The coat of the Bouvier Des Flandres is so abundant and thick that, when separated by hand, the skin is barely visible. Neither woolly nor curly, the hair should be about 2.5 inches (6cm), gradually becoming shorter on the legs. The undercoat is dense and close-grained. On the crown of the head the hair is short and is close on the ears.
The eyebrows do not veil the eyes. The eyebrows, beard and mustache are accentuated to give a formidable appearance, but the eyes should be seen.
The breed has a rough, dry coat that should be easy to maintain. A visit to the salon every eight weeks will keep the coat in hand – it should not be allowed to get out of control.
Equipment needed: Slicker brush, wide-toothed comb, scissors, clippers.
Breed tip: Grooming with a bristle brush encourages growth of the undercoat in this breed.
- Brush the entire coat with a slicker brush. This hair is best groomed in sections. Lift the layer of hair and brush from the parting downward. Untangler or coat protector will aid brushing and help to remove mats and unwanted dead hair, without unduly softening the coat.
- Be systematic. Start on the left back leg and work through the front and head. Turn the dog and work through the right side from the back leg.
- Comb through. However, if the hair is too dirty, it will cause unnecessary discomfort to the dog.
- The crown, or top of the head from just above the eyebrow to the occiput, is clipped with an Oster No. 10 or scissored down to shorten the appearance. This can also be done with your finger and thumb or a coarse stripping knife. Clipping is more common and the breeder will usually put in the triangular shape required on the crown before the puppy leaves them.
- The ears are clipped short and the edges are tidied with scissors. Take care to hold the ear to prevent nipping the skin.
- Comb through and either leave natural or thin/strip the sides of the cheeks to enhance the appearance.
- Thinners are used to taper the throat and chest hair toward the shoulder, or the hair can be cut shorter with scissors.
- The hair on the body is shortened with scissors to a length of about 2 inches (5 cm), and the legs are blended in level with the body hair and shortened to enhance their shape.
- Bathe with a protein shampoo and apply conditioner. Use a dematting balsam conditioner and brush it through the coat to help aid grooming, if required. Use a spray conditioner otherwise.
- Use absorbent towels, or some of the excess water can be blown from the coat using a power dryer.
- Finish with a blow-dry, using a pin brush to lift the coat and remove any remaining dead hair.
- Comb through with a wide-toothed comb. The coat may need a few days to settle before the dog is shown in the ring.
- Check the dog’s nails, ears and teeth.
- When using thinning scissors, keep the tool pointing downwards with the fall of the coat — never cut crossways. Scissor the hair to enhance the deep chest. The dog should not appear cylindrical, and has very little tuck-up.
Remove the hair from around the anal area with scissors or a No. 5 clipper blade.
- Also remove the hair between the pads underneath the foot, using a closer blade or scissors.
- Trim the foot around the circumference to give an appearance of a cat’s paw.
With the pet dog, the entire body is frequently cut shorter with scissors or clippers than on the show dog. Some owners request that this breed is clipped all over, leaving just a shortened beard, as with the terrier trim. To do this, use a No. 5 Oster, going with the growth before the bath, and tidy with a blade or scissors after blow-drying.