Bouvier des Flandres Dog Breed at a Glance
The Bouvier des Flandres dog breed, which is also known as the Belgian Cattle Dog, Flanders Cattle Dog, and Vlaamse Koehond, is incredibly friendly with kids and affectionate with family. This hypoallergenic dog but comes with high-maintenance grooming needs (see below). It is also easy to train, as it is highly intelligent and playful, but it is not recommended for new owners without previous dog ownership experience because it is known to be stubborn. The Bouvier needs lots of exercise, so it’s a great breed for active families.
Breed Group: Herding Group
HISTORY of the Bouvier des Flandres Dog Breed
This large dog breed originated in Belgium and was used on farms as a hard-working herder, taking on tasks of cattle droving and sheep herding. Cart pulling was also on its to-do list. As such, he likes moving things and people, but he is not an aggressive dog, unless his “flock” is threatened. The earliest breeders of Flanders were monks, using Irish Wolfhounds and Scottish Deerhounds with other known local farm dogs to develop the breed. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the breed was defined. The Bouvier dog breed almost disappeared in World War I with numerous war casualties. A concentrated effort was needed to re-establish the breed.
With an assertive personality, a Bouvier can be difficult for new owners. He loves being with his family and is a courageous and fearless dog that can easily intimidate intruders. He is a top-notch watchdog and guardian, is even-tempered and well-behaved. However, Bouviers are quite sensitive and may not respond well to reprimanding, so be firm yet calm and gentle with your dog.
The Bouvier des Flandres may not exceptionally friendly to other dogs and pets, so socialize your dog early to be more accepting of them. It has a low prey drive and is not particularly mouthy, but does tend to bark or howl.
Given its size and vigor, he needs obedience training from the get-go. Otherwise, he’ll be taking you out for a walk. This breed needs to be taught good manners. He is also loyal and responsible, and especially protective of his family’s children. However, he could bump into them, and often “moves” them because he’s a natural herder! As such, constant supervision is required with young kids and large dogs.
Physical Characteristics of the Bouvier
At first glance, the Bouvier is rugged, thanks to its rough, dense, and water-repellent double coat. It is a strong, bold, and agile dog.
The common colors of Bouviers is Black, Grey, Brindle, and Fawn.
The Bouvier typically weighs between 69 and 90 pounds and stands between 24 and 28 inches tall, depending on its gender.
Shedding is minimal with the Bouvier des Flandres and is a hypoallergenic dog. However, Bouviers with their shaggy coats often track dirt through the home, so one should consider this potential mess. In addition to that, these dogs are known for their smelly flatulence, but has a low tendency to drool.
HEALTH and CARE of the Dog Bouvier des Flandres Dog Breed
The life expectancy of the Bouvier is between 10 and 12 years, which is slightly shorter than the average for this size.
Common Health Concerns
Each dog breed is susceptible to certain health issues. In general, the Bouvier is a healthy breed but could be at risk for developing the following:
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Hip Dysplacia
- Subaortic Stenosis
Bouviers need exercise daily, though not necessarily intense exercise. They are athletic and will engage in numerous types of activities enthusiastically. Bouviers have a tendency to gain weight, so be sure to give them adequate amounts of exercise. However, as these dogs grow very rapidly, don’t overdo exercise routines while they are puppies as too much exercise in their growing years can adversely affect their bones.
Given its thick coat, it tolerates cold weather but doesn’t fare so well in the heat, so don’t over-exert your Bouvier in extreme temperatures.
Bouviers thrive in homes with yards or acreage, but they can also be happy in condos, so long as their exercise needs are met.
Feed your dog a high-quality dog food to ensure health and longevity but be careful not to provide too much protein in its diet during its growth, as this can result in bone growth problems. Feed your adult Bouvier between 3 and 4 cups of kibble each day.
Groom the Bouvier to avoid matting. Brush your dog using a slicker brush every day. Professional grooming on a monthly basis is needed. Also, check its ears regularly for wax buildup or debris to avoid the risk of an ear infection from developing.
The AKC officially recognized the Bouvier des Flandres dog breed in 1931.