Guild of Shepherds & Collies

This Herding Breed is a Belgian Beauty

belgian beautyThe Bouvier des Flandres is a herding breed recommended for experienced owners only.

With its heavy build, large, upright ears and shaggy coat, the Bouvier des Flandres is a standout among herding breeds. They are generally steady and calm, unlike some other herding breeds, such as the Border Collie and Australian Shepherd, which are intense and highly active.

The Bouvier des Flandres was developed in Belgium to herd livestock, work around the farm, and guard home and family. To protect the from farm predators, the ears were cropped and tail docked. The harsh, tousled double coat kept the safe from inclement weather. Bouviers come in a variety of colors, from fawn to black to salt and pepper, to gray, and brindle. The first Bouviers brought to the United States arrived in the 1920s. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1931.

The Bouvier requires a fair amount of grooming. Their coat doesn’t really shed, but hairs become trapped in the coat, which must be brushed out regularly to prevent mats. Thoroughly brush and comb down to the skin at least once a week and take your Bouvier to a professional groomer to be trimmed every few months.

Today, Bouviers are still employed as talented farm dogs, and are even used in police work and as guide dogs for the blind. Even if a Bouvier’s main job is a faithful family companion, be sure to provide enough exercise and mental stimulation to keep your dog happy and healthy.

Some Bouvier owners enjoy competing with their dogs in obedience or herding trials. Although not all Bouviers demonstrate the instinct to herd, those that do use a variety of herding styles.

Bouviers are not typically recommended for first-time dog owners, though. They need experienced leaders who enjoy training an intelligent and somewhat challenging dog. Weighing in anywhere from 70 to 110 pounds, Bouviers are large, powerful, headstrong dogs that require owners who can provide firm, consistent leadership and early socialization with other people and dogs. Do not train a Bouvier with a heavy hand - positive training methods, using lots of praise, garner the best results.

Although a well-socialized Bouvier can get along with respectful children and other dogs, cats and other small pets might prove to be too tempting for the Bouvier’s instinct to chase.

The Bouvier might be a challenging dog, but in the right hands, it’s a loyal, fearless companion, and breed fanciers think no other dog can compare.

Article By:
Jackie Brown

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