Besides just having a very unusual name, the Bouvier des Flandres is really a very unusual breed of dog. More commonly known by the shortened moniker of the Bouvier, this breed originated in what are now the countries of France and Belgium.
Unlike some breeds, the exact ancestors of the modern Bouvier des Flandres are a subject of hot debate with dog breeders. There is no doubt, however, the origins of the dog was as a herding and working dog, not as a dog for the show ring. As such there were no real efforts to create a unique breed, but nevertheless a distinctive breed did evolve. By the end of the early part of the 1900s the Bouviers were largely extinct, just a few were left on farms in the area, the rest devastated by World War l as many were used as messenger dogs and rescue animals on the front lines.
Thanks to a dedicated group of dog lovers in Belgium the breed was re-established and a breed standard set in the mid 1920s. The new, selected breeding program enhanced the appearance of the breed as well as helped to promote the use of this wonderful dog as an assistance dog, police and rescue dog as well as for agility, obedience and the very demanding Schutzhund competitions.
The modern Bouvier des Flandres is a large breed that lives about 12 years. They will measure up to 28 inches at the shoulder and will weigh up to 100 pounds for males and about 80 pounds for females. These are a slow to mature dog that will not be considered fully grown until their second to third year. They are playful yet serious when necessary, loyal guardians and protectors and excellent with children by nature. They will not need to be trained to protect and guard, it is an instinctual behavior with the breed.
Generally because of their working ancestry and emphasis on performance over looks, this is a very healthy breed. One thing that is problematic for this dog is that they have a very high tolerance for pain. If the Bouvier appears in pain it is a serious issue that should be handled with an immediate trip to the vet.
Very easy to train and fast to learn the Bouvier is very in tune with the family. They can be somewhat dog aggressive but early socialization and lots of interaction with other socialized dogs prevents this from becoming a problem. The Bouvier’s wavy and dense coat is soft to the touch and is typically clipped to minimize grooming requirements. They can be solid black, blonde, fawn, gray, salt and pepper or a brindle color, not all which are accepted as show colors.