Bouvier des Flandres Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Bouvier des Flandres Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

The Bouvier is a spirited and bold breed who is intelligent and even-tempered. Though they are independent, they are devoted dogs who need lots of attention from their families. Bouviers des Flandres is also called Vuilbaard, Koehond, Belgian Cattle Dog, and Vlaamse Koehond. Vuilbaard, plural Vuilbaarden, translates to Dirty Beard, and Koehond, plural Koehonden, translates to Cow Dog.

The Bouvier des Flandres hails from the Dutch-speaking northern region of Belgium, then known as Flanders. Early in the breed’s history, their job was cattle herding, but they developed into a dog of all trades that could herd, keep watch, and pull carts. Their ancestors are thought to be a mix of Sheepdogs, Mastiffs, and various spaniel breeds.

This sturdy and muscular breed is meant for herding, but city dogs can get their exercise from walks, social outings, competitive herding trials, and other dog sports. Males stand about 26 inches high and females about 25 inches. The average weight of the males is 93 pounds, and the females, 70 pounds. Their expected lifespan is 10 to 12 years, and the female Bouvier des Flandres have 5 to 10 puppies per litter.

View Table of Contents

What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of the Bouvier des Flandres?

The Bouvier des Flandres is a “herding” dog who wants to take charge, forever looking for something to herd, even their humans. Large, strong, and family-friendly, they’re the good-looking muscle to keep everyone safe. Their high level of intelligence and energy requires you to stay ahead of them, or else they’ll get ahead of you.

The Belgian Cattle Dog is a spirited and bold breed, intelligent and even-tempered. Though they are independent, they are devoted dogs who need lots of attention from their families. Known for their protective nature, they make excellent guard dogs, as they are often intimidating to intruders. While Bouviers are usually good with children, they can sometimes play too rough. If socialized from the start, Bouviers will get along nicely with other household animals.

Bouvier des Flandres Breed Traits

Bouvier des Flandres Information


Males 23 to 28 inches

Females 21 to 28 inches


Males 59 to 115 pounds

Females 55 to 115 pounds

Relation with family

Intelligent, curious, alert, outgoing, loyal affectionate. entertaining

Relation with children

Playful and lovable if socialized

Relation with other dogs


Shedding level


Drooling level


Coat type 

Double coat

Coat length

The outer coat is rough, harsh, and tousled

The undercoat is short, dense, and soft 

Coat grooming frequency

Brushing 2 or 3 times per week

Reaction to strangers


Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Openness to strangers


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



10 -12 years 

How Does the Bouvier des Flandres Interact with Family?

The Bouvier des Flandres is an adaptable, intelligent dog with an easygoing disposition. They’re affectionate with all members of their families. Even though they are large dogs, they can fit in well with apartment life so long as they get enough exercise from walks and play sessions.

Belgian Cattle Dogs’ shaggy coats also don’t tend to shed as much as you might think. If you’re looking for a loyal, protective, and loving family companion, this may be the breed for you. A Bouvier will be affectionate and loyal to your household members to the end.

How does the Bouvier des Flandres Interact with Other Dogs?

By nature, the Bouvier Des Flandres is less than enthusiastic about strangers, whether canine or otherwise. However, if a Vuilbaard is poorly socialized, it can trigger aggression and other behavioral issues. Luckily, this is a simple problem that can be solved by the simple solution of socialization from a young age.

The Boviers’ high prey drive may interfere with their relationship with cats and other pets. Bouviers do not get on well with other animals. Without adequate socializing, slow introductions, and setting firm boundaries, other animals’ safety could be at risk.

How are Bouviers des Flandres with Older People?

Bouviers des Flandres are excellent companions for older people; however, their energy level might be overwhelming. Vuilbaarden take about two to three years to mature. That means they remain puppies for significantly longer than most other breeds. Their puppy-like antics and high energy levels could be too much for older people, especially those who live in apartments without outdoor playspace.

However, Bouviers des Flandres form strong bonds with older people. Hiring a dog walker for those long daily walks can help them spend enough energy to ensure they are calm companions while in the apartment. Similarly, grooming the Bouvier might be too much for frail seniors. Arranging for the walker or another person to brush the dog frequently can allow older people to continue living with their beloved furry friends.

How are Bouviers des Flandres with Children?

Bouviers des Flandres tend to do well with kids, especially if they grow up alongside them. Koehonden are loyal, affectionate, and stable dogs that are often an excellent match for a household with kids. However, both children and dogs need to learn how to interact with each other safely.

Although Bouviers love children and enjoys playing with them, it is better to be safe than sorry. Never leave young children and dogs unsupervised. It is essential for them to spend time together to get used to each other, but never without an adult’s presence.

How are Bouviers des Flandres with Neighbors or Guests?

Bouviers des Flandres, as a breed, are wary when they encounter people other than their human families. However, those with whom Vuilbaarden have frequent friendly contact, like neighbors or guests, will become like family members and be treated as such. 

