The Flanders Cattle Dog is a breed originating in Belgium, where it was bred as a draught dog and herd driver. It is a large breed known for its shaggy coat and muscular, well-balanced body. Intelligence and versatility are two qualities of the Flanders Mountain Dog.
Dogs of the breed are large in size and powerful in appearance. The weight ranges between 32 and 50 kilograms, while the height varies between 62 and 70 centimeters in males and between 60 and 67 centimeters in females. The life expectancy of this breed is 10 to 12 years, and they belong to Group 1 of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), which includes shepherd dogs and cattle dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs).
Breed history in brief
The Flanders Cattle Dog is a breed that originated in the region of Flanders, which includes the borders of Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Although the exact origin of this breed is uncertain, it is believed to be descended from several older breeds, such as the Mastiff, Beauceron and Griffon, and there may also have been crosses with local herding and farm dogs.
During World War I, the breed was used by the Belgian army as an ambulance and messenger dog. After the war, the number of dogs was reduced, however, a group of breeders managed to revive the breed and established the first club dedicated to the Flanders Cattle Dog in 1922. Since then, the breed has become very popular in many countries and has been especially valued for its intelligence, loyalty and versatility. Today, these dogs are used for a variety of tasks such as herding, protection, police and military work, and as family pets.
The Flanders Mountain Dog is a powerful breed with a short muscular body. The head is large and square, the jaw is strong and the eyes are dark, oval with an alert and intelligent expression. Their ears are medium sized, set high and must be cropped to stand erect, as well as, the tail is also usually docked to a short length.
The coat is of great density and is composed of a double coat. The innermost coat is soft and dense, while the outer coat is stiffer and messy. The coat is of medium length (approximately 6 cm) and despite its disheveled appearance, it is neither curly nor shaggy. The length of the coat is shorter on the limbs and longer on the upper lip and chin, forming a beard and mustache. The coloration of the coat can be varied, from mottled gray to black, brindle or fawn. Regular brushing is recommended to avoid tangles and matting.
In terms of temperament, the breed is known for its intelligence, loyalty and, especially, its versatility in different roles. They are calm and rational dogs, but they are also energetic, determined and fearless. The breed needs owners with an active lifestyle and who can offer them a home with space and the ability to engage in a variety of activities.
Common health problems
The Flanders Mountain Dog breed is generally healthy, although, as is the case with all breeds, it shows a certain predisposition to suffer from diseases or affections. The disorders that appear with greater incidence in the breed are cataracts, volvulus-gastric dilatation, glaucoma, hip dysplasia, laryngeal paralysis and esophageal achalasia.
In addition to the aforementioned disorders, the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) recommends a cardiac and ocular screening examination, as well as a study to assess for elbow dysplasia.
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