Top Facts About The Bouvier Des Flandres

A very special pooch is bounding into the spotlight this month. The fluffy and lovable Bouvier des Flandres got his own special day. January 16th is Fido’s official celebration, but we’re happy to keep this pooch in the spotlight for a few more weeks. A local Plano, TX vet goes over some of the basics of this cute pooch in this article 

Bouvier Des Flandres: Breed Information

The Bouviers des Flandres is a big dog with a big heart. Originally bred to be Belgian herding dogs, these shaggy pups can weigh up to 120 pounds. males usually weigh between about 75 and 120 pounds and grow between 24 and 27 inches high. females weigh between 60 and 80, and are usually between 23 and 26 inches. They live about 10 to 12  years, on average.

The Bouviers’ most notable feature is his thick, shaggy double coat. The Bouvier can sport several different colors, including fawn, black, gray, brindle, and salt-and-pepper. He has pointy ears, and chin fur that resembles a beard.

The Bouvier des Flandres is a bit of a mouthful in English. That’s why many people call them Bouvier dogs. However, Fido also goes by Toucheur de Boeuf (cattle driver), Vlaamse Koehond (Flemish cow dog), and Vuilbaard (dirty beard).

Caring For A Bouvier: Tips From Your Plano, TX Vet

As far as basics go, Fido needs the same things as any other dog: good food, regular veterinary care, and proper exercise. That said, potential owners should know that these are not low-maintenance dogs. You’ll need to brush your canine buddy several times a week. You’ll also need to keep him active. (This can get challenging over time, as the Bouvier tends to get a bit lazy.)

The Bouvier also needs a lot of grooming. These guys also need room to run: they aren’t a good match for apartment dwellers. Before adopting any dog, do plenty of research and ask your Plano, TX  vet for care tips.


The Bouvier Des Flandres Was A Farm Dog

Fido’s origins are clear from his name: the breed originated in Flanders, Belgium, as farm dogs back in the 1600’s. Some of the chores Fido helped with included herding sheep, pulling cards, and cattle droving. In fact, his name literally translates to Cow Herder of Flanders.

The Bouvier’s history begins with the monks at the Ter Duinen monastery. They bred local farm dogs with Irish wolfhounds and Scottish deerhounds. Some of the dogs in Fido’s family tree include hounds that were brought over to the Abbey of Duynen, a Flemish monastery, in the 11th century.

As years passed, local breeders really honed in on the desired traits. The result was a strong, sturdy working dog with a loyal temperament. Fido soon became extremely popular in the region, for several reasons. Not only were Bouvier dogs great at both guarding and herding sheep and cattle, they were also strong enough to pull carts to the market and back. They also had thick coats, which helped them deal with the region’s cold winters. 

These days, the Bouviers are best known for being great guard dogs. They do well as police dogs or guard dogs, and also excel at many dog sports, such as agility, carting, obedience, tracking, and herding. Of course, they also make absolutely wonderful pets.

The Bouviers Had A Close Call With Extinction

The Bouvier almost didn’t make it into the twenty-first century. In fact, the breed almost went extinct after World War I. One exceptional pup, Nic, lived during this period. Like many other dogs of his time, Nic was trained as a trench dog. Trench dogs served crucial roles during the conflict. They hauled supply carts and messages up and down trenches, often while under fire, and also helped wounded soldiers. Nic proved to be a truly exceptional dog. After the war, he became a top show dog … and one of the fathers of the Bouvier dog breed we know today.

Fido’s story doesn’t quite end there, though. The Bouviers became very sought after during World War II, because they had been such excellent trench dogs in the prior conflict. The Bouvier was again enlisted as a courier. Legend has it that one of the pups bit Adolf Hitler, who then decided to try to destroy the breed. Reports mention that German soldiers would often shoot the Bouviers on sight. The breed, which had just begun to recover from losses in World War I, was again driven to the brink of extinction. Fortunately, by then, the pups had made their way over to the States. 

The Bouvier Dog Temperament: Gentle Giants

Smart, steadfast, loving, and loyal, Bouvier dogs are truly ‘pawesome’. They’re quite affectionate, and can make great family pets. They do well with children, though you will need to take some precautions because of their size. 

Fido tends to be a gentle giant. He usually gets along well with animals he’s grown up with, though he is not always exactly friendly towards strange dogs. A natural guard dog, the Bouvier will often position himself in a spot where he can watch his whole family. However, these guys usually won’t bite unless provoked. 

Proper training is a must, of course, but this intelligent pup tends to be a quick learner. (Tip: These guys really, really love snacks, and are quite food-motivated when it comes to learning.) 


Some Stars Have Owned Bouvier des Flandres Dogs

Fido isn’t the most popular dog on the AKC ranks. He typically ranks in the 80’s or 90’s as far as breed popularity. That said, he has made some pretty devoted fans. These include Joan Baez, who wrote the song Old Blue about Man’s Best Friend. Baez has a one-eyed Bouvier, Ginger. Talk show host Merv Griffin had a Bouvier named Keesh. However, Fido’s most recent turn in the spotlight probably happened back in the 1980’s, when he became a First Dog to President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy. That pup, who was appropriately named Lucky, spent a year at the White House before moving to the Reagans’ ranch.

Bouvier Dogs Have A Few Health Concerns 

Most purebreds are prone to developing some specific issues. This is because they come from such small gene pools. The Bouvier is no exception. The official breed standard recommends screening for some specific issues, such as hip dysplasia. These guys can be prone to bloat, which is common in bigger dogs. They also tend to develop eye issues, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and entropion (inward-turning eyelids). Keep up with Fido’s veterinary care, and follow your Plano, TX veterinarian’s recommendations for exams and screenings. 

There Are Some Famous Bouvier Dogs 

A few of these Very Good Boys have made it into the spotlight. First, there’s Patrasche, the fictional pup from the classic children’s book A Dog of Flanders. (Note: if you ever visit Antwerp, you can find statues of the pooch there.) We can’t forget Gretel, the faithful canine companion of ER’s Dr. Romano. A Bouvier also ‘stars’ in the manga/anime series Strike Match. 

Keep Your Bouvier Des Flandres Healthy By Visiting Your Plano, TX Vet

Like any other pup, the Bouvier needs regular veterinary care to be happy and healthy. Follow your vet’s recommendations! 

Do you have questions about the Bouvier? Contact us, your pet hospital, today! We are dedicated to providing top-notch care! 



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