Updated 17-08-2023

Bouvier des Flandres Characteristics, Facts & Traits

As a farm dog, the Bouvier des Flandres is one of the most adaptable breeds. In addition to herding livestock (especially cattle), dragging carts, and securing livestock, they also served as guards. In addition to being a great farm dog, the hardworking and clever Bouvier is also an excellent law enforcement and security dog.

Aside from obedience, agility, and penning competitions, Bouviers excel in their primary job: being a trusted family member. All of the people in their pack enjoy their company and are treated with great affection by them.

As a result, if you're considering adoption, be sure you're okay with a little messy. As a result of thick coats, these pups tend to bring debris inside the house when they go outside to play. Keeping their coats clean is also a bit of work. You'll be rewarded with a loving and intelligent furry family member if you're willing to put up with a little upkeep. Detailed information about the characteristics and facts of Bouvier des Flandres canines can be found in the next section.


  • The Bouvier is not advised for persons who are averse to making messes, as it is prone to shedding. A little elbow grease can get him clean, but his coat likes to accumulate dirt and debris, which ends up all over your house.
  • The Bouvier, as expected, necessitates extensive grooming, which is both time-consuming and costly.
  • This breed is not suggested for first-time dog owners because of its aggressive nature.
  • Because of the Bouvier's large size, herding tendency, and strong personality, leash training is highly recommended.
  • In the company of his family, Bouvier is at his happiest.


Social Appearance 


It's a common misconception that a little dog is better suited to living in a limited space. Many tiny dogs have too much energy and are too yappy to live in an apartment building. An apartment dog's best attributes include being quiet, low energy, somewhat peaceful indoors, and respectful to the other inhabitants. Your dog's personal space in your apartment can be improved by purchasing one of these fantastic dog cages.

Sensitivity Level

Depending on the dog, a strong rebuke can be taken in stride by some, while others regard even the tiniest hint of disapproval as a personal attack. If you have a loud or pushy owner, a chaotic home, or a routine that is unpredictable or variable, your low-sensitivity dog, often known as "easy-going," "tolerant," "resilient," or even "thick-skinned," will be able to handle it better. Do you have young children, host a lot of parties, or have a hectic lifestyle? Choose a dog that isn't overly sensitive.


You can't tell from looking at them whether or not they're hyperactive, but when they do anything, they do it vigorously. They tug at their leashes (unless you teach them not to), they push their way through barriers, and they down their meals in huge, gobbling gulps. A home with young children or an elderly or feeble person may not be the best place for these dynamos to learn proper etiquette. On the other hand, a dog with poor vitality adopts a more reserved demeanor.

Potential for Playfulness

The playful nature of certain dogs never fades away, and they're always ready for a game, whereas the reserved and serious tendencies of other dogs develop through time. Think about how many times a day you want to play fetch or tag with your dog, and whether or not you have children or other dogs who can act as substitutes.

Personality Appearance


In the same way as working dogs, such as those that herd sheep, are bred for intelligence and decision-making, working dogs like those who run all day need to exercise their bodies. The two most common activities that a bored pet engages in are digging and chewing, both of which require mental stimulation. There are several ways to keep a dog's brain active, including obedience training, interactive dog toys like tug of war, and dog sports like agility and search and rescue.

Energy Level

Energy-draining dogs are always on the lookout for a new activity. There are several jobs that require a lot of stamina from dogs, such as herding livestock or recovering prey for hunters. Children are more likely to engage in activities such as jumping, playing and exploring new sights and smells as a result of this change in their environment

A low-energy dog is more like a couch potato than a dog that needs a lot of exercise. Think about your level of physical activity and whether or not you find a hyperactive dog irritating before making your final choice.

Easy To Train

Easy to train dogs can more easily form associations between a cue (like "sit"), an action (like sitting), and a reward than dogs that are more difficult to train. Dogs that require more time, patience, and repetition are more difficult to train.

Getting your dog interested in training will require incentives and games because many breeds are intelligent but have a "What's in it for me?" mentality when it comes to learning new things.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

Since puppyhood, some breeds remain aloof and independent; others form deep bonds with one individual but are uninterested in the rest of the family; still other types shower their entire family with affection. Canines raised in homes with people tend to be more open to human interaction and develop stronger ties, regardless of their breed or upbringing.


Kids-friendly dogs are calm, strong enough to bear the hefty hugs and pets kids can dish out, and have an unfazed attitude about rushing, scream-inducing children. There are several names you may not expect to see on the list: Fierce-looking Both Boxers and American Staffordshire Terriers are regarded as family dogs (which are considered Pit Bulls). Chihuahuas, which are small, sensitive, and potentially sharp, are not always family-friendly.

Dog Friendly

Dog friendship and human friendship are two entirely different things. The fact that a dog is friendly with humans doesn't mean it's immune to aggression or aggression from other dogs; some canines choose to play rather than fight; others will just run away. The type of animal isn't the only consideration. Dogs who have spent a lot of time playing with their littermates and their mother at the age of six to eight weeks are more likely to be socially competent.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

Having a dog in the house means that you'll have to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothing and in the home. It's worth noting, however, that shedding varies widely among breeds. Some dogs shed all year long, while others ``blow" just during specific times of the year, and still others don't shed at all. If you're a stickler for cleanliness, you'll need to choose a breed that sheds less or lower your expectations. You can use a deshedding tool to keep your house a little cleaner.

