Bouvier des Flandres

Breed History

Bouvier des Flandres standing in the grass

Bouvier des Flandres is a big powerful herding dog whose appearance is nothing short of rough and rugged. One of the hardest working dogs you can find that possesses a high level of intelligence.

Size and physical presence makes them a strong deterrent for anyone looking for trouble. Most would describe them as fearless and confident while driving away strangers.

They come from Belgium with deep roots in France as well. French were the people who gave them the name that stuck, and those names means cattle dog, herding dog, or cow dog.

While there they would do many jobs for the people in the region most notably herding cattle. Guardian, police, herding, cart pulling and being a companion.

As a farm dog breed, they were made with the Irish Wolfhound and the Deerhounds from the area. Although they have different breeds they still stand out as a unique breed.

Like most breeds who were in this area they would face extinction during the World Wars. Other Bouvier breeds in the area did not make it and are no longer here.

Many breeds were crossbreeding to keep the numbers higher. Failure to conduct in this type of breeding program is the reason a lot of breeds are not around anymore.

Large breed that can intimidate but they still hold the distinction for being nice and gentle towards their owners. Very loyal personality and owners should focus on giving them a great outlet.

Registration

In 1931, they would receive recognition from the American Kennel Club. They would be an import from France and be in the country for some time before they got recognition.

Top 80 in registration they show a decline in popularity for an older dog in the club. Most likely, they will stay in this same area of popularity and not move forward in registration.

Herding, or Working Group, is the category they are in with every major kennel club. Here are the breed standards for every major kennel club.

Size

Male Height: 24-27 inches

Female Height: 23-25 inches

Male Weight: 90-110 pounds

Female Weight: 70-90 pounds

Like most big breeds the males are much bigger than the females.

Litter Size

8 puppies are the average litter size for the Bouvier des Flandres. Large influx of puppies will be incoming for breeders and they will need care for the following eight weeks. Mothers don’t have any issues giving birth and require no medical attention, unless in case of an emergency.

Colors

  • Black – Brindle, Brown, Gray, and White
  • Blue – Gray
  • Brindle
  • Brown
  • Silver
  • White
  • Fawn

Last time any adjustments were made to the breed standard was in 2000.

Price

$1,000-$5,000 is the average price for a Bouvier des Flandres. Prices will vary depending on location, supply, demand, championship bloodline, and many other factors.

Registration will show documentation from their roots in France until they came to American and continue until the puppy you purchase. Quality of puppy and breed standards are closely aligned.

Without papers the dog will cost less money and at some point, they lost their ability to get registration. Most likely because of cross breeding and therefore the line is disqualified from gaining registration from a reputable kennel club.

Grooming

Taking the dog on a long run or walk will help in the assistance of creating a positive grooming experience. Doing this every time prior to starting the session is ideal in every aspect. Try this method and see the benefits.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Harsh double coat that requires a lot of attention on a weekly basis. Shedding twice per year they will get rid of their outer coat during the hot time in the year.

Brush the coat once per week and twice a week will produce the best results. Getting the proper tool will consist of one ideal for a rough double coat and one that can brush from the skin.

Combing should have the same frequency per week, and you should do them in combination. Again, getting a comb that can reach the skin will give you the best results.

Bathe the dog once every month to six weeks on average. Taking the time exercise, them will pay great dividends and use a leash until the behavior is ideal.

Ears are prone to getting an infection and should be clean weekly. Removal of dirt and debris will limit the chances. Shaking their head and scratching the area will show signs of an infection.

Trimming the nails should be done when exercising, which we recommend. If you don’t exercise, which we don’t recommend, you should cut the nails with clippers or have a professional handle the job.

Professional help is a recommendation for dogs with double coats.

Life Span

10-12 years is the average lifespan for a Bouvier des Flandres. Fairly decent lifespan for a dog of their size and owners should be aware of the time commitment they are making while owning them until death. Not a bad option when it comes to dog adoption as well.

Health Issues

BAER Testing – they have a tendency to become deaf due to genetics passed down through generations. Dogs will show signs at a very young age while puppies and this test should be done for the Bouvier des Flandres.

