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Bouviers des Flandres – Course C

by Gerard Baudet and Jeannette Nieder

This article first appeared in the "About the Breed Columns" section of the December 2009 AKC Gazette and is reprinted with permission. Subscribe to the Gazette.

Guest columnist Gerard Baudet was invited to attend a local Bouvier club herding event many years ago. His Briard, Atlas was the first Briard herding champion, and Gerard now judges herding. I contacted Gerard and he kindly provided this introduction to Course C.

"Course C is meant to simulate the work that dogs perform during the seasonal movement of livestock and the people who tend them from one grazing area to another, typically to higher pastures in summer and lower ones in winter. Because of the type of work this is, often entailing travel across valleys and mountains, you would expect to see dogs that can work close to the livestock, move over long distances day after day, and work long hours each day. Traditionally, Old German Sheepdogs, GSDs, Belgian breeds, Briards, and Beaucerons were chosen for this work for their size, agility, and endurance.

On the AKC’s Course C, I would say that the GSD is probably the most typical breed seen, followed by the Tervuren and the Briard. However a number of other breeds do very well on Course C also.

Traditionally, during the seasonal movement of stock the better part of the dog’s work was to contain the livestock in the graze. When the graze was depleted, the same dogs moved the stock to the next graze. This is where the natural job of the drover dogs such as the Rottie, Giant Schnauzer, and Bouvier comes in handy.

In the simulated work provided by Course C, the dogs work for up to 45 minutes. The graze is up to 15 minutes, and the rest of the work consists of driving the flock from one point to another. That job is well suited for a dog like the Bouvier." –G.B.

–Jeannette Nieder, Greenfield, N.H.; airdrie@myfairpoint.net