Dog Breed Categories > Herding Dog1 > Bouvier des Flandres

A Bouvier (BOO-vyay) des Flandres is a dog breed in the herding dog group. The name translates literally to "cow herder of Flanders", and that pretty much sums up the purpose this dog was bred for - herding cattle. Despite the name, the Bouvier des Flandres is quite adaptable, and has been used for numerous duties throughout history as a cart dog, ambulance dog, messenger dog, police dog, watch dog, guard dog, and general farm dog.


The Bouvier is a relatively large dog, standing about 26 inches (.66 m) at the shoulder and weighing about 100 lb (45 kg). They have a rather long, rough, and coarse double coat that helps to protect them in all weather. This long fur is usually fawn to gray or black and may be brindled. The fur along the head and face is much longer and forms the appearance of a mustache and beard. Ears are tall and alert. When seen in a dog show, the breed's appearance can be misleading with their beautiful, shiny, soft-looking coat. Left on their own, the Bouviers will never look like this - these dogs enjoy the outdoors and require regular cleaning, brushing, trimming, and grooming to keep their hair healthy and to maintain their appearance. In fact, one of their nicknames in the Netherlands is Vuilbaard or "dirty beard" which is what they will look like if they are not properly taken care of.

Bouviers are intelligent, alert, and have an even temperament. Owing to their breeding as a herding dog, they tend to follow their family members around the house, and love to accompany their family outdoors to do nearly anything. While they love attention, they are content to lay on the floor and just keep you company once you have settled down. They do, however need plenty of exercise in the form of playing, running, walking, and other rigorous activity, and generally should not be confined only to a backyard.

Health Issues

Like all large dogs, many do suffer from hip dysplasia. Other common conditions include cataracts. Due to their breeding Bouviers are very hardy and rarely become ill, and tend to have a high threshold for pain (because they regularly got kicked or stepped on by cattle), so it is important that if they have any injury that they be taken to the vet even if they do not seem to be hurt. They tend to live 10-12 years.

Famous Bouvier des Flandres

For more famous dogs, see Presidential Pets.

1 In some kennel clubs the Bouvier des Flandres is categorized as a Working Dog

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