What are the Physical Traits of the Bouvier des Flandres?

Bouviers are robust and agile, built to meet the demands of the farmstead and keep up with stray cattle. They are large, strong, and rugged in appearance, yet able to move with surprising grace. They are muscular from their neck through their chest and have athletic legs. A pleasant mix of spirited and serene, fearless and even-tempered, Bouviers always make for enjoyable company.


Traits information




Males 23 to 28 inches

Females 21 to 28 inches


Males 59 to 115 pounds

Females 60 to 80 pounds

Skull/ Head

Head: impressive and in proportion to the body and build

Skull: well-developed skull is slightly less wide than long


Oval-shaped eyes, dark nut brown. The eye rims are black

Ears                            **

Rough-coated ears are alert and placed high. Cropped and natural ears are triangular.


The muzzle is broad, strong and well-filled-out, tapering gradually toward the nose


The large, well-developed nose is black and round at the edges, with flared nostrils



Exercise Needs



10 to 12 years


Water-repellant double coat of dense and soft undercoat and tousled, rough, and harsh outer coat.

Coat color

All colors from fawn to black, including salt and pepper, gray and brindle. A small white star on the chest is allowed.

Tail                                     **

Some are born without a tail, in others, the tail is customarily docked to about four inches


Long and well-developed with rounded, compact, well-arched feet

** Tail and ear docking is prohibited or restricted in some U.S. States, Europe, U.K. and other countries.

How to Feed a Bouvier des Flandres?

Your Bouvier des Flandres’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your Bouvier’s diet on a large breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. Most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your Bouvier des Flandres grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies, and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Belgian Cattle Dog from the table; all it does is add weight; instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

Despite the Bouvier des Flandres’s large size, it is an agile, athletic breed that needs food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins, and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A dog of this size, activity level, and demeanor will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

However, your Bouvier des Flandres’s daily portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and of course, the brand and formula of food it eats. Feed your Belgian Cattle Dog food formulated for a large breed with recipes specific for the different life stages like puppies, adults, and seniors, or look for a brand developed for all life stages.

The Bouvier des Flandres’s daily cups of food should be spread over 2 to 3 meals per day. Feeding Vuilbaarden several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

A premium food specially formulated for Bouviers des Flandres and its benefits are listed below: 

The best dry dog food for Bouviers des Flandres is CANIDAE PURE with Wholesome Grains Real Angus Beef & Barley Dry Dog Food

An active dog is a healthy dog. CANIDAE PURE adult formulas are nutritionally optimized for active dogs to help fuel their daily activities. CANIDAE’s optimal combination of nutrients helps promote lean muscle development, healthy brain function, and joint health to keep your adult dog-powered from morning until night.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the CANIDAE PURE with Wholesome Grains Real Angus Beef & Barley Dry Dog Food recipes in this range:

  • Protein-Packed: With responsibly sourced real meat as the first ingredient, and added meat meal, containing almost 300% more protein than fresh meat, these recipes are packed with animal protein for strong, lean muscles in small breed dogs.
  • Omegas 3 and 6: Naturally occurring omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support skin and coat health.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits help support immune health.
  • Probiotics: Guaranteed levels of live, natural probiotics are included to support your dog’s digestive health.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin are included in this adult dry food to support healthy joints since Bouviers des Flandres are predisposed to hip dysplasia.

When Koehonden are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why CANIDAE PURE with Wholesome Grains Real Angus Beef & Barley Dry Dog Food is crafted with everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should a Bouvier des Flandres Puppy Eat? 

Bouvier des Flandres puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a large breed. It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When Belgian Cattle Dog puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to two meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Bouvier des Flandres puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for large-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Koehond pups should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times to two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow free feeding throughout the day.
  • The exceptions are Vuilbaarden with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the Health Tests that Bouviers des Flandres Should Take?

The Bouvier des Flandres is a happy, healthy and versatile breed. However, no breed or dog is without the possibility of health issues. Responsible breeders consider many factors before pairing dogs, including those that would determine ultimate personality, physical, and social traits.

Bouviers des Flandres can be affected by several genetic health problems. Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these disorders, so you must find a reputable breeder committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible.

The American Bouvier des Flandres Club, the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States, participates in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Program. Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. You can check CHIC’s website to see if a breeder’s dogs have these certifications.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. Checks by the dog’s vet are not a substitute for genetic health testing.

CHIC certification is a good indicator for potential new puppy owners of how a breeder responsibly factors good health into their selection criteria. The breed-specific list below represents the basic health screening recommendations, but it is not all-encompassing. There may be other health screening tests appropriate for this breed. And, there may be other health concerns for which there is no commonly accepted screening protocol available.

