Bouvier Des Flandres
The Bouvoir des Flanders originates from Flanders in Belgium and was initially bred by Monks as working dogs, capable of driving cattle. It's exact breeding is unknown, but Irish Wolfhound and Scottish deerhound is believed to have been involved, along with local farm dogs. World Wars I and II saw a massive reduction in numbers, even though the breed was used as messenger dogs in the trenches, but the strong, even temperament of the breed shone through and by 1936, it was recognised by the FCI and a breeding programme began to bring it back.
The Bouvoir des Flanders (meaning cow herder of Flanders) is a strong, intelligent and rough coated breed that make good family pets. They are calm and gentle and like playing with respectful children. Their guarding nature makes them a good watch dog who will always warn you when someone is close by, but they will need early socialisation to prevent problems with strangers entering the home. They are usually fine with other dogs and cats in the house if bought up with them from an early age. They can look quite intimidating and this is usually enough to deter evil doers, but their sweet nature makes them friendly to most who meet them.
The Bouvoir needs firm and consistent training. They are clever and pick things up very quickly, but need a firm teacher who will not allow them to get away with anything. They can become over bearing if the owner is too soft on them and will try and take over. Maintaining a firm, but fair dominance over the breed is important to prevent protection issues. They live to guard and take the job very seriously. Their herding nature can mean that they try and herd other dogs when out playing. but this is usually done in fun and nothing to worry about. With proper socialisation around other dogs from a young age they should be fine when out walking, but some males can become dog aggressive, even if neutered. taking them to puppy classes and later adult dog classes will help stop this problem.
With consistent training, the breed will learn the command for life and are generally very responsive to their owners wishes. Recall is excellent and they enjoy taking part in competitions such as Flyball, agility and obedience.
Bouvoirs need a lot of exercise and will appreciate a long run every day. They like to play games and are loyal, so a game of 'fetch' will tire them out and strengthen the bound with you.
Their coat needs regular grooming at least 3 times a year. Brushing very few days will prevent the hair falling out all over your home and the fur around feet need regular cutting. They are said to be good for allergy sufferers as they moult fairly little.
Bouvoir des Flanders are a sturdy dog that feels little pain. They hide illness well and are rarely sick. They can suffer from Canine Hip Dysplasia and cataracts.
Bouvir des flandres have a steadfast and stoic temperament. They are loving of family but disinterested or mistrusting of strangers which makes them a good guard dog. Being powerful dogs they are quite formiddable but sometimes they can be lazy so regular walks and training are needed to keep them lean in body and mind.
Health problems that may affect Bouvir des flandres include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplasia, cancer, heart disease, hypothyroidism and eye disease including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of the retina which can lead to blindness).
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 years
- Weight: 27 - 54 kg
- Height: 22 - 28"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Medium - Hypoallergenic
- Grooming Requirements: Everyday
- Town or Country: Either
- Minimum Home Size: Large House
- Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
- Breed Type: Working Dog
- Size: Large
- Energy Level: Medium
- Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour
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