Bouvier des Flandres

The Bouvier des Flandres was originally bred to be a versatile farm dog. He helped farmers in a multitude of tasks, including herding livestock (particularly cattle), pulling carts, and guarding. The hard-working and intelligent Bouvier is still an ideal farm dog, as well as a capable service, assistance, law enforcement, and guard dog. And while you can also find him competing in obedience, agility, and herding trials, serving as family companion is the role that seems to suit him best.

See below for complete list of Bouvier des Flandres characteristics!

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Breed Characteristics:

Adaptability
Adapts Well to Apartment Living3More info +

Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn't necessarily an apartment dog make — plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents, are all good qualities in an apartment dog.

See Dogs Not Well Suited to Apartment Living

Good For Novice Owners2More info +

Some dogs are simply easier than others: they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They're also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies. Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time owner to manage. You'll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.

See Dogs That Are Good For Experienced Owners

Sensitivity Level4More info +

Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called "easygoing," "tolerant," "resilient," and even "thick-skinned," can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.

See Dogs That Have Low Sensitivity Levels

Tolerates Being Alone2More info +

Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive, barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.

See Dogs Poorly Suited To Be Alone

Tolerates Cold Weather4More info +

Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.

See Dogs Poorly Suited For Cold Weather

Tolerates Hot Weather2More info +

Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, the dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you'll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.

See Dogs Poorly Suited For Hot Weather

All Around Friendliness
Affectionate with Family5More info +

Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they've been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family

Incredibly Kid Friendly Dogs5More info +

Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who's on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (aka pit bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren't so family-friendly.

**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.

See Dogs Not Kid Friendly

Dog Friendly2More info +

Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs even if they're love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.

See Dogs That Are Not Dog Friendly

Friendly Toward Strangers2More info +

Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with a wagging tail and a nuzzle; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult.

See Dogs That Are More Shy

Health Grooming
Amount Of Shedding1More info +

If you're going to share your home with a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds: Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally -- produce a snowstorm of loose hair -- some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.

See Dogs That Shed Very Little

Drooling Potential1More info +

Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you're a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.

See Dogs That Are Not Big Droolers

Easy To Groom2More info +

Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog that needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.

See Dogs That Require More Grooming

General Health3More info +

Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're buying a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in, so you can ask the breeder about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.

See Dogs More Prone To Health Problems

Potential For Weight Gain4More info +

Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that's prone to packing on pounds, you'll need to limit treats, make sure he gets enough exercise, and measure out his daily kibble in regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.

Size4More info +

Dogs come in all sizes, from the world's smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if he is compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right large dog for you!

See Medium Dogs

See Small Dogs

Trainability
Easy To Train5More info +

Easy to train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word "sit"), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training. Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a "What's in it for me?" attitude, in which case you'll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.

See Dogs That Are Challenging To Train

Intelligence4More info +

Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work -- usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

See Dogs That Have Low Intelligence

Potential For Mouthiness2More info +

Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.

Prey Drive2More info +

Dogs that were bred to hunt, such as terriers, have an inborn desire to chase and sometimes kill other animals. Anything whizzing by — cats, squirrels, perhaps even cars — can trigger that instinct. Dogs that like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase, but you'll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.

See Dogs That Have Low Prey Drive

Tendency To Bark Or Howl4More info +

Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the dog vocalizes — with barks or howls — and how often. If you're considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you're considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious "strangers" put him on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby?

See Dogs That Are Mostly Quiet

Wanderlust Potential2More info +

Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they'll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses, or that bunny that just ran across the path, even if it means leaving you behind.

See Dogs Less Prone To Wander

Exercise Needs
Energy Level4More info +

High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they're more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells. Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you'll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.

See Dogs That Have Low Energy

Intensity5More info +

A vigorous dog may or may not be high-energy, but everything he does, he does with vigor: he strains on the leash (until you train him not to), tries to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who's elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.

See Dogs With Low Intensity

Exercise Needs4More info +

Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.

See Dogs That Don't Need Tons of Exercise

Potential For Playfulness4More info +

Some dogs are perpetual puppies -- always begging for a game -- while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.