Bouvier des Flandres Club of America and the National Breed Club require the following tests for registration with the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC):

  • Elbows and shoulders OFA Xrays
  • Hips OFA Xrays or Penn HIP
  • Echo Cardiogram Exam by a board-certified cardiologist
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation by board-certified ACVO (American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists) 

Optional –

  • OFA Patellar Luxation
  • OFA yearly evaluation from an approved laboratory for autoimmune thyroiditis
  • Regular eye examination by a board-certified ACVO Ophthalmologist

Additional General Health checks, including Heart, Vaccines, Musculoskeletal, Dental, Fleas, and Worms.

Various genetic and health tests distinguish the responsible, reputable breeders from puppy mills and others who breed random pairs of dogs for financial profits with no regard for the health and life quality of the puppies.

What are the Common Health Problems of Bouviers des Flandres?

All dogs have the potential to inherit or develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Bouviers des Flandres are predisposed to certain health conditions that can be a concern. However, even healthy Belgian Cattle Dogs should have regular veterinarian checkups. Owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

  • Hip Dysplasia is a common problem in large breeds and older dogs, hip dysplasia, happens in some Bouviers des Flandres. Hip dysplasia is when the hip joint isn’t formed correctly and rubs, causing the dog pain. Symptoms include lameness in the back legs, decreased activity, and “bunny hopping.” Veterinarians are well versed in treatments, such as physical therapy, medications, and potentially surgery.
  • Elbow dysplasia is a deformation that occurs and develops as Belgian Cattle Dog puppies grow. It is caused by loose joints that prevent the ball part of one bone from sliding smoothly in the socket of the other joint bone. Instead, it grinds and rubs in the joint, causing painful wear and tear damage as the Koehond ages.
  • Eye Problems: Sometimes, Belgian Cattle Dogs inherit eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), gradual failing eyesight with no cure. These dogs can also develop glaucoma (eye pressure that leads to optic nerve damage) and primary lens luxation (dislocation of the lens in the eye). Medication or surgery may be an option with glaucoma (if caught early enough) and lens luxation.
  • Hypothyroidism is the insufficient production of thyroid hormone, causing hair loss, dry skin and coat, and susceptibility to other skin diseases in Bouviers des Flandres.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or Gastric Torsion is also known as ‘bloat,’ a life-threatening disorder that happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas and becomes twisted. To protect your pup from GDV, feed your dog smaller meals throughout the day and wait an hour before and after mealtimes before exercising.

You can minimize the chances of serious health concerns in a Bouvier des Flandres puppy by purchasing your Vuilbaard from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices and screening for common diseases and conditions.

Why are Bouvier Tails Docked?

Both ear cropping and tail docking were historical practices for the Bouvier Des Flandres. Nowadays, both practices are often regarded as cruel when performed for cosmetic reasons. However, it has been suggested that there were practical reasons for the two practices in pre-modern times, with one example being the prevention of accidental amputations at the workplace.

What are the Exercise Needs of a Bouvier des Flandres?

As working dogs, Bouviers des Flandres have lots of energy and stamina. Be prepared to be challenged when you head out for a walk. Your Bouvier will be willing to walk much farther than you, and a basic walk isn’t going to suffice for their daily exercise needs. Try going for a run or a hike to up the game. 

Since Bouviers thrive when they have a job to do, you can also incorporate games and activities into your dog’s daily exercise routine. However, cut back on outdoor exercise when the weather is hot. The dense undercoat of the Koehond is extremely warm, and the dog can overheat quickly and easily.

What are the nutritional needs of Bouviers des Flandres?

The nutritional needs of Belgian Cattle Dogs include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for the Bouviers des Flandres are listed below.

  • Protein: Bouviers des Flandres need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for Koehond’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts Bouviers des Flandres’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Vuilbaarden need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Bouvier des Flandres sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, too much carbohydrate can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Bouvier des Flandres puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Belgian Cattle Dogs by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Koehond.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Bouvier des Flandres are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Bouvier des Flandres’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Belgian Cattle Dogs.

What is the Shedding Level of the Bouvier des Flandres?

The  Belgian Cattle Dog has a thick double coat that is almost constantly shedding. However, as the coarse guard hairs on their outercoat tend to trap the shedding undercoat, the Bouvier does not tend to drop hair all over. It does mean that their coats can quickly become matted unless the loose hair is brushed out weekly.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Bouviers des Flandres?

Brushing your Bouvier’s long and dense coat should be performed once or twice weekly with a slicker brush and comb to prevent matting and tangling. Without regular grooming, your Bouvier can develop hot spots. These painful skin lesions can lead to infections, especially in hot and humid climates.

You must brush your Bouvier every day to prevent loose hairs from tangling and causing matting. One of the advantages of buying a Vlaamse Koehond from a breeder is the opportunity to learn how to groom him from a master. Even if your dog’s breeder does not live nearby, she is only as far away as an email or phone call if you need advice on how to groom the dog.

Coat grooming is essential for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Grooming gives your dog a healthy look and promotes hygiene. 
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of skin infections.
  • Grooming promotes the growth and development of a lustrous and shiny coat.
  • Grooming allows you to check for fleas and take early preventive and treatment measures.
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of ear infections since you can check the ears and wipe them dry after grooming regularly.
  • While grooming, you can check the skin folds for any skin problems and alert the vet before they worsen.
  • Grooming boosts the bond between you and your Bouvier des Flandres Dog.

