cloudy, who loves dogs, actually had to kicked and fight the dogs off when I was riding him. The dogs chased and tried to catch several boarding horses in the front paddock one day. Both of my horses realized before I did that the dogs were no longer just barking at them, but were trying to attack and bite them.
                            When a friend of the BO came to deliver something one day, I mentioned the dogs. The friend told me that she'd advised the BO not to get Bouviers, since they were used in Belgian as attack dogs. I moved C&C and took the barn cat with us. I don't know anything else about the breed other than my experience with those 2 dogs. I did see that they had to be fed in separate rooms or they would fight each other for food.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That just seems so bizarre to me! OP please do what S1969 suggested and contact breeder and others if you are truly interested. Ours is NOTHING like the agressive ones described, and others who have Bouvs have NOT had these problems. People come up all the time and share Bouv stories (good ones!)

                              I will say these are not dogs to be "sent off" to school some place, as they bond very closely with the person teaching them. So, the OWNER is the one who should be teaching! I'm sure, as with other breeds, breeding is critical AND good, consistent early socialization and training. They are very smart and learn quickly what is and is not acceptable, and one does have to be alpha. I guess otherwise with their size and smarts their energy could definitely get them to run amok.

                              Ours did bark at the horses initially but very quickly learned NO! to that. He does help herd them but sticks right next to me or my husband or stays far away from the horses.Ours is not food possessive at all but there are rules for feeding and he knows he is not to approach his bowl to eat until given the cue.

                              My experience with them has been so positive that I do hope you at least pursue getting more info!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have a friend in Cave Junction, OR, that breeds and shows Bouviers. I'm sure he'd love to talk to you about them. I have heard him say that they are not a breed for everyone and that they can be aloof - especially with strangers - and make great watch dogs.

                                My friend is David Herndon and his kennel name is DESHENEE' . He is also a warmblood breeder. His website for the horses (don't think he has one for the dogs) is www.augustmoonfarm.com
                                Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by lilitiger2 View Post
                                  This is about the best article on Bouvs. And I learned something! They do mention smell - I never noticed ours (he can smell like a wet dog for sure but so do almost every other breed, if you take them swimming then pop them in the car!) but I guess they can!
                                  Otherwise, many of these are great tips for any dog but very good for Bouvs.

                                  http://bouvierclub.co.uk/dont-buy-a-bouvier/
                                  This is a famous article on the breed. Personally, I think they are wonderful dogs. They are very dedicated to their own people, and are often reserved and aloof with strangers. Most are protective of their turf, but I've known many that were very good. I knew a lady that was a dog groomer for a while, and she had a female Bouvier when she groomed out of her home. Her female was really lovely and would bark when people and their dogs were at the door, but she was definitely under control. People could pet her, but she was primarily interested in what her person was doing. They're very intelligent dogs, but most that I've known have not required a ton of exercise and they tend to be very m+-low indoors. They do have a lot of hair in their face (the beard). Shaving that will minimize odors, as will washing it frequently. If they're running around on a farm and not groomed very frequently, then they'll definitely smell - especially the beard. As a farm dog, they'd definitely do better shaved down. They are working/herding dogs, and some of them will have higher prey drive and may not be good with cats. However, there are many out there that are fine with cats.
                                  Within the breed, there is some disagreement as to the direction that should be taken in regards to temperament. They were used as all purpose farm dogs in Belgium, and were also used as police dogs in European countries as well. When they served as farm dogs, guarding the farm was a significant part of the job. They were also war dogs, dragging wounded soldiers from the battlefield and carrying messages.
                                  he U.S. military also used them for a while. Today, you still see some that compete in IPO, etc., but many find that they no longer have that strong of a temperament. They have certainly been bred down in temperament, and they have considerably more hair than they did years ago as well.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by lilitiger2 View Post
                                    That just seems so bizarre to me! OP please do what S1969 suggested and contact breeder and others if you are truly interested. Ours is NOTHING like the agressive ones described, and others who have Bouvs have NOT had these problems. People come up all the time and share Bouv stories (good ones!)
                                    Even the article you links to from the Bouvier club mentions their aggressive behavior. It's mentioned in the context of the importance of training & supervision, but the OP said she just wants a companion dog. That seems like a lot of pressure for just a companion.

                                    The OP never really said what she wanted the dog for, but the personality is so completely opposite of a border collie! There's farm dogs who are left outside to guard all the time, there's farm dogs who have a job with the livestock, and there's farm dogs who trot around the yard a bit then curl up in a sunny spot.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Agree that Bouvs are not at all like BCs in terms of ease of training. They want to do things their way. Hard-headed dogs.

                                      Have you looked at "regular" collies? They are extremely biddable and trainable and should be pretty laid back in the house. (I say should because some performance-bred ones are sort of hellions, but they are not all that common.) Less intense than a cattle dog or a border collie, but still a herder in that they are very sensitive to their handler. Much less aloof than a Bouv.
                                      I usually don't suggest "my" breed (I have 2) but since the only other breed of dog that could turn my head right now is a border collie, I wondered if a BC owner would have their head turned by a scotch collie. They do come in 2 coat lengths, rough (like Lassie) and smooth, for those who don't like to deal with the grooming.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by independentlyawesome View Post
                                        Even the article you links to from the Bouvier club mentions their aggressive behavior. It's mentioned in the context of the importance of training & supervision, but the OP said she just wants a companion dog. That seems like a lot of pressure for just a companion.

                                        The OP never really said what she wanted the dog for, but the personality is so completely opposite of a border collie! There's farm dogs who are left outside to guard all the time, there's farm dogs who have a job with the livestock, and there's farm dogs who trot around the yard a bit then curl up in a sunny spot.
                                        The OP wanted experience with a Bouvier as far as farm dog and companion. I have a bouv who is a farm dog and companion. It's not like I have just seen one, or an acquaintance had one; I live with one. And because of him, I am familiar with others. I am not a breeder, I do not show. My experience is that they are terrific dogs but certainly not for everyone. But if someone is interested, and can get past the "don't get a Bouv if..." stuff and STILL want the breed, I would for sure check with a breeder (as opposed to random opinions and anecdotes!) And talk to people who OWN one who can tell their experiences and see if the lifestye is a fit

                                        The article also states that this is NOT the breed to get if you want an attack dog because of their laid back dispostion and that would be my experience. Again, I would chat with breeders because Im sure that breeding and socialization are critical. While they can be aggressive, it does not seem like that is "typical" of the breed (with good handling) but again, I would say actually talking to people (breeders) and owners would be informative. I would agree that with poor breeding and lousy handling, their size and smarts can lead to problems.

                                        I just love ours and love the breed, but as I said, not for everyone! I would say even with good handling the grooming (clipping), dirt in the house, and gas (even wihtout elk entrails!!!) are probably bigger daily issues. you do need to be alpha but once they get that, they are extremely mindful. And, I would say, very patient and good with kids (but he is always supervised anyway).

                                        Comment

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