Bouvier des Flandres
AKC Group: Herding
24 - 28 inches (Male)
65 - 100 pounds (Male)
Bouvier des Flandres are steady, rugged and calm. They are reserved and protective with strangers, and often aggressive with strange dogs. This is an intelligent, stubborn breed that needs a professional trainer.
Bouvier Des Flandres is a herding dog. Herding dogs were originally bred to control the movement of sheep and cattle. While some breeds still work the farmlands, others are used for search and rescue and narcotics detection. When kept as pets, these dogs often try to "herd" their owners by nipping at their heels. If properly trained and exercised daily, herders make excellent family companions.
Shaggy, harsh and wiry with bushy eyebrows and a beard. In addition to frequent brushing, showing dogs must be stripped of dead hairs. Tail is docked; ears may be cropped or left alone.
Usually black or gray, but may be fawn or brindle. Eyes are dark brown; nose is black.
This is a strong breed that is not recommended as a family pet.
The Bouvier des Flandres is a herding dog who was developed from a rough-coated cattle dog native to northern France and Belgium. Flanders is an area that covers parts of Belgium, France and the Netherlands, and both France and Belgium have claimed the Bouvier des Flandres as theirs - so much so that the Fraction Cynologique Internationale (FCI) dubbed him the "Franco-Belgian" dog.
The Bouvier des Flandres was a messenger and ambulance dog during World War I, and it's fortunate that this brought him recognition and visibility because when Flanders was nearly destroyed during the war, so was he. A Belgian army veterinarian, Captain Darby, can be credited with saving the Flandres breed through the war years. Today, the Bouvier is on the job in places all over the world, where he is also treasured as a first-rate companion.
Although the Bouvier des Flandres may look large and intimidating, he is only part of what he appears. He is affectionate, loyal, obedient, and even-tempered. A genuine working breed, the Bouvier's herding and guarding instincts are keen; he makes an exceptional watchdog. He needs an experienced and fair leader to bring out the best in him.
Because Bouviers tend to be calm indoors, they can do well in apartments provided these large, active dogs are given enough daily exercise. They are sociable and companionable and become very attached to their family - this is not a breed that can be left alone for long periods. They won't be happy unless they are made a part of the family. A fenced-in yard is an absolute must, as is exercising your Bouvier on leash unless in a secured area. The Bouvier's coat is weatherproof, so he can tolerate cold, heat and wet.
The Bouvier des Flandres can participate in and excel at obedience, herding and agility.
A large, intent dog, the Bouvier should receive plenty of exercise but doesn't require a heavy workout. He enjoys long hikes where he can cover some ground at a natural pace.
Feed the Bouvier des Flandres a high-quality, nutritious diet. He's a hearty eater and should not be allowed to become overweight.
The Bouvier des Flandres is a highly versatile and trainable breed. Training should start early, and he needs a fair, consistent, and experienced handler to bring him to his fullest potential; otherwise, his brain can pair up with his brawn and be overwhelming for some. Socialize him with a variety of people and animals from an early age to ensure that he will accept everyone.
The Bouvier can be naturally wary of strangers. He loves children and is protective of them. He can get along with other pets as long as he is well socialized.
The average life span of the Bouvier des Flandres is 10 to 12 years. Breed health concerns may include autoimmune disease; cancer; glaucoma; hip dysplasia; subaortic stenosis (SAS); and thyroid dysfunction.
The Bouvier des Flandres was not only used to herd livestock but also to pull carts and guard family farms.
Although the Bouvier isn't much of a shedder, his thick, wavy coat requires regular attention. He should be brushed several times a week using a pin brush, steel comb, and slicker. His hair should be trimmed several times a year to keep him looking his best.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.