Bouvier des Flanders – Breed profile, characteristics and facts

Featured image by © / Dasya11

What is a Bouvier des Flanders?

Affectionate and courageous, with powerful muscles beneath a weatherproof coat, the Bouvier Des Flanders was originally a cattle herding dog in Belgium and France. They were extensively used as a rescue dog, and to carry messages during World War I. Bouvier Des Flandres means “cowherd from Flanders.” The breed almost went extinct during the war, but was rescued by a Belgian army vet soon after. Nowadays, they serve as watchdogs, family companions, tracking dogs and guide dogs for the blind. The Bouvier is also an eager participant in dog sports, especially herding trials.

Pros and Cons

Appearance and Size

Group:        Herding Group (AKC)
Height:   22 – 28 inches
Weight:  60 – 90 pounds

The powerful Bouvier Des Flandres is a burly and barrel-chested, mustachioed and shaggy eyebrowed dog of Flandres. He was built and bred for hard work. These dogs have a double coat, consisting of a dense undercoat and a rough, all-weather protecting, shaggy-looking outer coat. Their hair color comes in black, fawn, blonde, gray, or brindle

Bouvier Des Flanders Breed profile, characteristics and facts © / Life on White
Close-up of Bouvier des Flandres, 2 years old © / Life on White


The Bouvier Des Flandres is an intelligent and obedient dog who appears intimidating, but is actually pleasant, calm and gentle. The Bouvier is happiest when he has a job to do, and his responsible, enthusiastic, even tempered and fearless attitude allows him to excel at anything from babysitting, herding, obedience, guard dog or rescue work. The Bouvier is highly intelligent and eager to please, so training will be quite easy. These dogs are very courageous and will not hesitate in protecting the family when danger is present. The Bouvier is a slow maturing breed, and does not fully mature until the age of 2-3 years. Early socialization is a must as Bouviers have a strong prey drive.


The Bouvier Des Flandres requires a fair amount of attention.  Regular brushing once or twice a week with a pin brush is necessary.  A dry shampoo or bath is required as needed.  Bouviers need to be trimmed about 3 times per year for optimal looks. A well-groomed Bouvier will shed very little hair and has been noted as very good for allergy suffers.  It is recommended that in between trims, any excess hair inside the ears is removed and that the hair between the pads of the feet is trimmed. The Bouvier’s beard needs cleaning every week or so, and his nails need to be trimmed every 2 weeks.


Overall, the Bouvier des Flanders is a very healthy breed that has become accustomed to harsh conditions. Responsible breeders typically screen for conditions prior to breeding. However, some Bouviers may be prone to myopathy, cataracts, deafness, ectopic ureters, epilepsy, glaucoma, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, megaesophagus, elbow dysplasia. Like all large and deep-chested breeds, the Bouvier can be prone to bloat. 

Bouvier Des Flanders Breed profile, characteristics and facts © / feeferlump
Bouvier des Flanders dog on the agility course © / feeferlump

Life Expectancy

The Bouvier des Flanders has a lifespan of about 10-12 years 


The Bouvier makes a great family dog that adores children. The breed is very adaptable, courageous, loyal and goes about its business quietly and calmly, though wont hesitate to defend loved ones in need. These dogs have a high prey instinct, so they will usually get along well with other pets, provided they are properly socialized at an early age. The Bouvier would be happiest in a house with a medium to large, fenced in yard where he can run around and burn off some steam. The breed is active and energetic, and requires a long daily walk or jog beside you.  These dogs are consummate showmen and enjoy human company, working, or competing with their owner at their side.


If you’re looking to add a Bouvier des Flanders to your family, consider adopting one instead. Rescuing an animal is a win-win for all. Its way cheaper and you save a life.

American Bouvier Rescue League