Bouvier des Flandres
The Bouvier des Flandres is a working dog breed that has an impeccable work ethic and was primarily bred as a versatile, working farm dog. This breed is very intelligent and powerful so it is not a huge surprise that many Bouviers are working for law enforcement.
The Bouvier des Flandres still has many of their original, working characteristics but these days, we can mostly find them filling the role of a devoted, loving family companion and protector. They are playful and have plenty of love for all family members.
23–28 in (58–71 cm)
70–110 lb (32–50 kg)
The Bouvier des Flandres history is still somewhat unknown but we do know that this breed originated in the region of Flandres in Belgium. Their origin is closely connected to the Ter Duinen monastery and the monks who lived there. The Ter Duinen monks were one of the oldest known dog breeders in whole Europe and they experimented with Irish Wolfhounds and Scottish Deerhounds which are believed to have played a part in the Bouveirs creation.
These dogs were used as an all-around working farm dog that was trusted with many different farm jobs. The Bouvier des Flandres used to pull heavy loads, guard the farm, and most of all, herd the livestock. The working capabilities of this breed spread quickly and soon, allied armies in both World Wars started using them as versatile working dogs. These dogs used to carry messages, performed sentry duties, and detected ammo and mines.
Their first official standard was issued in 1912 and was soon brought to the United States.
Dog Breed Characteristics
Some of the Bouvier des Flandres’ characteristics can be described as rugged. They have a rustic appearance and a strong built. These dogs are extremely powerful and that should be clearly seen just by looking at them. They have a broad, powerful muzzle and their eyes are slightly oval and should be as dark as possible.
The Bouvier has powerful, muscular, long limbs that clearly indicate their supreme working ability. These dogs have an interesting movement and it is not uncommon that they cover their tracks while trotting (tracks from the front legs are covered with the tracks of their hind legs).
Bouvier des Flandres standard
- Group 1 (Sheepdogs and Cattle dogs, except Swiss Cattle dogs), Section 2 (Cattle dogs, except Swiss Cattle dogs). With working trial.
- height - males 24,5-26,5 in (62-68 cm), females 23-25,5 in (59-65 cm)
- Date of acceptance 11/1/1955
Their coat is often described as abundant and rugged. The Bouvier des Flandres has a double coat with a protective, harsher outer coat and a soft and wooly undercoat. Their double coat protects them from extreme weather conditions and rain.
Brush their teeth at least three times a week to prevent tartar buildup and infections. Make sure you use products that are made especially for dogs as human products could potentially harm them. Trim their nails if they don’t wear them down naturally. A good indication is if you can hear them clicking on the floor while they walk. Clean their ears and check for signs of redness or infections. Use a cotton cloth and never insert anything in their ear canal. You can always check with your Vet about the products you should use and the proper technique.
Bouvier des Flandres temperament
The Bouvier des Flandres’ temperament can be described as strong-willed, alert, and protective. These dogs were bred to protect livestock so it is not surprising that these traits are with this breed even today.
They are intelligent and are capable of fast learning and following a wide range of commands. Their strong-willingness can also be described as stubbornness so you will need to be patient and firm with these dogs. They can become dominant and take the leading role if you do not provide them with fair and calm leadership.
With their families, the Bouvier des Flandres is affectionate and loving, although they do not show their affection as other breeds. These dogs are most likely not gonna jump around you and greet you enthusiastically when you return home, but rather show you their graceful appreciation by standing or curling up at your feet.
Bouvier des Flandres training
The Bouvier des Flandres is highly trainable. They are quick learners and are eager to please their owners. They are also capable of making their own decisions so once they learn a command, they will be able to repeat it with no problems. Training a Bouvier des Flandres should be constant and interesting. Like any intelligent dog breed, they can get bored with repetitive training so you should keep training sessions no longer than 45 minutes and interesting.
Always use positive reinforcement as a training method and never resort to fear, pain, or punishment as a training method. Include a lot of treats, praises, and food in training a Bouvier des Flandres and in no time you will notice great results.
Like any other dog breed, the Bouvier des Flandres needs early and proper socialization. These dogs usually get along great with children of their own family but if you would like to have a dog that knows how to behave around other children and dogs start socializing them as soon as possible.
Expose your Bouvier des Flandres puppy to different sights, sounds, situations, people, and dogs while they are still young. That way your dog will know how to handle any situation they find themselves in.
Bouvier des Flandres and kids
Bouvier des Flandres are excellent family dogs that will get along with every family member including children. Take note that kids need to be taught how to properly play and interact with a dog so Bouvier des Flandres can enjoy their company. If they are raised together from an early age they will be playing parting and they will enjoy spending time together.
Bouvier des Flandres and other animals
These dogs can get along well with other dogs and can enjoy their company.
However, every dog, no matter what breed they are, should be socialized and properly introduced to other pets. Take your time and even if your dog doesn’t react well on your first try doesn’t mean they won’t get along. Some dogs require time but Bouvier des Flandres are generally very affectionate and gentle towards other pets, especially if they were raised together.
They can learn to get along with pets they are raised with, but our advice would be never to leave them unattended.
The Bouvier des Flandres is generally considered a healthy breed, but they are prone to some health issues and concerns like any other dog breed. These dogs have an average lifespan of 10-12 years.
When getting any breed, the breeder must show you health tests that they have done for their breeding dogs. Dogs must be adequately tested because taking a chance and hoping that the puppy’s parents are healthy is a risk no one should ever take. Only healthy dogs should be bred because that is the only way to assure that bloodlines will remain healthy and without any problems. Health problems associated with this breed are;
- Hypothyroidism - A health problem caused by the hyperproduction of hormones from the thyroid gland.
- Epilepsy - Brain problem causing mild to severe seizures.
- Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
- Elbow Dysplasia - Usually, it affects large breeds and is caused by uneven growth of three bones making a dog’s elbow.
- Cataracts - Cloudy spots on the lens of the eye
- Entropion - A defect causing the eyelid to roll inward.
- Ectropion - A defect causing the eyelid to roll out or sag.
- Canine cancer - Just like humans, dogs can get cancer as well. Treatments include chemotherapy, medication, and surgery.
- Gastric Torsion - Also known as bloat. A dangerous condition that causes the stomach to twist (torsion).
- Cushing's disease
When getting a dog, the most important thing is to get it from a responsible and reputable Bouvier des Flandres breeder. These dogs are energetic and protective, and getting a poorly bred dog can have catastrophic results. Responsible breeders will breed dogs that don’t only look good but have great characters as well. You must find a good Bouvier des Flandres breeder that can help you learn about this breed and make an informed choice about getting a dog with these characteristics.
Buying a dog from a responsible breeder will cost you more money, but you can be sure that you will get a healthy puppy. If you are unable to buy a dog, we advise you to search for local animal shelters because there is a chance you can find Bouvier des Flandres dog in it.
If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.
World Dog Finder team