History & Overview
The name Bouvier des Flandres literally means cattle or cow dog of Flanders, a historical region in northern Europe along the borders of Belgium, the Netherlands and France. In the past, the Bouvier des Flandres has been as a cattle-herder and farmer’s helper for centuries.
Among his chores were guarding, droving, hauling, and churning. As a draft animal, this strong, earnest worker pulled milk and cheese carts and turned millstones. During the World War I he was used as an ambulance and messenger dog.
Nowadays, in Europe, the breed is highly appreciated as both working and guard dog and as a very suitable family dog. Traditionally, this breed has had both its ears cropped, and its tail docked, but this custom is rapidly losing ground.
An ideal Bouvier owner is a strong leader with time to train, exercise and groom. Prospective Bouvier owners should know that this is not the tidiest breed in the world: He brings mud and dirt in the house, and his beard retains food and collects water. His body odor can be unpleasant, and he is said to be one of the more flatulent breeds.
The Bouvier des Flandres has strong guardian instincts and is naturally territorial. He needs early obedience training and socialization. The Bouvier likes to dominate, but he responds well to a strong leader. He is intelligent and lively but also can be calm and sensible. The Bouvier is gentle with family and children. Because of his size and energy, a large enclosed area in which he can run freely is advisable.
At A Glance:
Flandres Cattle Dog, Belgian Cattle Dog
Country of Origin:
Guard dog for the estate and the farm, a defense and police dog
FCI Classification: Group 1 – Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle dogs ); Section 2 – Cattle dogs (except Swiss Cattle dogs); with working trail
AKC Classification: Herding Group
Large (23 – 27 inches (FCI), 23.5 – 27.5 inches (AKC) at shoulders)
Colors and Coat:
Outer coat: coarse to the touch, dry, slightly tousled but never woolly or curly; undercoat: dense, together with the topcoat it forms a waterproof covering. Gray, brindle or overlaid with black, uniform black colors; a white star on the chest is tolerated.
5 – 10
10 – 12 years
Regular trimming and brushing
Bouviers are neither shy nor aggressive, but very self-confident. His strength, endurance, steadiness and well-balanced temperament sets him apart from other sheepdogs and cattle dogs. Alert and playful, he is also laid-back, reserved and stubborn. Bouviers become deeply attached to their families.
He is usually very territorial and is more ready to fight and respond aggressively than other comparable breeds. Naturally suspicious of strangers, he is generally aggressive towards unfamiliar dogs and small animals, but gentle if raised together. Bouviers like to chase cats.
Suitability for Children:
Gentle with family children
Long daily walks for adult dogs is a must. Since they prefer being outside, they do best in the country in a home with a fenced garden where they can run and play. Can adapt to suburban and city living.
Highly intelligent, eager to learn and please, the Bouvier can be stubborn. Start obedience training early.