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The Bouvier des Flandres' pastoral name— “Bouvier” is French for “cow chasing”—belies its posh and heroic history. Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and former President Ronald Reagan both owned Bouviers. This breed also performed military service during World Wars I and II — they pulled ambulances and located wounded soldiers. They are driven workers and fiercely devoted to their chosen people.
Originally from Belgium, this large-sized and high-energy breed can grow to between 70-110 pounds and lives an average of 10-12 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Herding group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Herding
Breed Group: Herding
Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
Energy level A sprinter
Exercise needs An hour or more a day
Playfullness and Games Maybe once a day or every other day
Attachment to People Give me some love when you get home, maybe we'll snuggle later
Behavior with Other Dogs Ok with early socialization and consistent training.
Behavior with Other Small Pets I may be ok, when socialized early and often
Behavior Toward Strangers I may be shy at first
Trainability It's fun, but I may lose focus
Watchdog ability I know all that's going on, all the time
Protection ability I can be highly protective
Grooming needs Daily brushing and probably frequent professional grooming
Cold tolerance I just love winter and snow
Heat tolerance Above 70 degrees? Give me winter, please
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS BOUVIERS DES FLANDRES' PERSONALITY LIKE?
Bouviers des Flandres are loving, smart, and serene, but they're not especially playful. They are determined, brave, and calm dogs who thrive when given a purpose.
This breed is affectionate toward its chosen people but may be aloof toward strangers. Bouviers des Flandres do best when supervised with other dogs and make better companions for older children. With enough early socialization, they can be friendly with other pets and small animals.
WHAT IS BOUVIER DES FLANDRES BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This breed is very energetic, alert, and protective. The fearless Bouvier des Flandres can be somewhat prone to barking.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A BOUVIER DES FLANDRES ?
Bouviers des Flandres can be challenging to train — this is an independent-minded and strong-willed dog. Start early and be patient and consistent with your furry friend. They require moderate daily exercise and excel in competitive dog sports, particularly herding trials.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DOES A BOUVIER DES FLANDRES SHED AND WHAT IS ITS GROOMING NEEDS?
Bouvier's medium-length double coat is thick and rough. This breed's beautiful coat grows constantly and needs regular brushing—think every other day—to prevent mats. Plan for frequent grooming. Their furry faces will be messy after eating or drinking, and his coat will pick up debris and dirt.
Bouviers des Flandres shed lightly and seasonally.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO BOUVIERS DES FLANDRES HAVE?
Bouviers des Flandres have been known to develop thyroid disease, glaucoma, hip dysplasia, and heart murmurs, but these are rare. This is usually a healthy breed.
Bouviers do tend toward obesity. Limit treats and feed your furry friend two smaller meals per day.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE BOUVIERS DES FLANDRES GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Bouvier des Flandres among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as a Bouvier des Flandres! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S A BOUVIER DES FLANDRES' BEST DAY?
A presidential session at the groomer followed by 1:1 time in the backyard watching the neighborhood would be paw-fect.
SHOULD I ADOPT A BOUVIER DES FLANDRES?
Bouviers des Flandres are not great apartment dogs. This breed needs room to spread out and an experienced dog family to thrive. They're great in cold weather but wilt in the heat. This is a serious dog — Bouviers tend not to be playful and they require consistent grooming. If you have a particularly sensitive nose, this dog might not be for you — Bouviers des Flandres are known to be flatulent.
This dog is calm and regal. If you don't mind grooming them frequently and keeping up with their work ethic, a Bouviers des Flandres could be a fearless and stylish companion.
Have you decided that a Bouvier des Flandres is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.