What Kind of Dog Is That? Reactions to a Bouvier Service Dog

This post is for the third Assistance Dog Blog Carnival (ADBC), which is now up!

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival graphic. A square graphic, with a lavender background. A leggy purple dog of unidentifiable breed, with floppy ears and a curly tail, in silhouette, is in the center. Words are in dark blue, a font that looks like it's dancing a bit.

The Third Carnival Is Up!

There were so many tempting topics to write about for the third ADBC, the theme for which is “Reactions.” Some options were my MCS reactions and how they affect SD training and partnership, my current SDiT’s or past SDs’ reactions to various events in life, other people’s reactions to encountering a disabled trainer, etc.

However, I decided to write something fun: Public reactions to a little-known breed of service dog.

Warning: My SDs are not golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, standard poodles, mixes of any of the above, or German shepherd dogs! Yes, it’s shocking but true!

This topic is a goldmine of hilarity. Oh, the stories! The outrageous guesses! It does a former humor columnist’s heart good to remember and compile them.

Let’s start with the standard question:

“What kind of dog is that?”

If I had a dollar for each time I’d been asked that, I could probably buy a new dog!

In fact, after a few months of public access work with Jersey, my first bouvier des Flandres service dog, I created a little pamphlet that I kept in her pack, which I handed out to the curious general public.

The title of the pamphlet was, “What Kind of Dog Is That?”

It gave a brief overview: That bouviers were developed as a herding and general farm-work dog in the region that is now The Netherlands and Belgium. They herded cattle (their name is French for “cattle herder of Flanders”), herded sheep, pulled carts, drove livestock into town, and protected the humans and animals on the farm from intruders.

It mentions that they are hypoallergenic, with hair instead of fur — hair that grows until you cut it, and mats easily, and requires a lot of upkeep. It also says that they are not the right dog for most people, and as a result, they are not a popular breed in the U.S. (which is good, in my opinion).

I include some basic service dog information, such as that I trained the dog myself, and that I prefer that people not pet or otherwise distract my dog. I also say that I need to get my errands done as quickly as possible to preserve my health and functioning, so I prefer not to have to field a lot of questions.

I encourage them to learn more about assistance dogs by visiting the IAADP website.

When Jersey retired, and Gadget started working, I revised the pamphlet, changing the references from “Jersey” to “Gadget” and the “she”s to “he”s. When Barnum is trained, I’ll update the pamphlet again, although I’ve now developed  a policy of not telling people Barnum’s name (a story for another time).

Usually, when people ask, “What kind of dog is that?” the conversation proceeds as follows:

Me: A bouvier.

Person: A what?

Me: (Enunciating very clearly)  A boo-vee-ay. The full name is bouvier des Flandres. It means “cow-herding dog of Belgium.”

Person: Huh, I’ve never heard of that. A what-was-it, did you say?

Me: Bouvier.

Person: I’ve never heard of them.

Me: They’re not very popular in the U.S. They can be difficult. Some of them can be aggressive if not trained properly.

Person: (Looking disappointed and wary) Oh. Well, he’s beautiful!

Me: Thank you!

Then there are the “Guessers.” These are the people who want to play twenty questions about what type of dog Barnum is.

This starts with the stranger approaching and saying, “Excuse me, is that a [breed]?”

The most common guess is a Labradoodle. Now that I have met doodles, I see why this is such a popular guess. We met a black Labradoodle last summer who could have been Barnum’s twin.

In all fairness to the people who are way off, I give my dogs terrible haircuts. They don’t look at all like the bouviers people see on TV in the big conformation competitions, like Westminster. If I’m really trying hard to give a haircut that looks in any way fashionable, it usually comes out like a giant schnauzer cut or some sort of mutant terrier. Which is why. . . .

Other frequent guesses are giant schnauzers (which is pretty close, appearance-wise), briards (again, a good guess, a lot of similar characteristics), standard poodles (it’s the coat),  various terriers, including a wire-fox terrier (I think it’s the coat) and wheaten terriers (which are about a third the size of a bouv, so again, it’s the coat), Kerry blue terriers (again, yes, if the Kerry blue was on steroids and black or gray), a pointer or Weimaraner (when Gadget’s coat was shaved for the summer), Newfoundlands (size problem in reverse), and in more recent years, thanks to President Obama, Portuguese water dogs (which is close in many ways, except the size) and sometimes, remarkably . . .

Someone will say, “Hey, is that a bouvier?”

