The Bouvier des Flandres is a herding dog breed originating in Flanders. They were originally used for general farmwork including cattle droving, sheep herding, and cart pulling, and nowadays as guard dogs and police dogs, as well as being kept as pets. The French name of the breed means, literally, "Cow Herder of Flanders", referring to the Flemish origin of the breed. Other names for the breed are Toucheur de Boeuf (cattle driver) and Vuilbaard (dirty beard).
Bouviers des Flandres are rational, gentle, loyal, and protective by nature. The breed's particular blend of characteristics makes them good family pets, as well as keen guard dogs. Unlike some animals bred for aggressive nature and power, the Bouvier possesses sophisticated traits, such as complex control, intelligence, and accountability.
The Bouvier des Flandres is an obedient dog with a pleasant nature. They look intimidating, but are actually calm and gentle. They are enthusiastic, responsible, even-tempered, and fearless, and are excellent guard and watchdogs that are easy to train. This breed learns commands relatively fast. However Bouviers get bored easily and learn best when repetition is limited.
The Bouvier is a powerfully built compact rough coated dog of rugged appearance. It gives the impression of size and strength without clumsiness or heaviness. Perhaps its most notable feature is the impressive head which is accentuated by a heavy beard and mustache. The ears and tail of the Bouvier are traditionally cropped for cosmetic reasons, even though the practice of cosmetic docking is currently opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The weight of males ranges from 80 to 120 pounds or 36 to 54 kilograms, slightly smaller for females. They are powerfully built, with a thick double coat, which can be fawn, black, grey brindle, or "pepper and salt" in color. Bouviers are sometimes considered non-shedding, but in fact do lose hair, like all dogs. Most of the hair that they lose is caught within the double coat which results in matting. They require weekly brushing and combing to maintain the coat. In addition to weekly brushing, the coat should be trimmed approximately every 3–5 weeks if it is to be a show dog. Trimming requires practice to achieve the proper look.