Bouvierkennel  "Of Flanders Best"

  De bouvier met een sociaal karakter
Bouviers des Flandres - Flemish cowdog

I. Short description

Nederlandstalige versie

Version Française


Bouvier des Flanders (Flanders Cattle Dog, or Vlaamse koehond in Dutch) is a herding dog breed originating from Flanders, Belgium. It is the Bouvier des Flandres dogs’ nature to be hard-working dogs, thus it is no surprise to see that this dogs were originally used for general farm work including cattle droving, sheep herding, and cart pulling. The French word ‘bouvier’ translates to ‘a person who tends bovines’ meaning ‘cow-hearder’. Nowadays Bouvier des Flanders are typically used as guard dogs and police dogs, and more commonly as family friendly yet protective dogs.
The character of a Bouvier could be described as neither shy nor aggressive, but rather self-confident. Both working and guard dog, also very suitable family dog
II. History
As the name suggests, the Bouvier des Flandres (Flanders Cattle Dog) originates from the Flanders, to both Belgian and French regions of that name. As for the history of the Bouvier des Flanders tells us that they have been purposely breed for hard work on a farm, specifically in the Flandres region of Belgium. Due to their strong bodies and intelligent character, they were also a great fit for trained military dogs during both World Wars. It was not until the mid-20s when Bouviers’ got the chance to live a happier dog life as valuable family companions. Nowadays Bouviers are most commonly watch dogs, particularly because of their protective nature, or, are groomed and presented at various shows.
III. Characteristics
A. Physical
Bouvier des Flandres is known to be robust, compact and powerful. Or in other words, Bouvier is built as a solid and stable ‘block’ that makes him look strong and powerful. Regardless of his appearance, Bouvier is a is not a heavy dog, which enables him to be supple and mobile.
The head of a Bouvier is impressive, and is complementary to the broad body, yet short, and set on strong-boned and well-muscled limbs.
One of the most distinctive physical characteristics of a Bouvier is the appearance of the Bouvier’s head. The face of a Bouvier is particularly furry on the chin with the rough beard, the upper lip with the heavy moustache and the peculiar erect eyebrows that  gives Bouvier’s specific expression known for the breed.
Bouvier dogs weigh on average between 35 and 40 kgs, and Bouvier bitches weigh between 27-35 kgs.

  • Bouvier dogs grow in height on average at withers between 62-68 cms, and Bouvier bitches 59-65 cms.

  • Bouviers’ life expectancy is 10 – 12 years.

  • Bouviers’ bitches may carry between 5 – 10 puppies.

B. Personal

IV. Breed standard
Per the Federation Cynologique Internationale (AISBL) breeds standard the general appearance should be short and compact body, strong and well-muscled limbs. The Bouvier des Flandres gives the impression of power, but without clumsiness.
The relevant proportions per the standards are the length of body, which from the point of shoulder to point of buttock should be approximately equal to height at withers. Proportions of length of skull to length of muzzle are 3 to 2.
A Bouvier des Flandres is calm, thoughtful and sensible, but fearless dog. Its lively look indicates intelligence, energy and audacity.
The head of a Bouvier has a massive appearance, which more accentuated by the beard and moustache. It is proportionate to the body and stature. A Bouvier has clean cut lines which are obvious to the touch.
The cranial of a Bouvier is well-developed and flat, slightly less broad than long. Toplines of skull and muzzle are parallel. Frontal groove hardly denoted..
The Bouvier’s nose continues the muzzle in a line which is slightly convex towards its end. It must be well-developed, rounded at the sides and always black in colour.
Muzzle of a Bouvier is broad, powerful, well-boned, straight in its upper line, narrowing towards the nose, but never becoming pointed. Its length should be shorter than the skull by 2 : 3. Lips should be well-fitting and strongly pigmented.
Jaws must be powerful and of equal length.
Teeth are strong, healthy, white and evenly set. Scissor or pincer bite. Dentition must be complete.
Cheeks are flat and clean, zygomatic arches are not very protruding.
Eyes of a Bouvier are frank and energetic expression, neither protruding nor sunken. They should be slightly oval in shape, set horizontally. Colour should be as dark as possible in relation to coat.
Bouvier’s ears are no longer cropped in triangle in Europe.
Body type of a Bouvier is powerful, close-coupled and short.
The upper line of back and loins are horizontal, tight and firm, whereas withers are slightly raised. Back is short, broad, muscled and well-supported, with no sign of weakness, yet remaining flexible. Loins are also short, broad and well-muscled, yet flexible, with no sign of weakness. Chest is accordingly road and well let down as far as level of elbows, but not cylindrical.
Bouvier’s tail should be set relatively high, the tail must continue the line of the backbone. Tail docking is banned in Europe, thus the whole tail is admitted in a dog show. Some dogs are born tailless and must not be penalized for this at a dog show.
Front legs have strong bone and are well-muscled. Perfectly straight and parallel seen from the front. Shoulders are relatively long, muscled, without being heavy, moderately oblique. Shoulder blade and humerus are approximately of the same length.

