Shoulder height: 59 – 68 cm
Weight: 27 – 40 kg
Age: 10 – 12 years
Color: grey, brindle, black shading, black
Use: Companion dog, guard dog, protection dog, service dog
The Bouvier des Flandres (Flanders Cattle Dog, Vlaamse Koehond) is an intelligent, spirited dog that needs a meaningful job and plenty of exercise. This breed of dog is not suitable for people who are inexperienced with dogs or who are lazy.
Origin and history
The Bouvier des Flandres was originally an assistant for herding cattle and was also used as a draft dog. With the modernization of agriculture, this original use has disappeared, so today the Bouvier des Flandres is mainly used as a guard of farms and rural estates, but also as a protection and police dog.
The Bouvier des Flandres is a compact dog with a stocky build, strong chest, and short, broad, muscular back. The fur is usually gray tabby or black clouded, rarely jet black. The mustache and goatee are typical of the Bouvier des Flandres, which emphasize the massive head even more and give the breed its characteristic grim facial expression. The ears are of medium length, hanging, and slightly protruding. The tail is naturally long when grown, but is shortened in some countries where docking is not prohibited. A congenital bobtail occurs.
The dense, somewhat shaggy fur has plenty of undercoats and is rough and brittle to the touch. It forms an ideal protective cover adapted to the sudden changes in weather in the breed’s country of origin. The Bouvier should be trimmed regularly to a hair length of about two inches. Trimming results in less hair loss and the dog hardly develops an odor of its own.
The Bouvier des Flandres has the calm and deliberate nature of a smart but spirited dog. However, its tendency towards independence and dominance requires consistent training without harshness, a certain dog sense, and clear leadership. If the leadership role is clearly defined, there is no more reliable companion who, thanks to his loving nature, becomes part of the family, which he courageously and effectively defends in an emergency, even without any training. However, puppies should be socialized early and introduced to anything unfamiliar and different environmental situations.
It needs a meaningful task and a lot of living space – ideally a territory that needs to be protected – and close family connections. Agile and eager to work, the Bouvier is also suitable for agility and other dog sports activities. However, one should bear in mind that the Bouviers are among the “late developers”, who are only fully grown up mentally and physically at the age of three but then absolutely want to be challenged. The versatile Bouvier des Flandres is not suitable for dog beginners or lazy people.