The Flemish Boyero dog breed is characterized by its large size and its impressive appearance. Despite its fierce appearance, well-mannered, it is a dog with a docile and calm demeanor. Its patient, obedient and courageous temperament makes it ideal as a good sheepdog. At Petlifey, we explain the character and characteristics of the Flanders Mountain Dog.
Character of the Flemish Boyero breed
The character of the Flanders cowherd is calm and rational, it displays a bold good sense. Its good behaviour denotes that it has great intelligence, high energy level and great courage.
- Energy: High level. It is a canine athlete, it absolutely needs to do intense exercise on a daily basis.
- Temperament: Rustic, strong and courageous, it is dominant and energetic. But it is also very obedient, calm, patient and responsible, easy to train.
- Adaptability: Medium. It adapts to life at home only if it is brought up at an early age.
- Sociability: Medium. Dominant in nature and strong in character, you need to be very clear about who has authority. It is patient with children and loyal to its family.
- Health: Very good. It is not usually ill, and shows great resistance to pain.
- Longevity: Medium. Live 10 to 12 years.
- Utility: Very versatile. Excellent shepherd dog, it is a good companion animal, vigilance, guard, utility, guide for the blind or in ring competitions.
How does it behave with other animals?
In principle, it accepts other dogs quite well as long as two conditions are met: on the one hand, that it has been accustomed to its presence from a very early age, and, on the other, that it tries to avoid associating it with dogs that may question its position in the family and that give rise to disputes for supremacy, since these could become very violent.
In this sense, an experienced and patient owner may be able to get their Flemish sheepdog to behave amicably with other animals, but they can never be one hundred percent calm.
Given their high level of energy, races, chases and competitive games between different dogs are a perfect activity for them, since they not only exercise physically, but also play and interact on a social level.
On the other hand, if the other pets in the house are not dogs, but another type of animal, you have to be a little more careful, because the herder does not consider that they are at its level and it may be that it turns against them, especially against cats, with whom their relationship is not exactly friendly.
Is it a good dog for the family?
Contrary to what it might seem from its appearance and temperament, it is an extraordinary companion dog that also has exquisite patience and behaviour with children.
With fool proof loyalty, it adapts to their living conditions without complaining in the least, and if it is physically and mentally fulfilled, at home it is calm and only takes care of its affairs without creating problems.
Characteristics of the Boyero Flandes
The physical characteristics of the Flemish sheepdog make it look powerful and impressive. Above all, thanks to its large, square head, with large eyebrows and beard.
The general appearance of this breed is characterized by having a square physical structure, it is very strong and muscular, but without a heavy appearance.
How is the Boyero de Flandes breed physically?
The body of the horses of the Flanders breed is muscular and compact, but agile and flexible, without the appearance of heaviness.
It shows a square body structure, since the length of the body is equal to the height at the withers. In males it is about 65 cm, while in females, somewhat shorter, it is about 62 cm.
Their eyes are oval in shape and are neither prominent nor deeply sunken. Dark in color and with black eyelids, they reflect a friendly and lively expression.
The ears are set high, some specimens are amputated to give them a triangular shape, but if they are whole they are medium in size and fall to the sides of the cheeks.
The head of this breed is solid in appearance, although proportionate. The stop is not very marked, but since the eyebrows are raised, they make it more visible than it really is.
Its tail follows the line of the spine and is usually amputated, leaving only two or three vertebrae, except in countries where this practice is not allowed.
The feet are rounded, short and compact, with the toes close together and well arched. They are endowed with thick, hard pads and strong, black nails.
The surface and bottom hair form a very dense protective layer that adapts perfectly to the abrupt atmospheric variations in the region of origin of the breed.
It is rough to the touch, dry and matte, not too long or short (about 6 cm). Slightly disheveled, it does not become woolly or curly.
On the head it is shorter, and somewhat flat on the outer part of the ears, whose inner pinna is protected by rather long hair.
The upper lip is covered with abundant tactile hairs and on the chin it sports a bushy beard that gives the dog that sullen expression so characteristic of the breed.
The eyebrows have raised hairs that accentuate the shape of the brow ridges without covering the eyes. The hair that covers the upper back is particularly hard and shaggy. It is slightly shorter on the limbs, but always rough.
Standard of the Flemish Boyero breed
- Origin: France and Belgium.