Upper arm is moderately oblique. Elbow should be close to body and parallel.
Forearm, whether seen in profile or from the front, must be perfectly straight and parallel. Wrist (carpus) should be exactly in line with forearm.
Front pasterns (metacarpus) are strong bone, quite short, sloping forward very slightly. Forefeet are short, round, compact, neither toeing in nor toeing out. Toes should be tight and arched, with strong and dark nails. Thick and hard pads.
Hindquarters generally appear strong, with pronounced muscle, upright and perfectly parallel seen from the rear. Must move in the same planes as the front legs.
Upper thighs are broad, well-muscled, parallel in direction to the median plane of the body. Femur must be neither too straight nor too sloping. Buttocks well let down, trousered and firm. Stifle (Knee) is set approximately on an imaginary straight line from the highest point of the hip (iliac crest) perpendicular to the ground. Lower thighs are moderately long, well-muscled, neither too straight nor too sloping.
Hock joint is rather close to the ground, broad, tight. Seen from behind they should be straight and perfectly parallel when standing. On the move they should turn neither in nor out. Rear pasterns (metatarsus) is strong and lean, rather cylindrical, perpendicular to the ground when the dog is in a natural standing position. No dewclaws. Hind feet are round, solid, toes tight and arched, with strong black nails. Thick hard pads.
Movement of the Bouvier des Flandres must be harmoniously proportioned to ensure free, true and proud movement. Walking and trotting are the normal gaits, although one does also encounter amblers. At a normal trot the Bouvier des Flandres covers its traces i.e. covers the front pad marks with the rear.
Skin is tight fitting; no excessive slackness; the edges of the eyelids and lips are always very dark.
The coat is very abundant, the outercoat forming with the dense undercoat a protective layer perfectly adapted to the sudden climatic changes in this breed’s native land. The hair must be coarse to the touch, dry and matt, neither too long nor too short (about 6 cm.), slightly tousled but never woolly or curly.
Shorter on the head and very short on the outside of the ears. The inner part of the ear flap is protected by medium long hair. The upper lip carries a moustache and the chin a full beard, giving the forbidding expression so typical of this breed. The eyebrows consist of raised hairs, accentuating the shape of the super ciliary ridges without ever veiling the eyes. The coat is particularly harsh and rasping on the upper part of the back. It shortens very slightly on the limbs but remains harsh. A flat coat should be avoided because it denotes a lack of undercoat. The undercoat is a padding made up of fine dense hair which grows beneath the outer coat and together with the topcoat it forms a waterproof covering.
The Bouvier des Flandres’ coat is usually grey, brindle or overlaid with black. A completely uniform black is also accepted, without being favoured. Light-coloured, so-called washed-out coats are not acceptable. A white star on the chest is tolerated.
V. Puppy care
Before buying a Bouvier des Flandres you should consider that Bouviers, as any breed, need specific care to truly develop their potentials.
Before selecting and acquiring a pup you should pay attention to the reputation of the breeder and make sure that the pedigree of the pup is well documented. Further, make sure that the breeder provides you with the registration certificate.
Caring for a Bovier des Flandres pup

VI. Everyday care
The rough, tousled coat is a light shedder but requires diligent grooming. Steady, resolute and fearless, the Bouvier des Flandres serves as a family friend and guardian. While this breed is not overly active in the house he does need plenty of exercise, so country and suburban living suits him well. The Bouvier should be brushed weekly to remove dead hair in the coat and prevent matting. A large breed, he should always be supervised around children and other animals.
VII. Training
VIII. Health care (edit and rephrase)
BOUVIERS DO GET BLOAT. Though it isn't something to worry ahout as it mostly occurs in dogs around six or older, or active breeding dogs, it can happen at all ages and at any time. There is still no known reason why it occurs, but caught in time the dog can be saved. Look for restlessness in the dog, trying to vomit with no result, inability to get comfortable, whining, chewing or snapping at its flanks and distended stomach - get to the vet immediately. What you feed has little to do with your dog getting bloat, and again is fairly a rare occurrence.

BOUVIERS DO HAVE HIP DISPLASIA. Dispite what some breeders may claim all lines do have the occurrence of HD and it is no more prevalent in some lines than in others. Two parents certified free of HD can produce it in their offspring, and a pair with mild HD can produce offspring with good hips. The more dogs certified free within a pedigree would lessen the percentages of afflicted offspring within a litter, but would not guarantee it would be a litter HD free. It isn't as important for a Bouvier to be HD free as long as he or she isn't bred. A slightly displastic hip condition (mild) can take 20 years to acutely affect the animal and the life span would end before the hips gave out. If a dog is to be used in agility or other activity it is good for the owner to know of his hip condition if he has any suspicion of a problem, otherwise enjoy your pet as he is.
IX. Dog show