Ardennes Mountain Dog: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

The Ardennes sheepdog breed is characterized by its rustic appearance, its body and high energy level. It is a dog with a cheerful, sociable and curious character . But he also has a very brave, vigilant demeanor and knows how to take care of its own. At Petlifey, we explain the character and characteristics of the Ardennes herder.

Character of the Ardennes Mountain Dog breed

The character of the Ardennes herder is cheerful, curious, agile, sociable and energetic. Thanks to its demeanor, it feels comfortable in any situation. It is tenacious and very brave when it comes to defending his people, their assets and their territory.

Vigilant and suspicious to the extreme, this dog has a temperament that makes them be always aware of taking care of what it considers its, be it a herd, it territory or the family, and it is distrustful and very surly towards strangers.

No matter how close friends of the house they are, he never ends up seeing them as people who are part of the family, and that is why he never gives them all his trust and affection.

On the other hand, with the true members of its pack, it is an affectionate dog, very obedient and willing to accept any new task that is entrusted to him, since it loves challenges, is very intelligent and is always active.

It is a tireless worker who is constantly attentive to its master’s every gesture. In fact, its fast and cautious way of walking is very characteristic, almost always drawing semicircles around its owner.

Being a rude breed, accustomed to living and working in the most adverse conditions, it needs an owner who is able to impose its authority firmly but at the same time with a point of understanding and tenderness, in such a way that it is achieved create a relationship of complicity and rapport between the dog and its owner.

If this happens, the Ardennes master-cowboy team forms a perfect gear, in which the dog professes such admiration for its owner that it leads them to follow them in any situation and in any function entrusted to them, sometimes even dedicating themselves to tasks unrelated to what might be expected of a shepherd dog.

  • Temperament: It is energetic, resistant, tenacious, courageous, restless and very intelligent. He loves a challenge and it is very easy to train them.
  • Energy: High level. You need to be continuously active, whether it’s running, walking or playing sports. Inactivity makes it loud and destructive.
  • Adaptability: Medium. You need large open spaces and always be busy with some activity.
  • Sociability: Medium. It is vigilant and suspicious of strangers, but affectionate, cheerful, and very obedient to members of its pack. Still, you need strong training, as you can try to “herd” people, animals, or vehicles.
  • Health: Good. There are few diseases associated with the breed.
  • Longevity: High. Live between 12 and 15 years.
  • Utility: Very versatile. It is a shepherd dog, but it can perform tasks of company, guard, tracking, detection of people or drugs, agility and flyball .

The restless character so characteristic of the Ardennes herder makes their adaptability to everyday life not very good .

It is an animal that does not find a good accommodation in the city or in a small house, because it urgently needs to have large open spaces through which to run freely.

It also requires being busy with something useful most of the day, as a boring issue will find a way to occupy its mind doing whatever it takes, and that is usually not good news.

Characteristics of the Ardennes Mountain Dog

Among the physical characteristics of the Ardennes sheepdog its short, compact, muscular and stocky body stands out. It has heavier bones than its bulk suggests, and a powerful head.

Its general appearance is that of a rustic and robust animal, without any pretense of elegance. Therefore, its physical appearance does not contribute much to win many fans: it is a rustic dog both in form and behavior.

It denotes that it is an animal used to living and working outdoors, in the open, in the hard work of guarding and driving livestock.

What is the Ardennes Boyero breed physically like?


The body has a square body structure, the length from the point of the shoulders to the point of the thigh is almost equal to the height at the withers, and the height of the chest is almost half.

It is a strong, muscular, very agile animal with a rustic appearance, enhanced by its rough, shaggy, shaggy coat that forms a beard, mustache and very bushy eyebrows.


The head is large and rather short, with a broad and flat skull, parallel to the muzzle. The stop is marked but not excessively, although the bushy eyebrows highlight the brow ridges.

