The monks from the monastery Terre Dunniens in Flanders first started to raise this breed. They began to mix Scottish deer hound and Irish Wolfhound with local farm dogs, and eventually received the modern Bouvier des Flandres. They became excellent working dogs that guard tirelessly and help herding sheep and cattle. Thanks to their excellent physics, they were also able to draw even cargo carts. Until the early 20th century the breed has not been fully defined. There were three varieties called "Paret", "Moerman" or "Roeselare" and "Briard". These three varieties delayed the development of the breed. In 1912 and 1913 several local kennels accepted some standards for these dogs.
The first breed standard was adopted in 1936 by the Franco-Belgian Commission. The World War II threatened again this wonderful dog from complete destruction. The development of the breed was delayed and only in 1965 the FCI adopted the standard of the breed.
Bouvier des Flandres has a large, strong body covered with shaggy coat, which occurs in gray, light beige or black. Its height varies between 58 and 71 cm and weight - between 30 and 40 kg. His head is large, with well formed mustaches and beard. The muzzle is broad and elongated. The eyes are oval and dark in color. The tail is carried higher. The ears are small and erect.
Character and behavior
Despite its impressive size, the Bouvier des Flandres is gentle and loyal dog who always would protect his owner. While they seem frightening for some, they are very stable dogs with a calm nature, which makes them good pets in the family. They have the perfect combination of qualities - neither too aggressive nor too shy.
When you look for puppies for sale, you should know that the breed needs experienced owners. If you don't train them well they can express their dominant attitude towards people, regardless of their peaceful nature. A non-socialized Bouvier des Flandres can become fearful and could create problems when placed in new situations.
Training and education
They are enthusiastic, responsible, balanced and fearless dogs, excellent guards and assistants to the police. Quickly learn new commands, but easily get bored. Therefore, the training should be consistent and with less repetitions. Without being rude, you must constantly show the dog who is the boss.
Bouvier des Flandres is very aptly dog. If it is well trained, it can obey, act according to the rules, track and become a good shepherd dog. Their pastoral instincts and penchant for training can be measured using special pastoral tests.
It is important to remember that obedience training should start while they are young. Their behavior depends on the ability of the owner to clearly show what he wants from the dog and to have a "dominant" influence over him.
The average lifespan of the Bouvier des Flandres is about 12 years. Its overall health is good, but is prone to eye problems and hip dysplasia
Grooming and care
The Bouvier des Flandres can live outside, but feels best when living in the house. They love communicating with people and need regular exercise. They like to run and can walk for hours.
These dogs require weekly combing, to keep their hair in good shape. Furthermore, the coat should be washed and cleaned properly, approximately every 4-5 weeks if you want your dog to have a nice appearance and display on exhibitions. You must pay attention to the maintenance of the head, and especially the beard.
Children and other pets
The representatives of this breed quickly realize that children are part of the family and become friends with them for life. They love to have kids around them an treating them as their own.
The Flanders Cattle Dog usually behaves well with other dogs and pets. Some male specimen could be aggressive towards other animals and their owners must show them categorically that this is an unacceptable behavior.
A male dog named Nick, who participated in the First World War, later won numerous dog shows and is considered the first famous Bouvier des Flandres.
Unlike most dogs, the Flanders Cattle Dog matures a little slowly, both physically and mentally. They must be 2-3 years old to be considered fully developed.