Bouvier Des Flandres Dog Breed

Black Bouvier Des Flandres Resting
  • Other names:
  • Bouvier Des Flander
  • Flanders Cattle Dog
  • Vlaamse Koehond

The Bouvier des Flandres (pronounced “BOO-vee-eh deh FLAHN-druh”), also known as the Vlaamse Koehond or Vuilbaard, is a large-sized breed native to Belgium that originated as a powerful farm dog in the Belgian region of Flanders. This breed is strong and rugged, and has a willful temperament that may require early obedience training and discipline to curb any domineering behavior. Bouviers have strong herding instincts - so strong, in fact, that they may try to “herd” children other pets, and even people on bicycles, by barking and nudging them. Owners may consider other breeds if they are looking for an addition to a multi pet household. They also are not recommended for inexperienced owners or those with little time or patience in regards to training them; if trained from the puppy age and brought up during this stage with other pets, this breed should still make a great family companion. An impressive looking breed, if their coats are not properly brushed and trimmed they can become quite soiled; factoring time and budget for grooming is a must for the Bouvier.

Bouvier Des Flandres Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred10-12 yrs.23-28 in.60-100 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

Below are details and facts for the Bouvier Des Flandres dog breed.

Bouvier Des Flandres Breed Description

A large-sized breed. Males weigh 75-100 pounds, and stand 24-28 inches tall at the shoulders; females weigh 60-80 pounds, and are 23-27 inches in height.

Bouvier puppies are lively and energetic, but mature into calm, serene adults. These dogs are loyal and intelligent, but are also strong-willed, independent, and sometimes domineering. Socialization and obedience training, especially as a puppy, are highly recommended for this breed so the Bouvier can learn its proper place in the family “flock.” Once it learns its manners, a Bouvier will be an excellent companion to children and families. These dogs only have mediocre tolerance for other pets. Because of their strong instincts, Bouviers may attempt to “herd” children, pets, and other people by nudging and barking at them, but will not show aggression when doing so.

Bouviers will need a good bit of care, whether with training, exercise, or grooming. These dogs tend to be headstrong, and will need early obedience training – and quite a bit of it – to teach them proper respect. As active animals, they will also require daily walks or outdoor excursions. And as a long-haired breed with a lot of facial hair, a Bouvier needs a good deal of brushing and fur maintenance.

Bouvier Des Flandres Breed History

Bouviers des Flandres originated in the northern Belgian region of Flanders. During the Middle Ages, Flemish monks began crossbreeding dogs in an effort to develop a large, strong farm dog capable of herding cattle, and even hauling equipment and turning millstones. The monks bred local farm dogs with imported breeds like Scottish Deerhounds and Irish Wolfhounds; this crossbreeding produced several breed variations that are considered the predecessors of the modern Bouvier. According to historians, farmers soon began docking Bouviers’ tails, and likewise cropping their ears, presumably to prevent them from becoming entangled in the harnesses the Bouviers wore while working.

In the late nineteenth century, Flemish citizens began programs of selective breeding for these dogs, out of which came three separate (but nearly identical) variants: the Paret, Roulers, and Briard were all considered types of Bouviers. It wasn’t until the early 1900s, when this selective breeding eventually produced the Bouvier as it is known today, that the three variations merged. In 1912, the Club St. Hubert du Nord, an official European kennel club, published the first Bouvier des Flandres breed standard. Bouviers were also put to work during World War I, when they pulled ambulance carts and served as messenger dogs. The breed began being imported to the United States in the early 1920s, and was officially recognized by the AKC in 1931.

Today, Bouviers are found in countries around the world as both working dogs and family pets.

Bouvier Des Flandres Appearance

This large-sized breed is powerful, rugged, square in proportion, yet agile and graceful. A Bouvier’s length is usually about equal to its height; its head is large and impressive, and it has a stylish, often long beard and mustache that make the head seem even larger. The double coat, itself, is water-repellant and long; if not properly groomed (including brushing and trimming) it can become quite soiled. Eyes are oval-shaped and usually dark brown in color, and the ears are large, triangular, and forward-facing. (If cropped, the ears will point upward; if not, they will hang.) The neck is strong, thick, and muscular, and chest broad. Its legs are long, muscular, and furry, and its back is either parallel or inclined slightly from front to rear. Its tail is set high on the rump, and is often docked to a short nub; at its full length, the tail is long and curved, often over the dog’s back.

Bouvier Des Flandres Coloring

Bouviers exist in a variety of colors. Black is most common, but the breed can also be fawn, brindle, salt and pepper, gray, and even white. Some have coats that are a combination of black and one of the other colors mentioned; many also have a black mask, and some have white or brindle markings, often on the chest and underbelly.

Bouvier Des Flandres Size

This is a large-sized breed. Females are 23-27 inches tall at the shoulders, and weigh 60-80 pounds; males, 24-28 inches in height and 75-100 pounds in weight.