Your dog should be calm during grooming, and scheduling regular grooming routines from puppyhood will help. Taking your Belgian Cattle Dog for a short walk before the grooming session could calm your canine companion enough to make the grooming process the ideal time for mutual bonding. You can also give your Vuilbaarden their favorite treats to munch on while you groom them. Grooming must be an enjoyable and stress-free process for your Belgian Cattle Dog and you. 

What is the Drooling Level of the Bouvier des Flandres?

The Bouvier des Flandres is not a big drooler. Drooling is the unintentional saliva flowing outside of the mouth. It can be completely normal or a sign of a health problem. Unlike the Bouvier des Flandres, some dog breeds drool much more than others. If you notice any change in your dog’s drooling habit, you should contact a vet as soon as possible. The primary triggers of drooling are listed below. 

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Sexual excitement, like when male Bouviers des Flandres spot female Koehonden in heat, causes drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool.
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus.
  • Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva.
  • A foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling. 
  • Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling.
  • Stomach upsets.
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling.
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who do not like traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car.
  • A stressed dog pants and breathes with an open mouth, causing it to drool. 

What is the Coat Type of the Bouvier des Flandres?

The Bouvier has a rough, tousled coat, giving an unkempt appearance. Its characteristic double coat is capable of withstanding hard work and inclement weather. The outer coat hairs are rough and harsh; the undercoat is fine, soft and dense.

What is the Coat Lenght of the Bouvier des Flandres?

The Koehond has a short soft, dense, and woolly undercoat with a longer, tousled, shaggy top coat. Together, the two coats repel water and dirt.

What are the Colors of the Bouvier des Flandres?

Belgian Cattle Dogs come in all colors from fawn to black, including salt and pepper, gray and brindle. Some Koehonden have small white stars on their chests.

What are the Social Traits of the Bouvier des Flandres Breed?

Bouviers des Flandres are good-natured and sociable, enthusiastic and pushy. They do best in the suburbs or country, with at least an hour of daily exercise and space to romp. The Vuilbaard loves its human family and can be quite the clown because they remain puppies for two to three years before adulthood. Bouviers demand consistent attention. If left without the companionship of humans or other pets, your Belgian Cattle Dog will become unhappy, destructive, and noisy. 

The intelligent Bouvier des Flandres gets the job done with quiet dignity. They tend to be laid back at home, energized, and focused when they have work to do, whether herding or training for dog sports. Bouviers adore their families and show it by their steady, even-tempered companionship. This is not an excitable breed, though they are strong-willed and known to be aggressive with other dogs and suspicious of strangers.

Most Bouviers des Flandres are aloof and wary when they encounter strangers. It could be another trigger for those guard dog tendencies to cause shows of aggression. They make sensible watchdogs with a deep, ringing bark, but they’re not good guard dogs because they lack aggressiveness. Some may be timid and skittish, while others could show sharpness. Extensive socialization of your Belgian Cattle Dog from an early age is essential to develop a confident, stable temperament.

Although most Vlaamse Koehonden are pets and companion dogs rather than cattle dogs these days, their herding instincts remain. Some Bouviers des Flandres may try to “herd” children and other pets by circling, poking, or nipping at them. 

Other social traits of Bouviers des Flandres are listed below.

  • Elderly-friendly: Bouvier des Flandres love interacting with their family, from children to grandparents. However, they are highly energetic and need between 60 and 90 minutes of vigorous exercise each day. In a multi-generational home, the older family members can share the quiet head-in-the-lap times with the Vuilbaarden while the younger generation deals with playtime and walking or jogging.
  • Children-friendly: Belgian Cattle Dogs enjoy running around or chasing after children, and playing catch is one of their favorite games. Bouviers des Flandres are sensible enough to care when young children are part of the play. However, Vuilbaarden are massive compared to very young children, and unintentional injuries can occur in the blink of an eye. Supervision is essential in such circumstances, and socialization is vital for kids and dogs.
  • Family-friendly: Bouviers des Flandres are the perfect canine companions for active families. They are not couch potatoes and prefer to spend most of their time outside. A Bouvier des Flandres will always be ready to join a family member jogging, skateboarding, cycling or hiking.
  • Pet-friendly: Bouviers des Flandres can get along great with cats and other animals, especially if they’re raised with them. However, the innate herding instincts of the Bouvier des Flandres might trigger a chase of trespassing neighborhood cats, and efforts to herd family pets and small children are par for the course.

How Do Bouviers des Flandres Interact with Strangers?

Bouviers’ traits may show up as reserved or aloof to people outside your family. However, they will not hesitate to turn aggressive if they suspect their owners or property are at risk. Once their owners invite strangers into the home, the Koehond will relax. 

