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Bouvier Des Flandres

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Group Working Dogs (KC)

Origin / History The Bouvier Des Flandres originated in northern France and south-west Belgium. It was bred for the purpose of herding cows and oxen, which explains the reason behind its name 'bouvier', as this means cow-herder/ox-herder. During the second World War, these dogs decreased in number. Among those which survived was owned by a veterinarian of the Belgian Army, which gave birth to a number of dogs saving the breed from being extinct.

Nowadays, dogs of this breed continue to serve as military dogs, police dogs, therapy dogs, trackers, assistance dogs, and working farm dogs. They are also good as watchdogs, family companions, guardians, or for use on search and rescue missions.

Appearance Bouviers are compact dogs that sport rugged appearances. They look powerful and strong without seeming heavy or clumsy. Their have mustaches and beards that accentuate their heads. They have straight and muscular front legs, as well as deep chests. They sometimes have cropped tails and ears, although there are some countries that prohibit doing this. They have double coats consisting of a shaggy outer coat and a dense undercoat.

Colours These dogs have coats that come in colors of fawn, gray, black, brindle, and blonde. Blonde Bouviers are born dark, but lighten from their feet up as they grow older. Dogs that have blonde coats are not accepted in the show ring, whereas those having solid black coats are accepted, but not favored. The American Kennel Club also permits having markings of white on the chest.

Temperament Dogs of this breed are even-tempered, sensible, and calm, making them excellent family companions. However, they tend to be strong-willed, independent, and naturally dominant. As puppies, they may be boisterous, which explains why they are not recommended for families with very young children. They are not aggressive towards people, but they will bite if they sense that their family or property is in danger. They have great herding instincts, which can lead them to chase and nip at people or even vehicles.

Height and Weight They should be 58 - 69 cm in height and 27 - 41 Kg in weight.

Common Health Problems They are healthy dogs that have a high tolerance for pain. Even though they are considered hardy and rarely get ill, they can still get afflicted with eye problems such as cataracts and can also develop hip dysplasia.

Living Conditions Dogs of this breed will be relatively inactive when kept indoors, which is why it would be good that they have at least a large yard wherein they can do some activities. They can live inside apartments, but owners have to make sure that they will be able to provide their dogs with enough exercise.

Exercise Requirements Since these dogs are active and energetic, they need their daily dose of exercise. Owners must be careful not to overexert puppies, though, as this might damage their bones and joints. Adult dogs need to be taken out for long, brisk walks on a daily basis. It would also be good to make them run alongside a bicycle.

Training Requirements Owners must know that it is important that these dogs undergo continuous obedience training that has to be started while they are still young. Methods of positive reinforcement that are executed with consistency will bring good results. It is also essential that these dogs are properly socialized at an early age, as lack of socialization can lead to the development of inappropriate behaviors.

Life Expectancy These dogs usually live for as long as 10 to 12 years.

Grooming Grooming these dogs take a considerable amount of effort. The dog's shaggy coat must be brushed on a regular basis and must be trimmed at least thrice every year. The hair in between the pads of the dog's feet should also be trimmed. Excess hair inside the dog's ears should also be removed. These dogs should be treated with dry shampoo or bathed only when necessity calls for it.

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