The name, Bouvier des Flandres
translates from the French as "cow herder" or "ox herder"
from Flandres; an area that once covered parts of the Netherlands, Belgium
and France. The Flemish people, credited with the development of the
Bouvier, did so out of practicality. They required ONE dog that could herd,
act as a stock dog or drover, a guard dog, watch dog, to churn butter,
pull a cart, kill vermin and be the family companion; thus the size,
strength and versatility of the breed was established.
Two world wars took their toll on the
Bouvier and a few dedicated breeders managed to save the breed. During
World War I, this brave and loyal soldier pulled the wounded and carried
messages, through the gunfire and shelling. The helicopter took over
transportation of the wounded during World War II and the Bouvier's keen
scenting ability was put to use sniffing out land mines and ammunition
dumps. The U.S. military had a greater number of Bouviers serving as
sentries than any other breed.
The Bouvier des Flandres was introduced
to North America in the 1920's and now is found extensively throughout the
world. Adapting to many more chores in the service of man, guide dogs for
the visually impaired, search and rescue, therapy dogs, police dogs and
medical aides. The task the Bouvier has not accomplished is the one he has
not been asked to attempt.