However, Belgian Cattle Dogs are alert even when they don’t seem so. They are always aware of everything around them, and they will warn any strangers and potential intruders to back off. Typically, it will go no further than barking if the strangers back off. Ignoring a dog’s aloofness with strangers can cause them to expound on it as they get older.

Is the Bouvier des Flandres Playful?

Yes, Belgian Cattle Dogs are playful, and Bouviers consider kids they are raised with members of the pack and enjoy playing with them. However, Bouviers should always be watched when playing with younger children. Because they are known to nip at heels to keep tykes in line, and they can knock toddlers over during exuberant play.

Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. Adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends, even if the dogs are of a breed deemed safe and child-friendly.

Are Bouviers des Flandres Protective?

Bouvier des Flandres are loyal and naturally protective. However, they are not defensive enough to attack intruders. Vuilbaarden are good guard dogs and alert enough to be excellent watchdogs. The Bouvier have unique barks and sounds that quickly warn their owners of any threats, and alerting their owners of potential threats is the Bouvier des Flandres’ way of being protective.

What is the Adaptability Level of the Bouvier des Flandres?

For a dog meant to do farm-work, the Bouvier Des Flandres can make a surprisingly good choice for apartment dwellers. The Koehond is an adaptable, intelligent dog with an easygoing disposition, and they are calm, smart, and obedient.

However, the Bouvier des Flandres’ exercise needs are high. Experts recommend 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity daily. This will ensure your Koehond stays both happy and healthy. Bouviers can quickly become overweight, so plenty of exercise helps keep them trim.

They’re affectionate with all members of their families, and even though they are large dogs, they can fit in well with apartment life. Provided they get enough exercise from walks and play sessions, and their needs are not excessive. The Bouvier des Flandres can adapt to various lifestyles. 

What are the Personality Traits of Bouvier des Flandres?

The Bouvier des Flandres is an affectionate, playful clown who delights in frolicking with his family and neighborhood children. In fact, adolescence in the Koehond often extends to about age three. An adult Belgian Cattle Dog will retain his playful demeanor well into his golden years.

The Bouvier is smart, energetic, and full of confidence while being calm and balanced in temperament. The puppies are vocal and full of antics. Still, as the Bouvier grows into adulthood, he mellows and becomes a steady family friend who gets on well with each human family member. Vuilbaard loves spending time with his family and becomes their friend, guardian, and a good watchdog.

The Koehond is an intelligent breed, a quick learner who always looks for something exciting and fun. He can perform numerous tasks, including herding, agility, obedience, and search and rescue. This breed requires significant physical and mental exercise. Belgian Cattle Dogs don’t enjoy being left alone for long periods and need to be in the company of their families.

A correctly bred Vuilbaard is good-natured and kind, making him an excellent children’s companion and a super family dog.

How is the Temperament of Bouviers des Flandres?

The Bouvier has an overall good temperament; it is pretty affectionate, playful, gentle, loyal, and devoted to the family. But despite its friendly personality, this breed is most satisfied when it has a job to do. It loves games, problem-solving activities, and physically challenging tasks. You will need to be particularly creative in the kinds of activities you do with your dog. If left alone for too long without any sense of direction, there is a chance it could turn into destructive behavior.

Can Bouviers des Flandres be Aggressive?

Bouviers are not aggressive. While a Bouvier’s size might make them seem intimidating, they have a mellow personality and enjoy spending time with people. The breed can potentially be aggressive with other dogs, and they have a strong bite force. Around people, however, Bouviers are gentle giants, unless they suspect the people pose safety risks for their family.

These dogs must be socialized from a young age because they can be overly suspicious of and reserved around strangers if they do not learn early to distinguish between normal human interactions and truly threatening behavior.

Can Bouviers des Flandres be Dangerous?

Like any other animal, Bouviers des Flandres will become aggressive if they are scared or have to defend themselves. Bouvier des Flandres’ aggression may manifest as growling or snarling, especially at strangers near their homes. Putting themselves between you and a stranger could lead to dangerous situations. 

Do Bouviers des Flandres Ever Attack?

Only when all else fails will Bouviers attack. Suppose your Vuilbaard’s bark did not convince a potential intruder to back off. In that case, he will likely attempt a more physical way to protect you.

Your Canine protector will hurtle toward the intruder to slam into their knees. If the person turns sideways to avoid the impact, the dog will launch off the ground and fly by the person at eye level. The intruder’s arms would be up in self-protection by that time, and Vuilbaard would nip the person’s soft flapping underarm flesh.

If the person turns his back, your Bouvier will do the perfect butt-bite as it does when herding cattle. While this may be seen as an attack, it aims to convince the intruder to stop their approach rather than cause severe bodily harm.

Can Bouviers des Flandres Kill Humans?

Bouviers des Flandres may be able to kill humans, but it is highly improbable. Bouviers des Flandres are protective of their human families, and specific circumstances could drive any dog to react aggressively. Events that could cause a violent attack by any breed are listed below.

