Bouvier des Flandres

Bouvier des Flandres

Bouvier des Flandres originated in France and belonged to people who worked with cattle, such as farmers, drovers, and butchers. These people were more concerned with the dog’s ability to work than with uniform physical characteristics, so the dogs varied in size and color.

Today, the Bouvier des Flandres is a large dog standing 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 65 and 110 pounds. She is strong and compact. Her head is large, eyes are oval and dark, ears may be cropped, and face features a full beard and mustache.

The Bouvier des Flandres has a double coat. The undercoat is soft and dense, and the outer coat is harsh. Colors range from fawn to black, although black, salt and pepper, and brindle are most common. This breed needs to be brushed every other day. The coarse outer coat will catch most of the shed undercoat, but in doing so, the undercoat can form mats. For show dogs, the coat can be slightly trimmed to follow the body’s outline. Many pet owners keep the coat short.

The Bouvier des Flandres is a breed developed to work, so those kept as companions require regular daily exercise and need to participate in canine activities. Bouviers enjoy agility, carting, weight pulling, search and rescue work, and herding.

We can’t recommend too strongly the importance of socialization and basic obedience training. The Bouvier des Flandres is a large dog who, in adulthood, can easily overpower her owner. She is also wary of strangers. Early training and socialization can give the owner control and teach the dog social rules. This active, smart, protective dog needs a job (or two or three) and should have an owner who is actively involved with her.

Bouvier des Flandres puppies can be rough with small children, but older kids will enjoy playing with her. Bouviers are good with other pets when raised together. Health concerns include bloat, torsion, and eye problems.


One reply on “Bouvier des Flandres”

The Bouvier des Flandres is sober and thoughtful, rather than light-hearted or whimsical.
The AKC Standard calls him “equable, steady, resolute, and rugged.”
Though they can be athletic and agile, Bouviers are often a bit lazy unless deliberately taken out and encouraged to move. Brisk walks are a must to keep them in hard condition.
Mental stimulation in the form of advanced obedience, agility, tracking, herding, carting, or Schutzhund is even more important to this highly intelligent breed.
Though he is not overly demonstrative — he shows his loyalty in deeper, more subtle ways — the Bouvier des Flandres must live indoors and close to his family, his “flock.” When his needs are met, he is laid-back and serene.
Matching his stern appearance, he is often aloof with strangers and assertive when challenged. His air of calm appraisal can be intimidating, and he may use his big body to control people, rather than biting. Socialization must be early and frequent so that he learns to discriminate between friend and foe.
Most Bouvers des Flandres are dominant with other dogs, especially of the same sex, and those with a high prey drive are not reliable with cats and other creatures that run or flutter.
He may poke or nudge people and other animals in an attempt to gather them or move them along.
Make no mistake about it, the Bouvier des Flandres can be a pushy, strong-willed dog who requires a confident owner, especially during the challenging adolescent period. This is not a breed for first-time or passive owners.

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