The Bouvier des Flandres is a powerfully built, compact, short-coupled, rough-coated
dog of notably rugged appearance. He gives the impression of great strength without any
sign of heaviness or clumsiness in his overall makeup. He is agile, spirited and bold, yet
his serene, well behaved disposition denotes his steady, resolute and fearless character.
His gaze is alert and brilliant, depicting his intelligence, vigor and daring. By nature
he is an equable dog. His origin is that of a cattle herder and general farmer's helper,
including cart pulling. He is an ideal farm dog. His harsh double coat protects him in all
weather, enabling him to perform the most arduous tasks. He has been used as an ambulance
and messenger dog. Modern times find him as a watch and guard dog as well as a family
friend, guardian and protector. His physical and mental characteristics and deportment,
coupled with his olfactory abilities, his intelligence and initiative enable him to also
perform as a tracking dog and a guide dog for the blind. The following description is that
of the ideal Bouvier des Flandres. Any deviation from this is to be penalized to the
extent of the deviation.
Size, Proportion & Substance
The height as measured at the withers: Dogs, from 24 1/2 to 27 1/2 inches; bitches, from
23 1/2 to 26 1/2 inches. In each sex, the ideal height is the median of the two limits,
i.e., 26 inches for a dog and 25 inches for a bitch. Any dog or bitch deviating from the
minimum or maximum limits mentioned shall be severely penalized.
The length from the point of the shoulder to the tip of the buttocks is equal to the
height from the ground to the highest point of the withers. A long-bodied dog should be
Powerfully built, strong boned, well muscled, without any sign of heaviness or clumsiness.
The head is impressive in scale, accentuated by beard and mustache. It is in proportion
to body and build. The expression is bold and alert.
Eyes neither protrude nor are sunken in the sockets. Their shape is oval
with the axis on the horizontal plane, when viewed from the front. Their color is a dark
brown. The eye rims are black without lack of pigment and the haw is barely visible.
Yellow or light eyes are to be strongly penalized, along with a walleyed or staring
Ears placed high and alert. If cropped, they are to be a triangular
contour and in proportion to the size of the head. The inner corner of the ear should be
in line with the outer corner of the eye. Ears that are too low or too closely set are
Skull well developed and flat, slightly less wide than long. When viewed
from the side, the top lines of the skull and the muzzle are parallel. It is wide between
the ears, with the frontal groove barely marked. The stop is more apparent than real, due
to upstanding eyebrows. The proportions of length of skull to length of muzzle are 3 to 2.
Muzzle broad, strong, well filled out, tapering gradually toward the nose
without ever becoming snipy or pointed. A narrow, snipy muzzle is faulty.
Nose large, black, well developed, round at the edges, with flared
nostrils. A brown, pink or spotted nose is a serious fault. The cheeks are flat and lean,
with the lips being dry and tight fitting. The jaws are powerful and of equal length. The
teeth are strong, white and healthy, with the incisors meeting in a scissors bite.
Overshot or undershot bites are to be severely penalized.
Neck, Topline, & Body
The neck is strong and muscular, widening gradually into the
shoulders. When viewed from the side, it is gracefully arched with proud carriage. A
short, squatty neck is faulty. No dewlap.
Back short, broad, well muscled with firm level topline. It is supple and
flexible with no sign of weakness.
Body or trunk powerful, broad and short. The chest is
broad, with the brisket extending to the elbow in depth. The ribs are deep and well
sprung. The first ribs are slightly curved, the others well sprung and very well sloped
nearing the rear, giving proper depth to the chest. Flat ribs or slabsidedness is to be
Flanks and loins short, wide and well muscled, without
weakness. The abdomen is only slightly tucked up. The horizontal line of the back should
mold unnoticeably into the curve of the rump, which is characteristically wide. A sunken
or slanted croup is a serious fault.
Tail is to be docked, leaving 2 or 3 vertebrae. It must be set high and
align normally with the spinal column. Preferably carried upright in motion. Dogs born
tailless should not be penalized.
Strong boned, well muscled and straight. The shoulders are relatively
long, muscular but not loaded, with good layback. The shoulder blade and humerus are
approximately the same length, forming an angle slightly greater than 90 degrees when
standing. Steep shoulders are faulty.
Elbows close to the body and parallel. Elbows which are too far out or in
Forearms viewed either in profile or from the front are perfectly
straight, parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. They are well muscled
and strong boned.
Carpus exactly in line with the forearms. Strong boned.
Pasterns quite short, slightly sloped. Dewclaws may be removed. Both
forefeet and hind feet are rounded and compact turning neither in nor out; the toes close
and well arched; strong black nails; thick tough pads.
Firm, well muscled with large, powerful hams. They should be parallel with the front
legs when viewed from either front or rear.
Legs moderately long, well muscled, neither too straight nor too
Thighs wide and muscular. The upper thigh must be neither too straight
nor too sloping. There is moderate angulation at the stifle.
Hocks strong, rather close to the ground. When standing and seen from the
rear, they will be straight and perfectly parallel to each other. In motion, they must
turn neither in nor out. There is a slight angulation at the hock joint. Sickle or
cow-hocks are serious faults.
Metatarsi hardy and lean, rather cylindrical and perpendicular to the
ground when standing. If born with dewclaws, they are to be removed.
Feet as in front.
A tousled, double coat capable of withstanding the hardest work in the most inclement
weather. The outer hairs are rough and harsh, with the undercoat being fine, soft and
dense. The coat may be trimmed slightly only to accent the body line. Overtrimming which
alters the natural rugged appearance is to be avoided.
Topcoat must be harsh to the touch, dry, trimmed, if necessary, to a
length of approximately 2 1/2 inches. A coat too long or too short is a fault, as is a
silky or woolly coat. It is tousled without being curly. On the skull, it is short, and on
the upper part of the back, it is particularly close and harsh always, however, remaining
rough. Ears are rough-coated.
Undercoat a dense mass of fine, close hair, thicker in winter. Together
with the topcoat, it will form a water-resistant covering. A flat coat, denoting lack of
undercoat is a serious fault.
Mustache and beard very thick, with the hair being
shorter and rougher on the upper side of the muzzle. The upper lip with its heavy mustache
and the chin with its heavy and rough beard gives that gruff expression so characteristic
of the breed.
Eyebrows, erect hairs accentuating the shape of the eyes without ever
From fawn to black, passing through salt and pepper, gray and brindle. A small white
star on the chest is allowed. Other than chocolate brown, white, or parti-color, which are
to be severely penalized, no one color is to be favored.
The whole of the Bouvier des Flandres must be harmoniously proportioned to allow for a
free, bold and proud gait. The reach of the forequarters must compensate for and be in
balance with the driving power of the hindquarters. The back, while moving in a trot, will
remain firm and flat. In general, the gait is the logical demonstration of the structure
and build of the dog. It is to be noted that while moving at a fast trot, the properly
built Bouvier will tend to single-track.
The Bouvier is an equable dog, steady, resolute and fearless. Viciousness or shyness is
Effective February 23, 2000