The Bouvier des Flandres

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History of the Bouvier des Flandres

A doctor at the Veterinary School of Brussels, Adolphe Reul, can be credited with recognizing the good qualities of the Bouvier des Flandres breed.

This breed was originally found on the French northern plain in Southwest Flanders, and it was often kept by cattlemen. The name is therefore likely derived from "Bouvier" which is French for "oxherd" or "cowherd," and the location at which the breed originated. These cattle merchants were more interested in developing a hard-working cattle driver than in pedigreed dogs, so the early Bouvier wasn't consistent in its appearance.

While the derivation of the Bouvier is not well documented, some believe that its ancestors may have included the sheepdog, the mastiff, and perhaps some spaniel. Others claim that the dog may be a cross of the Beauceron and the Griffon. This breed was known by many different names at first, including: "koehond" meaning cow dog, "vuilbaard" meaning dirty beard, and "toucheur de boeuf" meaning cattle driver.

While a standard for the breed was not adopted until 1912, it is documented that the Société Royale St. Hubert recognized the Bouvier des Flandres when it appeared in May of 1910 at the Brussels International Dog Show. Unfortunately, the breed underwent a dramatic drop in numbers during World War I because the areas in which the dog was primarily found were destroyed. Many of the dogs that survived were taken by the Germans, but a few others successfully survived the war with their owners.

Credit for the revitalization of the breed can be given to a Bouvier that lived with the Belgian army. Named Ch. Nic de Sottegem, this dog was entered into the Olympic show in Antwerp in 1920. Nic died in 1926, but he left several descendants, many of which appear named in almost every modern pedigree.

Recognized by the AKC in 1929, the Bouvier was then admitted to the Stud Book in 1931. The breed was imported into the United States from Europe by American fanciers until World War II; and in 1963, the American Bouvier des Flandres Club was established.

While the Bouvier has not enjoyed much popularity in this country, it is well-known at dog shows, and it has been known for its use in search and rescue efforts and as a guide for the blind.

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Based on the limited number of suitable Bouvier des Flandres which meet our high standards, we offer only 2 to 4 fully trained adult dogs for sale each year. Select German Imported puppies are available with advanced approval by reservation. To make a reservation, please apply here.

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