Serious and thoughtful, The Bouvier Des Flanders is a dignified family companion who is built for athletics, but would much rather nap indoors by the fireplace. Rowdy and rambunctious as puppies, as adults Bouviers mellow into dignified and sober housemates. They love to be with people and are happiest when completely surrounded by their “flock” of humans. Their protective nature makes them excellent watchdogs, and they are patient with children.
This gentle giant requires a lot of vigorous activity throughout the day. As Bouviers move from adolescence to adulthood, they will become a bit lethargic and will often need to be told when it's time to exercise, but keeping their activity levels high is very important to their health and mental well being, even if they need to be coaxed into it.
This breed, despite their large size, is well-suited for an apartment or condominium, so long as they are exercised daily. If Bouvier Des Flandres aren't exercised enough they can become destructive, and an apartment would be mincemeat in the mouth of a bored Bouvier. A house with a large fenced-in yard for running is great, but as the Bouvier gets older, he may appreciate long walks more so than romping in the grass.
Training a Bouvier requires a strong, confident, consistent leader, and are generally not suited for the first time or passive dog owner.. This breed likes to be in charge, and will quickly take over a household if there is not a clear chain of command. Training requires lots of positive reinforcement and treat rewards; harsh discipline can lead to stubbornness and avoidance behaviors.
With proper leadership, Bouviers will excel in basic obedience. They are highly intelligent dogs and to keep their minds active should move on to advanced obedience, tricks or agility training.
When Bouviers are young, they can be quite a handful. They grow quickly and are prone to lots of jumping and running. As they get older, they usually grow out of this. They become less overtly affectionate the older they get, but they show their affinity for their people in other ways, like curling around a loved one's feet when it's time to relax for the evening.
The modern Bouvier can revert to its herding roots and try to herd children, bicycles and cars. They are prone to chasing, so they should always be kept on a leash, or in a fenced yard. This herding nature also makes them protective of their family and territory, and this can sometimes lead to aggressive behaviors toward new people and animals. Early socialization can teach a Bouvier that house guests mean no harm.