If a robust, outdoorsy, but mild-mannered type of canine sounds like an appealing addition to your household, the Belgian dog breed Bouvier des Flandres may just make a suitable pet for you. The large herding dogs, which are common fixtures on farms, tend to possess loyal and brave basic temperaments.
Bouvier des Flandres dogs generally are rather large in size, with males often tipping the scales at around 95 pounds. In terms of fur, the color variety includes black, brindle, gray, blonde, fawn, and a mixture of black and white. In some cases, Bouviers also sport small white chest patches. The double-coated dogs have wide muzzles, high ears, relatively long bearded faces, and usually thick and dense overall physiques. The coats are especially coarse and tough on top -- very helpful for keeping the herding dogs protected while working outdoors during unpleasant and extreme weather conditions. The lower coats have a smoother and softer feel.
The typical Bouvier temperament is docile and friendly. Bouvier des Flandres dogs are highly receptive to learning and taking on new commands. Other traits that often are associated with the dogs include tranquility, confidence, playfulness, loyalty, intelligence and bravery. Some of the dogs may have stubborn or aggressive streaks, however, so it's important to take that into consideration whenever small children and other pets are in the picture.
Dogs of the Bouvier breed usually are lively and full of vitality. Sufficient physical exercise not only is integral for the health and well-being of the dogs, but also for keeping their temperaments mellow, laid-back and placid. The farm dogs require ample physical exercise on a daily basis, although they usually aren't particularly rambunctious while indoors. Because of the need for significant physical activity, Bouvier des Flandres dogs typically thrive when residing in suburban or rural settings rather than in large cities.
Although it always varies depending on individual factors and circumstances, Bouvier des Flandres dogs, on average, usually have life expectancies of anywhere between 10 and 12 years in age. Of course, some Bouviers live much longer than that, while others may not even make a full decade. The breed, although basically robust and healthy, also sometimes is vulnerable to certain medical ailments, such as cataracts, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, gastric torsion and others. As with any breed, frequent visits to the veterinarian are an absolute must, from birth into the senior years.
By Naomi Millburn
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.