The muzzle, wide, thick and well compact under the eyes, is visibly shorter than the skull, is covered with stiff hairs that cover the inner corner of the eye, and ends in a broad, black nose.

The jaws are powerful, with complete teeth and a scissor bite. The eyes are medium-sized, somewhat oval and of a very dark color, with the eyelids rimmed with black. The ears are set high, are triangular, rather small and are bent.


It is rough, matted, uneven, rustic, shaggy and shaggy, which gives it a sullen appearance. It is strong in texture and can display any color.

Ardennes Mountain Dog breed standard

  • Origin: Belgium.
  • Size and size: Large.
  • Height at the withers: Between 55 and 63 cm for Males and between 51 and 57 cm for Females.
  • Weight: Between 28 and 35 kg for Males and between 22 and 28 kg for Females.
  • General appearance: It is a rustic, robust, compact and very stocky dog.
  • Utilization: Grazing and guarding.
  • Other names: Ardennes Cattle Dog / Bouvier des Ardennes / Ardennen-Treibhund
  • Body: It is powerful, without giving the appearance of heaviness, with short flanks, a muscular back, well accentuated, elastic and without the appearance of sagging, and a broad chest, lowered to the elbows and with rounded ribs.
  • Neck: Strong, muscular, loose and rather cylindrical in shape, slightly arched and raised, without dewlap.
  • Tail: Many specimens lack a tail, or have it short, in extension of the line of the back. In those that have a long tail, it is thick and set high.
  • Forelimbs and hindquarters: With strong and very muscular bones, they are quite long, solid, straight, well poised and parallel.
  • Feet: Round and compact, with curved toes, dark, thick and elastic pads, and strong and thick nails.
  • Movement: The usual movement is the fast and loose step, or the agile and wide trot, with an excellent impulse of the hind limbs. The dog can turn on full thrust regardless of movement or speed.
  • Coat: It is dry, rough, matted, rustic and very resistant. It can be presented in any color, except white.
  • FCI Classification : FCI No. 171. Group 1 – Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs) Section 2 – Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs).

Education and training of the Ardennes Mountain Dog

Being a dynamic and smart breed, with great physical and mental restlessness, this is a very ductile dog when starting any type of training with them.

It is true that until now it has barely left its traditional use as a shepherd dog, but with the right work it can excel in many other tasks, such as guarding, tracking, searching for people in catastrophic situations, detecting narcotics. or participating in sports disciplines such as agility and flyball.

The early socialization of the Ardennes sheepdog is, therefore, one of the most important tasks that the owners of copies of the breed must carry out.

Its primary instinct as a herding dog is so extremely strong that if it is not educated when it is still a puppy, as an adult it can lead to certain problems, even trying to drive or knock down other animals, people, cyclists and even motorcycles.

Despite all this, it is not a difficult breed to handle. If the appropriate living conditions are provided and the puppy is worked with since it is a few months old, it can become a good family dog, even in the case of owners without much experience.

Health and diet of the Ardennes Mountain Dog

Also, being a rustic and little-known breed, this breed enjoys bomb-proof healthIt does not have complications or characteristic diseases, it does not present difficulties in its feeding and maintenance. Its coat, like all of it, is of such a natural rusticity that it hardly needs an occasional brushing to help remove dead hair and avoid knots and tangles caused by external agents.

As for the feeding of the Ardennes herder, this does not present special difficulties either, since the breed is by nature frugal and long-suffering, accustomed to eating whatever there is and when there is.

Not for this reason, it is necessary to neglect the animal’s meals, ensuring that its nutrition is complete, balanced and adequate to its needs .

In principle, any of the many complete diets on the market can be perfectly adapted to your requirements.

It is possible that this breed has not been valued properly and has been treated a little unfairly due to its rough physical appearance, since when it is known a little it becomes evident that it is an excellent shepherd dog in the monitoring and driving of the cattle, and an exceptional guardian and defender of its home and its family.

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