Bouvier Des Flandres
ADVENTUROUS, AFFECTIONATE, AUDACIOUS
History & Origin
The name Bouvier des Flandres sounds like a mouthful but it really just means “Bouvier from Flandres” in French, “Cow Herder of Flanders”, that is. Breeders in Belgium developed the breed as working dogs many years ago, mainly to herd cattle and sheep.
This explains the dogs’ other names like Vlaamse Koehond (Flemish cow dog) and Toucheur de Boeuf (cattle driver). Bouvier des Flandres also pulled carts and did other heavy-duty work on farms.
Interestingly, breeders of the Bouvier des Flandres crossed Irish wolfhounds and Scottish deerhounds with local farm dogs. This resulted in a large dog with a powerful frame and a thick, wooly coat.
Popular on farms, the police services as the military made use of the Bouvier des Flandres. They made a name for themselves in World War II as rescue and messenger dogs. They were fearless and brave on the battlefield.
In fact, the breed was almost wiped out at this time. Thanks to a few fans, the Bouvier des Flandres was kept from extinction. Folks took puppies to other parts of the world and continued to breed with them. This is why we still have Bouvier des Flandres today.
Bouvier des Flandres breeding kennels now exist across the world, with many in the USA and as Canada. AKC officially recognized the breed in 1931.
PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER
The Bouvier des Flandres is an intelligent and extremely loyal dog. They are very fond of their owners and form strong bonds with them. They don’t want to be left outside, though and want to be indoors.
The adult pup has a fearsome look – looking rather like a small bear. But despite its appearance, they are gentle and mild-mannered animals. While they are very protective, they are not aggressive at all.
Alert and quick-witted, they have proven themselves with the armed forces. Police, security services, and the military still use the Bouvier des Flandres. They are very dependable and reliable dogs.
Bouvier des Flandres are ideal family pets. Known to get on well with children, they don’t snap easily or get irritated. This makes them good even with small children. They are good watchdogs too, keeping watch for strangers and alerting owners with its bark.
It is possible to keep a Bouvier des Flandres indoors as they are not extremely active dogs. They will need some daily exercise, though. As long as owners are prepared to walk them every day, they could be happy in a flat.
In addition, there is the possibility of dominance or bossiness with these dogs. You should let your Bouvier des Flandres puppy know that you are the boss. Be firm and consistent and show that you are the leader of the pack.
bouvier des flandres
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
There are a few things to keep in mind with a Bouvier des Flandres.
This is one of the most important aspects of caring for your dog. Almost nothing else that you do will have as much an impact on your puppy. What you give him to eat when he is little will affect him in later life.
Pups that don’t get a nutritious diet grow into unhealthy adult dogs with many problems. They won’t be strong, will not have smooth coats and may have skin conditions.
There are so many experts claiming that you should feed this or that food. It can be confusing for new dog owners to know what to do. However, spending a bit of money on you puppy’s food will be well worth it in the end.
Over the past few years, there has been a growing movement away from commercial foods. Many people have started to feed real food. In this way, they claim to know exactly what they are feeding their dogs.
It is true that many commercial dog foods contain poorer quality proteins – especially the cheap stuff. Coupled with vague labels and hard-to-read information on packets, owners don’t always know what is in the food.
This is why you could think about cooking the food for your puppy. Human food is perfectly fine for dogs. But this does not mean you can give dogs everything that people eat. For example, some foods are really bad for dogs.
Did you know that dogs should never eat grapes or raisins? And did you know that chocolate can actually kill dogs? You should never give your puppy chocolate. You may think it is the best snack but it is highly toxic to dogs.
There are some that say you should only feed raw food. The thinking behind this is that wolves – the dog’s ancestor – ate only meat. So the dog’s digestive system is set up to process all raw meat, including skin, bones, and organs.
A raw diet can be expensive and it can be time-consuming to prepare. Make a decision on what is best for you and your puppy.
Your Bouvier des Flanders puppy will probably come to you when it is about eight weeks old. It is still very small and will not be able to eat large amounts of food at a time. You should only feed puppy food at this stage.
Stick to one kind of food. The little tummy is very sensitive and can become upset easily. Stick with one kind of product and if you decide to change, do so slowly. For example, if you do decide to change foods, add some of the new food to the old food. Gradually increase the amount of new food you give over the next few meals.
A small puppy will eat about five meals a day. This will become four, then three and finally your dog will eat twice a day. Always give your puppy its food at the same time each day. This helps provide your dog with stability in its new home.
You should be careful about overfeeding. Canine obesity is increasing worldwide. It happens when too much food and too little exercise happens. Fat dogs are much morel likely to get sick and cost you lots of money.
Do yourself a favor and don’t give your pup extra food.
