Bouvier des Flandres

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Fast Facts

Country of Origin:Belgium
AKC Group:Herding Group
UKC Group:Herding
Use today:Guardian, herding trials
Life Span:10 to 12 years
Color:Fawn to black, salt-and-pepper, gray and brindle. A small white star on the chest is allowed.
Coat:Double coat with rough and harsh outercoat and fine, soft undercoat.
Grooming:Daily brushing required.
Size:Large Dog Breed
Height:Measuring 24 inches at the shoulder.

The Bouvier des Flandres was bred to work for farmers, butchers, and cattlemen. The Bouvier’s early names of “toucheur de boeuf” (cattle driver) and “koehond” (cow dog) give evidence of its working history. The Bouvier is also an excellent guard and police dog. Used as an army dog during the two World Wars, the Bouvier carried messages under fire and hunted out the wounded. The Bouvier's bravery was such that many became war casualties, and it took a concentrated effort to reestablish the breed in its homeland of Belgium after World War II. During the 1930s, the Bouvier was introduced to North America, where it continues to gain popularity as a family pet and watchdog.

Responsible and loyal, the Bouvier is typically protective of the family’s children, although he may bump them to move them (every good herder needs a herd!). Constant supervision and care with big dogs around young children is always wise.

A working breed, Bouviers learn commands quite easily, but some may be strong-willed with meek owners. Although they require exercise, the Bouvier does relax a good part of the day – unless the family needs him. His protective drive typically makes him a good guard and watch dog. Socialization at an early age may mitigate wariness or unfriendliness with other dogs, but the Bouvier may be pushy with other animals.

Fond of human companionship, the Bouvier does well in most environments, provided it exercises outdoors every day. At a minimum a couple of daily 30-minute walks are recommended. .

Bouvier pictureAbout the Bouvier des Flandres 

Calm indoors, ready to work outdoors
Biddable but also self-assured
Should I get a Bouvier?

Terrific for a person who:

Values quiet manners over silly antics.
Prefers a breed with a negligible ‘wimp’ gene.
Wants a dog hardy enough for activities, even in bad weather.
Think twice if you’re a person who:

Wants constant eye to eye contact (the dog’s hair may make this difficult!)
Prefers a mop to a dog with a coat that excels in dirt collecting
Especially enjoys your dog gleefully greeting every new person.
Bouvier Grooming:

The long coat requires very regular brushing and trimming as well. Another early name "vuilbaard,” meaning "dirty beard” gives insight into the breed’s grooming needs! Read more about grooming a Bouvier>>

Bouvier des Flandres Standard Look:

The Bouvier is a big, intelligent dog measuring upward of 24 inches at the shoulder. Compact and powerful, Bouviers are  surprising agile and light on their feet. The shaggy, dense, harsh coat ranges from fawn to black, salt-and-pepper, gray and brindle.

Possible Bouvier health concerns

Hip dysplasia


Bouvier des Flandres Photos

Bouvier des Flandres Bouveir puppyBouvier Sitting

More Bouvier pictures>>

Questions to Ask a Bouvier Breeder

Do you test your dogs for hip and elbow dysplasia? Can I see the results?

Hip and elbow dysplasia are common health problems. A responsible breeder will screen for this and will be happy to share with you the results.

Do you do heart, thyroid, and eye tests on the parents of the litter?

The breeder should show you certification that the parents have no genetic diseases common to Bouviers.

Do you belong to the American Bouvier des Flandres Club of another club that requires you to sign a code of ethics?

Ethical breeders are less likely to have health and temperament problems in their dogs.

What are you priorities in breeding?

Breeders focus on certain traits, such as looks, health, temperament, or working ability.

What have you been doing so far to socialize the puppies?

Early socialization is key for Bouviers.

More questions to ask a dog breeder>>

Find a Bouvier breeder>>

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