As its name would suggest, the Bouvier Des Flandres was originally developed in the Flanders region of Belgium by the working class, who needed a versatile working breed for employment on the farm. Common working roles included cattle droving, cart pulling and herding, as well as guarding the home. The literal translation of the breed's name is 'cowherd from Flanders,' and it was primarily utilised by butchers, merchants and farmers, whilst serving as a rescue dog and messenger carrier in WWI. It is thought that the Bouvier Des Flandres' forebears include the Beauceron and the Griffon. Recognised as an independent breed in 1912.
Distinctive in appearance, the Bouvier Des Flandres boasts a stocky build with a relatively large head, high-set ears and a low-set tail, although it is not uncommon for the breed to be born tailless. The profuse double coat of the Bouvier is of a medium length and common in colours of black, grey or brindle. Due to the dense nature of the coat, regular grooming and bathing is essential in order to maintain its condition; shedding of the coat will occur less if the dog is well groomed. Compared to other breeds, the Bouvier Des Flandres is slow to mature; the process usually takes 2-3 years.
Often described as calm and steady, the breed is both intelligent and versatile, well suiting it to its working lifestyle. Whilst the Bouvier Des Flandres will respond fearlessly to protect its home and family, it will otherwise remain friendly, relaxed and responsive to instruction. Compatible with children and other house pets when introduced gradually, the Bouvier Des Flanders makes a great addition to active family life. On average, a healthy Bouvier will weigh 25-50 kg depending on its gender, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years.
Due to the relative rarity of the breed, genetic and breed-specific diseases are not readily identified. Typically healthy, however, the Bouvier Des Flanders is known to suffer with optical disorders and hip dysplasia, a common affliction across breeds. Bloat and stomach tortion has also been identified, which is potentially fatal if left untreated for any length of time.