I say, “Yes!” And give them a big smile. I might even chat with them a couple of minutes and congratulate them on their discerning eye. Usually they have had a bouvier of their own or have a family member with one, which is why they recognized the breed. (Bouviers are much less common in the Northeast than in the Midwest and California.)

Among the Guessers, there are also the people who question my knowledge of the breed of my dog. Particularly when the doodles trend  had just begun, and people were asking me, “Is that one of those mixes between a poodle and a Lab?” and I’d say, “No,” they wouldn’t leave it at that.

“Are you sure?” They’d say. “Because it really looks like a Lab-poodle or [fill-in-the-blank other doodle breed].”

“Mm,” I’d say, and move on.

Most often, “Challengers,” want to suggest that really my bouvier is a mixed breed, and I just don’t know it:

Person: What kind of dog is that?

Me: He’s a bouvier des Flandres.

Person: Hm, well to me he looks like a mix of a [breed] and [another breed].

Me: Well, he’s a bouvier.

Person: Did you get him from a breeder?

Me: (In the case of Jersey and Gadget) I got her/him from bouvier rescue.

Person: I’ve never heard of a bouvier.

Me: Uh-huh.

Barnum, in particular, stumps people because his coat is so very curly that, even though he resembles them in no other way, poodles are the most common guess.

A recent interchange:

Man: Is that a poodle?

Me: He’s a bouvier des Flandres.

Man: Is that some sort of poodle?

Me: No.

At least all of the breed Guessers are guessing the right species. They earn cookies for that.

There is a whole subsection of people who have not realized that my dogs are, in fact, dogs.

Jersey, bless her heart, was pegged as a non-dog more often than Gadget or Barnum have been. I attribute this to four factors:

  1. Her cropped ears and docked tail. While I am not in favor of cropping and docking, when I first was trying to adopt a bouvier, it was very hard to find a bouvier raised in the US who had natural ears. That is becoming more the norm, but it’s still really rare to find a breeder who doesn’t dock the tails. The lack of doggy ears and tails contribute to the already bear-like appearance of many bouvs.
  2. Her movement. Jersey tended to shamble along, with lowered head, which, again, leant a certain ursine quality to her appearance. This gait is a bouv trait, but Jersey was particularly prone to it.
  3. Her lack of movement. Jersey was an accomplished power-napper. (Another bouv trait.) When she was in a down-stay, she went into all-out “holding-down-the-floor” mode.
  4. As with all my bouvs, I let her hair grow in the winter. This makes them look very shaggy and about twice their actual size. This means that . . .

Bouviers get mistaken for bears a lot.

I know it’s not just me, because I have met a number of people online whose bouvs are named Bear or Teddy or something along those lines.

Also, when I joined the bouvier group on Dogster, the first discussion topic bore the title, “Is that a bear?! Non, c’est un bouvier des Flandres!”

Since I live in an area where black bear sightings are not uncommon, it is both more and less understandable that people would think bouvs are bears. More understandable, because people know there are bears around, so there is more “bear awareness.” Less understandable because, when you actually are used to seeing bears (I had a recurring problem with bears invading my porch and compost bin at my previous home), you see that there are many important distinguishing features between the species, particularly size. A black bear weighs hundreds of pounds, whereas a bouv usually tops out at 100 pounds or so. All of mine have been 75 pounds or less.

The first time I experienced “the bear phenomenon” was when my roommate and I were walking down the main street of Northampton to go to Gay Pride. I was wearing skimpy, slutty black clothes because it was Pride, and that was my tradition (striking a blow against disability stereotypes and feeding my exhibitionist streak at the same time. [I was younger and cuter then; I could carry it off.])

Anyway, a carload of guys, probably college students, went by, and we heard yelling and calling, and Laurel  and I rolled our eyes  at each other, thinking it was just the usual harassment. But then, we heard what one of them actually yelled, which was, “Oh my god! Those people have a BEAR on a LEASH!”

Gotta love living in the five-colleges area. Higher education at work (probably combined with several beers.)

Another time, I was at the grocery store, at one end of the frozen food section. A small child was with her mom near the other end, moving toward us. The little girl kept saying, “Mom, is that a bear or a dog? Is that a bear or a dog?”

The mom was not answering. I’m not sure if she was busy or distracted or embarrassed that her child was pointing out the existence of the disabled woman, probably a combination.

Finally, the mother, exasperated, said, “What do you think it is?”

