Choosing a Bouvier des Flandres

Choosing a Bouvier des Flandres

As the name implies, the Bouvier des Flandres originated in the Flandres area, which included areas of Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Commonly called the Bouvier, this breed is an excellent working dog, guard dog and family companion.

History and Origin

Historical information concerning the Bouvier des Flandres dates largely to the 1800s. The name "Bouvier" means ox driver, one of the many jobs of the early Bouvier. The Flemish developed this hard-working breed out of necessity; the dog not only drove herds, but he pulled carts, guarded the herd and the home and hunted vermin. These were hard-working pets appreciated for their endurance, loyalty and protection. The privations caused by both world wars took their toll on the Bouvier population; the breed owes their continued existence to a few dedicated and devoted breeders.

Today, the breed is still utilized as a farm dog, guard dog and enjoyed as an important member of the family. The Bouvier des Flandres was introduced in North America in the early 1900s and was first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1931.

Appearance and Size

The Bouvier des Flandres has a dense, rough-haired double coat. The outer coat has whorls but is not curly and is approximately 2 to 3 inches long. This water-resistant coat is a hallmark of the breed and enables the pet to brave the harshest elements. The Bouvier des Flandres has a rough beard and shorter moustache. Eyebrows frame this breed's eyes. Ears are upright and triangular. The coat color ranges from gray to fawn and many variations in between. The breed is medium- to large-sized and well-muscled with a brave, intelligent appearance. The American Kennel Club requires that the tail be docked to approximately 2 to 3 inches.

Adult Bouvier des Flandres average 23 to 27 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh around 75 to 95 pounds.


The Bouvier des Flandres is an even-tempered, sensible pet with moderate exercise requirements. The breed is well known as a loving, gentle companion with a strong sense of loyalty and protection for the owner.

Home and Family Relations

The Bouvier des Flandres is touted as an excellent family pet that fares well with children. Other pets are best tolerated if introduced when the Bouvier is young.


The Bouvier des Flandres is intelligent and alert. In addition to being trained to herd cattle, the breed is trained as a guard dog and, to a limited degree, for rescue work. This is a hard-working breed and well-loved family pet.

Special Concerns

Ideally, the Bouvier's thick coat requires daily grooming. While the density of the Bouvier des Flandre's coat is one of his most beautiful features, it can also cause serious health problems in hot and/or humid environments. This breed should not be left outside for longer than a few minutes in such weather.

Daily exercise is essential for your Bouvier's health but it should be done in the early morning or late evening hours if you live in a hot, humid climate.

Common Diseases and Disorders

In general, the Bouvier des Flandres are healthy dogs, however the following diseases or conditions have been recognized in this breed;

  • Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Muscular dystrophy – is type of congenital disorder affecting the muscle.
  • Laryngeal paralysis is a dysfunction of the larynx, or voicebox causing respiratory distress. Most common is the acquired idiopathic form.

    In addition, although these occur infrequently, the following disorders have also been reported:

  • Glaucoma is a painful and serious condition that causes pressure within the eye to increase. It can lead to blindness if not treated early.
  • Laryngeal paralysis is a serious disease that may begin as early as 4 months of age. Nerves and muscles of the voice box (larynx) function abnormally.
  • Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
  • Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.

    Life Span

    The average life span of the Bouvier des Flandres is approximately 8 to 10 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

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