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.