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Discovering The Bouvier Des Flandres
January 15, 2024

A very special pup is bounding into the spotlight this month. This fluffy and lovable Bouvier des Flandres is celebrating his special day in January for being such a good boy. The official day of Fido’s celebration was January 16, but we’ll keep him in the spotlight for a few more weeks. The article discusses this outstanding dog by a local Frederick, MD veterinarian.

Bouvier Des Flandres Breed Basics

Think of a big, serious teddy bear in dog form: that’s the Bouvier. We aren’t kidding about the large part: these guys can weigh up to 120 pounds. To be more specific, a male Bouvier des Flandres weighs between 75 and 120 pounds and reaches a height of 24 to 27 inches, while a female weighs between 60 and 80 pounds and is typically 23 to 26 inches tall. Fido can live between 10 and 12 years on average. 

The Bouviers des Flandres’ most distinctive characteristic is his thick, shaggy double coat. Fido can wear a variety of colors, such as fawn, black, gray, brindle, and salt-and-pepper. His ears are pointed, and he has thick chin fur that resembles a beard, though his isn’t as defined as that of a Scottish Terrier. 

Bouvier Dog Temperament: What Is Fido’s Personality Like?

Bouviers are intelligent, determined, affectionate, and devoted. They are excellent working dogs, but they also make wonderful pets.

Even though Fido is very protective, he is usually a gentle giant who won’t bite unless provoked. As long as he knows other animals well, he usually gets along with them. However, he is not always welcoming towards unfamiliar dogs. We also recommend caution with very young children because of his size.

The Bouvier des Flandres is a smart, loyal working dog … who also happens to be a bit stubborn. Proper training is a must. Fortunately, this intelligent pooch is quick to learn. (Tip: These guys are very food-motivated when it comes to their training.)

In order to pick the best breed for your household, it’s important to do a lot of research before adopting any dog. Each breed has its own unique characteristics, so make sure you choose the one that fits your family the best. Fido is quite large, which is definitely something to consider. Your Frederick MD veterinarians can provide you with tips for caring for your canine buddy, including keeping him active and busy and adapting his care to his size and age.

What Is Bouvier Des Flandres Best Known For?

Fido originally assisted farmers with a variety of chores, such as herding sheep, pulling carts, and dragging cattle droving. Today, many Bouviers are guard dogs. You can also find them working as police dogs or in search and rescue. They also excel at agility, carting, obedience, tracking, and herding. 

How Did Fido Get The Name Bouvier Des Flandres?

There’s no mystery here: Fido’s name literally means ‘Cow Herder of Flanders’. However, many people refer to them as Bouvier dogs. The Bouvier dog is also known as Toucheur de Boeuf (cattle driver), Vlaamse Koehond (Flemish cow dog), and Vuilbaard (dirty beard).

Breed History Of The Bouvier Des Flandres

Fido has a long history. The breed’s origins date back to the 1600s, when monks bred local farm dogs with Irish wolfhounds and Scottish deerhounds. Over time, breeders further perfected the desired characteristics. Their efforts resulted in a strong, robust, and loyal canine who helped on the farm and was heavily focused on pleasing his owners. 

The dogs soon gained significant popularity in the region. It’s not hard to see why. They excelled at tasks such as guarding and herding sheep and cattle, and they could also pull carts to and from the market. Furthermore, their thick coats made them well-suited for enduring harsh winters. 

However, once cars were introduced, opportunities for employment for these dogs decreased, so Fido changed his career, and soon became a wonderful family pet.

Why Are Bouvier Dogs Rare?

Though they were once very popular, the Bouvier is now a relatively uncommon breed. We’re just happy they are here at all! This dog has narrowly escaped extinction twice in the last century. Fido gained recognition as a trench dog during World War I. As the name suggests, trench dogs were valiant war dogs, bravely assisting their humans even under fire. They hauled supplies and messages up and down trenches, and also helped the wounded. However, many of these dogs fell victim to the war. One outstanding canine veteran named Nic went on to become a show dog after the war ended. Nic is now recognized as one of the key ancestors of modern Bouviers.

The breed faced another close call during the second world war. Due to their impressive skills as trench dogs in World War I, the Bouviers were highly sought after when World War II began. There is a legendary tale that one of the pups even bit Adolf Hitler, who then made an effort to extinguish the breed. German soldiers often took it upon themselves to shoot any Bouviers they came across. Thankfully, the breed had already made its way to America by then. After the war, a small group of devoted breeders stepped up and worked tirelessly to save the Bouviers from extinction. Fortunately, they succeeded.

(Fun fact: There were originally three variants of the breed: the Paret, the Moerman or Roeselare, and the Briard. The official standards were not established until 1936, when a French-Belgian committee finally settled the debate.)

What Famous People Have Adopted Bouvier Des Flandres Dogs?

The Bouvier isn’t the most popular dog out there. Fido usually ranks in the 80s or 90s on the AKC’s popularity list. However, he has managed to gain some dedicated admirers, such as Joan Baez, who composed Old Blue in honor of Man’s Best Friend. Ginger, a one-eyed Bouvier, was owned by the popular folk singer. Merv Griffin owned a Bouvier as well; he named his pooch Keesh.

Fido does have another claim to fame, though. In the 1980s the Bouvier became a First Dog for President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy. Their pooch, who was appropriately named Lucky, spent a year at the White House before moving to the Reagan family ranch out in California.

Who Are Some Famous Bouvier Dogs?

Although there aren’t many Bouvier celebrepups, there are a few. First, there is Patrasche, the fictional dog from the classic children’s book A Dog of Flanders. (Travelers’ note: there are a few statues of him in Antwerp.) There was also Gretel, who appeared on the popular show ER as Dr. Romano’s faithful dog companion.

What Are The Health Concerns With Bouvier Dogs?

There are a few conditions the Bouvier is at increased risk of, as is the case with all purebred dogs. The breed standard recommends screening for hip dysplasia and glaucoma, cataracts, and entropion (inwardly turning eyelids). As a large breed, these pups are also at risk for bloat, a potentially fatal condition. Make sure Fido receives regular veterinary care and follow your Frederick MDveterinarian’s recommendations for exams and screenings.

Please feel free to contact us, your Frederick MD pet hospital, if you have questions about the Bouvier breed. We are dedicated to offering top-notch veterinary care.