See Dogs That Are Less Playfull

Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group: Herding Dogs
Height: 1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 4 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 70 to 100 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 12 years
  • With his tousled coat and powerful build, the Bouvier des Flandres embodies a rugged adventurer packed with strength, endurance, and vigor. Originally bred to be a hard-working farm dog, he aslo makes a great family pet who thrives among the people he loves. While his appearance is striking, the appeal of this dog is often found in his intelligent and serene nature.

    As a member of the Herding Group, he has a tendency to herd moving objects, including children, people on bikes, and joggers. He is naturally protective of his "flock," and will defend his family should the need arise. However, he is not aggressive without cause.

    Fearless and confident with a strong personality, the Bouvier is a natural athlete outdoors, but he is also happy hanging out with you inside. While not terribly high-energy, he does need vigorous exercise to keep healthy. He can live comfortably in small quarters, such as a condo or apartment, but it's important he is walked or exercised several times a day.

    The Bouvier does well with training and generally learns quickly. Still, since he can be strong-willed and sometimes stubborn, he's not recommended for first-time or timid owners. Neither is he recommended for owners who can't stand a mess. His shaggy coat is a mud-burr-dirt magnet so he's prone to tracking dirt and debris throughout the house. Perhaps most annoying is his amazingly odiferous flatulence.

    For those, however, who embrace his strong personality, extreme grooming needs, large size, and protective nature, the Bouvier can be a great choice.

  • Highlights

    • The Bouvier is not recommended for fastidious people who can't stand a mess. Although he can be tidied up with a significant amount of elbow grease, his coat tends to collect dirt and debris, which in turn is deposited throughout your house.
    • Not surprisingly, the Bouvier requires a lot of grooming — which can be time-intensive and/or expensive.
    • Because of his assertive personality, this breed is not recommended for first-time dog owners.
    • The Bouvier's size, herding instinct, and strong personality make leash training highly advisable.
    • The Bouvier is happiest when he is with his family.
  • History

    As you might expect, the Bouvier des Flandres originates from the European region of Flandres, and the name means either "cow herder" or "ox herder from Flandres."

    A versatile farm dog, the Bouvier was used to herd cattle, guard the herd, pull carts, and help the farmer and his family in a multitude of tasks. The development of the working Bouvier seemed to be a matter of practicality. His exact ancestry is unknown, but he may be descended from early Sheepdogs, the Dutch Griffon, and the Barbet.

    The Bouvier worked as a service dog during both World Wars, and was also used as a messenger, a sentry (especially by the United States military), and a search dog to locate ammunition and mines.

    The first standard for the Bouvier was developed in 1912 by the vice president of the Club St. Hubert du Nord in Europe. The Bouvier came to the United States in the 1920s, and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1929.

    The breed's working heritage is highly prized. In Belgium, a Bouvier cannot win the title of conformation champion unless he has also proven himself as a working dog.

  • Size

    Males stand about 26 inches tall and females stand about 25 inches tall. Weight varies from 70 to 100 pounds.

  • Personality

    The Bouvier is known for being intelligent, protective, and strong willed. Not surprisingly, this herding dog likes to gather and protect his flock.

    He is deeply attached and devoted to his family, and happiest when he's a part of the action. Left alone for long periods of time, he's like to get bored — and resort to annoying behaviors like barking, chasing, and chewing — as well as become very unhappy.

    The Bouvier maintains a stiff upper lip, however, when it comes to showing affection for his family. He is not likely to jump for joy, Golden Retriever-style, when you return home, but is more likely to quietly show his devotion by curling up at your feet.

    The Bouvier has a strong personality: He needs an owner who can kindly and consistently show leadership, otherwise, he's likely to fill the void. This doesn't mean you should take a drill sergeant approach, but you must act the confident leader and consistently, albeit gently, enforce guidelines.

    Like every dog, the Bouvier needs early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when young. Socialization helps ensure that your Bouvier puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.

    Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.

