Bouvier des Flandres

July 31, 2020 // 6 minute read

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Bouvier des Flandres are large dogs known for their sturdy build that is a combination of strength, endurance, and vigor. Their coat is known to be weatherproof, and their faces feature a beard and mustache. These dogs are known to be farm-working dogs in history, but now, they make excellent family pets.

They will not be an excellent match for first-time dog owners or elegant people. They have extreme grooming needs, and if you can tolerate that along with their strong personality, they might be the best pet you can have around.

Bouvier des Flandres

Bouvier des Flandres Breed Statistics

Dog Breed GroupHerding
Breed SizeLarge
Height24.5-27.5 inches (male); 23.5-26.5 inches (female)
Weight70-110 pounds
Lifespan10-12 years

Bouvier des Flandres Breed Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Bouvier des Flandres History

This dog type was bred in the Flanders region of Europe, hence the name. It was around the 1900s, at a time when people raised cows.

The name Bouvier des Flandres means “cowherd of Flanders.” Other names given to them were “vuilbaard,” “koehond,” and “toucher de boeuf or pic.” And as their name implies, the Bouvier des Flandres’ primary occupation is a cow herder.

But, these dogs are very versatile that they can do more things other than cow herding. They can also guard, pull carts, and help the farmer’s family on a lot of tasks. They were working dogs, and they were delighted with what they’re doing.

When the World Wars broke out, Bouvier des Flandres were used as service dogs for the military. They were used as messengers, sentry, and search dogs to locate bombs, ammunition, and mines. Because of this, the breed nearly became extinct.

Thanks to the Belgian army, the dog’s line was resurrected, and by 1912, a standard was first developed. The dogs were then imported to the US around the 1920s, and the American Kennel Club finally recognized the breed in 1929.

Now, these dogs are excellent family companions and may serve a lot of purposes: watchdog, guard dog, police dog, etc. Their working background is highly treasured that they still need to prove themselves to win the title of “champion.”


The American Kennel Club describes the Bouvier des Flandres as affectionate, courageous, and strong-willed. Despite their large size and rugged looks, these dogs are known to be very calm and steady-tempered.

They are excellent working dogs and love sports, but they can also be a bit lazy. Because of this, it’s safe to say that they are adaptable dogs, even in apartment living conditions.

Matched with their big size is their big hearts that declare love and devotion to their families. They can become deeply attached, and they enjoy activities done together with their favorite persons. These dogs crave attention, and it must be given to them; a bored Bouvier des Flandres is something you don’t want to see.

They get along well with everyone, including little children, strangers, or pets. But, socialization is highly essential to get them accustomed to anything new. If you don’t socialize them at an early age, they might be aggressive, especially dogs of the same sex.

Their herding instincts will also need to be kept at bay. They have tendencies to chase little children or pets, so supervision is also required.

Training may come off as challenging with Bouvier’s strong personality. The key is firm and consistent leadership. Also, don’t be harsh on him, and this will not result in anything good.

Bouvier des Flandres Facts

Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Bouvier des Flandres is a large dog that has a high amount of energy too. It’s only right to feed them a high-quality and well-balanced meal that will be enough to sustain the energy in his large body. Bouviers don’t have a special diet, but it’s essential only to buy high-quality ingredients for his meal. Animal meat, such as chicken, beef, lamb, or fish is a perfect source of proteins, while fish oils and chicken oils are excellent sources of fats. You can also add some carbohydrates in there and some fruits and vegetables too. For dog food, only buy the one in premium-quality. This won’t contain a lot of fillers and additives that can be harmful to your dogs. This may also cause stomach and digestion problems.
  • Grooming: Bouvier des Flandres have a harsh, rugged coat that sheds seasonally. But regardless of that, it will need lots of brushing. You can do this once or twice a week, but doing it daily will be best for your dog’s coat. When bathing your Bouviers, pay close attention to its beard, and clean it thoroughly. You may also need to clean this as frequently as possible, even if you’re not bathing him. Ears should be cleaned regularly too. And the toenails should be checked and trimmed every week or two.
  • Exercise: Bouvier des Flandres are working dogs in history, so it’s natural that they are quite energetic dogs. They are the happiest when they have work to do, so regular exercise is something that you should give them. These dogs are the best fit for energetic owners who love hiking, jogging, biking, and other outdoor activities. You can take them to your outside walks or let him run around a large enclosed area. Kids and other pets will be excellent playmates. Careful not to over-exercise the Bouvier des Flandres, especially while they were growing.
  • Health: Bouvier des Flanders live a long life, so it’s important to note the health conditions that affect them so you can prevent it. Bone diseases such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are common to these dogs, like any other large dog breed. Eye diseases such as glaucoma, entropion, and ectropion are common too. You also need to watch out for Cushing’s Diseases, Addison’s Diseases, gastric torsion, epilepsy, subvalvular aortic stenosis, hypothyroidism, and cancer. It’s nice to meet at least one of your dog’s parents to note genetically inherited health conditions. Screening tests are available for your dog to take too for early detection of disease.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Bouvier des Flandres is 10-12 years.

Bouvier des Flandres Dog Breed

Famous Bouvier des Flandres

  • Patrasche: The Bouvier des Flandres from the novel “A Dog in Flanders”
  • Lucky: Former President Ronald Reagan’s Bouvier des Flandres
  • Max and Madchen: Bouviers from the series Presidential Agent

Fun Facts about Bouvier des Flandres

  • Bouvier des Flandres originated from the Flanders region of Europe.
  • They were originally bred as cow herders, hence their name.
  • “Vuilbaard,” “Koehond,” and “Toucher de Boeuf” are some names people call them.
  • Their coat comes in various colors: black, fawn, gray, and bindle.
  • They were used as service dogs, messenger dogs, and rescue dogs during the two World Wars.
  • They almost became extinct in the 20th century because of the two World Wars.
  • They feature a beard and mustache.

Check Out Other Herding Dog Breeds:
Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Bearded Collies, Beaucerons, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Bergamasco Sheepdog, Berger Picards, Border Collie, Briards, Canaan Dog, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Collie, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Finnish Lapphund, German Shepard, Miniature American Shepherd, Norwegian Buhunds, Old English Sheepdog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Puli, Pumi, Pyrenean Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, Spanish Water Dog, Swedish Vallhunds

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