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Bouvier des Flandres

Powerful and compact, the Bouvier des Flandres has a rugged and somewhat unkempt appearance, with a long, rough, matt coat, heavy eyebrows, beard and moustache. Under the incredibly thick coat there is a muscular dog with a short-coupled powerful build.

10 – 12 years
27 – 40kg
59 – 68cm
Bouvier’s coats come in shades of black through to fawn, and brindle,
a small amount of white is permitted on the chest
UK Kennel Club Groups
The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks, alerts and may be physically protective/suspicious of visitors
  • Might not like other dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Best suited to countryside
  • Can be left occasionally with training
Generally healthy breed

Bouvier des Flandres are relatively hardy dogs, but can suffer from:
- Hip dysplasia  
- Elbow dysplasia
- Laryngeal paralysis¹ which is a condition where nerve damage develops in the vocal chord which can lead to problems breathing.
- Sub-aortic stenosis² which is a narrowing of one of the blood vessels lead from the heart and can result in heart failure.²  
- Glaucoma which is a painful condition where the pressure in the eye builds up.
Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
None but there are several recommended schemes that the Kennel Club recommends which can be found here.

¹A. E. Ridyard et al, 'Spontaneous laryngeal paralysis in four white‐coated German shepherd dogs', June 2008, Journal of Small Animal Practice
²M. R. O'Grady et al, 'Canine congenital aortic stenosis: A review of the literature and commentary', 1989, The Canadian Veterinary Journal 


The Bouvier can appear forbidding, serious and unamused, but to their friends and family they have an unflappable, amiable nature, and are affectionate and loving. With strangers they are inclined to be reserved and suspicious but should never be aggressive. Calm and sensible as adults, the Bouvier has the temperament and trainability to perform a variety of tasks and they have been used as police dogs and guide dogs as well as their original farm dog duties.

Did You Know?

  • The Bouvier may owe its survival to the rather sneaky actions of a young man, Justin Chastel, in Belgium who, unable to afford a stud fee, carefully engineered a walk with his female Bouvier to coincide with the straying of a Bouvier male a few streets away. His mother made him pay the 50-franc stud fee when the resulting puppies were born and this was the start of the famous De La Thudinie kennels.
  • In 1975, the first operational Bouvier police dog, Jango handled by PC Edgar Dyson, ‘passed out’ as top police dog, beating 22 German Shepherd Dogs. He went on to patrol the streets of London and on occasion guarded the Princess of Wales.
  • Bouvier’s are also known as the ‘Vuilbaard’ meaning dirty beard, ‘Koehond’ meaning cow dog and ‘Toucheur de Boeuf’, meaning cattle driver.
  • They’re often referred to as gentle giants by their loving owners.
  • Previously, their tails used to be cropped to prevent damage to them when pulling carts, however this practice is now outdated and is illegal in the UK.


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