- Size: Large.
- Height at the withers: Between 61 and 69 cm for Males and between 58 and 66 cm for Females.
- Weight: Between 30 and 40 kg for Males and between 27 and 35 kg for Females.
- Utilization: Grazing and guarding.
- Other names: Flanders Cattle Dog / Bouvier des Flandres / Flandrischer Treibhund / Vlaamse Koehond.
- General appearance: Compact, with a short, stocky body, and strong, muscular limbs, looks strong but not heavy.
- Head: Solid in appearance, an aspect that is accentuated by the beard and the tactile hairs of the face, it is proportionate to the body and to the size of the dog.
- Skull: Well developed and flat, slightly less wide than long.
- Nose-frontal depression (stop): It is little marked. Raised eyebrows make her more visible than she really is.
- Muzzle: Broad, strong and straight, gradually tapering towards the nose region, although it is never pointed.
- Nose: Well developed, rounded at the edges and always black, with very open windows.
- Jaws: They are strong and of uniform length. The teeth are also strong, white, healthy and of uniform implantation. The denture is complete and with a scissor bite.
- Eyes: With a frank and energetic expression, they are not prominent or sunken. Slightly oval, they are dark in color and have black eyelids.
- Ears: Set high, they are usually cut in the shape of a triangle, in proportion to the size of the head. They are very straight and have great mobility. If they are not cut, the pavilion falls vertically on the cheeks without forming folds or bending.
- Neck: It is strong, muscular and gradually enlarges towards the shoulder region. It is loose and quite raised, with a slightly arched nape and no double chin.
- Body: It is strong, robust and short.
- Back: Short, broad, muscular and well accentuated, not slack, but flexible.
- Chest: It is broad and descends to the level of the elbows, with the first ribs slightly arched.
- Tail: It is relatively high and is aligned with the spine. By tradition, except in countries where this practice is prohibited, it is cut, leaving only two or three vertebrae.
- Forelimbs: They are very muscular and have strong bones. Viewed from the front, they are perfectly straight and parallel.
- Shoulders: They are quite long, muscular, without giving an appearance of heaviness and moderately oblique.
- Forearms and arms: Straight, parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground, they are muscular and strong-boned.
- Hind limbs: They are powerful, well muscled and well poised. Viewed from behind, they are parallel. They move in the same planes as the previous members.
- Legs: They are wide, muscular and long.
- Knees: Visibly located on the imaginary straight line that starts from the highest point of the hip, they are perpendicular to the ground.
- Hocks: They touch almost the ground, they are wide and, seen from behind, they are straight and perfectly parallel when the dog is at rest.
- Feet: They are short, round and compact, with the toes together and arched. The nails are strong and black, and the pads are thick and hard.
- Movement: It is loose, free and haughty. The gait and trot are the most common, although sometimes you will find dogs with an ambled gait.
- Skin: It is well adhered to the body, without excessive flaccidity. The edge of the eyelids and lips is always very dark.
- Coat: The coat is double-layered, rough, dry, shaggy, about 6 cm long and a little wavy. On the upper part of the body it is harder and more rustic.
- Color: Generally gray, mottled or charcoal. Sometimes it is chestnut black, and at other times it has a white star on the sill.
- FCI Classification : FCI No. 191. Group 1 – Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs) Section 2 – Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs).
Education and training of the Flanders Mountain Dog
Despite its intimidating appearance, the Flanders sheepdog is a very obedient dog who likes to please its master, a fact that has converted them from a simple shepherd dog to one of the favourite breeds for guard and defence training: it combines qualities such as calm, patience, enthusiasm and responsibility, with great strength, solid character and fierce courage.
It is also one of the most insightful breeds when it comes to learning the quick commands used in traditional training.
Once it learns an order, it never forgets it and, while it is not as quick to learn as some other breeds, it does so much more permanently and more consistently.
It is best to train them with a balanced and consistent system, without using excessive and unnecessary force or harshness , making it clear who its boss is, but establishing authority in a natural way, without forcing it.
It is therefore not the best breed for a beginner. With a cowardly, insecure or weak owner, it can become a very dominant animal and difficult to control, on the other hand, if it is well worked and has an owner who knows how to become its reference and guide, it never questions the hierarchy or the place. that occupies in the herd.