  • Health

    Bouviers are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Bouviers will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.

    • Hip Dysplasia: This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don't display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred — so if you're buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
    • Elbow Dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, this is also a degenerative disease. It's believed to be caused by abnormal growth and development, which results in a malformed and weakned joint. The disease varies in severity: the dog could simpy develop arthritis, or he could become lame. Treatment includes surgery, weight management, medical management, and anti-inflammatory medication.
    • Cataracts: Cataracts cause opacity on the lens of the eye, resulting in poor vision. The dog's eye(s) will have a cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur in old age and sometimes can be surgically removed to improve vision.
    • Cancer: Symptoms that may indicate canine cancer include abnormal swelling of a sore or bump, sores that do not heal, bleeding from any body opening, and difficulty with breathing or elimination. Treatments for cancer include chemotherapy, surgery, and medications.
    • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is defined by an increased pressure in the eye, and can be found in two forms: primary, which is hereditary, and secondary, which is caused by decreased fluid in the eye due to other eye diseases. Symptoms include vision loss and pain, and treatment and prognosis vary depending on the type. Glaucoma is treated surgically or with eye drops.
    • Entropion: This is the inward rolling of the eyelid, usually the lower one, and found in both eyes. It causes vision loss and irritation, and generally occurs before a dog turns a year old. Corrective surgery when the dog reaches adulthood is an effective treatment.
    • Ectropion: Another eye condition, Ectropion is the rolling out or sagging of the eyelid, leaving the eye exposed and prone to irritations and infection. If severe, surgery is required, but in mild cases, no treatment is necessary.
    • Hypothyroidism: This is a disorder of the thyroid gland. It's thought to be responsible for conditions such as epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin conditions. It is treated with medication and diet.
    • Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a neurological condition that's often, but not always, inherited. It can cause mild or severe seizures that may show themselves as unusual behavior (such as running frantically as if being chased, staggering, or hiding) or even by falling down, limbs rigid, and losing consciousness. Seizures are frightening to watch, but the long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally very good. It's important to take your dog to the vet for proper diagnosis (especially since seizures can have other causes) and treatment.
    • Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis: This is a heart problem is caused by an abnormally narrow connection between the left ventricle and the aorta. Fainting is the main symptom, eventually leading to heart failure and death. Your vet can detect it and prescribe the proper treatment.
    • Gastric Torsion: Also called bloat, this is a life-threatening condition that can affect large, deep-chested dogs such as Bouviers. This is especially true if they are fed one large meal a day, eat rapidly, drink large volumes of water after eating, and exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat is more common among older dogs. GDV occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists (torsion). The dog is unable to belch or vomit to rid himself of the excess air in the stomach, and the normal return of blood to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die. Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen and is salivating excessively and retching without throwing up. He also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak, with a rapid heart rate. It's important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you see these signs.
    • Addison's Disease: Also known as hypoadrenocorticism, this is an extremely serious condition caused by an insufficient production of adrenal hormones by the adrenal gland. Symptoms include vomiting, a poor appetite, and lethargy. Because these signs are vague and can be mistaken for other conditions, it's easy to misdiagnose until it reaches more advanced stages. More severe symptoms occur when a dog is stressed or when potassium levels get high enough to interfere with heart function, causing severe shock and death. If Addison's is suspected, your vet may perform a series of tests to confirm the diagnosis.
    • Cushing's Disease: Also known as hyperadrenocorticism, this condition sets in when the body produces too much cortisol, sometimes due to an imbalance of the pituitary or adrenal gland. Common signs are excessive drinking and urination. If your Bouvier exhibits these two symptoms, take him to the veterinarian. Treatments include surgery and medication.

    If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.

    In Bouviers, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).

  • Care

    The Bouvier des Flandres is happy to lie around the house and enjoy the luxuries of companionship. He isn't highly active, but he does need regular exercise. He lives comfortably in the city or country.

