Bouvier des Flandres

Also known as the Belgian Cattle Dog, the Bouvier des Flandres is a compact yet muscular herding dog. The large head features both a moustache and beard. The oval eyes are dark brown with black rims, and give the dog a facial expression that is brave and alert. Ears are high set and often cropped. The skull is slightly longer than it is wide and the muzzle is strong and broad with no snipiness, ending with a nose that has rounded edges and flared nostrils. The neck widens gently into strong shoulders, giving the dog a regal appearance. The well-muscled back is short and broad. Both the forequarters and hindquarters are strong in bone structure and muscular. The tail is set high, carried upright and is most always docked. The double coat is weatherproof, with the undercoat dense and soft and the outer coat harsh and rough. Coloring can be fawn, salt and pepper, gray, black or brindle.

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Fast Facts

Herding
10 - 12 years
Belgium
17th century
85 - 95 lb
70 - 85 lb
24 - 28"
23 - 27"
Bouvier des Flanders, Bouvier de Flandres, or Buvier des Flandres.
Belgian Cattle Dog

Bouvier des Flandres Photos

Bouvier des Flandres Temperament

The Bouvier des Flandres is a gentle and loving dog who is rather easy to train when handled properly....

They make excellent watchdogs and are great with children. Obedience training should be started at an early age to establish the master-dog hierarchy and to prevent dominance issues later on in life. Early socialization is also important, especially if there are other animals in the household. Because these dogs are so protective over their families and territory, they can be quite wary of strangers. The Bouvier des Flandres requires a good deal of exercise and should be interacted with daily. They are happy when given something to do, which is why they are sometimes used as tracking and therapy dogs.

Caring For a Bouvier des Flandres

The Bouvier des Flandres needs a lot of exercise everyday, and its physical and mental health will suffer if it doesn't get it....

They love long walks or jogs, and will remain calm indoors if given a chance to expend some energy outdoors. The Bouvier des Flandres needs regular brushing and combing to remove tangles and mats. Bathing should be done only when the dog is dirty. Thrice yearly, the dog's hair should be trimmed. The hair in the ears and between the toes will need to be trimmed more often. Keep the nails clipped and ears clean. You may want to take your Bouvier des Flandres to a professional groomer a few times a year for a little preventative maintenance. Make sure you give your dog some good exercise every day. Significant health issues for this breed include canine hip dysplasia, glaucoma and elbow dysplasia. Hypothyroidism is also occasionally seen.

Bouvier des Flandres History

A Brief History of the Bouvier des Flandres

As its name suggests, the Bouvier des Flandres originated in the farmlands of Flanders in southern Belgium and is derivative of the Berger sheepdog, barbet and Dutch griffon....

By 1912, when the first standard for the breed was developed, the Bouvier des Flandres had been faithfully serving the farmers of Belgium for hundreds of years as herders, draft animals and watchdogs. At that time it was common for both ears and tail to be cropped, as these features made the dog a more obvious target for predators around the farm, but the new breed standard sought to determine whether these practices went well with the proper look of the dog. In the midst of this interest in the Bouvier, World War I broke out and the dog’s native home became a battlefield where most of the breed was wiped out. Some Bouviers worked as military dogs, others escaped to neighboring countries, but the majority of the breed died out. The Bouviers that were taken to the Netherlands and France became part of a selective breeding program. In 1922, the Club National Belge du Bouvier des Flandres was formed in Gent. In the 1920s, the Belgian was introduced to North America, where it was recognized by the Amerian Kennel Club in 1931. A few years later, the Bouvier had another brush up with human war: legend has it that Adolf Hitler had heard of the Bouvier des Flandres and was considering it as the official guard dog of the Third Reich. When a Bouvier was brought to him, it promptly bit his hand. Hitler then ordered that all Bouviers in Europe be killed, leading to the second near-extinction of the breed in Europe. Thankfully, this wish was not granted, and the Bouvier des Flandres has survived to this day. Modern technology has largely supplanted the Bouvier as a farmhand, but the dog is still put to use as a protector and family pet.