The little girl contemplated Jersey and me for a bit and then said, “I think it’s a bear.”

Then, there are the times it happens in reverse — to those of us with bouv-on-the-brain. One night, driving home late, Betsy was very tired. In the street ahead she saw a shape, and her first thought was,”Why is there a bouvier in the road?”

Of course, when she got closer, she realized it was a bear.

But it’s not just bears. . . .

Another fun story of a young child still “learning their animals” occurred at the same grocery store as the little girl who thought Jersey was a bear. In this case, I had Gadget with me.

I was in the produce area, which is big and hectic and teeming. I usually try to get out of there as fast as possible, because the store tends to put displays of fruit on little rickety tables at the ends of aisles, which are easy to knock into.

So, Gadget and I were making our way along when I saw a very familiar scene begin to unfold. A little boy, maybe about five years old, was shopping with his two moms. He saw me and started bouncing excitedly, pointing and jabbering to his moms.

One of them said, “Okay, but you have to ask first.”

I was all prepared with my little speech I give to children about how this is a working dog who needs to be able to focus on helping me, and that, therefore, while I appreciate very much that he was asking first — and that it’s always important to ask before you pet any dog — I was sorry but he couldn’t pet my dog.

That’s not what happened.

The boy rushed over to me, and said very sweetly and earnestly, “Can I pet your cat?”

I was so surprised that I just said, “Sure.”

Given that he lives in Northampton and has lesbian parents, I cut him some slack that he thought my animal companion must be a cat. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, think of all the lesbians you know, and tally the number that have cats.  If some don’t, there is likely a cat allergy involved.)

I’ll end with one last Jersey story.

A friend and I were at my town’s Fall Festival, where people from the town, as well as people from the surrounding area and a lot of tourists, come to eat maple sugar products, buy or sell crafts, and watch or participate in Pumpkin Games, such as relay races where little kids try to carry as many pumpkins as possible over a finish line.

My friend and I had just bought lunch and were sitting on the porch of the country store. Jersey, wearing her green pack, lay on the deck beside me.

A man walked by, nodded and smiled at us, glanced at Jersey, then, after taking another couple of steps, did a double-take and screeched to a stop.

“Oh my god!” He said. “I thought that was a stuffed animal, and then I saw it move!”

We all had a chuckle, and I told him that Jersey was, indeed, doing her rock impression. To his credit, the man had thought Jersey was a toy dog, as opposed to a massive teddy bear.

Of course he followed up with,”What kind of dog is that?”

-Sharon, the muse of Gadget (I was gray, so nobody thought I was a bear), the spirit of Jersey (Call me anything, just don’t call me late for dinner), and Barnum, SDiT and non-poodle

P.S. Remember to go to The Trouble Is… to read the other great ADBC posts!

For information on future carnivals, visit the ADBC page here.

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39 Responses to “What Kind of Dog Is That? Reactions to a Bouvier Service Dog”


  1. 1 kendra April 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    laughing out loud 🙂
    appreciating sharing your humor!

  2. 2 Sharon Wachsler April 11, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Thank you, Kendra! I had fun writing it, too.
    And thank you for commenting!

  3. 3 Lisa April 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I had to chuckle a bit that you included Standard Poodles in your list of “common” service dogs. They’re more common than Bouviers, sure, but we get nearly identical comments from the public all the time (and we live in Boston)! I love the guessers. I’ve been asked if my two very poodlely Poodles are Weims, Airedales, Greyhounds and most recently, Border Collies. No idea where that one came from! Oh and instead of the bear comment, people ask if mine are horses. No, seriously.

  4. 4 Jenny April 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    They sound like amazing dogs. I’d love to see one sometime.

  5. 5 Sharon Wachsler April 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Actually, I did dither on including standard poodles in the list, but they are becoming more popular as ADs because of allergy issues, and also because of the explosion of doodles in the AD world, they are often “in the mix” even if we’re not talking pure poodle.

    I know a lot of people still have that misguided prejudice that poodles are airheads, when in fact they are super smart, that there is a certain amount of disbelief that they could be ADs, but so many people have asked me if my bouvs are poodles. Plus, they are certainly a well-known breed!

    And yes, now that you mention it, people have asked if mine are horses, too, when they are wearing packs. Usually kids.

    The BC thing is pretty astonishing. Especially as I have a close friend whose guide dog is a BC, and she runs into all sorts of confusion over that!