    You'll need to take special care if you're raising a Bouvier puppy. Like other large breeds, the Bouvier grows very rapidly between the age of four and seven months, making him susceptible to bone disorders. Don't let your Bouvier puppy run and play on very hard surfaces such as pavement or pull a cart until he's full grown and his joints are fully formed. Normal play on grass is fine, as is puppy agility play, with its one-inch jumps.

    Training should begin the day you bring your Bouvier puppy home. He is generally eager to please so training is fairly easy. But he can be stubborn, so owners must be consistent and firm to overcome his dominant personality.

    Another important step in training a Bouvier des Flandres puppy is socialization. Socialization is the process by which puppies or adults dogs learn how to be friendly and get along with other dogs and people.

    The Bouvier can be suspicious of strangers and very protective of his family — good qualities for a herding dog. Socialization will prevent him from becoming overly shy or protective. You can take the Bouvier puppy to many places that allow dogs, like pet supply and building supply stores to familiarize the dog to strangers and unfamiliar situations. Puppy training classes are highly recommended.

    Crate training is an important aid in housetraining, and it keeps the Bouvier safe and out of trouble when you are away from home. But he shouldn't spend more than a few hours at a time in it except when he's sleeping at night. Bouviers aren't meant to spend their lives locked up in a crate or kennel.

    Leash training is a must with the Bouvier. Although the breed is not known for wandering off, he is known for a strong herding drive. He may be unable to resist the temptation to chase people on bikes, cars, or other animals, which can endanger him and others.

    Tail docking is usually done when pups are very young. You can choose to crop his ears, or not. It requires surgery and several months of care after. If you like the look of cropped ears, factor in the care and expense, as well.

  • Feeding

    Recommended daily amount: 3 to 5 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.

    You'll need to take special care if you're raising a Bouvier puppy. Like other large breeds, the Bouvier grows very rapidly between the age of four and seven months, making him susceptible to bone disorders. Feed your puppy a high-quality, low-calorie diet that keeps him from growing too fast (22 to 24 percent protein and 12 to 15 percent fat).

    NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.

    Keep your Bouvier in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test.

    First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise.

    For more on feeding your Bouvier, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.

  • Coat Color And Grooming

    The Bouvier des Flandres is blessed (or cursed, depending on you look at it) with a weather-resistant double coat. The outer coat is coarse and long; the undercoat is fine and dense. It appears in several colors, including fawn, black, salt and pepper, and brindle, and sometimes a white star is found on the chest.

    While he doesn't shed excessively, the handsome Bouvier does require quite a bit of grooming to keep his coat looking good. (It is important to begin this process when the Bouvier is a young puppy so he learns to accept grooming as a normal part of life.)

    His Dutch nickname, Vuilbaard, means "dirty beard," and like all dogs with a fluffy coat, the Bouvier gets grubby fairly easily. Expect muddy paws, leaves or burrs, feces on the hindquarters, or a wet, dirty beard.

    The Bouvier's thick coat needs to be brushed several times a week, and it's a great idea to check the coat for burrs, ticks, or weeds every day. Bathe him every six to eight weeks, and trim his coat every few months. Many owners hire a professional to groom their Bouvier, though you still need to brush thoroughly on a very regular basis. If you are considering the Bouvier, consider the time and/or expense required for his upkeep.

    Brush your Bouvier's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

    Trim his nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. So, if you're not experienced trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers.

    His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don't insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.

    Begin accustoming your Bouvier to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.

    As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

  • Children And Other Pets

    The Bouvier is a wonderful family dog who is devoted and protective with his family, including children. He may wish to herd his children with nudges and barks.

    To best teach him to get along with kids, he should be raised with them or, if he doesn't live with them, he should be exposed to children as he grows up.

    As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

    The Bouvier should be raised with other dogs and animals for the best chance at getting along with them when he grows up. If he is socialized and trained properly, he usually just ignores other animals in his household. Buy hid instinct to herd and chase is strong, supervision is always a good idea.

  • Rescue Groups

    Bouviers are often acquired without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Bouviers in need of adoption and or fostering. If you don't see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a Bouvier rescue.

  • Breed Organizations

    Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about the Bouviers.