By Judith Belsham Singer

This is another view of the disadvantages of the Bouvier breed, written by Judith Belsham Singer for her own site and presented here by her kind permission. I present her words exactly as she wrote them. As you can see by comparing her article with mine, we have had some of the same experiences and drawn some of the same conclusions. I don't seem to have gotten bruised as often, though there was the time Chelsea after retrieving my dropped car keys leaped up joyfully at the thought of going for a ride : her skull crashed into my nose and I saw more stars than the Enterprise ever visited.
(Note : her reference to $700 to $1000 for a responsibly bred puppy is out of date. It's higher now and so are the vet bills !)
(For other Bouvier rescue sites, see the Rescue section on this site. Especially look at the ABRL site at http://www.bouvier.org/ABRL/rescue.html)


By Judith Belsham Singer, in memory of Milo

1. Your house will never, never be clean for more than 10 minutes ever again. Each time Bouvs go out they bring in all the flotsam and jetsam from the neighborhood on their rough coats including twigs, leaves, and bugs. When it rains or snows, they drag in mud, salt, and loads of water, and they stay wet and smelly for hours.

2. If you don't groom them several times a week, their coat will turn into a tangled mess that will have to be shaved. Bouviers look fabulous when properly groomed...For about 1/2 hour. Then they look like the flotsam and jetsam they carried in (see 1). And, even though "bouviers don't shed" you will find "hair/dust tumbleweeds" rolling all around your house.

3. Their beards are gorgeous when groomed. If you forget to wash the beard for 3 or 4 days, the rotting food that gets stuck in it will coagulate into a kind of hard rubber substance that stinks and is impossible to get rid of without cutting off part of the beard. The Dutch haven't nicknamed this breed Vuillbaards for nothing. It means "vile beards."

4. Bouviers are willful dogs and will become master of the house if you let them. They need lots and lots and lots of thoughtful guidance and socialization growing up. **If** they get this, they become wonderful dogs at about 2 years old. Got 2 years to spare?

5. Squeemish? Once Basil, my first Bouv, picked up a disgusting, dirty, frozen bug-infested rag from the street. I had to pull it out of his mouth with my bare hands. Wait ! It wasn't a rag I was holding. It was a dead, flattened frozen squirrel. Eeeccchhhh !!!

Ever step in a giant pile of dog vomit in the middle of the night barefoot?

Aand "doggie-bag" takes on a whole other meaning when you have to clean up this big-guy's waste every day. Then you have to store it until trash day. Yum.

6. When it's hot and Bouvs shake their heads, often large streams of sticky lunger will fly onto walls, ceilings, windows, and you, if you happen to be in the way. It will remain visible until you get sick of looking at it on the ceiling and get a ladder to clean it off.

7. You will be injured constantly. Bouvs are fun-loving, enthusiastic and more powerful than you can imagine.

Every bouvier owner has a long list of personal injuries accidently inflicted by these well-meaning powerful giants. When they play, they play as if they were playing with other bouvs, not whimpy humans.

When they want to go after something, there's no holding them back. If you're on the other end of the leash, well, you can imagine.

You will be dragged down a flight of stairs, head-butted in the chin or cheek from an over-enthusiastic welcome (resulting in tongue lacerations, tooth chippings, possible broken nose or jaw) and pulled at great speed smack into walls, telephone poles and into traffic.

Ever have a 100 lb dog surprise you by racing thru your legs as a joke? Down you go, kiddo. This is particularly endearing when you are in the process of descending a staircase. Guests especially like this trick.

Most Bouv owners' thighs are constantly black and blue from happy bouvs greeting their owners with a "Hi mom, I love you" paw thigh wack. Your gynecologist will find this interesting.

A variation of this is the "Hi mom, I love you" face whack. Result: huge facial whelts that disappear...In about 3-7 days.

And rough-housing on the floor will almost always result in a very happy Bouv and a very injured owner. Milo put his tooth right into my scull when he was a playful puppy.

7. Think $700 - $1000 is a lot to pay for a dog? Wait 'til you get the vet bills.

Still not discouraged ? You may very well be a person who can handle and appreciate a Bouvier. To make sure, or to get more information, please go to:


Please, please remember, if you ultimately do decide to adopt a Bouvier

there are good and bad breeders out there!!

Be very, very, very careful which breeder you choose, because one of the worst things in the world is watching a dog you love go thru a life of physical pain due to preventable hereditary diseases. (Not to mention the huge vet bills!)

Personally, I think the best way to find a good breeder is to call other breeders that live far away from you in other states, and ask for a referral to a good breeder who lives near you.

Aanother good way is to ask the wonderful bouvier rescue coordinators for a recommendation.

When you do find a good breeder, meet the mother and father of the puppy if you can. Your puppy will probably have a similar personality. Don't be afraid to turn down a puppy. You are hopefully going to live with that dog for 10-14 years. Be picky in the beginning! Choose the puppy with the right personality for you!

Also, be sure both of the puppy's parents have had their hips, eyes, thyroid and heart certified sound. These are common bouvier inherited problems. The breeder should show you documentation of the test results. If they can't, go somewhere else.


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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 4/12/03 revised ?/?/03
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