Originating as a farm dog in Flanders, Belgium, the Bouvier Des Flandres temperament is loyal, intelligent, and familial.
Other names for this breed include the Flandres Cattle Dog, the Belgian Cattle Dog, the Vuilbaard, the Koehund, and the Toucheur de Boeuf.
Bouvier Des Flandres Temperament and Personality
They love their family
Above all, the Bouvier Des Flandres is a family dog. They adore humans and make great family dogs.
However, he can become rather pushy if you allow him to. Therefore, the Bouvier is not a good dog for people who have either never owned a dog before, or who have never dealt with the challenges that come from raising a more difficult dog.
He’s a herder
Because of their past, the Bouvier Des Flandres may want to “herd” children with careful nudges or barks. If you raise them with children, though, they won’t have a strong urge to herd.
His desire to herd may start off displaced. For instance, he may try to herd joggers or bikers while on a walk with you, so you’ll definitely want to train him to quell this instinct while he’s still young.
Raise them with other animals.
The Bouvier Des Flandres is a friendly breed, but they will get along best with other dogs or pets when raised together. Their herding instinct is strong, though, so supervision around other animals is necessary.
If not properly socialized, the Bouvier can engage in dominance contests with other dogs, especially those of the same sex.
He also has a strong prey drive, so it’s best to either raise him with smaller animals like cats and hamsters. Failing that, you’ll have to keep him away from them for the simple fact that you can’t trust him not to give chase.
They have a strong personality
This is a strong-willed breed with a strong personality. I do not recommend them for first-time dog owners, as they do best with consistent leadership.
However, if you’re looking for a goofy, fun-loving dog, the Bouvier will not fit the bill. This is a dog who you’re more likely to find contemplate the meaning of life by the side of the river than acting like a clown for his audience’s amusement.
They are great watchdogs
The Bouvier Des Flandres’ protective nature makes them natural watchdogs. They are not, however, good guard dogs. They will defend their family if necessary, but they are not aggressive without reason.
Bouvier Des Flandres can be aloof around those they don’t know, but you can help your Bouvier outgrow it by socializing him as early and often as possible.
And even if they do get aggressive, it’s less about biting and more about blocking his family from a threat with his large body.
They make good apartment dogs
Although they are not a small breed, the Bouvier Des Flandres can live quite comfortably in apartments or condos. But they do require daily exercise.
They can be lazy
While most Bouviers enjoy being active and can be rather high energy, others would rather not. It really depends on the individual temperament of the dog.
Of course, exercise is important for any living creature, so if your Bouvier is on the lazier side, you must push him to get his exercise in. If you’ve ever had to join a fitness group to motivate yourself to work out, then you know what it’s like to be a lazy Bouvier.
The best way to tell if you’re going to end up with a lazy Bouvier is to find out whether the dog you’re interested in comes from a working line of dogs before him.
If he does, then you need to prepare yourself to help him do the kind of hard work that is in his blood and dying to come out. If not, then you’re going to need to help him along to get him the activity he needs to stay healthy.
They can be smelly
Something funny – or not so funny, depending on whether or not you have company – is not only the frequency with which this dog flatulates but also how terrible it smells. With this breed, you really can “blame it on the dog”!
Bouvier Des Flandres was bred to drive cattle to the market and pull carts as a butcher’s dog. In fact, the name itself – “Flandres” – means “cow herder” or “ox herder from Flandres.”
During the World Wars, the Bouvier Des Flandres breed worked as a service dog, as well as a messenger, a sentry, and a search-and-rescue dog.
The Bouvier breed nearly went extinct, due to so many dogs ending up lost in the line of duty and the city of Flanders nearly being destroyed. However, an army veterinarian from Belgium ended up saving the breed by breeding the few remaining Bouvier dogs.
Today, the Bouvier still serves many purposes, though his responsibilities have largely changed. Now, in addition to being a reliable family dog, he also serves as a police dog, a tracking dog, and even a service dog for the blind!
How Do You Train a Bouvier Des Flandres?
The Bouvier Des Flandres are intelligent and learn quickly. However, they do have a mind of their own and need an even smarter, patient human to train them.
They are happiest when they have a job to do – whether that means herding, obedience, “babysitting”, guarding, or even rescue work.
Bouvier Des Flandres thrive on praise and are eager to please. When they know what you want, they’ll do everything they can to make you happy.
But once they learn a command, they want to try something new – even becoming stubborn if you attempt to repeat a command too many times.
The good news is that the Koehund has a memory like an elephant. Once he memorizes a command, he will never forget it.
The bad side of this, of course, is that it is much harder to train him out of a bad habit. But stay persistent and consistent, and he’ll eventually come around.
You must remain patient with the Flandres Cattle Dog, as he is one of those breeds who takes a long time to grow out of puppyhood. In fact, experts do not consider the Bouvier to be fully grown and mentally mature until he reaches the age of 2 or 3 years old.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Bouvier Des Flandres dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
Finding the Perfect Bouvier Des Flandres
Ready to add a Bouvier Des Flandres to your family? Now it’s time to decide whether you’d like a Bouvier Des Flandres for sale from a breeder or one from a rescue organization.
