The Bouvier des Flandres was developed in Southwest Flanders and the northern French plain. Originally they were developed by local cattlemen and farmers in 17th century who needed versatile worker. The ancestry is debatable, some people say that their ancestors are Beaucerons, Griffons or Mastiffs.
This is a very good worker that can be used for variety of tasks. They can herd the cattle, guard property, pull carts, but they were also used as police, military or rescue dogs. And some of them even served as service and guide dogs. So as you can see, this truly is a skilled and versatile breed.
3) Breed standard
For a long time, Bouvier des Flandres were only bred purely for the function and the breeders did not pay attention for any kind of a breed standard. This created a great variation in appearance. This changed in the 1912, when the first breed standard was developed. In 1920s the breed came to the USA and was recognized by the AKC in 1929.
This is a highly intelligent breed that learns new things and commands very quickly. But they are not total pushovers to train, which is caused by their strong willed and sometimes stubborn mind. That is a reason why they are not the best choice for novice or first time dog owners. They need patient and firm leader.
It is true, that the Bouvier des Flandres will be pretty calm indoors, but only, if you will provide enough exercise to them. This is not a completely hyperactive breed, but they definitely need daily outdoor walks or hikes accompanied with some vigorous playtime or task oriented games that will occupy their mind as well.
The breeds name – Bouvier des Flandres – is very descriptive. It is a French name and it can be translated as Cow herder of Flandres. They were also known under some other names, which could be translated as cattle driver, flemish cow dog or dirty beard.
This is a large and impressive dog with average height between 56-71 cm which is 22-28 inches and weight is typically between 27-54 kg, which is 60-120 pounds. Females tend to be slightly smaller then males.
8) Ears and tails
In the past, it was quite common to crop Bouvier ears and dock its tail. Sometimes, you can still se it these days. In the past, the reasons were purely practical, to prevent accidental amputations in the course of work, or to indicate the dog was working stock and not a pet subject to taxation.
Despite its big size and working history, the Bouvier des Flandres actually makes a good family companion. This is a calm and docile dog known for having a pleasant nature. They also enjoy company of older kids who know how to act properly towards dogs and with good early socialization they can live with other household pets as well.
Bouviers are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Their average lifespan is between 10-12 years and they do suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts, glaucoma, bloating or entropion.