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Bouvier Des Flandres

No one really knows for sure the back ground of the Bouvier Des Flandres as they seemed to live in obscurity with no written records. Originally a cattle herding dog, the farmers were not really interested in breeding a pedigreed dog. They just wanted a dog to help them on the farm. Although Bouviers were mentioned in books and magazines around 1890, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the breed was recognized and shown. In 1910 the breed appeared in Brussels at the international dog show. In 1912, a Frenchman established a standard Bouvier Des Flandres type. In the 1930s, as the breeds popularity grew, many breeding programs were in place.

During World War I, the Bouvier was used as a rescue dog, and a message dog. As a result of his warfare exposure, and the nearly total destruction of Flandres, the breed was nearly killed off. The dog did manage to survive, mostly due to a dog belonging to the Belgium army named Nic. At Antwerp in 1926, Nic was shown at the Olympic Show where he was judged to be the #1 ideal type Bouvier Des Flandres. Although Nic died in 1926, he left many decendents, and from them a group of experts developed a more comprehensive breed standard. The Bouvier Des Flandres was recognized by the AKC in 1929.

Bouviers were imported from Europe to the U.S. Until the second world war broke out. Again the breed was almost wiped out. Due to the loss of dogs and the social breakdown of Belgium, the breed lost popularity. By the mid 1950s interest in the breed was once again revived and in 1963 the American Bouvier Des Flandres Club was formed.

Because the Bouvier is a well-built, strong, and well muscled, giving an impression of power, intelligence, and a sense of threat, he is used in police search and protection work. He also works as a farm dog shepherd, guide dog for the blind and hearing impaired, and a watchdog. Calm, gentle, intelligent, and agile, he also makes a superb family dog and companion. The Bouvier Des Flandres male can grow to weigh between 90 and 110 pounds and 24 1/2 to27 1/2 inches high and the female 75-95 pounds and 23 1/2 to 26 1/2 inches high, and can live 10-12 years.


  • Very light shedder
  • Excellent with children
  • Very versatile and intelligent
  • Wonderful as a guardian and watchdog
  • Relatively inactive indoors
  • Is not a barker
  • Makes a great family pet


  • Regular grooming a must
  • Not recommended for novice owners
  • Full maturity not reached till 2 or 3 years old
  • Can be dog aggressive
  • Needs a lot of exercise
  • Needs a large yard
  • Reserved with strangers
  • Prone to hip dysplasia and eye problems

Bouvier Des Flandres

By: Linda Eastabrooks
Former AKC Breeder

Article updated 9/12/2012

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