A great place to start your search is the American Bouvier Des Flandres Club. They have information about the breed as well as breeder and rescue resources.
How Much is a Bouvier Des Flandres?
Bouvier Des Flandres Puppies for Sale
Bouvier Des Flandres puppies for sale will cost between $1,200 to $6,400.
The typical/average Bouvier Des Flandres cost is closer to $1,200.
The Bouvier Des Flandres price depends on several factors including breed line, litter availability, and location.
If you’re looking for a top pedigree Bouvier Des Flandres, expect to pay closer to $6,400.
Bouvier Des Flandres Rescue and Adoption
If you’ve decided on a Bouvier Des Flandres adoption, the American Bouvier Rescue League is a great place to start.
They have information about the breed as well as Bouvier Des Flandres available for adoption.
A Bouvier Des Flandres rescue is the perfect option for families looking for an adult dog, or even a Bouvier Des Flandres mix. Adult dogs have often already received training and are much less rambunctious than puppies!
Bouvier Des Flandres Breeders
Rather go the Bouvier Des Flandres breeder route? To find Bouvier Des Flandres puppies, check out the AKC Marketplace. You can search based on breeder distinction, whether they are of champion bloodline, and if puppies are available now or coming soon.
When choosing a Bouvier Des Flandres breeder, make sure they can provide health certificates, answer questions about the breed, and their kennel space is well-kept.
Caring for a Bouvier Des Flandres
The Bouvier Des Flandres Appearance
To get a sense of what a normal Bouvier Des Flandres looks like let's look at its size:
The Bouvier Des Flandres height is between:
- 24.5 – 27.5 inches for males
- 23.5 – 26.5 inches for females.
This breed’s weight is between 70 and 110 pounds for both genders.
The Bouvier Des Flandres colors:
- They also come in several colors, including black, fawn, salt and pepper, and brindle.
How Do You Groom a Bouvier Des Flandres?
Bouvier Des Flandres grooming is not as difficult as it appears. They have a weather-resistant double coat. Their outer coat is long and coarse while their undercoat is dense and fine.
Bouvier Des Flandres have a Dutch nickname, “Vuilbaard”, which means “dirty beard.” They get dirty fairly easily; expect muddy paws, burrs, leaves, and a dirty, wet beard. You’ll be mopping often with the Bouvier around…
Some owners prefer their Bouvier Des Flandres shaved because they get dirty so easily.
The Bouvier Des Flandres shedding is not excessive, but they do need a brushing two-three times per week. Some also recommend you take him to a professional groomer a few times a year to properly take care of the hair in his ears and between the pads of his feet.
Check their fur for any ticks, burrs, or weeds regularly, and bathe them every six to eight weeks.
You’ll be pleased to know that the Bouvier Des Flandres is actually what you might call “hypoallergenic.” This is not to say that you won’t develop an allergic reaction to him, but you’re less likely to. So, if you regularly suffer from allergies to dogs, you may be able to have a dog anyway in the Bouvier.
Staying Healthy: Bouvier Des Flandres Health Issues you must know
The Bouvier Des Flandres is prone to several health conditions such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cataracts, cancer, hypothyroidism (a thyroid disorder), epilepsy, bloat (also known as gastric torsion), and Cushing’s disease (a condition wherein the body produces too much cortisol).
One way to prevent bloat is to feed your Bouvier two small meals each day, rather than one large meal. You should also let him rest for an hour or two after eating before he delves into work or exercise. This will help him properly digest his food before he undertakes any strenuous activity.
The lifespan of a healthy Bouvier Des Flandres is between 10-12 years.
Helpful Dog Health Resource:
Note: Don't let the many issues above scare you. The best way to approach health problems is to prevent them in the first place. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is a great place to start. Get a copy to keep at home. It will help you prevent the painful health issues that can plague your lovely dog from expressing his winning personality and maximizing his life expectancy.
The Bouvier Des Flandres is a moderate to high energy breed. They love to stay busy and are perfect for an active household. Take your Bouvier Des Flandres on daily walks, jogs, or even bike rides to tire them out.
Top Bouvier Des Flandres Mixes
If a Bouvier Des Flandres mixed breed is what you’re after, then there are a few you might want to check out.
There aren’t many, but here are the Bouvier Des Flandres mixes that I know of:
Conclusion: Why a Bouvier Des Flandres?
The Bouvier Des Flandres temperament is strong-willed, but he’s a dog with an immense love for his family.
This is a moderately active breed that lives for a job. They do well with active families who will take them on long walks or bike rides.
The Bouvier Des Flandres is intelligent and will respond well to training, but he does have a mind of his own. Use consistency and positive reinforcement training for the best results.
If you are looking for an even-tempered, courageous dog who adores his human companions, the Bouvier Des Flandres is the perfect match.
Kailyn has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2012, and during that time she has written about nearly every dog breed imaginable. Her mother loved Collies, and so Kailyn grew up with three of them throughout her childhood – including a blonde one who was half-blind! Now her home belongs to her first official dog, Macho, a Dogo Argentino rescue.