We can’t really blame you if you’ve never heard of this dog breed before, because to be honest, their aren’t too many of them around. Plus, most times folks actually do see one, they’ll often mistake them for another “kind” of dog like a Giant Schnauzer or a Kelly Blue Terrier.
But don’t let their…
Scarcity confuse you with the fact these aren’t great dogs for the right person. Which 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 has it origins within the Monasteries of Ter Duinen where the monks during medieval times first decided to cross the Irish Wolhound 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 which was breed to hunt wolves with a “herding” dog.
“They wanted to “toughen” up the farm help!”
Which is exactly what they did when they created the Bouvier des Flanders breed.
These early dogs…
Earned a varity of “nicknames” including:
- Vuilbaard (dirty beard)
- Koe Hond (Cow dog)
As well as Bouvier des Flandres which literally translates to “ox herder from Flandres”.
As you can see by this dogs “nicknames” or lack of cute danty ones, this guy is a worker. And a hard worker at that!
Bouvier’s were used to pull butcher carts, drive cattle and do just about any other imaginable job around the farm. All while being strong, steadfast and never filing a complaint. As a result, the Bouvier’s work ethic made him a very highly respected dog throughout Belgium and a beloved breed for many centuries.
That this breed really began to become quite popular right around the beginning of WWI, which is probably the only reason why we still have this breed today. You see, during WWI, the Bouvier des Flandres population took a major dive and was nearly wiped out!
Had it not been for one particular dog, Ch. Nic de Sottegem who was able to survive this dark period for this breed, chances are, there wouldn’t be any Bouvier des Flandres today. Even now, virtually ever modern day Bouvier des Flandres living today can be genetically linked to this one particular dog.
Bouvier des Flaunders in America
The Bouvier des Flaunders was first “officially” brought to the United States in the early 1920’s where it quickly became a favorite by some, which encouraged the American Kennel Club (AKC) to quickly recognize the breed in 1929. Since then, the breed has thrived in the USA. There is even an American Bouvier des Flandres Club.
Bouvier des Flandres Physical Characteristics
The Bouvier des Flandres is a large breed, as large as they get, bigger than most of the other dogs that you see in the park. He is powerful, strong, compact, and has a very rugged look with his rough coat.
HEAVY and can weigh up to 110 pounds, and can reach up to a height of 27.5 inches. And while the females tend to be a bit smaller than the males, don’t count them out, their pretty big as well.
Bouvier des Flanders…
Also have a thick beard and moustache, prominent muzzle, big ears and dark colored oval shaped eyes. He also has a water resistant, thick and coarse double coat that comes in the colors fawn, brindle, salt and pepper and black.
Bouvier des Flandres Grooming
The Bouvier is a high maintenance breed as far as grooming is concerned. So, you’ll definitely want to take his grooming seriously, especially if you have allergy sufferers in the house.
He will generally…
Require a bath every 2 – 4 weeks. And because of his thick undercoat and outer coat he will need to be brushed often, at least three times a week, to get rid of the dead hair. The good news is that he doesn’t “shed” a lot, but that’s mainly because his fur just gets stuck to himself when if falls out.
Like any other dog that has a “beard”, you’ll want to be sure and clear his beard every time after he has a meal, otherwise he can look totally gross. And… make sure that his ears and teeth are clean – this is very important.
Bouvier des Flandres Temperament
The Bouvier is a very smart and independent dog. He takes a long time to like someone, but once he likes you, he will remain loyal to you for life. He is that sort of a dog.
The trick is…
You’re going to want to start off your training right away. In fact, the earlier the better. You see, anytime you have a dog this big which was bred to have a bit of an “indepence streak” about him, you’re going to want to be sure that he or she understands their role in the family unit early on.
The good news…
Is that these dogs are very smart and look for the approval of their owners which generally makes them good students. The bad news is that it’s going to take the “right” owner to insure that they get the training that they need and makes sure that their training is consistent for the first few years of life!
What you’re going to have on your hands is a very large dog that can be quite destructive simpy due to his size and nature. Which is a perfect combination for creating a very unhappy dog owner.
When trained properly…
The Bouvier des Flandres can be a perfect family dog. One that completely devoted to his family. He loves children and is very docile and protective around them (provided he has been trained and socialized early). The only thing he hates is being ignored, which means that he will hate being left in a yard all by himself all day long.
It really doesn’t matter how well you train your Bouvier des Flandres if you don’t provide him or her with 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 that you weren’t expecting or hoping for.
This is why…
If you don’t feel that you’re going to be able to live up to this dogs exercise requirements or don’t feel that you’ll be able to live up to your training and obedicence 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.
Bouvier Health Issues
Fortunately, despite the fact that this dog breed basically had to be “recreated” shortly after WWI, the Bouvier is actually one of the healthiest of dog breeds out there.
That said however…
The breed will still be at risk for many common aliments that affect just about any large dog breed including conditions such as:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Subaortic Stenosis
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat)
The cost of anyone of these treatment can vary from $500 to $6,500 depending on the severity of the situation. And if you’re saying to yourself right about now…
“Wow, that’s a lot”
Your not alone.
This is why…
We here at IndulgeYourPet will typically encourage anyone that is currently considering purchasing a new puppy or adopting a rescue dog to also consider purchasing a pet insurance policy as well.
Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?
No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these types of policies will and won’t cover and just how much they would cost you, how will you be able to 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 policies in the industry right now, we would encourage you to take a look at our article: Top 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies.