There are lots of handsome dog breeds in Europe, some are small and cute whereas others are larger and more noble in appearance. Two such breeds are the Bouvierdes Flandres and the Briard, both of which are handsome, proud and intelligent dogs that make wonderful companions and family pets which is why they have remained firm favourites in Belgian, France and other countries of the world.
The actual origins of the Bouvierdes Flandres are a bit of a mystery, but what is known about Bouviers"" is that there have been many of this type of dog around in Belgium since the 16th Century when they were used as working and herding dogs. Dogs were named after regions where they were bred and they have always been very highly prized for their herding and guarding abilities. There are those people who believe that Bouviers were first bred by monks who used imported breeds like the Irish Wolfhound and the Deerhound which they bred to native Belgian herding dogs. The result of this early breeding programme produced hardy, robust dogs with heavier coats that boasted a tremendous amount of stamina.
Like Bouviers, the actual origins of the Briard remain a bit of a mystery too, but these charming dogs are an ancient breed and one that is native to France. There are lots of legends about the breed with some telling of how the breed existed as far back as the Middle Ages. It is thought dogs that arrived in Europe with their foreign masters were bred to native breeds and this produced a large, courageous and loyal dog capable of working in challenging conditions guarding and herding large flocks of livestock all the while protecting them from wolf attacks.
More recently, Briards have also worked as military dog because they are so reliable, brave, intelligent and trustworthy. They were given their name ""Briard"" after the region of France where they were first developed which is known as ""Brie"".
Bouviers are imposing and impressive looking dogs, but they are known to be gentle giants which is just one of the reasons why they have always been such a popular choice in Europe both as companions and family pets. With this said, the Bouvier des Flandres has found a big fanbase in other parts of the world too. Calm, quiet, affectionate and protective, a Bouvier thrives in a home environment although they tend to be a little wary around people they don't already know. However, rarely would a Bouvier show any signs of aggression, they would just keep a distance between themselves and a stranger until they get to know them.
They are a good choice for first time dog owners because they are so amenable and eager to please making them very trainable. However, due to their large size it's important that a Bouvier has enough room in a home to express themselves as they should.
Highly intelligent, courageous, fun-loving and adaptable, the Briard has remained a popular choice in France and other countries of Europe for decades. They are energetic by nature, but they thrive in a home environment and love nothing more than to be involved in everything that goes on around them. They form very strong ties with one person in the home which is usually the person who feeds and takes the most care of them.
They are not the best choice for first time dog owners because a Briard needs to be trained by people who are familiar with their needs or they might start to show a more dominant side to their natures. Puppies need to be well socialised from a young enough age and they need to understand their place in the pack and who is alpha dog in a household or they might get wilful and unruly making it harder to handle them.
The Bouvier des Flandres sheds copious amounts of hair throughout the year only more so during the spring and the autumn when there summer and winter coats grow through.
The Briard too sheds a lot of hair throughout the year and like the Bouvier this tends to be more in the spring and autumn when more frequent brushing is needed to keep on top of things.
Being so intelligent, in the right hands and environment the Bouvier des Flandres is highly trainable and they learn new things very quickly. The downside to this is that Bouviers pick up bad habits just as quickly. Their socialisation and training must begin early and it has to be consistent throughout their lives for them to understand what is expected of them. As previously mentioned, Bouviers are a good choice for first time dog owners, but due to their large size their training must start from the word go so that a dog understands who is boss.
A Briard's socialisation and training must begin early and it must be consistent throughout their lives so dogs understand who is boss and what is expected of them. They are better suited to people who are familiar with the breed and their particular needs rather than first time dog owners. Training a Briard is a little more challenging and it takes time and patience to do so. They do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction which would only make a Briard timid and shy.
Bouviers are not known to be high-energy dogs having nice calm natures. However, they still need to be given at least 60 minutes exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible so they can really express themselves, but only in a safe environment.
Briards are a lot more energetic and therefore need more in the way of daily exercise which should be at least 2 hours a day and again this should include as much off the lead time as possible so that a Briard can really let off steam and again, this should only be attempted if it is safe for a dog to run free.
Bouviers are large dogs, but as previously mentioned they are gentle giants more especially when they are around children. Providing a Bouvier des Flandres has been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs. They also get on well with cats they have grown up with in the same household. However, care should be taken when a Bouvier is around smaller animals and pets just to be on the safe side.
Briards make wonderful family pets although they can be a little too protective which means care should be taken when the kids have friends over to play. Providing a Briard has been well socialised from a young enough age, they are generally good around other dogs and they are known to get on with a family cat they have grown up with. However, just to be on the safe side, care should be taken when Briards are around smaller animals and pets.
The Bouvier des Flandres has dense double coat that's quite coarse with a shaggy look about it and their undercoat is that much softer and very dense. One of their charming features are their eyebrows which sweep back away from a dog's eyes adding to their endearing looks.
The accepted breed colours are as follows:
The Briard has a double coat that consists of a long, slightly wavy coat and a very fine and dense undercoat that covers their entire body. They have a moustache, beard and eyebrows that slightly veil their eyes which adds a lot of character to their looks.
The accepted colours are as follows:
The Bouvier is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which include the following:
Briards are known to be one of the healthier pedigree dogs around and although the breed was known to suffer from hip dysplasia, thanks to careful and selective breeding fewer cases are now reported. Other health concerns can include the following:
The average life span of a Bouvier des Flandres is between 5 and 10 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The average life span of a Briard is between 11 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.