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Bouvier des Flandres: nature, care and common diseases

Bouvier des Flanders

Bouvier des Flanders is known in Poland - probably due to the difficulty of pronunciation - as Flemish Sheepdog, or also Flemish herding dog.

He also had many nicknames in the region he comes from, where he was called "vuilbaard " (dirty beard), "koehond " (dog from cows) or "Toucheur de Boeuf " (cattle herder). It is a Franco-Belgian race, because this mysterious Flanders is a historical and geographical land located on the border of these two countries.

These dogs were mainly involved in guarding their belongings, accompanied merchants and shepherds in herding livestock to pastures, markets or slaughterhouses, and also proved to be an aid in the transport of goods.

After the First World War, the breed was decimated, but breeders rebuilt it and bouviers with all their power revealed themselves to the world during the Second World War, where they actively participated in the work of the army and border services, as couriers or smugglers slayers.

The first official standard was created in 1912. The AKC (American Kennel Club) recognized this breed in 1929. FCI accepted her a bit later, in 2000.

Bouvier was the main character of the popular m.in. in Great Britain, the United States, Korea and Japan of the novel "A Dog of Flanders " by Marie Louise de la Ramée and starred in the film "Town and country " known in Poland under the peculiar title "Romanssidło ".

According to the FCI classification, bouvier des flandres belongs to group 1 and is subject to working tests.

  • Bouvier des Flanders character
  • What the Bouvier des Flanders looks like?
  • Grooming a dog
  • Disease Bouvier des Flandres
    • Glaucoma
    • Chronic superficial keratitis
    • Hip dysplasia
    • Larynx paralysis
    • Aortic stenosis
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Stomach torsion
  • For whom Bouvier des Flandres will be the perfect dog?

Bouvier des Flanders character

Bouvier des Flanders character

Bouvier des Flanders was created as a working and guard dog and he performed this function successfully for many years.

Today it is primarily a family dog ​​guarding the home miracle, but years of activity and the need to perform tasks have left their mark on its character, hence they are animals requiring in terms of the amount of movement and attention provided to them.

Bouviers enjoy human contact and the relationship with their guardian seems very important to them.

These giants can be happy like children and jump with joy. They are characterized by a balanced attitude and a lack of aggression despite their threatening appearance.

However, they can be stubborn and independent, so they require intensive and consistent training and a tutor who will be able to deal with them.

What the Bouvier des Flanders looks like?

Breed description

Bouviers are large and massive dogs with a strong build and strong bones.


The height at the withers is approximately:

  • for male dogs 62-68 cm,
  • for females 59-65 cm.


Weight is about:

  • in the case of a dog 35-45 kg,
  • in the case of a bitch, 23-35 kg.

Bouvier des Flanders description of the breed

  • The head is quite distinctive, with spiky eyebrows, a long mustache and a thick beard, giving the dog a formidable appearance.
  • The stop is slightly marked, and the slightly convex bridge of the nose ends with a black truffle. The muzzle is strong and broad, not pointed.
  • Lips tightly fitting, pigmented.
  • Jaws strong with a full set of teeth in a scissor or pincer bite.
  • Oval eyes with a sharp and lively expression, as dark as possible.
  • Drooping and folded ears.
  • Neck strong and arched.
  • The torso is short and compact, the back is straight and well-muscled, flowing smoothly to the line of the croup.
  • The chest is deep, non-barrel shaped, and the belly is slightly tucked up.
  • The tail is set high.
  • Limbs well muscled, straight and parallel.
  • In motion, bouviers move smoothly and harmoniously in one plane.
  • The two-layer coat protects the dog against changing and difficult weather conditions.
    The outer coat is hard to the touch, dry and without shine.
    The undercoat is dense, soft and compact, creating a waterproof layer.



  • grey,
  • black,
  • fawn,
  • brindle.