  • Protecting their human families from attacks on them.
  • Protecting their own safety.
  • Mistreatment by their owners like chaining their dogs to poles outside.
  • Owners dishing out physical punishment or other forms of abuse.

Whatever the circumstances, serious provocation must be present to trigger a violent attack by a Bouvier des Flandres.

Do Bouviers des Flandres Cope with being Left Alone?

The Bouvier des Flandres is a breed needing regular human companionship. When left alone for too long, he can get a bit destructive. The best way to protect your possessions is to exercise them frequently. The Bouvier des Flandres is a clever dog and will learn quickly, but you’ll definitely need to show him you’re the boss. Bouviers des Flandres can live alone for a few hours without any problems, but they are not the kind of canines that you could leave alone for a long time. If left outdoors alone, they may bark excessively or disappear in search of something interesting to do.

Can I leave my Bouvier des Flandres at home?

Bouviers des Flandres are fiercely loyal, protective, and devoted to their families, preferring companionship over alone time. When they are left in isolation, they typically display signs of separation anxiety. Many Bouviers des Flandres tend to form strong bonds with all their family members. Therefore, even if one family member stays behind when the rest go to school, work, etc., it will likely prevent Koehond from developing separation anxiety. 

Can a Bouvier des Flandres be left alone for 8 hours?

Bouviers des Flandres needs company, and they do not enjoy spending time alone for many hours and may develop separation anxiety. Don’t get a Bouvier des Flandres if you must leave him on his own for hours on end. You can, however, leave him alone for short periods.

Leaving your Bouvier des Flandres alone for more than four hours at a time is not recommended. If there is no other way, getting a dog walker or a sitter for a part of the day could prevent separation anxiety, boredom, and subsequent mischief and destruction. Separation anxiety is common in Bouvier des Flandres. They live for their families, and they can become destructive if they’re left alone too much. 

How to Train a Bouvier des Flandres?

When training a Bouvier des Flandres puppy, it’s essential to consider their natural herding instinct. Otherwise, games such as hide-and-seek or Triebball can fulfill that characteristic herding instinct and may even prevent your dog from trying to herd around family members.

 With that said, there is a rather amusing drawback to the Bouvier Des Flandres’s intelligence. Simply put, they are good at learning new things. However, they get bored by repetition, meaning that their owners might want to avoid that when training them.

How Frequently does a Bouvier des Flandres Bark?

Bouviers des Flandres are large but possess the agility and athleticism to meet the demands of herding. Bouviers des Flandres have a loud bark with a distinctive sound.

Bouviers des Flandres are watchful and will bark their distinctive clanging bark when someone approaches the house. Vlaamse Koehonden don’t like strangers, both types — human and canine. They are diligent in their duties as protectors of their human families and properties. However, they are not excessive barkers and bark only when necessary.

Barking is your furry friend’s only way to communicate, and noting its different types of barking could help you understand the reasons and address them.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Bouvier des Flandres hate being left alone, and barking is one way of coping with loneliness. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Bouvier des Flandres is barking to alert you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, younger Koehonden may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger.
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, where a Bouvier des Flandres feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The Bouvier des Flandres uses arousal barking to show their frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Vuilbaard is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

Even though Bouviers des Flandres are not typically nuisance barkers, knowing their language might come in handy. However, if your Bouvier des Flandres is the exception that barks continuously for no reason, a trip to the vet might be a good idea.

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Bouvier des Flandres?

Constant stimulation throughout the day is required to keep your Bouvier des Flandres happy. Brain games are a great and easy way to stimulate his mind, so be sure to rotate a few of these games throughout the week to keep him occupied.

Bouviers des Flandres are smart and learn fast, so they need regular mental stimulation, and their playful and intelligent nature further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your Bouvier des Flandres, and some of them are listed below.

  • Play with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Bouviers des Flandres who are six years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety
  • Frequent accidents
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns
  • Low interest in physical activities
  • Poor social skills

What are the Breed Standards of Bouviers des Flandres?

The Bouvier des Flandres is a strong, compact, square, balanced dog. Taking him all around, he is profusely but not excessively coated, thickset, muscular, and able-bodied. These qualities, combined with his agility, fit him for the demanding tasks required of a shepherd’s or drover’s dog. Therefore, soundness is of the most significant importance. His bark is loud with a distinctive “pot-casse” or “cracked-bell” ring to it. 

The Bouvier des Flandres is a compact-bodied, powerfully built, short-coupled dog of upstanding carriage with a rugged appearance.

Some of the Bouvier des Flandres’s breed standards are listed below.

Breed Standards 

Bouvier des Flandres Breed Information 


All colors from fawn to black, including salt and pepper, gray, and brindle. A small white star on the chest is allowed.


Bouvier des Flandres are classified as a large-sized breed

Eye Color 

The eyes are a dark nut brown. The eye rims are black. The haw is barely visible. 

Average Weight 

About 93 pounds for males; about 70 pounds for females.