Drooling Potential

While greeting you, some dogs may cover their arms with ropes of drool and create large, wet patches on your clothing. If you don't mind a little drool, go for it; but if you're a stickler for cleanliness, you may want to look for a dog with a low drool rating.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs can simply be brushed and left alone, while others require frequent washing, trimming, and other grooming in order to maintain their health and appearance. If you don't have the time or money to take care of a dog that requires a lot of grooming, you may want to look into hiring a professional.

Exercise Needs

Evening walks around the neighbourhood are perfectly acceptable for some breeds. Others, particularly those trained for physically demanding vocations like herding or hunting, require regular, rigorous exercise.

They can gain weight and release their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, including barking, chewing, and digging, if not given enough exercise. Those looking to train their dog for an energetic canine activity, such as agility, should consider getting a dog that needs a lot of exercise.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


70 to 100 pounds


10 to 12 years


23 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder


The Bouvier des Flandres was used by farmers and cattle dealers in southwest Flanders and the northern plains of France to guide livestock. As it turns out, the French word for "cowherd or oxherd" is actually "bouvier," which translates to "dirty beard" or "koe hond" in Dutch (cow dog). Apart from their primary function as cattle drivers, the Bouvier was an all-purpose farm dog who also served as a watchdog over both the home and the farm.

These working dogs came in a wide range of breeds, colours, and sizes, as one might expect from a canine chosen for a variety of jobs. They were picked for their abilities, not their looks or pedigrees, which is why there was a wide range of breeds available. Breeders speculate that the breed may have descended from the mastiff, sheepdog, and maybe the spaniel. There were many different variations of the breed when the first standard was written up in 1912.

Most of the Bouviers were killed during World War I, however several Bouviers served as ambulance and messenger dogs. One of the few surviving individuals was of such high quality that his descendants were able to effectively reestablish the breed. Nearly every modern Bouvier pedigree contains a dog named Champion Nic de Sottegem. Bouvier standards were changed in 1922, which helped establish a more homogenous breed. After their introduction to American show rings in 1931, Bouviers were an instant hit. As a pet, the breed hasn't taken off, but it's popular at herding trials.

Personality and Temperament

As a breed, the Bouvier des Flandres is known for its calm demeanour, as well as its boldness and intelligence. As a guard dog, the breed is extremely loyal and protective of its family. Since it is likely to be wary of strangers from an early age if not properly socialised, this calls for early and thorough socialisation.

However, as with any large, bouncy dog, caution should be exercised while around small children when owning a Bouvier des Flandres. The breed is not prone to separation anxiety, although it should not be left alone for extended periods of time, as with any dogs.


To best train your Bouvier, employ positive reinforcement instead of approaches that involve punishment. Dogs like this one require more time and effort to maintain their health and well-being due to their high level of activity and thick, shaggy coat.


The UK Kennel Club classifies the Bouvier des Flandres as a Category 1 breed with no special health issues, having an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Veterinarian screening and DNA testing are not currently available or recommended, however some health issues may arise in the breed.

Hip Dysplasia (HD)

Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the hips are improperly developed. In older dogs, this aberrant development might be caused by a combination of developmental issues or anomalies.

The hips of dogs older than a year should be x-rayed and assessed by a professional. The highest possible score is 106, and the lower the number, the less dysplasia is evident on the x-ray. When it comes to hip dysplasia, both hereditary and environmental factors are involved.


If you look closely, you'll notice an inward roll of the lower eyelid. Usually occurs before a dog is a year old and causes visual loss and irritation. It is best to perform corrective surgery on the dog as an adult.


Ectropion is another eye ailment that causes the eyelid to roll out or sag, exposing the eye to irritations and infection. Surgery may be indicated if the condition is severe, but in most situations, no treatment is required.

Elbow Dysplasia

When the elbow joints develop improperly, elbow dysplasia occurs. Osteoarthritis, the most common kind of joint pain and disability later in age, is the result of this. Only dogs without any evidence of the ailment should be used for breeding. There is a large genetic component to the condition.

Subaortic Stenosis

An aortic valve narrowing causes subaortic stenosis, a condition that restricts blood flow to the heart. The severity of this constriction varies. The harder the heart has to work and the more severe the symptoms, the more severe the constriction is.

Weakness, breathing difficulties and even death are all possible side effects. However, there is no cure for this ailment, and treatment choices range from medication management to surgery. Breeding should be avoided in dogs with this disease.


This is a problem with the thyroid. Epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin diseases are thought to be caused by it. Medication and a healthy diet are used to treat it.


When fluid accumulates in the eye, intraocular pressure rises, resulting in glaucoma. Pain and discomfort are also felt as a result of this. To keep track of how the problem is progressing, gonioscopy might be employed.

