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Bouvier des Flandres

Other names: Belgian Cattle Dog, Flanders Cattle Dog, Vlaamse Koehond

Bouvier des Flandres

The Bouvier des Flandres was first bred to be a working farm dog, to herd cattle, for guarding duties and pulling the farm carts. While this intelligent and hard-working canine is certainly capable of this harsh employment, he is also very suited to agility and obedience trials. However, the role that he seems to prefer is as a family companion pet.

Key facts about the Bouvier des Flandres

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Origins and history

Although his exact heritage isn’t documented, it is thought that the Bouvier descended from the Barbet, the Dutch Griffon and early Sheepdogs. During both World Wars this breed was utilised as a service dog, to locate mines and ammunition, and also as a sentry and messenger. The Breed of Bouvier des Flandres was first recognised in 1912 in Europe. 

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)


Section 2 : Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)

Physical characteristics of the Bouvier des Flandres

    Adult size

    Female : Between 23 and 26 in

    Male : Between 24 and 27 in


    Female : Between 60 and 77 lb

    Male : Between 77 and 88 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    This powerful dog breed has been used to herd cattle in both Belgium and France. He has a rather rugged, forbidding look with his beard, moustache and impressive bushy eyebrows, yet actually he is a very kind and gentle dog. A well-developed head and a well-boned muzzle make up this dog’s features. The breed boasts a very strong jaw shape and triangle-shaped ears set high on his head. The breed’s front legs are straight and very powerful.

    Good to know

    The Bouvier des Flandres, or Flanders Cattle Dog, evolved from the hardiest, working country and farm dogs. In more recent years, the modernisation of farm machinery has brought an end to the need to use the Bouvier as a working dog. More recently, he is employed as a service canine for the Defence and Police forces, or as a security guard dog. 


    • 66%


      The Bouvier des Flandres is an affectionate dog, totally devoted to his family. He loves nothing better than being the centre of attention.

    • 33%


      As a younger pup, this breed certainly has plenty of playfulness and exuberance. However, as the Bouvier des Flandres matures, he appears to become more serious. This doesn’t mean that he won’t enjoy any interactive family games.

    • 33%


      When around the home and family, he can be a very quiet and calm dog, although very protective. 

    • 100%


      Often very strong-willed, protective and highly intelligent. 

    • 33%


      These dogs have a very high prey drive. Because of this, he will chase after anything he spots on the horizon or running away from him. It’s important that he is trained to a recall and stay command. 

    • 100%

      Fearful / wary of strangers

      The Bouvier des Flandres dog will appear to be wary and aloof around strangers, but will very rarely show any aggressive tendencies. 

    • 66%


      Certainly a very independent, loyal and devoted dog. 

      Behaviour of the Bouvier des Flandres

      • 66%

        Tolerates solitude

        Although these canines form strong family ties with their owners, they don’t generally have any issues when separated from them, or are left alone. However, as with most dog breeds, boredom can soon cause a problem if left for too long, with resulting destructive actions.

      • 33%

        Easy to train / obedience

        The Bouvier des Flandres dog is usually easy to train, providing sufficient patience, effort and time is dedicated to this task.

      • 33%


        Not recognised as excessive barkers. However if the situation demands it, such as when guarding property, they will bark to alert you.

      • 33%

        Tendency to run away

        As a herding dog, the Bouvier des Flandres likes to stay by his owners side and is less likely to run away than many other breeds.

      • 66%