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Bouvier des Flandres Dog Breed: Pictures, Info, Origin & More

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

The Bouvier des Flandres stands on the green grass

Bouvier des Flandres Dog Breed: Pictures, Info, Origin & More

The Bouvier des Flandres is a beautiful large dog that has a shaggy, rough coat of fur. They also grow extra fur on their head, which makes them look like they have a mustache and beard. Both the ears and tails were cropped for working purposes in the past, and the cropping may be done for aesthetic purposes today. However, in certain places like Flanders, Belgium, where the breed hails from, cropping of the ears and tail is illegal. Whether you’re simply interested in this big dog or are thinking of getting one of your own, read on to learn more about the breed and what to expect when spending time with them.

Breed Overview


23–27 inches


60–120 pounds


10–12 years


Black, gray, brown, white, blue, brindle, fawn, salt and pepper, black and brown, black and gray, black and white, blue and gray, silver and gray, black and brindle

Suitable for:

Active families, experienced dog owners, outdoor enthusiasts


Smart, loyal, protective, family-friendly, docile, easygoing

They might be a large breed but they are not intimidating or threatening. This lovable dog gets along well with kids and enjoys spending quality time with their human and dog companions. The average Bouvier des Flandres is strong and hardy, ready to work at any given opportunity. Although they don’t look it, these dogs are also agile and athletic, able to excel at performance while hunting and on the agility field.

Bouvier des Flandres Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Bouvier des Flandres Puppies

Image by: Bridgemont Photography, Shutterstock

As a puppy, the Bouvier des Flandres is fluffy, curious, and a bit goofy as they gain their bearings and learn about the world around them. These pups are sweet and tend to be extremely trusting while they figure out life, so puppyhood is a great time to build a strong bond and practice obedience training. Due to their size and protectiveness, socialization is vital while the Bouvier des Flandres is still a puppy.

Bouvier des Flandres Origin & History

Antwerp, Belgium, is a region well-known for its diamonds, and the Bouvier des Flandres is a gem that was developed in the region and is still beloved there to this day. Berger Picard herders decided to develop the breed by mixing Matin dogs from the region with British greyhounds that were brought to the area sometime in the 11th century.

These dogs were bred to take on various jobs for people in the region, including hauling carts full of goods, turning tubs of butter, herding livestock, and protecting properties. Today, they can take on all kinds of different jobs with no problem, including being just a friendly household family member.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Bouvier des Flandres 🧠

Burly and big headed, the Bouvier des Flandres is a friendly dog that gets along well with anyone who is friendly to them. They become especially close with their family members, young and old, and they are protective of their “pack” and do not discriminate. They strictly respond to disturbances and perceived threats. They don’t typically bite unless antagonized or if they feel that someone or some animal is a serious threat.

These smart dogs seem to do well when it comes to understanding and integrating into social situations. They love to play and exercise, as they are inherently a working breed. They are known for having “big hearts,” as they are kind and patient and seem to be empathetic to anyone or any animal around them. These dogs are athletic and love to spend their time adventuring whenever they have the opportunity to do so.

Image Credit: DasyaDasya, Shutterstock

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes, the Bouvier des Flandres can be a great family dog. They tend to get along well with people of all ages, as they are patient and eager to please. They can be goofy and fun-loving in the family environment, as well as cuddly and lovable. While spending time outdoors, they enjoy adventure and play that the whole family can get into. They do best with families that like to spend time outdoors and that have plenty of time to spend with their canine household members.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

This breed can get along with other pets if socialized with them while puppies. They should be exposed to friendly dogs and even cats at a young age when they are impressionable and it’s easier to teach them how to interact with the animals. They should have no problem accepting another pet into the household if they are well-socialized and used to being around animals in public.

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Things to Know When Owning a Bouvier des Flandres

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The average Bouvier des Flandres is lively, energetic, and large when fully grown. Therefore, you should choose a high-quality commercial food made specifically for big breeds. It is also a good idea to choose a food that caters to specific life stages, which are puppy, adult, and senior. Follow the feeding instructions on the package, or consult with your veterinarian to determine how much your pup should eat. It’s acceptable to feed this breed a veterinarian-approved homemade diet.

Exercise 🐕

All Bouviers require daily exercise to stay happy and healthy throughout their lives. This active breed is used to working, so they should get a couple walks daily of at least 20 minutes each. Other forms of exercise and stimulation should also be offered, including trips to the dog park and beach, games of fetch, and interactive puzzle toys inside the home.

Bouvier des Flandres on a nature
Image by: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

Training 🎾

These dogs require obedience training like any other breed does. Otherwise, they make the rules, ones that are typically not to the human companion’s liking. Starting training early, while they’re still a puppy, is the best route to take, as they will be small and impressionable, which makes instilling commands easier overall. These might be big dogs, but they are extremely sensitive, so positive reinforcement is the best way to get positive results.

Grooming ✂️

While the Bouvier des Flandres’ coat is thick and rough, the breed does not require much grooming to stay clean and tidy. A good brushing once or twice a week is all that’s necessary to keep the coat nice and clean. This breed’s “beard” and “mustache” may need combing a bit more often because they’re thick and food and other debris can get caught more easily. A Bouvier should get enough exercise to keep their nails naturally trimmed. Otherwise, nail trimming once a month or so should help keep splitting and other problems to a minimum.

Bouvier des Flandres
IImage Credit: Metz Eric, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Bouvier des Flandres can be susceptible to a few health conditions due to genetics, but most breeders adhere to testing regimens and other tactics to ensure that genetic health problems do not get passed down to the puppies that they produce for people to adopt. That said, there are health conditions that every potential and new Bouvier des Flandres owner should be aware of so preventative care can be made a priority.

Minor Conditions
  • Exercise-induced collapse
Serious Conditions
  • Gastric dilation-volvulus
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Subaortic valvular stenosis

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Male vs. Female

The most notable difference between male and female Bouvier des Flandres is their size. Males are typically taller and heavier than females. Males also sometimes seem to be a bit harder to housetrain, and females tend to be more protective. Otherwise, there are not any significant differences between the sexes to be concerned about.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Bouvier des Flandres

1. They Are Docile Dogs

Although the Bouvier des Flandres is energetic and playful, the breed is also docile and easygoing. They are happy to hang out and cuddle during downtime, and they don’t mind lounging around when family members are busy.

2. Moderate Shedders

With their thick double coat, you would think that the Bouvier des Flandres sheds excessively, but they are in the middle of the spectrum where this topic is concerned. With a few brushings a week outside, it should be easy to keep shedding inside at bay.

Bouvier des Flandres
Image Credit: yvonnethoonsen, Unsplash

3. Easy to Train

Due to their smarts, patience, and eagerness to please, the typical Bouvier des Flandres is easy to train. They want to learn and are satisfied when they know that someone is proud of them for something that they do or don’t do based on commands.

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Final Thoughts

The Bouvier des Flandres is a sensible, loyal, smart, and engaging dog that can get along well in a family environment. They are also naturally hardworking and will do well in farm and ranch environments. Now that you know more about the breed, you can confidently determine whether they will be right for your family.

Featured Image Credit: volofin, Shutterstock

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