Recommended Health Tests 

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. Elbow Evaluation
  3. Cardiac Exam
  4. Ophthalmologist Evaluation


High-quality dog food should be served to Bouviers twice a day. The Bouvier, a large breed, should not be fed one large meal a day, even if you utilize a slow-feeder bowl to assist prevent Bloat. Bouviers might suffer from bloating and stomach torsion if they eat too quickly or consume too much food all at once. This is a life-threatening situation.

Puppies of the Bouvier des Flandres breed should be fed a low-calorie diet to slow their rapid growth and reduce their risk of developing bone diseases. If you're thinking about getting a dog from this breed, be aware that they have a reputation for having foul breath.

You should keep an eye on your dog's weight to make sure it doesn't grow overweight, which can lead to further health issues for your pet. As your dog ages, so will its dietary requirements. Inquire about feeding schedules and the best diet, type of food and activity for your dog from a vet so that they can provide you with these ideas.


The Bouvier's shaggy coat necessitates frequent and thorough care to keep it in good condition. To remove the loose hairs from the double coat, it is necessary to comb it out. Matting can result from a lack of proper grooming (which may require trips to a professional groomer). If you want to maintain the coat short, you can do so with the help of an experienced groomer who knows how to properly trim this breed. Because of its short hair, the Bouvier has low shedding characteristics that make it worth the time and effort it takes to maintain.

Every day walks naturally take up detritus, which is why you'll find this dog's coat so dirty. As a result, owners will have to set aside time after each walk to clean up after their pets and whatever dirt they brought in.


Exercise Despite the breed's laid-back exterior, the Bouvier needs an hour and a half of daily exercise to maintain its health and well-being. It's great to have a fenced-in yard so your dog has lots of room to go around, but regular play dates and walks are also essential.

Provide your Bouvier with both physical and mental stimulation by establishing a daily programme that includes a variety of different activities. When you and your dog are out for a walk, you might notice that their innate herding instincts kick in and herd you. The Bouvier is a natural at dog sports like agility training, in addition to other forms of regular exercise. To keep your dog's mind and body active, this is a terrific option.


It takes a lot of dedication and intelligence to train a Bouvier. It has a strong prey drive, just like most herding dogs. Because of this, the breed requires a solid foundation of obedience training and tight discipline to succeed. Dogs of this size can be difficult to control unless they are well trained.

The Bouvier can be a lovely companion for a wide variety of households, but it is not for everyone's taste. While learning about your Bouvier's prey drive, be very cautious around cats and other small animals. When they were bred together, Bouviers are ideally suited for companionship with smaller animals.

If you have children, be warned that this breed may try to herd them (especially small children). In addition, young Bouviers are prone to tripping over small children since they don't realise how big they are. Training and exercise must be done consistently and in a planned manner.

An isolated Bouvier does not fare well, and he or she needs constant companionship. Otherwise, your dog may exhibit undesirable behaviours such as chewing and barking. When it comes to visitors and strangers, bouviers are reserved as well. It is possible for this breed to become extremely protective or shy if it is not properly socialised in the beginning.

Children and Other Pets

The Bouvier is an excellent choice for a family with children, as he is loving and protective toward them. He may want to use nudges and barks to herd his children.

The best way to teach him how to get along with children is to either raise him with them or to expose him to children as he grows up if he cannot live with them.

For the safety of both the dog and the child, it's important to educate youngsters the proper way to approach and touch dogs, and to remain vigilant during any encounters between dogs and children to prevent any biting or ear- or tail-pulling. You should teach your youngster the importance of respecting dogs' privacy and not to disturb them while they are having a meal or napping. Regardless of how nice a dog is, it should never be left alone with a child without supervision.

To have the best chance of getting along with other animals in the future, the Bouvier should be raised in a home with other dogs and animals. Animals in his family will usually ignore him if he has been properly socialised and trained. When a herding and chasing impulse is strong, it's always a good idea to keep an eye on it.


The training and socialisation of Bouvier puppies must begin as soon as feasible. Training programmes, dog parks, play dates, and doggie day-care/kindergarten help puppies become well-behaved adults. It is possible to regulate some of their natural herding inclinations via rigorous training and leadership. It's possible to find the dog herding people as well as animals if you aren't vigilant.

When it comes to housebreaking and behavioural concerns in puppies and adult dogs alike, crate training isn't absolutely necessary, but it can be beneficial. Exercise should be kept at a moderate level until the puppy reaches two years of age, at which point it should be increased in duration and intensity.

Dogs Similar to the Bouvier des Flandres

Sheep herding dogs from the same area are the closest relatives of the Bouvier.

Belgian Shepherd

There are four distinct breeds of this medium-sized herding dog, each distinguished by the length and colour of its coat. For example, there's the black Groenendael, the Tervuren, the Laekenois and the Malinois, all of which have long hair. These dogs have strong guarding and loyalty instincts and are exceptionally clever, attentive, and hardworking.

Berger Picard

This medium-sized French herding dog, also known as the Picardy Shepherd, has a rough coat of fawn or brindle hair. It's laid-back and friendly, yet strangers may find it a little wary.

Bearded Collie

The long, flowing double coat of black, blue, brown, fawn, or white hair distinguishes this friendly, gentle Scottish herding dog.