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Bouvier des Flandres Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

We can’t blame you if you’ve never heard of this dog breed before because there aren’t many around. Plus, most times folks see one, they’ll often mistake them for another “kind” dog like a Giant Schnauzer or a Kelly Blue Terrier. But don’t let their scarcity confuse you and make you think that because there aren’t many of these dogs around, they aren’t great pets to own! Because the truth is, for the right family, there may not be a better dog out there!

This is why, in this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss some of the pros and cons of owning a Bouvier des Flandres so that if you are considering getting one, you won’t be disappointed six months from now with your decision.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Bouvier des Flandres Dog Breed Facts

Country of Origin: Belgium

Original Purpose:  Herding Dog

Height:  23.5 to 27.5 inches tall

Weight:  70 to 110 pounds

Life Span: 10 to 15 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Herding

Origins of the Bouvier des Flandres

The Bouvier des Flandres originates within the Monasteries of Ter Duinen, where the monks during medieval times first decided to cross the Irish Wolfhound with the local Belgian farm dogs or sheepdogs of that time. Now, it’s not difficult to imagine what these early monks were trying to create when they took an Irish Wolfhound bred to hunt wolves with a “herding” dog.

“They wanted to “toughen” up the farm help!”

Which is precisely what they did when they created the Bouvier des Flanders breed. These early dogs earned a variety of “nicknames,” including:

  • Vuilbaard (dirty beard)
  • Koe Hond (Cow dog)

As well as Bouvier des Flandres, which translates to “ox herder from Flandres.” So, as you can see by this dog’s “nicknames” or lack of any cute “dainty” ones, this guy is a worker. And a hard worker at that!

Early on…

Bouviers were used to pull butcher carts, drive cattle, and do almost any other imaginable job around the farm. All while being robust, steadfast, and never filing a complaint. As a result, Bouvier’s work ethic made him a highly respected dog throughout Belgium and a beloved breed for many centuries.

It is so beloved that this breed began to become quite popular right around the beginning of WWI, which is probably the only reason why we still have this breed today. During WWI, the Bouvier des Flandres population took a significant dive and was nearly wiped out! Had it not been for one particular dog, Ch. Nic de Sottegem, who survived this dark period for this breed, might not have any Bouvier des Flandres today. Even now, virtually every day, Bouvier des Flandres living today can be genetically linked to this particular dog.

Bouvier des Flanders in America

The Bouvier des Flanders was first “officially” brought to the United States in the early 11920s, where it quickly became a favorite by some, encouraging the American Kennel Club (AKC) to recognize the breed in 1929. Since then, the species has thrived in the USA. There is even an American Bouvier des Flandres Club.

Physical Characteristics

The Bouvier des Flandres is a large breed, as large as they get, more significant than most other dogs you see in the park. e is powerful, robust, compact, and has a rugged look with his rough coat. He’s also HEAVY, can weigh 110 pounds, and can reach a height of 27.5 inches. And while the females are smaller than the males, don’t count them out; they’re also pretty big. He also has a thick beard and mustache, a prominent muzzle, big ears, and dark-colored, oval-shaped eyes. e also has a water-resistant, thick, coarse double coat that comes in fawn, brindle, salt and pepper, and black.

Bouvier des Flandres Grooming  

The Bouvier is a high-maintenance breed as far as grooming is concerned. You’ll want to take his grooming seriously, especially if you have allergy sufferers. e will generally require a bath every 2 – 4 weeks. Because of his thick undercoat and outer coat, he must be brushed often, at least three times a week, to get rid of the dead hair. The good news is that he doesn’t “hed” often because his fur gets stuck to himself when it falls out.

Additionally, like any other dog with a “read,” you’ll want to be sure and clear his beard every time after he has a meal. Otherwise, he can look gross. And make sure his ears and teeth are clean – this is very important.

Personality and Temperament

The Bouvier is a brilliant and independent dog. It takes a long time to like someone, but once he likes you, he will remain loyal to you for life. e is that sort of a dog. The trick is that you will want to start your training immediately. The earlier, the better. You see, anytime you have a dog this big, which was bred to have a bit of an “independence streak” about him, you’ll want to be sure that they understand its role in the family unit early on.

The good news…

These dogs are brilliant and look for the approval of their owners, which generally makes them good students. The bad news is that it will take the “right” owner to ensure they get the training they need and that their training is consistent for the first few years of life! Otherwise, what you’re going to have on your hands is a huge dog that can be pretty destructive simply due to its size and nature, which is a perfect combination for creating a heartbroken dog owner.

When trained properly…

The Bouvier des Flandres can be a perfect family dog. Ne is wholly devoted to his family. e loves children and is very docile and protective around them (provided he has been trained and socialized early). He only hates being ignored, which means he hates being left in a yard all day.


It doesn’t matter how well you train your Bouvier des Flandres if you don’t give them plenty of opportunity to run and play. These dogs will need a ton of exercise. And if they don’t get it from you in the form of walks or play time, they WILL get it somewhere else, probably in a way you weren’t expecting or hoping for.

This is why if you do feel that you are going to be able to live up to this dog’s exercise requirements or do feel that you can live up to your training and obedience training requirements, do yourself a favor and look at possibly adopting a different type of dog, one that may be a better fit for you.

Potential Health Concerns

Fortunately, even though this dog breed was created” shortly af” after WWI, Bouvier is the healthiest dog out there. Hat said, however, the species will still be at risk for many common ailments that affect just about any large dog breed, including conditions such as:

The cost of any of these treatments can vary from $500 to $6,500, depending on the severity of the situation.   And if you’re saying to yourself about now…

“Wow, that’s a lot.”

Yo,” are not that’s. hi” is why we here at IndulgeYourPet typically encourage anyone considering purchasing a new puppy or adopting a rescue dog to consider purchasing a pet insurance policy.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies will and won’t cover and won’t they would cost you, how will you know if getting one might not be the “right” choice for you?”

For “more information about who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance license in the industry, we encourage you to look at our article: Best Pet Insurance Companies.

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