Epilepsy – experiencing a dog seizure is something most owners would like to avoid, but according to their kennel club there are chances that you will run into it with this breed. Knowing and understanding the signs of a seizure are important.

Eye Examination – there are multiple issues that can arise from the eyes and you should take your dog to get an examination. Cherry eye, glaucoma, cataracts and other problems can range from eye sore to complete blindness. Get their eyes checked from a licensed professional.

Elbow Dysplasia – Growth on the elbow will be the first sign that the dog is developing elbow dysplasia. Stiffness and discomfort exercising will all arise, and medical attention will help relieve some pressure.

Hip Dysplasia – difficulty exercising will be the first sign that your dog may have this problem. X-rays will show the condition of the hip socket and lubrication will help ease the rubbing of the leg bone and hips.

Breed Group

Herding Group, or Working Group, is the category major kennel clubs have this breed in. Perfect fit because they are known to herd different animals. The activity consists of moving a different animals form one area to another. Thousands of animals can be herd at once.

Some countries and economies own their native dogs a great deal of servitude due to their contributions. Humans can herd other animals but to a small extent in comparison to what a dog can do in a shorter timeframe.

Here are some of the dogs in the herding group

Exercise Needs

Bouvier des Flandres will need a lot of exercise. Moderate energy levels as they age but you will need to provide them with an outlet, or this large size dog will start to create destructive ways to compensate.

Truth is that I don’t know how much exercise your dog needs, but I can tell you how to understand when you are not meeting the criteria without meeting them.

If your dog is jumping, whining, anxiety, barking excessively, or showing signs of progressive aggression then you need to start getting them out for more exercise and I recommend doing it every day possible.

Once you start to exercise, or you think you exercise a lot, it is time to look at their behavior again as an indicator of how much more they need. If nothing changed then congratulations, you haven’t come close to meeting their daily needs.

On the other hand, when you exercise enough all bad behaviors will start decreasing at once and the dog will find the home as a resting area whether in the house, back yard, or crate.

Here is a basic recommendation

Morning: Hour (run, walk or treadmill)

Evening: 30 min (run, walk, or treadmill)

Younger dogs need a lot of exercise mainly running. We like to run them on a bike or if you’re a runner knock yourself out. Two sessions can tame a wild beast into domestication with a week.

Adult dogs need more balance and running all the time will not be of use when they reach 3-5 years of age. Behavior problems should be nonexistent at this stage following our program.

Senior dogs only need walks and any correction will be rare. Nonetheless, when we miss days, they will become energetic and will need a 45-minute walk.

Training

  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Correction

Every house should be built on a solid foundation and no foundation is more solid than exercise. Walking will remove energy, reduce bad behavior, and make your dog listen to your command for one to two hours per day. No other activity can give you that type of control and accomplish as much. In addition, imagine exercising the dog for 300-600 hours per year? Would that make your dog calmer? Expect to spend most of your time in this area.

Commands are popular and are a big part of controlling the dog especially off leash. Reliable command training will make the dog listen better in any scenario. Keys to this is the give the dog a lot of repetition. Find out if you can use prey or food to motivate. At times both don’t work so use life rewards. Sitting for food or water, coming outside to use the bathroom, and anything else you can use.

Socialize after exercise and never do it before exercise. Taking your dog on a long run will put them in a state of exhaustion and then socializing after will help them do it in a social manner. Don’t make the mistake of putting them in a social setting without exercise. Vet visits, friends coming over, parties with the family and many more should all start with exercise before the event.

Correct the dog verbally, on leash or off leash should be done following principles. Timing is the most important and should be given before the action takes place. Dogs bark before you get to the bowl not after, right? Laying or sitting after the correction is the other most important aspect of the correction.

Is Bouvier des Flandres Good with Cats?

Yes, dogs can get along with any animal but make sure you train your dog to not look at cats as prey. When the dog gets adequate exercise, they will not look at a cat as something they want to chase. Why not? Because they are running every day and don’t feel the need to run to exercise.

Dogs don’t hunt either so there is no reason, other than lack of exercise, that the dog should chase a cat. Keep the dog tired and then socialize them on leash at first. Remember, don’t put the cat in a position to get hurt and always use caution in these situation. Set the dog up for success.

Additional Resources