One of the first rules that must be followed when acquiring a Flemish cowherd puppy is to start its socialization as soon as possible, exposing them to different situations and living with people, children and other animals, in order to avoid the development of some overprotective problems such as nervousness, suspicion and aggressive behaviour towards strangers.
It is not advisable to leave their basic training until very late, since early learning depends on whether the dog ends up being an integrated and manageable animal or, on the contrary, a problematic specimen due to its character. It also determines, for example, what will be their behaviour with other people and, especially, with other animals.
Another of the peculiarities of this breed is its slow physical and mental development. The dog reaches its adult size, which is strong and large, soon, but does not reach its final size until it is 3 years old, at which age it also reaches psychological maturity.
Health and nutrition of the Flanders Mountain Dog
The Flemish Herder’s health is as strong as its physique and temperament. It is a dog selected to work in harsh conditions and, therefore, rarely falls ill or suffers from serious diseases, and one of its characteristics is its great resistance to pain.
Despite its large size, its life expectancy ranges between 10 and 12 years. In addition, it is a canine athlete, a professional worker who needs to have a physique in perfect condition to perform satisfactorily.
Sports breeds, especially when it comes to large and strong guard and defense dogs like this one, must be in the hands of responsible owners, since they are the ones who know how to get the most out of them and, in this way, contribute to making grow your fame and prestige.
This is what has happened to the Flemish herder, a large, rustic, courageous and extremely faithful dog that has managed to become a very popular breed all over the world.
As for its diet, it is a breed that demands a large amount of food for its size and energy expenditure. It is not inadvisable to divide the daily dose in two doses.
The dog should be prevented from getting fatter, as an animal prepared to expend a great deal of energy. If you don’t get enough exercise or are overeating, you can gain weight and lead to future health problems.
Care and hygiene of the Flemish Boyero breed
The typical grooming of the Flemish sheepdog is centered on its coat. Since it has long and very dense hair, which means that it must be kept clean and well groomed to ensure the health and well-being of the animal, as well as the peace of mind of its owner.
The basic grooming and maintenance is not done only for aesthetic purposes but as part of the breed’s health and hygiene routine.
How is the Boyero Flandes breed arrangement?
The specific qualities of the coat of this breed reduce to a minimum the problems that cause shedding and hair loss, since the superficial or covering hair acts as a shield that collects the undercoat that is shed, preventing it from falling to the ground or deposit on clothing or furniture.
And this dead hair is easily collected with a weekly deep brushing to prevent knotting.
This brushing can take about an hour a week but if it is started from an early age it becomes a pleasant activity for both the dog and the owner.
In addition, the time that is used in this brushing and hygiene routine can be very valuable if it is used to emphasize certain aspects in the education of the dog, accustoming it to handling, to remain seated or to remain calm on the grooming table.
First, with the help of a wide-bristled comb, the long hair of the head (cheeks, beard and eyebrows) is worked giving it the characteristic shape of the breed.
The hair should be worked from the inside out, opening it from the roots and undoing any tangles or knots.
The hair on the skull, face, and back of the ears is trimmed using a properly numbered cutting blade. With the help of the thumb, hair is picked up and the blade is passed so that it is cut and plucked and leaves the area at the desired length, between 1 and 1.5 cm, trying to make the result as uniform as possible .
Flat scissors are used to touch up the protruding hairs at the edges of the ears, the same ones that are used later to shape the eyebrows and beard, which has just completed the perfectly chiseled figure of the head.
The body is worked first with a rake to undo the possible knots of the dense undercoat, hollowing it and shaping the coat, and it is finished using a metal spiked card to homogenize the final result of brushing, emphasizing the silhouette of the breed.
When the length of the hair exceeds 5 or 6 cm, it must be trimmed. To do this, you have to use thinning scissors, and then move on to flat scissors, with which the final touch is given.
Arrangement of the legs
The body routine is repeated on the legs, hollowing the hair with a metal card and shaping it with the scissors, first with the thinning scissors and then fine-tuning the finish with the flat ones. Thanks to the texture of their hair it is possible to give them a characteristic tube shape that makes them very attractive.
Given the rusticity of the coat and the need to maintain it with the proper texture, it should only be bathed when strictly necessary. Well groomed and with a good weekly brushing it can water very well for three to four months without the need for another intense grooming.