Breed Profile: Bouvier des Flandres

Bouvier des flandres
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The Bouvier des Flandres originated in Belgium where it was developed as a multi-purpose farm dog during the late 19th century. They were used as drovers, draft animals, and protectors. The breed has been known best as an excellent cattle herder. Nicknames for the breed included Vuilbaard (dirty beard), koehond (cow dog) and toucheur de boeuf (cattle driver).

By the early 20th century, the Bouvier des Flandres had grown in popularity.

An official breed standard was established in 1912. However, World War I and the battlefields of Belgium nearly wiped the breed out. Fortunately, some survived and enthusiasts kept the breed going.

The Bouvier des Flandres arrived in the United States in the late 1920s and was recognized by the AKC in 1929.


Weight: 70 to 100 pounds
Height: 23.5 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder


  • Black
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Gray
  • Fawn
  • Brindle

Health Problems

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to develop hereditary conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

About the Breed

The Bouvier des Flandres is a confident and powerful dog with a rough coat and a large, sturdy build.

The breed's beard is one of its distinctive features. In fact, the breed's Dutch nickname, Vuilbaard, means "dirty beard," The Bouvier is a large, rugged herding dog that is intelligent and agile. Above all, this breed is a loyal companion that prefers to be with its people.

The long, rough and shaggy coat of the Bouvier des Flandres requires frequent and intensive grooming in order to keep the coat in good shape.

A lack of proper grooming can lead to serious matting of the coat This may involve trips to a professional groomer. Some owners prefer to keep the coat trimmed short. Though the grooming demands of the Bouvier are high, a benefit of the coat type is that it sheds very little.

The Bouvier des Flandres is driven and intelligent. Like most herding dogs, it possesses a strong prey drive. Therefore, the breed requires a solid foundation of obedience training and strict discipline. This is a very large dog that can be difficult to handle without good training.

The Bouvier des Flandres may appear to be calm and laid back, but the breed still requires daily exercise. A fenced-in yard is beneficial, but play sessions and walks are still very important. Establish a daily routine of walks and play in order to provide both physical exercise and mental stimulation to your Bouvier.

The Bouvier des Flandres can make a wonderful pet for many kinds of households, but this breed is not for everyone. Use caution around cats and other smaller animals until you have a good idea of your Bouvier's prey drive. Bouviers will do best with smaller animals when they have been raised together. This breed can get along well with children, but be aware that they may try to herd them, especially small children.

In addition, young Bouviers may not realize their size and knock over little kids. Consistent and structured training along with exercise is key. Raising this breed properly can result in a long, happy and fulfilling companionship.

All of this being said, the Bouvier des Flandres is a loyal, friendly dog that craves human companionship. As with any breed, if you think the Bouvier des Flandres is right for you, be sure to do plenty of research before obtaining one. Talk to other Bouvier des Flandres owners, reputable Bouvier des Flandres breeders and Bouvier des Flandres rescue groups to learn more.