Grooming a dog

Bouviers are undoubtedly impressive in the show ring, but to achieve such a look, unfortunately you have to work hard.

Dogs shed little, but the hair tends to feel felted and tangled if not regularly brushed.

This nursing activity should take us about an hour, because the hair is very dense.

A dog's hard hair brush and blunt trimmer scissors will be useful. We can trim the dog ourselves or hand it over to a specialist.

We use the bath as needed. Particular attention should be paid to the hygiene of the beard and mustache, which are dirty and wet after each meal or drink, so our carpets or clothes may suffer if the pooch suddenly wants to hug us.

Disease Bouvier des Flandres

Disease Bouvier des Flandres


Glaucoma is a disease that results from a reduced outflow of aqueous humor from the eyeball, which causes an increase in intraocular pressure.

We call glaucoma associated with racial predisposition primary.

It affects both eyes and is most often the result of a closed angle of percolation.

The precursor to this condition is the presence of pigmented tissue on the iris.

An acute attack of glaucoma is an emergency and manifests itself as:

  • lack of pupil response to light,
  • hyperemia of subdural vessels,
  • enlargement and painfulness of the eyeball.

In chronic glaucoma, the volume of the eyeball also increases, and additionally there is:

  • lens dislocation,
  • retinal degeneration,
  • concavity of the optic disc with consequent complete loss of vision.

The diagnosis is made on the basis of the measurement of the pressure in the eye and the assessment of the structure of the tidal angle.

Primary glaucoma is difficult to treat pharmacologically and often decisions are made to undergo surgery in a specialist clinic.

Chronic superficial keratitis

Chronic superficial keratitis is an inflammatory disease, probably arising from an autoimmune background, and the predisposing factor is increased exposure to UV radiation.

It always occurs on both sides and can lead to a complete loss of vision.

On the surface of the cornea, pigment is deposited and vascularized, which results in a loss of translucency.

Deposits can also be observed cholesterol on the cornea in the form of white spots.

If symptoms occur in young animals, the course of the disease is usually quick and difficult to control. Inflammation is easier to treat in older dogs.

Treatment is based on the topical application of immunosuppressive drugs, after prior exclusion of corneal damage. This therapy often requires a lifetime continuation.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary disease affecting the vast majority of large and giant breed dogs due to the rapid growth rate.

It consists in defective connection and shaping of the structures of the hip joint.

However, it depends not only on genes, but also on additional factors, such as:

  • eating mistakes,
  • excessive exercise in growing animals.

All puppies are born with normal hips, and this condition develops as a result of an imbalance in bone, joint and muscle development. As a result, there is deformation of the hip joint and chronic inflammation within it.

The first signs of the disease may appear in puppies, and these are the most common:

  • lameness,
  • reluctance to move,
  • lying down.

The animal also manifests soreness when manipulated in the hip joint area.

The confirmation of the suspicion of HD is a clinical examination by a veterinarian and an X-ray image under sedation.

If dysplasia is diagnosed, the doctor decides the type of treatment that can be given to the animal. It is advisable to take preventive X-ray pictures in puppies after 5 months of age, even if they showed no symptoms of lameness and their parents had a grade A.

Little advanced dysplastic conditions in young dogs may not yet show clinical symptoms visible to the caregiver, and the range of treatment methods is much greater in them than in the case of older dogs, where the most frequently used and the only treatment at this age is anti-inflammatory and analgesic treatment.

In recent years, many other non-invasive methods have been introduced, related to the use of stem cells, IRAP or PRP.

Larynx paralysis

Laryngitis in bouvier is a genetic birth defect.

Its essence is the dysfunction of the laryngeal motor neurons, which leads to dysfunction of the laryngeal cartilage and vocal folds.

The first symptoms can already be observed in 4-month-old puppies.

First he shows up hoarse or loss of voice, and then:

  • cough,
  • dyspnoea,
  • weakness.

Symptoms worsen after exercise.

It often comes to aspiration pneumonia due to aspiration of food into the respiratory tract.

The diagnosis is made with endoscopic examination.

Emergency treatment (during an attack) is sedation, and ultimately a surgical solution.

Aortic stenosis

Aortic stenosis is an inherited disease that is based on a reduction in the diameter of the aorta at, above, or below the aortic valve.

In breed dogs Bouvier des Flanders we are dealing with a sub-valvular stenosis.

The blood is drained by the aorta from the left ventricle to the periphery, hence the narrowing of the vessel, hinders the outflow of blood from the heart.

Symptoms of circulatory failure in this case are mainly:

  • exercise intolerance,
  • weakness,
  • swoon,
  • and even sudden death.

Systolic murmurs are audible and confirmed by examination echocardiography.

Treatment is symptomatic and consists in the use of anti-arrhythmic drugs and drugs that improve blood supply and oxygenation of the heart muscle.


Hypothyroidism is a disease to which many breeds are predisposed, one of which is the bouviers.

The essence of this disease, as in humans, is the reduced secretion of hormones - thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which are responsible for the regulation of metabolism.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is lymphocytic thyroiditis, and then:

  • idiopathic thyroid atrophy,
  • neoplastic changes,
  • congenital underdevelopment of this endocrine gland.

The symptoms of the disease are diverse, initially not very characteristic, which means that they can be ignored by the dog's guardian.

These include:.in:

  • seborrhea,
  • otitis externa,
  • poor coat quality,
  • apathy,
  • panting,
  • increased thirst and urine output,
  • obesity,
  • no estrus,
  • muscle weakness, as well as many others.

The diagnosis is based on a blood test with the determination of hormones (T4, fT4) and released by the pituitary gland thyrotropin (TSH).

Treatment is carried out chronically until the end of life with the help of supplementation synthetic levothyroxine in tablets. The dose must be selected individually for each patient.

For the correct regulation of hypothyroidism, control blood tests are necessary - the first approximately 6 weeks after starting therapy, and another Every 6 months.

Stomach torsion

Gastric dilation is a sudden widening of the stomach caused by the accumulation of fluids, food, or gases from easily fermentable foods.

This is usually caused by eating too greedy or consuming too much food at once, as well as intense exercise shortly after eating.

The dog becomes restless, panting and the outline of his abdominal cavity increases significantly.

A complication of dilatation is gastric torsion, which is manifested by:

  • attempts to vomit,
  • belching,
  • drooling.

The twist of the stomach can lead to shock.

In the case of gastric dilatation, its puncture is performed to release the accumulated gases, while in the case of twisting, the fastest possible surgical intervention is necessary, because it is a life-threatening condition.

For whom Bouvier des Flandres will be the perfect dog?

Bouviers, despite being versatile dogs, are not suitable for everyone. Their guardian must first of all be an active person and one who will have time for him.

This time is needed not only to care for its demanding coat, or to ensure the right amount and quality of movement, but most of all to build a bond with the pet so that it does not feel isolated and lonely.

If the dog spends the whole day in the garden alone, despite a certain amount of activity, which he is able to provide himself, he is unlikely to be happy.

When we play sports, jogging or walking with him, he can be kept even in a small apartment and enjoy family life, observing his herd and, if necessary, protecting it from danger.

Bouviers tolerate and like children, but play with them, due to the size of the dog, should be supervised. Also due to these sizes, it is worth starting early puppy training in order to be able to keep it under control in the future.

These dogs are certainly not suitable for people who care about cleanliness at home, because bouviers like to bring sand and mud from the court.

Also the way of eating and drinking, where food remnants and drops of water cover their beard and mustache, can give the perfect housewife a heart attack.

When deciding on a large-breed dog, you should also remember about the financial issue, because such animals are more expensive to maintain, and in addition, drugs or prophylactic preparations are converted into body weight, which automatically involves a greater cost of veterinary medical care.

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