Average Height

Males minimum 26 inches, females minimum 25 inches

Average lifespan 

Bouvier des Flandres Dogs have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years

What is the General Information about Bouviers des Flandres?

Many speculations exist about the origins of the Bouvier Des Flandres dog breed. Some believe the breeding efforts of the Ter Duinen Monastery, one of the earliest breeders known to have existed in Flanders, led to the first litter of Bouviers.

Supposedly, the breed came from local farm dogs crossed with some foreign breeds such as the Irish Wolfhound. The resulting canines were strong, tough, and able to perform a wide range of farm work. For example, the Bouviers could pull loaded carts. Furthermore, its coat is superb for keeping it in sound health despite the adverse weather conditions prevalent in the region.

Like several other breeds, the Bouvier Des Flandres came close to extinction in the 20th century because of the World Wars. Many Bouviers des Flandres did military service in the two World Wars. Casualties among them severely impacted the number of Belgian Cattle Dogs worldwide.

Some suggest the modern Bouviers Des Flandres are descendants of trench dog Nic, who served in the First World War before winning numerous prizes in numerous competitions. Trench dogs did everything from serving as sentries to finding casualties in military conflicts.

What Breeds Make up a Bouvier?

In Southwest Flanders and the northern French plain, 17th-century farmers and cattlemen needed a dog who could work on various areas of the farms. They needed cattle herders, protectors for their stock, and even some brute muscle to pull carts, churn butter, and work the grist mill. 

The early days of Bouvier des Flandres’ breeding are often debated. Some believe it to be a cross between the mastiff, sheepdog, Irish Wolfhounds, Schnauzers, Tibetan Mastiffs, Brabanters, Griffons, Beaucerons, and even a spaniel breed. 

Back then, the men who bred them did so purely for function and paid little attention to any breed standard. This created a significant variation in appearance. Regardless, they did exhibit enough characteristics in common to be considered the same breed.

Where to Buy or Adopt a Bouvier des Flandres?

The price of a purebred Bouvier des Flandres puppy can range between $1,500 and $2,500. Lower prices are generally available within shelters and rescues, but it is a rare breed and puppies can cost as much as $5,000 from top breeders. 

If you want to bring a Bouvier des Flandres home, you should not rush. The only “purebreds” available upon request are not the real thing and are likely bred on puppy farms. The more realistic way is to put your name on a waiting list, and while you’re waiting, learn as much as you can about this very special canine companion. 

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or make irrational promises to promote the dogs. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. 

Bouvier des Flandres puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making the Bouvier des Flandres a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these little dogs, and you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful companion dog.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Bouvier des Flandres puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. The Bouvier des Flandres is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Bouvier des Flandres owners in touch with reputable breeders. 

  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (International)
  • United Kennel Club (International)
  • The Kennel Club (United Kingdom)
  • Bouvier des Flandres Club of Victoria Inc AU
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • Bouvier des Flandres Club of America
  • The Bouvier des Flandres Club UK
  • Bouvier des Flandres Club of Canada
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Lakotah Kennels Brandywine, Maryland Briarlea Bouvier Kennel Glenwood City, Wisconsin
  •  Bajoron Kennel Grover, Missouri
  •  D’Hart Gig Harbor, Washington 
  • Bridgemont Family Farms Marshall, Arkansas BOUVIERSLR Lakeland, Florida
  • Briarhill Coshocton, Ohio 
  • Sleeping Lady’s Bouvier des Flandres Anchorage, Alaska
  •  La Chanson Bouviers Long Beach, California

If you manage to track down Bouvier des Flandres breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Bouvier des Flandres puppies are often peppy and playful, all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

You might find a Bouvier des Flandres puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, but not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Vuilbaarden may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Bouvier des Flandres is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Bouvier des Flandres?

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Bouvier des Flandres can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopter. If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder, then your first stop should be the National Bouvier des Flandres Rescue website. 

The adoption fee for a Bouvier des Flandres from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $150 and $200. Most dogs from rescue groups and shelters will be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered, and vetted before adoption

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Bouvier des Flandres or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs to reach out to for guidance.

  • Rescue – Bouvier des Flandres Club of America
  • Canada Bouvier des Flandres Rescue Groups
  • Rescue – Bouvier des Flandres Club of Scotland
  • United Kennel Club (International)
  • The Kennel Club (United Kingdom)
  • American Bouvier Rescue League (ABRL)
  • American Bouvier des Flandres Club, Inc.
  • Bouvier des Flandres Club of Victoria Inc AU
  • The Bouvier des Flandres Club of Great Britain
  • New England Bouvier des Flandres Rescue

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Bouvier des Flandres rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Bouvier des Flandres online through reliable websites such as

  • AnimalShelter 

A Bouvier des Flandres rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Bouvier des Flandres mix.

Bouvier des Flandres mixes for adoption may be less challenging to find in shelters and rescue facilities. If you want to adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Bouvier des Flandres, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you’re interested. 

