About the Bouvier
In 1965 the Belgians agreed on the official name being that of Bouvier des Flandres or Flemish Cow dog; but nowadays they are affectionately referred to as “Bouvier”. The Bouvier were originally bred as a farm dog undertaking tasks around the farm such as herding cattle, pulling carts and guarding. They have worked as service dogs during both the World Wars as messenger dogs, carting heavy artillery and carrying injured soldiers across the fields of Flanders.
The strict selection which has been exercised over the centuries has provided a Bouvier with an iron health, energetic temperament, and stoic character making him suitable as a guard and defensive dog. Despite its large appearances the Bouvier has excellent reflexes that makes him suitable for rescue work in the event of disasters or avalanches.
So, as you can see – indeed a very versatile breed.
The character of this dog is often described with such words as “courageous, clever and loyal”. He is often described as being aloof with strangers, but this is more him watching to determine between friend or foe and deciding independently if action needed if a member of his family is in danger. This means the ever-watchful behaviour of the Bouvier will not see him throw himself at every visitor that he sees.
Despite the size of the Bouvier he is a calm and docile dog and is at his happiest when he is with his family and such a wonderful family dog: devoted to protecting and guarding his family, including children. The Bouvier naturally trusts children and despite his size will approach them gently and carefully. There have been several times that Bouviers (apart from their family house mates) have not admitted other people to the room where a newborn baby was sleeping.
Don’t though be surprised though if you find him “herding” the children with nudges and barks
The Bouvier has a strong personality: He needs an owner who can teach him in a straightforward tenacious manner without treating the dog in a hard-authoritarian approach. It takes the Bouvier about three years before he is fully spiritually matured; and only then will the dog be able to express his impressive skills such as bravery and intelligence in a balanced way. He is then not only fully grown but has acquired sufficiently diverse experiences -but until he reaches this level of maturity his owner will have to be his guide and leader.
The young Bouvier naturally is inclined to want to be in charge but they must know from the beginning that YOU are the boss. This means that you must act the confident leader and consistently, albeit gently, enforce guidelines and training for the young Bouvier: All this helps to ensure that the young Bouvier grows up to be a well-rounded, confident and happy dog. Early Socialisation (like every other dog) is a must for the Bouvier with exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and other animals.
Anyone who manages to win the respect and affection of a Bouvier will find an excellent companion in him and a lifelong friend