The Bouvier des Flandres is of herding dog breed known for its powerful, compact, and short-coupled built. It is rugged in appearance roughly coated with thick, rough and dense hairs. This particular dog is full of amazing contradictions. He gives the impression of a dog with great strength yet shows no signs of heaviness and clumsiness in his overall exterior. The harsh double coat protects the dog from all weather enabling him to carry out arduous tasks despite the threats of extreme temperatures and terrains. For this reason, he has served as an ambulance and messenger dog in some occasions. But that’s not all With his physical and mental capabilities, combined with his olfactory strengths, he is an effective tracking dog and a guide for the blind.
According to the breeding standard of this type, the dog’s ideal body is short in figure yet broad and powerful in built. The length (point of the shoulder to the tip of the buttocks) should be equal to the height
(the ground to the highest point of the withers). Aside from that, the chest is broad, with the brisket extending up to the elbow, while the ribs are deep and well sprung. The first ribs are slightly curved and the remaining ones are well sloped as the near the rear.
When it comes to his back structure, it is short, broad, well-muscled and overall supple. The top-line is on level while the flanks and loin are short and wide. The abdomen is only slightly tucked up.
The Bouvier des Flandres’ double coat is tousled which enables him to work even under the worst weather conditions. The outer coat is filled with hairs that are rough and harsh. On the other hand, the undercoat consists of fine, soft, and dense hairs. The owner may wish t trim the coat, but only slightly just to accent the dog’s body line. If a trim is really necessary, only cut it to a length of approximately 2 1/2 inches. Otherwise, over trimming alters his rugged appearance which is what this breed is known for Another reason is that the thick coat benefits him largely because it protects him from various weathers. Keep in mind that a coat that is too long or too short, for that matter, is not to be encouraged. Somewhere in the middle is best for the dog.
On the skull, the coat is short while the upper part of the back has slightly harsh and rough hairs, along with the ears. The undercoat is filled with a dense mass of fine, close, and thick hair. Combine that with the topcoat, this covering provides him a protection from winter and water. Giving him a rougher appearance, the moustache and beard have thick hairs as well, but the upper side of the muzzle has them shorter and rougher. The hairs on the eyebrow are erect which perfectly accentuates the shape of the eyes without covering them.
The colors range from fawn to black, which includes gray, salt and pepper, and brindle. A small white star on the chest is also allowed and no one color is more favored than the other.
One might mistake his agility, high spirit, and boldness as aggressiveness but his serene, well-behaved demeanor suggests otherwise. It shows a character that is steady, resolute and fearless. Likewise, his gaze is alert and brilliant which shows his intelligent and vigorous nature. In the earlier days, the Bouvier des Flandres showed his notable equability by working as a cattle herder and farmer’s helper. Generally, he assisted farmers by pulling carts of harvests and guarded him and the farm against intruders. These characteristics are embedded in his very nature which is why at present, he is still seen as an efficient and effective watchdog at the same time a family friend, guardian and protector.
The Bouvier des Flandres is proportioned overall allowing a free, proud and bold gait. The reach of the forequarters makes up for the agility and power of the hindquarters, which creates a great balance for his whole built. While moving a trot, the back of the dog remains firm and he goes on single-tracks as his speed increases. With this, the gait rationally demonstrates the structure and build of the Bouvier des Flandres.