    I guess the moral of the story is, if it’s not a Lab, golden, or GSD, you should expect confusion!

  6. 6 Sharon Wachsler April 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you, Jenny! It’s occurring to me that I should have included a picture. Unfortunately, my best bear-like pictures of Jersey are not digital, and I don’t have a scanner. But, hopefully eventually I’ll get some scanned in, and then people can see a bouv in all its hairy, black, ursine glory! Basically, if you took a doberman and covered it with lots of gray or black coarse hair, ranging from curly to wiry, you’d have a bouv.

  7. 7 Laura April 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Sharon – Thank you! When we raised Chinese Shar Pei’s we got many of the same questions but most assumptions leaned toward the more frightened responses to american pit bull terriers (who, btw if raised properly are the most loving and lovable little dogs). People are just so…..silly.

  8. 8 Sharon Wachsler April 11, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Shar Pei are pretty darn distinctive looking! Hard to confuse with anything else, I’d think!

    Well, there it is. And yes, I’ve known many SD partners with APBTs or pitty mixes who just tell people their dog is “a terrier” rather than reveal they’re pits, because people freak out. As I’m sure you know very well, they get a bad rap.

    So, if bouviers are thought to be bears, and standard poodles are thought to be horses, I’ve gotta ask, did people think your shar pei were pigs?? (They do have those curly tails! ‘Fess up!)

  9. 9 brilliantmindbrokenbody April 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    You know, bouv is one of the more common wrong guesses I get. I also get ‘some kind of scotty-dog cross?’. Once in a blue moon, I get schnauzer mentioned as a possibility.

    Which is amusing to me, because my ‘doodle boy looks very much like what he is, except when he’s clipped short and then I can admit he’s confusing because he’s got a very lab head but his body is either a very skinny lab or a beefcake of a poodle – it’s about halfway between the norm for either breed.

    ~Kali

  10. 10 brilliantmindbrokenbody April 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I forgot to mention, a number of people respond to me telling them he’s a ‘doodle by saying he’s too big to be a ‘doodle. He weighs in at just shy of 65 lbs. Most ‘doodles are around his size! The little ones are when they cross a mini with a lab, and from what I’ve seen, they’re rarer than Hudson-sized ones.

    ~Kali

  11. 11 Sharon Wachsler April 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Interesting! What part of the country do you live in? There are pockets of bouviness in certain areas of the US and Canada, where I can see “bouvier” being a more common guess. In New England, no. There are very few.

  12. 12 MiMo April 14, 2011 at 12:42 am

    this was great!
    I was laughing out loud, quite literally, and couldn’t resist reading out choice sections to my partner. His reaction to “Can I pet your cat?” was priceless 🙂

    All the wrong breed guesses are so funny! I especially like the fact that people sometimes guess Wheaten. HUH? yes, clearly wrong size, also, hello? wrong color! yanno, whole “wheaten” thing? I’m sort of shocked that anyone who knows enough about SCWTs to guess that would miss that rather relevant fact! (Although, I suppose they are a lot more popular now, my childhood dog was a SCWT and almost no one had heard of them then.)

  13. 13 brilliantmindbrokenbody April 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I’m in a big city a bit north of the middle of a coast in the US (sorry to be so unspecific, but I have been very careful about not publically mentioning where I’m from, to make it a little more difficult to match Kali-the-blogger to Kali-in-real-life).

    It’s completely urban, so there’s no reason for people to be familiar with bouvs here like they might be out in the country.

    ~Kali

  14. 14 Sharon Wachsler April 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    MiMo,

    LOL. Yeah, actually, I’d say that wheaten came in a close second to schnauzer and doodle in the early years. I think it’s just that people see or hear the hypoallergenic coat thing, and then they start thinking of *any* hypoallergenic breed they know.

    I think sometimes people might think he’s a mix of, say, a wheaten, and that would explain the coat or size, or the vastly different temperament? grin.

    In more recent years, the trend has definitely been doodles, Porties, and poodles.

  15. 15 Sharon Wachsler April 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Well, if you’re on the W. Coast, there’s a lot more bouvs out there, for instance, California.

    Also, I will definitely say that more people know what a bouv is today than they did 12 years ago. I attribute this to two things:

    1. More awareness of dog breeds, in general. Purebred dogs are more in the general public interest and public eye, with a lot more on TV about different breeds, AKC events, conformation shows, etc.