Average Adult Height

23-28 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

60-100 lbs

Bouvier Des Flandres Temperament

Rational, protective, loyal, and intelligent, Bouviers are a dignified yet authoritative breed. As puppies, these dogs will be spirited and rambunctious, but as adults they tend to mellow into gentle, relaxed, even lethargic members of the family “flock.” Bred to be herding dogs, Bouviers sometimes revert to their instincts and attempt to “herd” children, other pets, and even cars. This domineering behavior can be curtailed with firm training that includes positive reinforcement and plenty of treats; even so, this breed is fairly strong-willed. Bouviers tend to chase almost anything that moves, and thus will require a leash and/or a fenced yard when the dog is outside. Overall, these dogs can be obstinate, independent, even pushy, and will require a good bit of consistent training to teach them their proper place in the flock. (Some owners even enroll their Bouvier in “puppy kindergarten” to train it early.) For these reasons, Bouviers, especially as younger dogs, are recommended only for experienced dog owners.

The good news: once they learn their manners, Bouviers develop into laid-back, cultured companions, and when at home will enjoy nothing more than lying around on the floor (or on the couch, if they’re allowed). This breed is also very protective, and will make a great watch- or guard dog.

Bouvier Des Flandres and Children

If raised with children, a Bouvier will be extremely devoted to and protective of them, and will love nothing more than playing Frisbee with kids in the yard. Its strong herding instincts may cause a Bouvier to bark at and nudge children, but it will not be aggressive to them.

Bouvier Des Flandres and Other Pets

As with children, this breed will need early socialization with other pets to insure good behavior towards them. Bouviers tend to have a dominant streak with other dogs, especially those of the same sex, and will chase and at times show aggression towards cats and other smaller animals.

Bouvier Des Flandres and Strangers

Bouviers are highly protective, and will thus be standoffish and suspicious of unknown people, and may be aggressive to a stranger if he or she makes any sudden moves. Professional dog trainers recommend firm, consistent (but not harsh) training to teach a Bouvier to be courteous and respectful around unknown humans.

Bouvier Des Flandres Photos

Below are pictures and images of Bouvier Des Flandres.

Black & Brown Bouvier Des Flandres
Black Bouvier Des Flandres Portrait
Black Bouvier Des Flandres Portrait
Black Bouvier Des Flandres Resting

Bouvier Des Flandres Maintenance

Bouviers will need a good bit of care, whether with training, exercise, or grooming. These dogs tend to be headstrong, and will need early obedience training – and quite a bit of it – to teach them proper respect. As active animals, they will also require daily walks or outdoor excursions. And as a long-haired breed with a lot of facial hair, a Bouvier needs a good deal of brushing and fur maintenance.

Grooming Requirements

A Bouvier will require a lot of grooming, and it is recommended that owners start the grooming process when the dog is a puppy, so it will become used to the habit. Though it sheds only moderately, the breed’s long double coat will need brushing every 2-3 days, and more so if the fur becomes tangled or has debris caught in it. The coat is naturally water-repellent, though, so baths are recommended only once every 6-8 weeks; this will keep the dog’s natural oils plentiful on the fur.

The Dutch name for this breed is Vuilbaard, which translates to “dirty beard.” Indeed, a Bouvier’s facial hair will get wet and covered in food regularly; likewise, its legs and underbelly will trap burrs and grass, and its hindquarters may become soiled with feces. While some owners learn to trim their dog’s fur themselves, many use a professional groomer to trim a Bouvier’s fur more to their liking.

Exercise Requirements

Whether a Bouvier is young and rambunctious or mature and laid-back, it will require a good deal of exercise to keep it healthy. Vigorous games such as fetch and Frisbee are great for these dogs; otherwise, at least one hour-long walk per day, with the dog on a leash, is recommended.

Living Requirements

Bouviers are best suited for homes with yards, but provided it has plenty of exercise, can adapt to apartment living. Note that if left alone for extended periods, these dogs will become bored, which will lead to highly destructive behavior.

Temperature Range

With their shaggy coats, Bouviers are more suited to cooler climates. The breed can tolerate hot weather fairly well, but will require plenty of water and shade.

Bouvier Des Flandres Health

Life expectancy is 10-12 years. Bouviers are fairly healthy, but may suffer from thyroid problems, cataracts and/or glaucoma, hip and/or elbow dysplasia, and heart problems. Experts suggest having a Bouvier see a veterinarian for annual checkups to help prevent these issues. Another unfortunate (if minor) malady Bouviers suffer is horrible, room-clearing flatulence. A steady diet of fresh chicken, beef, and other fresh foods can minimize this problem.

  • Cataracts
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart Problems
  • Hip Dysplasia
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Bouvier Des Flandres Breed Recognition

The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Bouvier Des Flandres as a dog breed:

  • American Canine Registry
  • American Kennel Club
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • United Kennel Club
  • American Canine Association, Inc.
  • View all 13...