We originate from Belgium where we were used to herd and protect cattle. The Bouvier des Flandres was also quite common in France and there may be some cause for disagreement in the canine world as to which country claims us as their own (although surely the ‘Flandres’ bit gives the Belgians the edge?!). Our name translates to “Flanders ox-driver” and the monks at the Ter Duinen monastery in Flanders were among the earliest known breeders. Bouviers bred by them were recorded as having been bred from imported breeds such as Irish wolfhounds and Scottish deerhounds. In the First World War we were used as an ambulance dog and messenger. However we nearly became extinct after the war but were thankfully rescued by a Belgian army vet who saved one dog. Today, we’re used mainly as a pet but can be used in police work.
What do I look like?
Think big, hairy and with a prominent tongue. Whilst that might not sound overly attractive in your human world, in our world they are highly prized attributes! Our coat is coarse and rugged. We have a lot of hair around the face including a beard and extreme eyebrows. Often we can’t see a damned thing! When you can see them, our eyes are dark and oval. Our body is short but our legs are long and muscular.
What do I need from you?
We really need the benefit of the doubt. Yes your typical Bouvier des Flandres can look a bit imposing, but behind that tough exterior is a bit of a pussy cat. We’re good-natured, calm and trustworthy. Other traits we possess include control, intelligence, and accountability. We require well-balanced training that remains consistent in nature. If we are not trained harshly, we learn commands relatively fast. We don’t need a huge amount of exercise and benefit well from a family life with lots of companionship.
What I will give in return
Although we are friendly, we do make an excellent guard dog. We’re obedient with a pleasant nature. We are usually good with other dogs if raised with them from puppyhood. Bouviers des Flandres are particularly good at competing in dog agility trials, carting, obedience, dog showmanship and herding events.
How big will I get?
We grow to a good size – 27in (68cm) is not uncommon. We weigh anything from 60lb (27kg) to 90lb (41kg).
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Disclaimer: the views expressed on this page and any comments below are only a guide to typical traits and views on the breed. Individual circumstance and traits will always vary so we can be in no way responsible for any of the information provided.