COAT AND GROOMING
Size and Coat
The Bouvier des Flanders is a large dog breed. The male can weigh up to 54kg and the female up to 36kg.
The Bouvier des Flanders has a thick coat consisting of two layers. The outer layer is long and rough, while the undercoat is thinner and finer. It is usually dark, as in black, but fawn, salt and pepper, and brindle is acceptable too.
It is important to regularly brush and look after the coat. This can take a bit of time and some owners may find it annoying. Such people should rather get a different dog. Bouvier des Flandres can shed a bit of hair. This can be controlled through brushing the coat a lot.
Moreover, the coat of the Bouvier des Flandres is quite hardy and weather resistant.
It is essential to brush your Bouvier des Flandres every couple of days and at least once a week. Check the coat for dry leaves and grass and get rid of tangles and knots. If these are left in the dog hair, the coat will become matted.
You will have to give your puppy a bath, at least once a month. This will help to keep your dog clean. The coat of the Bouvier des Flandres requires upkeep and maintenance.
As a matter of fact, most Bouvier des Flanders owners have a standing arrangement with a professional dog groomer. They are experts at brushing out the dog’s coat and trimming the hair. In addition, they see to it that the nails are clipped and the ears are clean.
Other aspects of dog grooming include brushing your dog’s teeth. Every couple of days will be enough.
EXERCISE AND TRAINING
Exercise, Energy, and Activities
The Bouvier des Flandres is not known for energy and activity. This will be welcome news to those living in apartments. In spite of this, you will have to take your pup for a daily walk. Make a habit of taking him for a walk at the end of the day.
They make good pets because they have such sweet, even personalities. As puppies, they may be livelier and as they grow older, they become lazier.
The dogs will, however, need to get out once a day. This stimulates their mind and gets the blood circulation going.
You need to know that bad behavior like digging and excessive barking are usually signs of boredom.
The Bouvier des Flandres is known for its sharp mind and aptitude for learning. The dogs enjoy learning new tricks and can be trained for a variety of tasks.
Begin your Bouvier des Flandres with socialization when it is about three months old. This is where your puppy meets other dogs and learns how to interact with them in a friendly way. It teaches them how to cope with strange, new things (people and animals included).
Dogs that come into contact with a lot of things when young will not be shy as adults. They will have more courage and be more outgoing. Many nervous, irritable dogs never had any socialization as puppies.
When your pup grows up, you may consider taking him for further training. They will enjoy obedience training and agility training. The Bouvier des Flandres wants to please his owner and this makes him a willing student.
One of the first things you will buy for your new puppy is a bed. There are many dog beds on the market. Some people swear by a basket for their dog. Where your dog sleeps can have an impact on how well he sleeps.
The first few nights, expect your puppy to be uncertain and emotional. Many puppies spend a big part of the night howling and crying. Don’t worry about this. It is normal. The puppy is adjusting to its new life. Give it plenty of love and affection and it will soon settle down.
Larger dogs, like Bouvier des Flandres, can sleep many hours a day. As puppies, they will sleep even more.
Experts say dogs can sleep up to 14 hours a day. This is usually not in one go of course. They like to nap and spend the day resting and rushing around – in that order.
Sleeping disorders are not uncommon for dogs. One way to deal with this is to ensure your guy is tired enough at the end of the day. A good walk, even a light run, will help tire the nerves and muscles.
Your Bouvier des Flandres has a lifespan of 10-12 years.
The Bouvier des Flandres breed is generally healthy. One potential red flag is hip dysplasia. This is a common problem among big dogs but particularly so for Bouvier des Flandres.
A survey by the Bouvier des Flandres Club revealed that almost 25% of the dogs the poll had hip dysplasia. It is a very painful condition in which the hip joint no longer works smoothly. Fortunately, it can be treated.
Then there is cancer. The breed is prone to various kinds of cancers, including lymphosarcoma. Cataracts, glaucoma, and entropion are common eye issues.
Can I keep my dog healthy?
There is a lot you can do to keep your dog in fantastic shape. Great food, lots of love and a run a day and your dog may never fall ill. Many dogs suffer later in life because of wrong diet or obesity, all of which could be avoided.
Not enough dog owners realize this. In the long run, it will save you much money and heartache.
Furthermore, take the time to find a good Bouvier des Flandres breeder. Don’t buy your puppy unless you have seen the parents. Many medical worries are genetic. Try to find out as much as possible about the breeding line of your pooch.
To Sum Up
The Bouvier des Flandres is an absolute teddy bear.
It makes a wonderful companion and family dog that won’t disappoint you. Look after it properly and it will be with you for many happy years.
Still here? Go for it! There are puppies for all!
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BOUVIER DES FLANDRES