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Bouvier des Flandres

A Bouvier des Flandres
Other names Flanders Cattle Dog
Vlaamse Koehond
Country of origin Belgium
Traits
Weight Male 80–120 lb (36–54 kg)
Female 60–80 lb (27–36 kg)
Height Male 23-28 ins. (58-71 cms.)
Female 22-27 ins. (56-69 cms.)
Coat double coat with harsh dry, rough looking outer coat that needs to be groomed regularly
Color fawn, brindle, black, grey or blonde
Litter size 5-10, average 8
Life span average 10-12 years

The Bouvier des Flandres is a herding dog breed originating in Flanders. They were originally used for general farm work including cattle droving, sheep herding, and cart pulling, and nowadays as guard dogs and police dogs, as well as being kept as pets. The French name of the breed means, literally, "Cow Herder of Flanders," referring to the Flemish origin of the breed. Other names for the breed are Toucheur de Boeuf (cattle driver) and Vuilbaard (dirty beard).

Contents

History

An adult Bouvier des Flandres

The monks at the Ter Duinen monastery, in Flanders, were the Bouvier's first breeders. The Bouvier was created by breeding imports such as Irish wolfhounds with local farm dogs, until a breed considered to be the predecessor of the modern Bouvier was obtained. This became a working dog able to perform tirelessly, herding and guarding cattle and even pulling cargo carts, thanks to its strength and temperament, and to withstand the local weather conditions due to its thick coat. Its ears and tail were usually cropped for practical reasons.[1]

Up until the early 20th century, the breed was not completely defined, with three variants: Paret, Moerman or Roeselare, and Briard. Conflict between the proponents of these three variants held the breed's development back. In 1912 and 1913, several local kennel clubs recognized standards for Bouviers; however they usually had different standards for the Roeselare and other variants.[1]

World War I nearly caused the breed to completely disappear, due to the devastation that came over its region of origin and the fact that the dogs were used for military purposes. Indeed, Nic, a male trained as a trench dog who served during the war and was a perennial winner at dog shows after the war, is considered to be the founder of the current Bouvier des Flandres breed.[1]

A unified Bouvier des Flandres standard was created in 1936 by a joint French-Belgian committee. However, World War II again endangered the breed's existence. Due to these setbacks, progress was slowed, and it was not until 1965 that the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) breed standard, as agreed to by several minor kennel clubs, was adopted.[1]

Description

Bouvier - 3 month old

Appearance

The Bouvier is a powerfully built compact rough coated dog of rugged appearance. It gives the impression of size and strength without clumsiness or heaviness. Perhaps its most notable feature is the impressive head which is accentuated by a heavy beard and mustache. The ears and tail of the Bouvier are traditionally cropped. The weight of males ranges from 100 to 120 pounds or 45 to 55 kilograms, slightly smaller for females.[citation needed] They are powerfully built, with a thick double coat, which can be fawn, black, grey brindle, or "pepper and salt" in color. Bouviers are sometimes considered non-shedding, but in fact do lose hair, like all dogs. Most of the hair that they lose is caught within the double coat which results in matting. They require weekly brushing and combing to maintain the coat. In addition to weekly brushing, the coat should be trimmed approximately every 3-5 weeks if it is to be a show-dog. Trimming requires practice to achieve the proper look.

Temperament

Bouvier des Flandres closeup

Bouviers des Flandres are rational, gentle, loyal, and protective in nature. The breed's particular blend of characteristics makes them good family pets, as well as keen guard dogs. Unlike some animals bred for aggressive nature and power, the Bouvier possesses sophisticated traits, such as complex control, intelligence, and accountability.

The Bouvier des Flandres is an obedient dog with a pleasant nature. They look intimidating, but are actually calm and gentle. They are enthusiastic, responsible, even tempered, and fearless, and are excellent guard and watchdogs that are easy to train. This breed learns commands relatively fast.

They require well-balanced training that remains consistent in nature. It is important to consistently make the dog aware, without being harsh or rough, that the owner is, and will remain, the boss. This breed needs an experienced owner to prevent dominance and over-protectiveness problems.

Bouviers should be socialized well, preferably starting at an early age, to avoid shyness, suspiciousness, and being overly reserved with strangers (although the breed is naturally aloof with strangers). Protection of the family when danger is present is not something that needs to be taught, nor is it something one can train out of them. The dog will rise to the occasion if needed. A good family dog, the Bouvier likes, and is excellent with, children. The Bouvier is very adaptable and goes about its business quietly and calmly. Obedience training starts at an early age. Their behavior depends on the owner's ability to communicate what is expected, and on the individual dominance level of the dog. They are usually good with other dogs if they are raised with them from puppyhood. Dominant individuals can be dog-aggressive if the owners are not assertive and do not communicate to the dog that fighting is unwanted. Slow to mature both in body and mind, the Bouvier does not fully mature until the age of 2-3 years.

Famous Bouviers des Flandres

  • Lucky, pet of Ronald Reagan.
  • Patrasche, a Bouvier des Flandres found by a boy named Nello in A Dog of Flanders.
  • Max and his mate Madchen and their puppies, fictional characters featured in W.E.B. Griffin's Presidential Agent series.[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Pollet, Robert (2003). Bouvier Des Flandres. Editorial Hispano-Europea. ISBN 84-255-1470-3
  2. ^ http://www.webgriffin.com/president.html

External links








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