Country of Origin: France/Belgium
Height: Males 24.5–27.5 inches, females 23–26.5 inches
Weight: Males 77–100 pounds, females 59.5–85 pounds
Coat: Tousled, weather-resistant double coat with rough, harsh, dry outercoat and fine, soft, dense, waterproof undercoat; thick mustache and beard
Colors: Shades of fawn to black; may have white marking
Other Names: Belgian Cattle Dog; Flanders Cattle Dog; Vlaamse Koehond
Registries (With Group): AKC (Herding); UKC (Herding)
Origin and History
The Bouvier des Flandres was developed from a rough-coated cattle dog native to northern France and Belgium. Flanders is an area that covers parts of Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, and both France and Belgium have claimed the Bouvier des Flandres as theirs—so much so that the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) dubbed it the “Franco-Belgian” dog.
The Bouvier des Flandres was a messenger and ambulance dog during World War I, and it’s fortunate that this brought him recognition and visibility because when Flanders was nearly destroyed during the war, so was he. A Belgian army veterinarian, Captain Darby, can be credited with saving the Flandres breed through the war years. Today, the Bouvier is on the job in places all over the world, where he is also treasured as a first-rate companion.
A large and intimidating-looking dog, the Bouvier des Flandres is only part what he appears. He is affectionate and loyal, obedient and even-tempered. A genuine working breed, the Bouvier’s herding and guarding instincts are keen.
The Bouvier should receive plenty of exercise but doesn’t require a heavy workout. He enjoys long hikes where he can cover some ground at a natural pace.
While the Bouvier isn’t much of a shedder, his thick, wavy coat needs regular attention. He should be brushed several times a week, and his hair should be trimmed several times a year to keep him looking his best. The hair around his face and his “vuilbaard” (beard) need to be kept clean; the same is true for his feet.
The average life span of the Bouvier des Flandres is 10 to 12 years.
The Bouvier des Flanders is a highly versatile and trainable breed. Training should start early, and he needs a fair, consistent, and experienced handler to bring him to his fullest potential; otherwise his brain can pair up with his brawn and be overwhelming for some.
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