Originating from Belgium, Bouvier des Flandres is French for “cowherd from Flanders”. It has also been called by other names: “koehond” (cow dog); “Vuilbaard” (meaning “dirty beard”); and “toucheur de boeuf” (meaning cattle driver). It was thought that the monks at the Ter Duinen monastery were its first breeders, crossing the Irish wolfhounds with local farm dogs. This large working dog stands 22 to 28 inches and weighs from 60 to 90 pounds. Its most distinct feature is its rough and shaggy double coat cut so that it appears like the dog has a thick beard and bushy eyebrows. Colours come in blonde, black, fawn, salt and pepper, gray or brindle. It has dark brown eyes that are oval in shape, ears that are triangular and set high, a tail that is also set high and usually docked and well-muscled back legs.
The breed was originally used for farm work - cattle droving, sheep herding and cart pulling. Nowadays, they are being used as guard and police dogs, and also as domestic pets. The Bouvier des Flandres is active and well-mannered, obedient and loyal to a fault. They are responsible, enthusiastic and fearless and excellent with children. They may appear to be intimidating at first, but they are usually calm and even-tempered. They are easy to train and learns commands fast. Once they learn a command, they will remember it for the rest of their lives. They shed very little hair despite the shaggy rough coat and thus make good pets for allergy sufferers.