Bouvier des Flandres Dog Breed

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 loosing 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.

Bouvier des Flandres
Photo courtesy of Bajoron Bouviers

Other Names: Flandres Cattle Dog, Belgian Cattle Dog

Country of Origin: Belgium-France

Utilization: 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

Size: Large (23-27 inches (FCI), 23.5-27.5 inches (AKC) at shoulders)

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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.

Litter Size: 5-10

Life Span: 10-12 years

Grooming Requirements: Regular trimming and brushing

Shedding: None

Personality: 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.

Social skills: He is usually very territorial and is more ready to fight and respond aggressively than other comparable breeds. Naturally suspicious of strangers, he is usually aggressive towards unfamiliar dogs and small animals, but gentle if raised together. Bouviers like to chase cats.

Suitability for Children: Gentle with family children

Exercise Needs: Long daily walks for adult dogs is a must. Since they prefer being outside, they do best in the country in a home with fenced garden where they can run and play. Can adapt to suburban and city living.

Train Ability: Highly intelligent, eager to learn and please, the Bouvier can be stubborn. Start obedience training early.

Health & Behavioral Issues: Hip dysplasia, gastric torsion

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