    2. A bouvier des Flandres won the herding group at Westminster a few years ago, which was a shocker. I’d never seen one place before. Usually it’s a GSD or other popular breed. Ever since then, I have definitely noticed more people have heard the term “bouvier” or are more apt to guess that.

    Urban vs. rural hasn’t made a difference that I’ve noticed. Actually, IME (and this is a big generalization), urban folks tend to be much more interested in — and maybe familiar with — the different breeds. I don’t know if this is cuz they see so many of them, or if it’s also partly that, unless people in the country have a dog for a specific job (e.g., hunting or herding), they don’t seem to care as much about breeds or purebreds. A dog is a dog, and while it’s useful to know the breed or mix our dogs came from to know their tendencies (huskies likely run, retrievers are gluttons or ball fanatics, etc.), there’s not so much interest in pedigrees, etc. Which, actually, I like.

    I think that probably most working bouvs in the US are trained in schutzhund (protection). I think usually protection-trained dogs end up in urban environments, though, again, I couldn’t say for sure.

  16. 16 Andrea April 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Ok, the “Can I pet your cat?” kid made my day. And if a kid asked me that, I’d for sure let him love up the dog just out sf sheer shock! 😀

  17. 17 Brigitte Mang April 24, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Hi Sharon, this is a great post!! I don’t know if you remember me, I’m Ozzy’s mom. I had the “bear” reaction a couple of times with Vodka, but the best one was when we stopped in a rest area and a driver stopped about 10 feet away and yelled what is it? Now with Ozzy sporting his spring hair cut, I’m getting Wolf hound or Great Dane. He’s a brindle, weighs 116 lbs…. and stands 30″ in the shoulder. Have a great day, Bri

  18. 18 Kelly April 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Great post! I’m fostering a smooth collie (tri-colour) – most people think she’s a collie cross, but then there’s also alot that guess german shepherd, australian shepherd, doberman, or bull terrier. I find it sad that I get asked more often about her breed than her future job.

  19. 19 Allison Nastoff May 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I love this post! My dog is one of the traditional breeds, a yellow lab, so I don’t get asked this question as often, although some people think he is a golden retriever.
    I love your idea of giving people pamphlets though, as it is a great compromise between not wanting to talk to people if you don’t want to, but still satisfy their curiosity, and educate them about assistance dogs which is always a good thing.

  20. 20 torie May 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Lol Sharren! A bear is pritty massive, whereas a boov sounds quite small. Take care, torie and guide dog Ushi.

  21. 21 Sharon Wachsler May 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Well, some bouvs are 110 or 120 pounds. Barnum is 81 pounds now, and he hasn’t finished filling out yet, so they are certainly not small dogs, but they are not several hundred pounds, like a full-grown black bear is!

  22. 22 Sharon Wachsler May 5, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Hi Andrea,
    Yeah, I was not prepared for that one! lol

  23. 23 Sharon Wachsler May 5, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Hi Brigitte,
    Yes, I do remember you and Ozzy and Vodka. Barnum, at his last weigh-in, was 81 pounds, but he’s quite lean. Still, even when he finishes filling out, he will not be a monster bouv like Ozzy. (I can’t remember how old Ozzy is, I think a few months older than Barnum?)
    Yeah, that “WOAH” reaction is one I’ve had, too, where people keep their distance, especially when Jersey or Gadget would emerge from the van or under a restaurant table in their full, shaggy ‘do, and surprise people. They’d be like, “My god, that dog is HUGE!” I’d tell them it was mostly hair, but people never believed me!
    Or, do you have kids ask if they can RIDE Ozzy?

  24. 24 Sharon Wachsler May 5, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Kelly,
    I might very well think a tri-color collie was an aussie or something.
    That is a very good point about more interest in the breed than the job. Are you a puppy raiser?

  25. 25 Sharon Wachsler May 5, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks, Allison!
    Yes, I am a great believer in pamphlets. I’ve always expressed myself better through writing than speaking, anyway.
    I also carry IAADP brochures, which answer common questions about ADs, including defining the different types of ADs, providing information about access, hygiene, training, and the like. Those are particularly useful for access challenges.
    It’s easy for me to do, because my dogs are always wearing packs when working in public, so I have one pouch that is devoted just to pamphlets.

