Black Bouvier Des Flandres Resting

Bouvier Des Flandres Dog Breed

Other names:
Bouvier Des Flander
Bouvier 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

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

10 - 12 yrs.
23 - 28 in.
75 - 100 lbs
OverallFamily FriendlyChild FriendlyPet FriendlyStranger Friendly
Easy to GroomEnergy LevelExercise NeedsHealthShedding Amount
Barks / HowlsEasy to TrainGuard DogPlayfulnessWatch Dog
Apartment DogCan be AloneGood for Busy OwnersGood for New OwnersIntelligence

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 Colors

The images below represent the coat colors and patterns associated with Bouvier Des Flandres.

Additional Coat Colors
Black and Brindle
Black and Brown
Black and Fawn
Black and Gray
Blue and Gray
Gray Brindle
Pepper and Salt
Silver and Gray

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 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.

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.

Bouvier Des Flandres Health Concerns

Below are potential health concerns associated with Bouvier Des Flandres.

Hip dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia
Heart problems

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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:April 25, 2017