Bouvier des Flandres

Bouvier des Flandres

Group: Herding Group

Origin: Belgium/France

Height: From 22.5-27.5 inches (57-70 cm) at the shoulder


    – Males: 35 to 40 kg
    – Females: 27 to 35 kg

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Breed Profile

The Bouvier des Flandres (literally: “Cow Dog of Flanders”) originated in Flanders, Belgium. He was used mainly for herding and driving cattle. The first Bouviers arrived in North America in the 1930’s. The breed distinguished itself during World War II for carrying messages and supplies to the front lines and searching out the wounded.

The Bouvier enjoys human companionship and does well in most environments. He is intelligent, alert, and agile, making him a very versatile breed who is seen in obedience competition, agility, carting, herding, as well as tracking. He is even-tempered, never shy and not overly aggressive. He is calm, rational, prudently bold, playful and outgoing with those he knows. Signs of shyness under normal situations or aggression without reason are uncharacteristic of the breed.

The Bouvier is often used as a personal watch or guard dog, police and drug detection dog, army dog, as well as a search and rescue dog. He has also been used as a guide dog for the blind, service dog and therapy dog. In Belgium a Bouvier may not hold the title of breed champion unless he has also earned a working dog title.

The general appearance of the Bouvier gives the impression of power without clumsiness. He is a square, thickset, short-bodied dog with muscular limbs. His intelligence and energy can be seen in his eyes. The Bouvier has a harsh, full double coat to protect him in all types of weather and climates. Rough to the touch and slightly tousled but not wooly or curly, the coat is neither too long nor too short. The coat colour is fawn, grey, dark grey, brindle, or black, with or without a white star on the chest.

Health Issues

If you are considering the adoption of a Bouvier des Flandres puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Some health concerns to be aware of for the Bouvier des Flandres breed include:

  • Hip Dysplasia — As with many large breeds, Hip Dysplasia is the most prevalent health concern in the breed.
  • Bloat — As with any deep-chested dog, the occurrence of Bloat or Gastric Torsion is a real possibility in the Bouvier des Flandres. If you are not familiar with this condition, it is absolutely necessary to learn about it and know the symptoms — This is a real emergency and a life threatening condition that requires immediate Veterinary attention. See Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) – Bloat in the Health and Nutrition section of Canada’s Guide to Dogs for more information and First Aid for Bloat for an article describing some of the things you can do if you are faced with this situation.
  • Eye problems such as Cataracts and Glaucoma
  • Thyroid problems

Recommended Health Screening:

For the Bouvier des Flandres, the CHICNote 1 database includes health screenings for:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Congenital Cardiac Database
  • Eye Examination by a board Ophthalmologist. Minimum age 18 months. The American Bouvier des Flandres Club recommends testing be repeated every two years until at least 8 years of age.

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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