So You Think You Want a Bouvier? Read this before you buy.

Dog ownership is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. The Bouvier is large, strong, and can be independent and stubborn. The Bouvier is best with an owner with a certain amount of strength of personality and commitment to a bonded relationship. Unlike some breeds, the Bouvier won’t exercise itself. While it adapts to apartment living and doesn’t need huge amounts of exercise like the sporting breeds, it should have long walks twice a day.

The harsh double coat protects the dog in all types of inclement weather. Shedding is minimal as the coat grows continuously and many people who are allergic to dogs can tolerate the Bouv.

If you are interested in purchasing a puppy, be sure to choose a responsible breeder who breeds selectively and places high priority on sound temperament and good health. Check the health certifications on the parents. A good breeder will welcome your questions on health and temperament and will interview you carefully to be sure this is the right breed for you.

If you still feel that you want a Bouvier, make sure you do your research to avoid making a costly mistake for yourself and an innocent dog. The following are some pointers that should help you get started.


Bouviers used for breeding should be healthy and at least 18 months old. They should also be tested for and certified free of genetic defects before being used for breeding. These defects include:

  • canine hip and elbow dysplasia,
  • heart disorders such as Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis,
  • eye disease such as Glaucoma or Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and
  • thyroid disorders.
  • Reputable breeders are able to provide proof of testing in the form of certificates from the testing bodies (OFA, OVC, FCI, PennHip, etc.) or documentation from a qualified veterinarian. Because the genetic nature of these defects is not clearly known, testing of the parents is not an absolute guarantee that the offspring will not develop a genetic defect. However, testing will reduce the risk. Only by testing will breeders improve the genetic health of the breed.

    In Canada, it is against the law to sell dogs as "purebred" if they cannot be registered. Only puppies from parents registered with the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) or American Kennel Club (AKC) can be registered. In addition, the CKC prohibits breeders from charging extra for registration papers.

    Getting a bouvier: Things to think about


    The Bouvier des Flandres is a square, powerfully-built dog, rugged and formidable in appearance, weighing 65 to 100 pounds and standing 23.5 to 27.5 in. Males are larger than females.


    Because of the nature of the coat, Bouviers require considerable amounts of combing out on a regular basis. The coat will mat if left unattended. The long beard collects water and food, eventually matting and becoming smelly, unless regularly cleaned.

    Training and socialization

    The breed is large, strong, and independent. This can be a difficult combination and basic obedience training is essential both to maintain control over the dog and to develop a good bond. The Bouvier also needs early socialization with a variety of people and other animals, including dogs. If you do not have the time to commit to training and socializing your dog, this is not the breed for you.

    Health issues

    Bouviers are generally a healthy breed. Because of its size, this breed is vulnerable to hip dysplasia and bloat. Some blood lines are susceptible to heart and thyroid problems.


    Many Bouvier clubs and breeders work together help unwanted Bouviers find new homes, whether they are dogs from a shelter, owner surrendered, or strays.

    Rescue volunteers foster the dogs and evaluate their temperament. If necessary, the dogs are nursed back to health. When the dogs are ready to be placed in new homes, rescue volunteers and fosterers evaluate potential adoptees to try to make the best match for the dog and its new family.

    Throughout North America, there has been increasing numbers of purebred dogs, including Bouviers, being admitted to the rescue programs. While volunteers do their best to retrieve these dogs, it is not known how many Bouviers end up in pounds or shelters and are not rescued but instead euthanized.


    Please be sure that a Bouvier is the right dog for you and your family and that you are prepared to care for the dog for its lifetime.


    For more information and to determine if a Bouvier is the right breed for you, check out our links to other sites or email us.

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