Bouvier des Flandres – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Bouvier des Flandres could be your next canine? If you are thinking about getting this breed make sure that you check this guide first. Read on and discover about the breed's history, personality, and appearance.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
23 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder
70 to 100 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Bouvier des Flandres is a herding breed originally from Flanders, Belgium. From early days they were used as general farm work dogs.

Bouvier des Flandreswere busy herding cattle and guarding.

This breed is exceptional when it comes to tracking and carting. Does the breed’s name sound unusual to you?

If so, it’s because bouvier means cowherd or oxherd in French, although the dogs were formerly more often called Vuilbaard (dirty beard) or koe hond (cow dog).

Since the Bouvier des Flandres was used as an all-around dog and to perform various tasks, these dogs were of a variety of types, colors, and even sizes.

There are no hard documents on the breed’s development, but dog experts believe that mastiff, sheepdog, and maybe spaniel breeds were used in the creation of this breed.

The first breed standard was created in 1912 when the interest in the breed escalated.

The first Bouviers entered the dog shows in the States in 1931. They were an instant hit. However, the breed has never become extremely as a pet, but they are highly popular at herding trails.

Quick Facts

Real name: Bouvier des Flandres
Other names: Flanders Cattle Dog, Vlaamse Koehond
Origin: Belgium (Flanders); France
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 70 to 100 pounds
Height: 23 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Litter Size: 5 – 10 puppies
Color: Fawn, black, grey brindle, or ‘pepper and salt’
Coat: Rough coat

Bouvier des Flandres History

Bouvier des Flandres is from the European region of Flanders, hense the name.

The Bouvier is the ultimate versatile farm dog, although they may not seem like that at first sight.

From day one, they were used to herd cattle primarily. Some of their other duties included guarding, pulling carts, and helping farmers with daily tasks.

Yet, the full history of this breed is still unknown. Some claim that they are descendants of early Sheepdogs or even the Barbet.

During the World Wars, they were busy working as service dogs. During the Wars and later on, they were used as search dogs to locate mines.

The first official milestone for this breed was the year 1912 when the first standard of the breed was developed.

These dogs were first brought to the States in the 1920s. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in the 1920s.

Bouvier des Flandres Physical Appearance

The Bouvier des Flandres is a compact dog with a rough coat.

Overall, this breed has a bit of a rugged appearance. This is a spirited and agile dog, with a strong need to be active.

Originally bred to work with cattle, you can expect this dog to be active a bigger part of the day. They are large dogs of 26 inches and never more than 100 pounds or less than 70 pounds.

Females are slightly smaller than males, while their appearance is similar. Overall, this is a shaggy dog of rough appearance and dense undercoat that keeps them warm and safe in harsh weather.

Their head is a bit larger when compared to the rest of the body. Their most recognizable features are beard, shaggy eyebrows, and mustache.

Ears are triangular and set high on the head. Ears may be natural or cropped, while the tail is usually docked.

This breed will come in a variety of colors including fawn, black, gray, brindle, and salt-and-pepper.

Some may even have a white marking on the chest, although that is not so common.

If provided proper care and adequate conditions, this breed may live up to 12 years.

Bouvier des Flandres Personality

Bouvier des Flandres is a calm dog who is a great family pet.

They thrive in the family surrounding when there is enough playtime, fun activities, and proper nutrition.

As huge people-pleasers, they will love spending time outdoors with their human family, or playing indoor games.

Bouvier des Flandres will be tolerant of other animals if raised right and from an early age. If that’s not the case, they may be aggressive toward other dogs.

If left alone for a long period, or anyhow neglected, they may show destructive behavior, or even develop separation anxiety.

At home, they should be calm and choose to sit wherever they sit. Curling up next to your legs might be their favorite spot.

The Bouvier is a family dog who will protect his family members, including children.

As long as children know how to behave around dogs, there shouldn’t be any issues.

Still, no matter how well behaved your dog and children might be, you should never leave them without supervision.

Accidents happen even between the calmest dog breeds and children.

Children tend to see dogs as toys, which is why they pull their tails and ears. Educate your children on how to interact safely with dogs so you can keep everyone safe.

Bouvier des Flandres Training

This is a breed of strong attitudes, and as such, they need strong leadership.

Never use any harsh training methods, but choose to focus on positive training methods.

No dog should ever be exposed to harsh training methods. If you feel like you need support during the training house, think about puppy classes.

Professional inputs can only be beneficial for both you and your Fido and lead to more effective training sessions.

The Bouvier, like any other dog, needs early socialization – they should be exposed to new people, new places, and different animals to learn how to handle everything.

As soon as your veterinarian allows it, head to the dog park. Your Fido must meet dog friends and learn how to be a pack member.

Socialization is the best tool to have when it comes to having a well-rounded dog and a well-behaved canine citizen.

Training should start as soon as you bring your Bouvier home. Have enough toys on hand, and think about the training process.

Make training sessions fun, consistent, and packed with treats. Always reward good behavior.

Bouvier des Flandres Grooming

The Bouvier has a double coat, with a dense undercoat. To keep their coat shiny and clean, you will need the right grooming tools.

Since this dog has a rough coat you will have to invest some time in brushing him to avoid tangles and mats.

This is a typical shaggy dog, and if you’re not sure how to brush him talk to your veterinarian.

Of course, you can also think about a professional groomer. This option may cost you more, but it will save you both time and energy.

You will need a pin brush or a stiff bristle, so you don’t miss any of the mats, no matter how small they might be.

If you don’t plan to participate in dog shows, you can keep his beard and coat – this way it will be easier to maintain the dog.

The rest is basic care:

  • Clean his ears when dirty
  • Bathe only when really needed
  • Trim or grind nails monthly
  • Check eyes and gums weekly
  • Check skin during the brushing sessions for fleas and skin infection

Once you get a dog you are directly responsible for his weight.

Make sure that you know how much you should feed your dog precisely, how often, and which food.

Dogs thrive on food that is specially designed for them, for their age, for their size, and their activity level.

Learn how to read pet food labels, and which human foods are safe for your Fido, and which should be avoided no matter what.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise across the States and you don’t want your Fido to be part of these numbers.

Always stick to recommend feeding guidelines if you want to keep your Fido fit and healthy.

Bouvier des Flandres Health

Bouviers are in general healthy dogs.

If you want to be sure that you are getting a 100% healthy puppy, you need to work with responsible breeders only. This way you know what you are getting.

A reputable breeder will always present you with medical documentation on the breed, inform you on possible health issues, and even share with you tips on how to be the best dog owner possible.

Plus, they will ask you a lot of questions because they want to be sure that you are the best choice for their puppy.

It should always be two-way communication because the breeder is the only one who can help you best get the most suitable puppy for your lifestyle.

Is Bouvier des Flandres For You?

Are you sure that you can afford to have a dog? If so, and you know what being a dog owner really is, this is a breed to consider having.

This is a breed for those who lead an active outdoor life and know how to meet the dog’s needs.

If you can provide high-quality food, a proper environment, and proper care, you are ready to be a dog owner. If you want a dog that looks like a bear than Bouvier des Flandres should definitely be considered.

Furthermore, if you are ready to provide a good environment for a large size dog who will demand longer walks, even on rainy days, then Bouvier des Flandres might be the breed for you.

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