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Meet the breed: Bouvier des Flandres

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle is the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for a loyal working dog to add to your family, learn all you need to know about the Bouvier des Flandres.

Breed at a glance

  • Gentle
  • Loyal
  • Fearless
  • Protective
  • Great with children

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Meaning “cow herd from Flanders,” the Bouvier des Flandres was bred in Belgium to assist farmers, cattle merchants and butchers with herding. Nicknamed “cow dog,” “dirty beard” and “cattle driver,” the breed still enjoys being a working dog. Often used for police work, as a farm hand, as a watchdog, for military work, as an assistant to the blind and more, the Bouvier des Flandres does best on land with a lot of exercise and training.

Breed standards

  • AKC group: Herding Group
  • UKC group: Herding
  • Average lifespan: 10 – 12 years
  • Average size: 65 – 110 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Double coat with rough and harsh outercoat that is shaggy in appearance; soft and thick undercoat
  • Coloration: Black, salt and pepper, gray, fawn and brindle
    Other identifiers:
    Powerful body with a rugged exterior; rectangular ears; black nose; bushy eyebrows; dark-brown eyes with black rims; muscular legs; high-set, docked tail
    Possible alterations:
    Blond, white markings

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Is this breed right for you?

The Bouvier des Flandres is known as one of the most loyal of dog breeds on the planet. A friendly disposition, it can sometimes be shy and needs to be both trained and socialized young with both people and non-canine pets. A lover of children, it makes a great family dog, although it is a large breed and needs to learn how to behave around younger kids as a puppy. This dog most definitely needs a strong leader to show who is boss and avoid any behavioral problems. Generally inactive indoors, the Bouvier des Flandres does OK with apartment living, although it does best with a large yard or plenty of land in which to roam free. Requiring daily brushing and bathing, this breed requires a lot of grooming; however, due to low shedding, it is an awesome addition for allergy sufferers.

breed characteristics

A dream day-in-the-life

The Bouvier des Flandres is a lover of people and family and will enjoy waking up around those it enjoys most. Going to work outside, it’ll happily follow the commandments of its owner. Once its day’s work has finished, it’ll guard the house and romp around with the kids. After a nice run around the block, the Bouvier des Flandres will nestle in with the rest of the brood for a good night’s rest.

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