The few Bouvier des Flandres dog mixes available are listed below.

  • Bouvier des Flandres-Poodle mix (Flandoodle)
  • Bouvier des Flandres x Labrador Retriever mix (Bouvador)
  • Bouvier des Flandres x Doberman Pinscher mix (Bouberman)

Bouvier des Flandres mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed. Still, their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through a series of evaluations; even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home.

Hence, The American Bouvier des Flandres Club is opposed to cross-breeding of any purebred dogs and is particularly opposed to the deliberate crossing of Bouviers des Flandres with any other breed. These crossbreds are a deliberate attempt to mislead the public with the idea that there is an advantage to these “designer” dogs. The crossbred dogs are prone to ALL the genetic disease(s) of both breeds and offer none of the advantages owning a purebred dog can offer.

What is the History of the Bouvier des Flandres?

These large dogs have descended from Flemish cattle dogs, and in French, the word Bouvier means herdsman or cattle herder. It is because the dog was used for driving cattle. The Bouvier comes from the Flemish region of Belgium, bred as a working farm dog. It is believed that the breed may have come from crossing local farm dogs with imported Irish Wolfhounds, Schnauzers, Tibetan Mastiffs, Brabanters, Griffons, and Beaucerons.

In 1910, the first Bouviers appeared at the international dog show in Brussels, with a standard for the breed being adopted in 1912. The American Kennel Club recognized the dog in 1929. After World War 11, Bouviers were brought to America, and the American Bouvier des Flandres Club was founded in 1963.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for a Bouvier des Flandres?

The prices of Bouvier des Flandres puppies range between $1,500 and $2,500. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the breeder you select, the location, the puppy’s bloodline, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, but if you do, the price could be $300 to $500, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Bouvier des Flandres and extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Bouvier des Flandres and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down to about $2,100 a year.

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $850. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Bouvier des Flandres are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely add a significant amount to your Vuilbaard’s maintenance costs.

How to Name a Bouvier des Flandres?

Choosing a name for your Bouvier des Flandres involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Bouvier des Flandres’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters.

Bouvier des Flandres responds best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Bouvier des Flandres pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. 

Call out any name-ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Bouvier des Flandres will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds. 

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your Bouvier des Flandres. Below is a list of suggestions of names honoring the Bouvier des Flandres’s roots and beauty. 

Bouvier des Flandres Breed Names

Inspired by the Bouvier des Flandres’s roots and beauty

Bouvier des Flandres Boy Names

Bouvier des Flandres Girl Names


Dutch name meaning “rules his household”


Short for “Wilhemina”, which means “resolute protector”


Means “brown” in German; good for brown-coated Bouviers


Dutch name meaning “wise”


A dark shade of bluish gray; good for gray Bouviers


After Marie Henriette, the Queen of Belgians


One who likes to make jokes


Famous Belgian brand of chocolate; good for your brown or black Bouvier


Dutch name meaning “beloved”


A brown-colored sweet liquid; good for your sweet, fawn-colored Bouvier

What are the Different Types of Bouvier des Flandres?

Of the original five Bouvier-type dogs, only the Bouvier des Flandres and the Bouvier des Ardennes remain. Occasionally, and perhaps unfairly, referred to as ‘the other Bouvier,’ the Bouvier des Ardennes is smaller than the Bouvier des Flandres, with a different coat-type, erect ears and (usually) a shorter tail. However, both breeds are known for their outstanding cattle herding skills, with their roots in different regions of Belgium.

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Bouvier des Flandres?

Bouviers des Flandres are rare and may be challenging to find, but even if you do, purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding Flandres Cattle Dog at a rescue center might be equally challenging because they are rare, and even there you might have to put your name on a waiting list. However, as wonderful of a dog as the Belgian Cattle Dog may be, they aren’t for everyone. Here are some dogs that are similar to Bouvier des Flandres.

Below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

Bouviers des Flandres are rare and may be challenging to find, but even if you do, purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding a Flandres Cattle Dog at a rescue center might be equally challenging because they are rare, and even there, you might have to put your name on a waiting list. However, as wonderful of a dog as the Belgian Cattle Dog may be, they aren’t for everyone. Here are some dogs that are similar to the Bouviers des Flandres.

Below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • Belgian Shepherd: This medium-sized herding dog actually comes in four different varieties based on its coat length and color. These include the long-haired black Groenendael, the long-haired fawn Tervuren, the rough-haired fawn Laekenois, and the short-haired fawn Malinois. These are highly intelligent, alert, hard-working dogs with protective and loyal instincts.
  • Berger Picard: The Picardy Shepherd is a medium-sized French herding dog with a rough coat of fawn or brindle hair. It is very easy-going and good-natured but perhaps a little reserved around strangers.
  • Bearded Collie: This kind, gentle Scottish herding dog is unmistakable for its long, flowing double coat of black, blue, brown, fawn, or white fur.
See more:

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.