The Bouvier des Flandres may rank 101st on the American Kennel Club’s list of the most popular dog breeds, but this shaggy herding dog holds the top spot in the heart of any pet parent who has been fortunate enough to have a Bouvier in their family. The breed is so beloved that it has its own holiday: National Bouvier des Flandres Day!
When is National Bouvier des Flandres Day?
Fun Facts About This Breed
In celebration, here are a few interesting facts about the breed:
Dogs with a heroic heart, during World War I Bouvier des Flandres were recruited to help injured soldiers and act as messengers. Continuing to serve, today many of the breed work as police dogs and guard dogs.
Among the courageous canines who helped Belgian troops during the first World War was a Bouvier des Flandres named Nic. After three years in the trenches, Nic became a champion show dog, and would go on to be known as the father of today’s Bouvier des Flandres.
The breed came close to the brink of extinction during both World War I and II.
Translated as “cow herder of Flandres,” the name for the Bouvier des Flandres is an apt description of the breed’s original means of employment. Other names given over the years, including “koehond,” which means “cow dog,” and “toucher de boeuf” which translates as “cattle driver” also explain the dogs’ early occupation. The term “vuilbaard,” or “dirty beard” provides a colorful mental image of the dogs’ somewhat unkempt countenance.
The “Flandres” in Bouvier des Flandres is in honor of Flanders, Belgium, where the breed originated.
The breed has both Irish Wolfhound and Scottish Deerhound in its DNA.
Long live the Bouvier des Flandres! The average lifespan of the breed is 10 -12 years.
How much does a Bouvier weight? This breed can top the scales at up to 110 pounds!
In the Antwerp suburb of Hoboken, a statue depicting the character of Nello and his faithful Bouvier des Flandres named Patrasche from the classic children’s book A Dog of Flanders stands guard on Kapelstraat. A second sculpture of the pair can be seen in front of the Antwerp Cathedral.
The Bouvier des Flandres in Pop Culture
Doggedly devoted fans of the medical drama ER might remember Gretel, a Bouvier des Flandres who was the canine companion of the character portrayed by actor Paul McCrane, Dr. Robert “Rocket” Romano.
In the manga and anime series Strike Witches, the character of Isabelle “Isaac” du Monceau de Bergendal has a Bouvier des Flandres for a familiar.
Famous Pet Parents of the Bouvier des Flandres
The music icon, who crooned the dog-themed folk tune “Old Blue” on her 1961 album, is a proud pet parent to a one-eyed Bouvier des Flandres named Ginger.
Keesh was the canine companion of the late TV host/media mogul.
Ronald and Nancy Reagan
Did you know that a Bouvier des Flandres once held the title of First Fido? The Reagans welcomed a 9-week-old pup to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue during the president’s second term.
Dubbed Lucky as an homage to the First Lady’s mother Edith Luckett “Lucky” Davis, the high energy dog with a love of visiting Camp David lived at the White House for a year before moving to the Reagan’s ranch in California.
Adopting a Bouvier Des Flandres
If you would like to welcome a Bouvier des Flandres into your heart and home, you can check online at the American Bouvier Rescue League, a non-profit which find forever homes for members of the breed who are unwanted or have been neglected.
Adoptable Bouvier des Flandres can also be found at breed specific rescue organizations, which are located throughout the United States.
To find a breed specific rescue organization in your area, visit: