Bouvier Des Flandres - Information and NZ Breed Standards

Membership ID

Bouvier Des Flandres

General Information - Bouvier Des Flandres



10-12 years




Watchdog Ability:
Very high

Protection Ability:
Very high

Area of Origin:

Date of Origin:

Other Names:
Belgian Cattle Dog, Vlaamse Koehund

Original Function:
Cattle herding


The Bouvier Des Flandres is also known as the Belgian Cattle Dog or the Vlaamse Koehund, (and sometimes Dirty Beard!). This dog takes its name from its place of origin, the plains of Flanders in Belgium; and the French word 'bouvier' means herdsman. However, not much more information exists about its ancestral origins. Some claim it descended from the Schnauzer, while others suggest the breed is a mix of several European herding breeds, the Flemish Cattle Dogs in particular. Although its history is vague, its value as a working dog has never been questioned, whether it be herding, guarding the farm, or cart pulling. Before the Machine Age, the Bouvier was used to drive cattle to market, and later, the strong and capable dog proved its merit on the battlefields of WWI and WWII. The breed is still used for police and protection work. A breed standard was not agreed upon until 1922, and since then the breed has found favour all over the world. It was introduced to New Zealand in the mid 1970s. The breed has been promoted by a few, loyal, dedicated Bouvier fanciers to the extent that through their efforts there are currently several hundred in New Zealand. It carries a characteristically heavy beard, moustache, and eyebrows. The Bouvier is well adapted to family living but requires regular outdoor activity; it is also still used for herding and security.


Intelligent and obedient Bouvier Des Flandres looks mean but in reality is calm and gentle. They are excellent at learning and once they learn a command the will remember it their entire lives. Bouvier Des Flandres are known for their loyalty. They require an experienced handler and are often protective of their families. Bouvier Des Flandres do not reach adulthood until they are 2-3 years old.


The Bouvier Des Flandres is not a breed that can be put aside until the mood strikes to play with it. It needs daily exercise and daily interaction, and a lot of both. It loves the chance to herd, but its requirements can also be met with a good jog, a very long walk or a vigorous play session. It can live outdoors in temperate to cool climates. It makes a good house dog, however, and would prefer access to both house and yard. Its harsh coat needs combing once or twice weekly, plus scissoring and shaping (clipping for pets and stripping for show dogs) every three months.

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