Life span: 10 – 12 years
Weight: Female: 27–35 kg, Male: 35–40 kg
Colors: Black, Brindle, Fawn, Salt & Pepper, Black & Brown
Temperament: Protective, Loyal, Gentle, Intelligent, Familial, Rational
Height: Female: 59–65 cm, Male: 62–68 cm
Its balanced character, the attached nature and its protective behavior, combined with a pronounced robustness, make the Bouvier des Flandres an excellent working dog. He is a very docile, calm and extremely attentive animal. Due to its descent, the Bouvier also evolved over time to a very intelligent and confident dog, which is only suitable for experienced owners who can educate him with a sensible and firm leadership. So he can easily become a reliable guard or family dog.
Origin & History
As its name suggests, the Bouvier des Flandres comes from the French and Belgian parts of Flanders. There he served the cattle and ox drivers as a faithful companion, who was used to guide the herds. Therefore, he is also known by the names "Flandrischer Treibhund" or "Vlaamse Koehond". For his breeding, only the roughest, strongest and most vital local dogs were selected, chosen for their character and physical characteristics, as they had to withstand the most adverse living conditions. The Bouvier des Flandres still owes its excellent characteristics to this breeding practice.
During the First World War, the Bouvier des Flandres would be almost extinct and could only be rescued by backcrossing, probably including the Berger Picard. The FCI standard was established in 1922 and since 1960 special attention has been paid to the continuous improvement of the breed. In the 70s, he finally found his way into German breeders' circles and since then has been able to increase his popularity.
Racial characteristics of the Bouvier des Flandres
The size of a mature male is 62 to 68 cm with an ideal weight of about 25 to 40 kg. Bitches are slightly smaller and slimmer with 59 to 65 cm and with a weight of 27 to 35 kg.
The lush coat of the Bouvier des Flandres is usually brindle, gray or black. A deep black is also allowed, but is not one of the preferred colors. Light colors, on the other hand, are inadmissible, with a white star on the chest considered acceptable. The harsh and always shaggy covering hair, together with the dense undercoat, form a watertight protective coat which renders the bouvier insensitive to sudden changes in weather, as occurs in its native country.
The overall appearance of the Bouvier des Flandres should give the impression of great power, but it must not be clumsy. The body is strong and wide. The upper back line is straight, firm and neither sloping nor ascending. The withers come out only slightly. The loins are wide and muscular. You go over to the croup, which continues the straight back line. From her the relatively high set tail emerges. While rods and ears were previously cropped, today only uncoupled dogs are allowed. However, some dogs have a congenital stubby rod.
The head is massive, this impression is underlined by the mustache and goatee. The size should fit well with the body. The eyes have a free and energetic expression and must not be too deep.
A good muscling distinguishes the straight and parallel standing limbs of the forehand. The hindquarters are just as powerful, so the paws are firm and round.
Bouvier des Flandres beings & character
The essence of the Bouvier des Flandres is characterized by calmness, loyalty and attention. He is a very intelligent dog who is particularly suitable as a family dog due to his innate protective instinct. With older children, he plays hard and usually with a lot of patience and circumspection. For smaller children, he is due to his height and strength as a playmate rather unsuitable. In no case should the dog be left alone with the children. In addition, he is extremely vigilant and reacts independently and at lightning speed to possible threats. He usually does not tend to excessive yapping, but reacts by a bark adapted to the situation. Through his stoic and suspicious mind, the Bouvier des Flandres is especially reserved to strangers. Especially race representatives, which come from the Dutch breeding line, should show an increased readiness to defend against strangers. On the other hand, dogs from German-bred breeding are said to be more reluctant to strangers.
The Bouvier des Flandres requires a careful education and utilization due to its distinctive character, with the possibility to use its joy of movement and its forces purposefully for an optimal attitude and an acceptable handling. Above all, he owes this enormous power to the fact that he was originally bred for traction, so that the Bouvier on the leash can develop an enormous pulling power. In pull dog sport, therefore, this ability can be optimally exploited to utilize this breed according to its characteristics.
Use Bouvier des Flandres
Originally the Bouvier des Flandres was used as a driving dog for horse and cattle herds. In addition, he found use as a "Treidelhund", which drew from the shore, the barges on the canals. However, by modernizing agriculture, he has lost his ancestral responsibilities and is now used mainly as a guard dog for farms or other rural estates. Due to its positive qualities, it is also often used as a police or guard dog, as well as a guide and rescue dog. In addition, his fine sense of smell and his intelligence allow training as a tracking dog and companion for gamekeepers, as well as the use as a reporting dog.
Dog sport athletes can also benefit from the Bouvier des Flandres. He is extremely agile and light-footed, which makes him suitable for almost all dog sports. He can be used in agility, obedience or track work, as long as he is sufficiently busy physically and mentally.