Temperament: Affectionate, Courageous, Strong-Willed
- Height: 24.5-27.5 inches (male), 23.5-26.5 inches (female)
- Weight: 70-110 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
- Group: Herding Group
They don’t build ’em like this anymore. Burly and barrel-chested, the tousle-coated dog of Flandres is from a time and place where a dog had to work like … well, a dog. These smart and steady all-purpose workers make excellent watchdogs.
The Bouvier des Flandres is a powerfully built, compact, short-coupled, rough-coated dog of notably rugged appearance. He gives the impression of great strength without any sign of heaviness or clumsiness in his overall makeup. He is agile, spirited and bold, yet his serene, well behaved disposition denotes his steady, resolute and fearless character. His gaze is alert and brilliant, depicting his intelligence, vigour and daring. By nature he is an equable dog. His origin is that of a cattle herder and general farmer’s helper, including cart pulling.
About the Bouvier des Flandres
Standing as high as 27.5 inches, with heavy bone and powerful muscles beneath a weatherproof coat, and an impressive head accented by beard and mustache, Bouviers can do anything that needs doing in a barnyard or pasture except milk the cows. And yet, Bouviers are more than just farm equipment. Their sterling character, huge heart, and keen intelligence endear them to dog lovers the world over.
The Bouvier work ethic must be accommodated, and happily the breed’s versatility allows them to do myriad tasks. Bouviers are excellent watchdogs and guardians, and eager participants in dog sports, especially herding trials. These strong-willed dogs do best with owners who can devote ample time and space to a top-of-the-line working dog.
NUTRITION The Bouvier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior), and the Bouvier requires a diet lower in protein than most other breeds. Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
GROOMING The Bouvier’s coat needs brushing once or twice a week. A good slicker brush or pin brush and large comb will work for this. The beard may need cleaning at the same time, and the dog’s toenails should be trimmed every week or two.
EXERCISE The Bouvier was bred to do everything that needs doing in a barnyard and pasture except milk the cows. They are happiest when they stay busy. A bored Bouvier can be a very destructive one. They are an excellent fit for an active household with an owner who hikes or jogs or even bikes. The Bouvier needs a large, enclosed exercise area where he can romp and play, preferably with other dogs or kids who will keep him in good condition both mentally and physically. Heavy exercise should be limited while he is a growing puppy.
TRAINING The Bouvier is happiest when he has a job to do, whether that job is babysitting, herding, obedience, or guard dog or rescue work. Bouviers are easily trained to do almost any type of dog sport or activity, and they usually excel at it. They have a strong prey drive so should be well socialised from the start. They are consummate showmen and enjoy working or competing with their owner at their side. Extremely eager to please, once they know what you want them to do, they will do their best to satisfy you. This breed is well suited for search and rescue work and adapts to the training easily.
HEALTH Bouviers are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders will screen their stock for health conditions such as Bouvier des Flandres myopathy, cataracts, deafness, ectopic ureters, epilepsy, glaucoma, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, laryngeal paralysis, megaesophagus, elbow dysplasia, portosystemic shunt, and subaortic stenosis. Like all large and deep-chested breeds, the Bouvier can experience gastric dilatation and bloat. Owners should learn how identify this potentially life-threatening condition and learn what emergency steps to take to address it.
Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:
- Hip Evaluation
- Elbow Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
- Cardiac Exam