If you want a dog with a strong presence and striking look, check out the Bouvier des Flandres. Perhaps, you haven’t heard of this breed until recently. This peppy, cheerful dog could make a wonderful family member in the right environment.
23 – 27 inches
60 – 88 pounds
10 – 12 years
Black, brindle, fawn, salt & pepper, gray, black & brown
Children, allergy sufferers, indoor/outdoor living
Affectionate, willful, brave, happy
The Flandres are energetic but even-tempered, making them obedient but playful. That is a terrific combination if you want a dog who knows when play starts and stops. Plus, they’re perfect for the allergic person in the household. Let’s find out more.
Bouvier des Flandres Characteristics
Bouvier des Flandres Puppies
If you’re looking for a Bouvier des Flandres from a breeder, you should make sure that all puppies are healthy, clean, and bright-eyed, with no genetic disorders to mention. They should have their wellness checks, the first round of shots, and any other applicable vetting before coming home. Many breeders offer puppy contracts or require deposits beforehand.
If you see a litter of puppies that are lower priced and the environment seems questionable, veer away from these types of breeders. There is a chance that poor breeding is taking place, leading to unwanted health issues and undesirable temperament.
You might get lucky and find a shelter or breed-specific rescue for Bouvier des Flandres. These dogs come with all vet checks, vaccinations, and general care—plus, they’re already fixed. So, you can pay less for more and save a life.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Bouvier des Flandres
The Bouvier des Flandres is quite the distinguished gentleman. This noble and courageous protector is a fiercely loyal companion. These dogs thrive on family connections, never wavering in their loyalty or affections.
This breed can be very goofy and fun to be around. They have a cheery disposition and love to hang out with a variety of people and pets. They tend to be very light-hearted, which makes them patient with children.
Although, this is a herding breed—which means they might have a little heel-nipping behavior with kids and smaller pets. It’s completely normal and easily corrected with consistent training. Some Flandres might not exhibit this behavior at all.
They are always on high alert, noticing every movement with intensity. These dogs love the thrill of exploration and will make fabulous hiking companions. They also are their happiest when they can roam freely without restraint—so a farm or woodland living is ideal.
The Flandres has a very high intelligence level, ranking 29th among other dog breeds. They can learn quickly, efficiently, and effortlessly. These traits make for an excellent watchdog, so your home is safe with the Flandres around.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Flandres make terrific additions to many homes—maybe even yours. These dogs are so eager to give you what you want, always looking to you for approval and guidance.
They are obedient and mild, but they do not make good apartment roommates. These dogs have to have space to roam and won’t be satisfied until they have it. If you have a few acres or a big fenced-in backyard to explore, your Flandres would be happy.
Though large, these dogs are patient with children and bond with them very well. These dogs are also very even with their love, giving each member of the household equal attention. Because of their laid-back approach to life, they make good candidates for older adults, too.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Flandres get along swell with other dogs most of the time, though there’s always an occasional exception. They actually much prefer having a partner in crime, so they would acclimate well into multi-dog homes.
This breed has an exceptionally high prey drive, so early socialization is essential. They should know not to chase the chickens or romp on the cat. Once your Flandres learn their manners, they do well with livestock.
However, you should keep smaller cage animals away from your Flandres at all times. These dogs get excited quickly and might hurt or kill a tinier pet—even if it’s completely unintentional, as they are much more curious than aggressive.
Things to Know When Owning a Bouvier des Flandres:
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
Flandres are sturdy, muscly dogs with lots of energy. They require a high-quality kibble that has all the right ingredients. You might also offer wet food as a topper—they won’t turn it down!
Since they burn so many calories, they should eat a protein-rich diet that feeds their muscles. This breed isn’t pegged for any particular food sensitivities, although you should always avoid unnecessary fillers and preservatives.
If you choose to feed your Flandres homemade or raw recipe diets, double-check with your vet to make sure it’s sustainable. Since these dogs require nutrients to replenish their ever-working muscles and joints, they need a diet to match all recommended nutritional profiles.
Because of their food- and water-trapping mustaches, these dogs might need a clean-up after eating. They might also benefit from a tray or a cache for their food and water at the eating station.
You won’t have to coax your Flandres out of the house—this dog is ready to go. They love mental and physical stimulation. Take them out to explore and let them see the sights. They will have a ton of fun exploring new and familiar terrain.
These dogs are particularly fond of the outdoors, so expect them to want out frequently. Sometimes that potty break is really just an excuse to check the flowerbeds for ground moles.
This breed requires a total of 60 minutes of healthy exercise per day to stay fit and happy.
A fenced-in yard is required if you plan to let them off the lead—especially in their exuberant puppy years. However, if you live on a farm, a Flandres might very well be able to come in and go out as they please.
Flandres are highly trainable dogs with positive attitudes. Getting them to perform strenuous tasks, be a helper, or obey a command will be a cinch.
Since these dogs do well even with complicated work, basic manners and potty training should come easily. Of course, you have to have the patience and consistency to make training successful. Professional training works, too, if you need a helping hand.
Because these dogs are so mentally capable, they might be a bit stubborn at times. But since they’re so eager to please, you shouldn’t have to put up much of a fight with your Flandres. Just remember to use positive reinforcement training tactics for optimal results.
The bearded look of the Flandres might be one of the reasons you love the breed so much. But it does need regular cleaning to remove any dried food or particles stuck in their hair. Also, they need frequent brushing to combat mats and tangles.
As with any other dog, you should bathe your Flandres once every 4-6 weeks. After bathing, give them a lovely pampering session with nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing.
Flandres also benefit from neat trimming, so they will need to see the groomer every 6 weeks or so.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Bouvier des Flandres are pretty healthy dogs, bred to be able to handle harsh environments. They are hardy and sturdily built. However, specific health issues commonly pop up in the breed.
To get ahead of developing or potential issues, vet visits are important, especially in their first year of life. They need yearly examinations and vaccines. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to make an appointment.
Male vs Female
Both male and female Bouvier des Flandres are remarkable in their own right. But there are certain differences between the genders.
Females tend to be very enthusiastic and happy-go-lucky with a love for exploration. Males have a more relaxed approach, though they tend to mature slower than their female counterparts—staying in the puppy stage longer.
Males might be a little more territorial or wary of new dogs, though they are rarely aggressive. Females are more inclined to be suspicious of the same sex and get along best with boys. Females also have a strong maternal instinct, even with human children.
Males are larger and stockier than females—but both genders are muscular and lean. Males stand higher and weigh a few pounds more.
But ultimately, personality is up to the individual dog. Each Flandres will exhibit its own characteristics and will be charming no matter what. It would be best if you chose a puppy based on connection and compatibility over gender.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Bouvier des Flandres
1. Bouvier des Flandres Have Weatherproof Coats
Flandres have a coarse, wiry double coat that protects them from all the elements, making them fantastic for outdoor living.
2. Bouvier des Flandres Are Considered Hypoallergenic
If you have an allergy sufferer in the home—have no fear! The Flandres is considered a hypoallergenic breed.
3. The Bouvier des Flandres’ Beard Is Quite Messy
Because the beard is so long and scruffy, it collects food and water—so be prepared for mealtime messes.
The Bouvier des Flandres is a remarkable dog with so much to offer their families. They are fun-loving, outgoing pups with laidback traits that warm hearts everywhere. If you have young kids, multi-pet households, or you’re an older adult—the Flandres might just be ideal for you.
If you’re sold on the breed and want to purchase a puppy, make sure to find a reputable breeder with a history of successful litters. Or you can always check into adoption to give one of these lovable pooches a second chance at a better life.
Featured Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock