As tempting as it is to expound on my favourite subject, I will try to keep this succinct and useful. At the end of this page, you’ll find some links to respected histories, discussions and breed standards.
The character of a Bouvier
The Bouvier Des Flandres is a practical, no-nonsense working breed, developed by farmers in the Flandres region. Bred to withstand a cold harsh climate and the rigours of an all-purpose farm dog.
The word “Bouvier” simply relates to cattle work. However, the Bouvier Des Flandres was expected to be a lot more. A herder, a guardian, draft dog and a “jack of all trades”. With robust constitution and intelligent sane temperament taking precedence over any beauty requirements.
The calm courage, reasoning ability, agility, and strength also brought the breed into regular use in security work. This remains to this day one of the popular professions for the breed, both competitively and in the Forces.
The breed suffered almost to the point of extinction during both World Wars. Where it’s rugged strength and stoicism were called upon to work alongside allied forces as a stretcher-bearer, draft dog and messenger. By the end of the 1940’s only a handful of Bouviers remained.
Thankfully the breed is now in safe numbers. However in the UK & Ireland can still be considered a minority breed, with few litters born each year and only a handful of Show Kennels Nation Wide.
The modern-day professions of the Bouvier Des Flandres have changed with farming practices. Today these range across Loyal Family companion, Show Dog, Agility Dog, IPO / Schutzhund, Tracking, Trick Dog, Health detection, Assistance Dog, Nanny, Obedience competition, herding competition, Carting, Security dog and even gun dog/deerstalker. Although no longer often used as a cattle herder, the breed has still retained full herding instincts and the ability to turn its hand to anything.