Descended from rough-coated cattle dogs that originated in Europe, the Bouvier des Flandres (pronounced "boo-vyey dey flan-derz"), also referred to as the Flanders Cattle Dog, originated from Flanders, an area that covered present-day Belgium, Northern France, and the Netherlands. For centuries, the breed has widely been used as a farm dog. This muscular cattle dog not only drove cattle, but herded sheep, pulled carts, and guarded property. While documentation of the Bouvier des Flandres is not abundant, it is believed that ancestors of today's Beauceron, Briard, Dutch Shepherd, Barbet, and Belgian Shepherd varieties were incorporated into the lineage to further perfect the breed. Today, the Bouvier has been used for work in the police force, as a guardian, and even for tracking and messaging.
Well-muscled, the Bouvier des Flandres is a powerfully built, rugged breed that was developed to be able to work in all sorts of conditions. Although they are large in size, these dogs have both the skills of agility and strength. Adding to the unique appearance of the breed are their bushy eyebrows, mustache, and a full beard. The double coat of the Bouvier is all-weather with a soft, dense undercoat and a rough topcoat that comes in a few different colors ranging from fawn to black. They have dark oval-shaped eyes, well-proportioned ears, and a broad muzzle with a large black nose. The breed's tail is docked and carried upward in motion.
Originally bred to be a guardian and herder on farms, the Bouvier des Flandres is both vigilant and protective but also is considered to be calm and well-behaved in the home. Proper training and socialization from an early age are essential for this particular breed in order for them to distinguish between perceived threats and actual threats because of their naturally protective nature. Full of independence and determination, the Bouvier definitely has a mind of their own but they are intelligent dogs who learn quickly and are eager to please their human. It takes a strong-willed owner using positive reinforcement and plenty of patience to train him. With a strong work ethic, the Bouvier des Flandres has a desire to complete any job given to them and requires plenty of physical and mental activity to avoid any unwanted destructive behavior. Their large size also makes them better suited for a family with older children since small toddlers could be overrun by these strong dogs but they tend to get along well with indoor cats and other household pets if properly socialized. If given patience and proper exercise, the Bouvier is an excellent working dog, as well as a companion that will be quite content relaxing on the couch next to their families.