  26. 26 Ruth Zarzycki July 22, 2011 at 11:50 am

    OMG! We have a 9 yo Bouvier and we’ve had the same experience since day one! We are on the Jersey shore on the weekends and when my husband or I walk the dog – the first thing asked ewhen back from the walk is how many “What Kind of Dog is That” did you get? Once, a girl, slightly drunk, almost fell off her balcony jumping up and down, shouting and pointing “Look,look, it’s a bear, they’re walking bear! The strangest guess (my husband likes to make people guess) we ever heard was someone thought our dog was a Pomeranian! I love the idea of a pamphlet! Thanks for the laugh. Take care!

  27. 27 Sharon Wachsler July 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Wow, a pomeranian. That would be disturbing — a pom on massive growth hormones or steroids?
    Good thing the drunk woman didn’t fall off her balcony. Well, that’s what you get for walking a bear down the boardwalk. 😉

  28. 28 Jim Miller August 26, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Espy took the liberty of linking to your post on his blog (espenvanvalkin.blogspot.com). We walk Espy downtown almost every day and have had almost all of the reactions. One of our first It’s a bear was with Bailey, a bouv/Australian cattle dog mix who looked all bouv. We were at a flea market in Murphy, NC.

  29. 29 Sharon Wachsler August 26, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Yes, all us silly people walking around with miniature bears on leashes. Why do we do it?!?! 😉

  30. 30 Brigitte Mang August 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Hi Sharon, kids never asked for a ride, but now (Ozzy is going on 2 and 120 lbs. The neighbours ask me how my horse is. This winter is going to be fun as I’m home for good now Ozzy is going to get sled pulling training. If all works out…. the kids will have a ball

  31. 31 Sharon Wachsler August 27, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Oh awesome. I recently just got the little cart I had made out of storage. I have started to occasionally pull it around behind me when Barnum is around and give him treats, just to get him used to it. He is not nearly as big as Ozzy, though. It’s a little lightweight wooden cart.

  32. 32 Alysianne November 30, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    I too get tons of interesting comments, both with my now-retired corgi (someone actually called her a westie) and with my current, who is a Beauceron.
    I’ve gotten lab, rottie, doverman (???? no such thing people!), pit bull, greyhound, even dane.
    Not as bad as a friend who has a russian sighthound that has been mistaken for a horse and a goat.

    Also, I’d LOVE to see the pamphlet you made for your dog breed, I need one!!!!

  33. 33 Sharon December 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Alysianne,

    Yes, it’s on my list of things to do to post a copy of the pamphlet. I can well imagine with a Beauceron that you would be hounded (no pun intended) with the “What kind of dog is that?” questions all day long!

    Love the “Doverman.” Sounds like some sort of British job or something:

    What kind of work do you do?

    Oh, I’m a doverman. It’s a long and respected line of work.

  34. 34 Alysianne December 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Yeah, and I’ve even had groomers call him a Doverman…..
    Or Dovie… I look at the ones who call him that, and say, he’s not a bird guys. They look so confused!

    I will get a rare person that knows what he is, but CAN’T be corrected when they say it WAY off.
    I also get a few who look at him, and say he’s too well-bred to be a mutt, so what is he?
    I like those people.

    The fun ones are the ones who want your service dog to do a trick to amuse them…. I looked at the last one, and said why?
    He replied, I want to be amused. I told him I didn’t care if he was amused, the dog wasn’t there for his pleasure….
    The joys of service dog life. We should start a book of [edit: wild] service dog stories!

  35. 35 Sharon December 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Hmm, I don’t think I’ve ever had someone ask for a trick — or not a stranger anyway. People in my home — guests — have asked, and I’m happy to comply.

    I actually want to do a service dog Bingo card. So, this is good fodder! Thank you!

  36. 36 Rita Lilico December 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    LOL welcome to my world now training my eight Bouvier Des Flandres, I have got all those comments and more, and my current bouvier is natural eared and my new one in training has natural ears and tail, For me the are the best dog for me seizure alert and mobility assist, and my others as well as my service dogs are trained AAT therapy dogs and work with an autistic girl

  37. 37 Sharon Wachsler December 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Yes, this wasn’t an exhaustive list of comments — just some of the more memorable or recent ones. Barnum is my third bouvier SD, so I know what to expect by now, except that his coat is much curlier than my previous two so he gets the “poodle” question a lot more often than they did.


  1. 1 The 3rd Assistance Dog Blog Carnival « The Trouble Is… Trackback on May 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm
  2. 2 A Spoonie’s Guide to Dog Grooming Tools and Tips (#ADBC) | Sharon Wachsler Trackback on May 6, 2013 at 11:55 am
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