Other Names : Bouvier, Belgian Cattle Dog
Country of Origin : Belgium/France
Dog Group : Working Dog
The exact origins of this breed are unknown but from the 1600's all dogs working with cattle were called 'bouviers' (bovine herder) and each region throughout the area had its own name and type. These dogs were prized as drovers and guardians. During World War 1 the Bouviers were almost decimated and many of the rarer types were lost altogether. The only two to survive were the Bouvier des Flandres and the Bouvier de Ardennes. Both France and Belgium claim origin of the Flandres dog. A Belgian army veterinarian, Captain Darby, can be credited with ensuring the continuity of the breed throughout the war years. His outstanding champion, named Champion Nic de Sittengen, won many competitions and proved himself to be of value as a sire. Most of the modern pedigrees trace back to him.
Rough, strong and compact, Bouviers des Flandres have a rugged appearance with beards, moustaches, and bushy eyebrows. They give the impression of power, having strongly muscled limbs, but do not give any signs of clumsiness. They have an abundant, harsh coat which is unkempt-looking. Their movement is free and easy but, at the same time, powerful and driving.
Feeding & Ownership
Despite their forbidding appearances, Bouviers have stable temperaments and amiable dispositions making them ideal family pets. They can and will protect their families and homes. They are quiet, calm and sensible in the house and are obedient and affectionate with their masters. They are somewhat reserved with strangers but never aggressive. If socialised early on, they will accept other dogs and household pets.
This breed has an abundant, coarse outer coat that should be kept at about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. The undercoat is close and dense. Bouviers should be groomed at least three times a week with particular attention being paid to their beards and moustaches to ensure they are kept free of food particles. It is important to ensure the undercoat is kept matt-free for the comfort of the dog. The outer coat should be stripped at least twice a year during their moulting seasons.