Bouvier des Flandres

Country of origin: Belgium
Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC
Occupation: Cattle dog
Size: 23.5 to 27.5 in tall; 65
to 100 lbs
Longevity: 12 to 13 years
Exercise: Active; good in
Training: Easy; hard to keep
Grooming: Hand-stripping or
Regular brushing

Bouviers are cattle-herding dogs, and there was once a wide range of these across Belgium. The Bouvier des Flandres is the best known of the three surviving breeds, with the Bouvier des Ardennes still very rare, and Bouvier de Roulers on the verge of extinction. The muscular Bouvier des Flandres does not resemble either of the other two, which are far more rangy, and may have been created from crosses of the old-type Beauceron and griffons. It was used in the medical corps of the French Army during World War I, and numbers were very low afterwards. The intervention of the Belgian Kennel Club saved the breed, which is now popular as a companion in several countries, particularly the United States. It is generally amiable, but its aggressive side can come out around other dogs, and it makes a good guard dog. The distinctive, rough double coat and beard need a lot of attention and regular clipping.


Considering the French name, it is safe to assume a French origin. Discovered in the southwest land of Flanders, they were great assets to farmers and herders. They herded flocks and provided great aid to farms with their truly versatile working nature.

Dr. Adolphe Reul described their most desirable attributes and gained the attention of butchers and herders. They first appeared in Brussel dog shows in 1910. There were meetings that were held with experts and breeders to define the standard. Until the 1920s, when a show revealed the perfect Bouvier.

When both World War I and II erupted, the breed started to fade away with each. Luckily after both, they were revived as a breed and have since gained popularity in current times. They were recognized by the AKC in 1931. Many standards were published until the official unified standard came about in 1936.


Bouviers are courageous and bold working dogs that get the job done. With their strong-willed nature, they will work hard to do what they need to do. They are very intelligent dogs which helps when it comes to training them.

They are also very affectionate and somewhat protective over their families. Therefore they are great family dogs and will stay loyal to the ones they love. They have a high energy to keep up with that of a child. They are well-behaved but will still require supervision like with any other dog breed.


Bouviers are large dogs that can get up to 88 lbs. The females are slightly smaller than the males. They can stand at 23 to 27 inches tall. Although they can be susceptible to being overweight, they are typically not very fat. Their bones are heavy and that’s where most of the pounds come from. That and of course their muscles.

The Bouvier is considerably rugged and sports a rough, weatherproof coat. It isn’t short or long, but somewhere in the middle. Their coat can be five colors which are limited to fawn, gray brindle, salt and pepper combination, brindle, and black.


As with any dog, proper training is essential from the get-go. When they are puppies is when a balanced behavior should be implemented. Crate training and socialization are among the most important attributes to teach. Puppies should never be overworked but they should be given obedience classes and other important puppy classes.

Their rugged coats should be brushed weekly to eliminate dead hair that cause mats. Their coats can be trimmed by a professional monthly depending on owner’s preference.

Exercise for a Bouvier is required but not immensely. They should not be overworked in any situation. They love to play and take walks to expend their energy, despite having a medium energy level.


There isn’t much information on the health of Bouviers. They have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years for a bigger dog. A general maintenance for health is required, such as regular vet visits and regular grooming. Their diets should be appropriate for their breed and size. The reason being is that they are capable of being overweight and too much protein can be detrimental to their health.



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