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Breed History
Home It is nearly impossible to trace the origin of the Bouvier des Flandres (pronounced:"Boo-Vee-
Ay day Flondruh") with any certainty. Dogs of this type have been bred for centuries in Flandres,
Belgium and the northern part of France as farm dogs and guards. No attempt was made, however,
to breed selectively until the latter part of the 19th century.

The late Mr Florimond E. Verbanck, who was the secretary of the Club Nationale Belge du
Bouvier des Flandres, stated that the body configuration is probably attributable to the Belgian
Matin type of dog, the tousled and wiry coat to the shepherd types (or some say to the Scottish
Deerhound, given to Belgian monks who wove English wool into cloth), with perhaps some
hunting dog influence from Barbet types.

Early in the last century, a number of dogs resembling each other were discovered in the farming
area between the river Lys and the northern seacoast. These dogs were used for the development
of the Bouvier as a breed. In 1900 four so-called Bouviers were shown in Hasselt, Belgium and in
1903, professor Reul, a great advocate of Belgian native breeds, set a tentative standard for the
breed. A firmer standard was compiled in 1912 by Mr Fontaine.

Then came World War I and the Bouviers' home territory became a battlefield. The area behind it
became a supply advancing zone and as a result the number of dogs was drastically reduced.
Some were moved into new areas: Antwerp, Eastern Flandres, France and the Netherlands. After
the war breeding was begun in these new areas with an earnest attempt at standardisation. In 1922
the Club Nationale Belge du Bouvier des Flandres was organised and a definite breed standard

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