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Bouvier des Flandres

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Bouvier des Flandres
A Bouvier des Flandres
A Bouvier des Flandres
Alternative names
Flanders Cattle Dog
Vlaamse Koehond
Country of origin
Common nicknames
Classification and breed standards
FCI: Group 1 Section 2 #191  
AKC: Herding  
ANKC: Group 5 (Working Dogs)  
CKC: Group 7 - Herding Dogs  
KC (UK): Working  
NZKC: Working  
UKC: Herding Dog Breeds  
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Bouvier des Flandres is a dog breed originating in Flanders. They are used for general farm work including cattle droving, sheep herding, cart pulling, and as guard dogs, police dogs, and security dogs, as well as being kept as pets. It can be noted that usage of the French name (meaning, literally, "Herdsman of Flanders") is contradictory with the Flemish origin of the breed; in Flemish, they are known as Koehond, or cattle dog. Other names for the breed are Toucheur de Boeuf and Vuilbaard (dirty beard).


Their weight ranges from 80 to 125 pounds; they are powerfully built, with a thick double coat, which can be fawn, black, grey brindle, or "pepper and salt" in colour.


The history of this dog is tied to war. During World War I, Bouviers were used by the French for war efforts, from getting messages to the front to hauling equipment. By the end of the war, the Bouvier population was severely depleted and in jeopardy of extinction. A group of dog enthusiasts from Belgium stepped in and successfully bred the Bouviers back to healthy numbers.

In World War II, the Bouvier again faced extinction, but not because they were being used in war. Adolf Hitler was deciding on a breed of guard dog for the Third Reich to use. Having heard of the Bouvier's strengths and abilities, Hitler requested to meet this dog. When Hitler reached out his hand, the Bouvier snapped at him, biting his hand. Hitler decreed that all Bouviers were to be killed on sight. Again, it was the people of Belgium who successfully re-established the breed.

With the mechanization of even rural farms, few Bouviers are used for pulling carts or for cattle droving or sheep herding any more. Today, they serve mainly as professional guard dogs or as family pets with guardian as a sideline, duties for which their natural stability and good sense make them well suited.


As a breed, they are not exceptionally long lived, seldom passing the age of ten years. Their deep chest makes them one of the breeds disposed to develop the gastric torsion, volvulus, and bloat syndrome.

Famous Bouvier des Flandres

  • Lucky, pet of Ronald Reagan

External links

  • anzbouvierfriends: A group for the friendly discussion of the Bouvier des Flandres breed of dog, particularly its breeding in Australia and New Zealand.

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