Meet the Breed: The Bouvier des Flandres
The The Bouvier des Flandres is a large, shaggy, and somewhat intimidating-looking breed, but is a gentle giant. It has a very large head that has a heavy beard and mustache. The heavy double coat can be black, fawn, gray brindle, or salt and pepper. The tail and ears have often been docked, though this practice is falling out of favor and is now illegal in Europe.
The Bouvier des Flandres (pronounced BOOV-yay day FLAHN-druh) was developed in Flandres by monks and working class people who also needed a hardy working dog. These dogs were used as guards, herders, and cart pullers. The breed nearly became extinct during the World Wars but were revived by an enthusiasts club in Belgium.
The Bouvier des Flandres is indeed a gentle giant, particularly when this active breed is given adequate daily exercise. They need a brisk walk or, better yet, a run next to a bicycle. But as this dog is a slow developer both physically and mentally, care needs to be taken with young dogs not to overtax them when their bones are developing (use a daily walk instead of running.) As with all breeds, it is particularly important to be their pack leader so this large dog knows his place, feels safe, and will not display dominant, aggressive behaviors. This dog is naturally easy to get along with, easy to train, and will remember lessons indefinitely with consistent leadership. This intelligent dog gets bored if there is too much repetition in training, so keep training varied.
Breed Club Links: The American Bouvier des Flandres Club
BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: WalkyDog Stainless Steel Bike Leash (after the growth period). Dry Clean Blueberry Muffin Waterless Spray Shampoo.
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Photo courtesy of raddewey.