Bouvier des Flandres
- SIZE: 7
- GROOMING:: 5
- EXERCISE NEEDS: 4
- GOOD WITH DOGS: 2
- WATCHDOG: 5
- BREED: Bouvier des Flandres
- COLOR(S):Dark reddish brown to black, salt and pepper, brindle, and gray.
Bouviers are massive and imposing dogs with a distinct appearance featuring a heavily coated head, thick beard, mustache and shaggy eyebrows. These powerful dogs look intimidating but, in reality, are quick calm and gentle. They make excellent watch dogs and guard dogs as they are highly intelligent, obedient and easy to train. They do well with children and make wonderful family dogs as well.
This breed has a pleasant nature and an enthusiastic air about them. Bouviers are obedient and responsible as well as excellent learners who will remember a command for the rest of their life once it is learned. They do best with experienced owners who can prevent dominance problems from developing in the dog. Bouviers make fantastic companions for children and are world famous for their loyalty. If they are raised with other dogs from puppy hood, they will do well with them but take care with the Bouvier and non-canine pets. They are often reserved and suspicious of strangers as well as protective toward their family. Dominant individuals may be dog aggressive. It should be noted that these dogs mature slowly in both body and mind, not reaching full maturity till 2 or 3 years of age.
Bouviers have double coats that include a rough, shaggy looking outer coat which is dry and harsh to the touch. This makes them well suited to a variety of climate conditions including rain and cold environments. They require regular brushing and should be trimmed at least three times a year. When they are well-groomed, Bouviers will shed very little. Their ears can also be clipped to create a fiercer look in the dog.
Like most other deep chested dogs, the Bouvier is susceptible to bloat. This is the second largest killer of dogs, following cancer, and is a serious health concern. This breed may also be prone to glaucoma, autoimmune disorders, hyperthyroidism, cancer, subaortic stenoisis, and hip or elbow dysplasia.
The Bouvier des Flandres is happiest and healthiest when given ample space to exercise. Keep their minds active with mental stimulation or put the dog to work. While they need plenty of exercise, take care not to jog with them over long distances since they are heavy structured and predisposed to hip problems. An alternative exercise method would be a vigorous session of play.
These dogs require consistent, well-balanced training that is not harsh or rough in nature. They learn relatively fast, but not as fast as other breeds, however, once a command is learned, they will remember it for life. When training Bouviers, it is essential that the dog is consistently made aware that its human is and will remain the boss. For this reason, they do best with experienced owners who can counteract over-protectiveness and dominance issues. Bouviers des Flandres should preferably be socialized beginning at an early age to help prevent suspiciousness, shyness and reservation toward strangers.