The Bouvier has a high prey drive and well developed character. His strength, mass, gruff appearance, intelligence, fidelity to his master and attachment to all that belongs to the family, with whom he lives. The Bouvier is an extra ordinary guardian and protector of children and family, he is at the same time, their friend and playmate. Therefore, he must be taught at an early age what is expected of him and who is the leader of the “pack”.

They are also a herding animal and the natural instinct of herding will usually come through. That means that most Bouviers will herd other animals or small children. Bouviers usually will use a “body block” in which they use their body to move what they want. They have also been know to “nip” at heels to help others move along.

Some Bouviers will also be vocal in different situations.

Care Needed

The Bouvier des Flandres is a large, coated breed that requires a great deal of attention. They must be trained, groomed and exercised. Obedience training is a must. Bouvier’s learn with lightening speed, are capable of reasoning soundly on their own initiative and are eager to please. A combination that results in a breed that is easy to train to excel in many areas. But with the intelligence comes boredom if they are not continually challenged. They also will “think” before reacting.

They need a lot of room to play and should be walked daily. Grooming is also a major consideration. their non-shedding, non-allergetic coat, requires weekly grooming to prevent the undercoat from dropping out on the floor. Along with care on their nails, teeth and ears. Regular bathing and trimming are required. A trip to a professional groomer is required at a minimum several times a year, for most pet owners.

Health Issues

There are several health concerns to consider with all pure-bred dogs, the Bouvier des Flandres is no exception. As with most large breeds, hip dysplasia is the most prevalent, which is the malformation of the ball and socket of the hip joint. As it can be passed on to puppies from the parents, responsible breeders screen for this by x-raying their breeding stock and certifying them “clear” with either the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), Orthopedic Foundation of Animals (OFA) or PennHip, to prove each dog is clear of this problem.

Elbow dysplasia, heart conditions and thyroid problems are more common. The only way to prevent them is by genetic testing BOTH parents. Many of these problems can be tested for and certified clear with different organizations. Ask to see health certificates.

Bloat and gastric torsion involves a twisting of the stomach. It is seen in large deep bodied breeds of dogs. There are many guidelines to feeding you dog, but to date there is no known cause or solution for the problem.

Eye problems such as cataracts, entropion and glaucoma are also known to be hereditary and appear in the breed. Eye checks are used to screen for these problems and yearly clearance and certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) at Purdue University.

Although most breeders will perform genetic health tests to help minimize the risk of passing on any problems, sometimes something unforeseen will happen in a puppy. Be sure that your contact with the breeder covers genetic problems that may occur and what the breeder is willing to do in terms of guarantee.

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