Fun Facts About the Bouvier Des Flandres

Origins of the bouvier des flandres

The name “Bouvier des Flandres” translates as Cow, or Bovine, Herder of Flandres. The Bouvier dates back to when the principality of Flandres spread over parts of present-day France, Belgium, and The Netherlands.

Facing extinction during World War I, Belgium soldiers found the Bouvier hard working and quick to learn. They make excellent military dogs and are trainable for a variety of tasks.

Breed specifics

A healthy, adult Bouvier stands just over two feet tall and weighs 70 to 110 pounds.

The average male is slightly larger and heavier than the female. Well-muscled, with a barrel chest and a rolling bear-like gait, the Bouvier is as clever as he is powerful. In the American Kennel Club Herding Group, the average lifespan is 10-12 years.

If you can handle a large, powerful, strong-willed dog needing lots of attention, the Bouvier makes an excellent choice. He functions well as part of any group.

Although loving, the Bouvier is not overly expressive in his affection. He is more likely to curl up at your feet than to jump with joy.

Coat and teeth

Bred in a region prone to inclement weather, the Bouvier has his own rough, double-layer rainwear. The outer layer consists of long, coarse, shaggy curls. The inner layer is thick and almost solid. The coat may be black, black and white, brindle, fawn, or even yellow, with an occasional white spot on the chest.

With the Dutch nickname of Dirty Beard, the Bouvier is not a dog for neat freaks. His shaggy coat collects all sorts of debris. Although not prone to shedding, the Bouvier requires regular grooming. You should brush him daily and bath him once a month or so.

In addition to brushing the coat, care of your dog’s teeth is also important. To control the buildup of tartar and bacteria, brush your Bouvier’s teeth once a day. If once a day is not possible, brush at least two or three times a week to prevent gum disease.


A hearty breed, the Bouvier avoids many of the more common canine health problems. He has a high feed-to-energy conversion rate and requires less food than other dogs his size. This also makes him prone to overeating and obesity.

Monitor his weight and adjust the amount of food, especially when he is a puppy. A high-quality, low-calorie food, with no more than 25 percent protein and 15 percent fat is ideal.

The Bouvier develops rapidly during the first year of life. Too many calories can trigger overly rapid growth and result in bone deformities. Do not allow the puppy to run and jump on hard surfaces like concrete while his bones are forming. Energetic play is best on soft surfaces like grass.

You should choose a food appropriate for his stage of life: puppy, adult, or senior. Give him two or three small meals a day and make sure he gets a chance to rest after eating.

Smaller meals, with a rest after each, help prevent bloat. Bloat, or gastric torsion, is when the stomach fills with air, rotates, and causes a blockage. The pressure stops blood from the hindquarters and abdomen from returning to the heart.

Like many purebreds, the Bouvier is prone to a hereditary condition called hip dysplasia, causing a malformed hip joint.

If you are planning on breeding, you should make sure both parents have dysplasia free certification. Certification is obtained from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). As he ages, the Bouvier is also subject to arthritis.

The most annoying, if not health-threatening problem for the Bouvier is large amounts of foul-smelling flatulence. When he is outdoors among cattle, it may not be noticeable. Indoors, it can prove a definite drawback.

Temperament and training

Originally, the Bouvier could be found herding cattle and pulling carts of goods to market. Today, he herds and guards whatever he can, from livestock to children.

No longer needed to pull carts or drive cattle to market, the Bouvier has found more modern uses for his talents.

In addition to a family companion, he serves as a police dog and carries out search and rescue operations. Bouviers also act as seeing-eye dogs for the blind.

Calm and placid, the Bouvier can live comfortably in a condo or apartment but needs lots of exercise. Several long walks a day are mandatory.

Intelligent and energetic, he needs an owner with the time and energy to work with him. He welcomes a chance to learn.

He loves to work and makes an excellent companion dog. Fearless and devoted, he is a natural guardian.

He enjoys being part of a family and gets bored if left alone too long. When bored and lonely, he may engage in destructive behavior. When left alone, leaving something to occupy his time, such as a chew time, is highly recommended.

Highly intelligent, he learns quickly and is easily trainable. Independent, he needs an equally independent trainer. Be steady rather than harsh.

Training should be firm and consistent, but should never seem punishment. Remember, the Bouvier is a powerful animal with an independent personality. While an experienced owner should have no problem, he is not a dog for a timid or novice owner.

To grow into a well-rounded adult, socialize the Bouvier as early as possible. You should allow him to play gently with a wide range of people and animals.

Naturally protective and often suspicious of strangers, proper socialization helps him to deal with the world outside of his family. Socializing a puppy gives him a chance to become familiar with strange people and situations.

Two other important forms of training are crate training and leash training. Crate training allows the

Bouvier to become familiar with confinement in a crate or carry kennel. It keeps the Bouvier safe and out of trouble when you are not present. Unless sleeping in his crate overnight, you should confine him for no more than a few hours at a time.

Leash training is mandatory. The Bouvier has been known to attempt to round up and herd children, joggers, bicyclists, and other animals.

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