Belgian Shepherd Dog Breed
- General Appearance:
- Belgian Shepherds are well proportioned dogs of medium size. They are alert dogs who are fine and proud. They are known for their ability as a sheepdog or guard dog. Their coat differs depending on which of the four varieties within the Belgian Shepherd breed they are. The Groenendael is a medium sized, longhaired dog that appears square in its outline. Although they are often confused with the ‘long-haired German Shepherd Dog’ by the general public, they are lighter in bone and more refined in head. The Laekenois is a medium sized, rough-haired dog that appears square in its outline. Their coat is weatherproof. The Malinois is usually confused with the short haired German Shepherd Dog but the are smaller and more refined in head and lighter boned. The Tervueren Is very similar to the Groenendael but comes in all shades of red, fawn and grey with a black overlay.
- Other Names:Chien de Berger Belge, Belgian Sheepdog.
- Country Of Origin:Belgium
- Dog Group Kennel Club:Pastoral
- Depends on what variation of breed the dog is Groenendael: black with or without small amount of white Laekenois: Reddish fawn with black Tervueren/Malinois: All shades of red, fawn and grey with a black overlay
- The Belgian shepherds are intelligent dogs with a wary outlook. That said, they are not nervous or aggressive. The Belgian shepherd is a good family dog who likes to get involved with all activities. They should not be kennel dogs as they bore easily and could become destructive.They will protect their home and family but it is not advisable to encourage their guarding instincts when young, as they can get confused and start guarding you in inappropriate situations.
- Loose and brisk
- Care and training:
- The Groendael and the Tervueren has a long and lavish coat that will need brushing or/and combing daily. This will need to be done from the under coat as well as the top coat to prevent matting. The Laekenois and the Malinois have rough and shorter coats so need little grooming, so the Groendael and Tervueren does shed heavily during warmer seasons where as the Laekenois with the rough coat and the Malinois with the shorter coat shed their coat much lighter.
The Groenendael is an intelligent dog that learns very quickly. A gentle but consistent approach is the best way to train this dog. They should be socialised from a very early age. This dog is very intelligent and is eager to please his owner. This breed does exceptionally well in obedience and working sports as it was originally bred for herding.
- Overall Exercise:
- 60 - 80 minutes per day.
This Breed are highly active and if considered for a family pet would need plenty of physical and mental stimulation, and not to be left alone for long periods of time.
- Feeding Requirements:
- Belgian Shepherds generally have a good appetite, and do not need special dietry requirements.
- Personal Protection:Medium
- Suitability As Guard Dog:Medium
- Level of Aggression:Medium
- Compatibility With Other Animals:Medium
- Suitability for Children:High
- Often Docked?No
- Average Litter Size:6-10
- Life Expectancy (yrs):13
- Health issues:
- The Belgian Sheepdogs are free from hereditary diseases a majority of the time, although problems such as epilepsy, hip and elbow dysplasia should be checked out. Possible health issues also include anesthesia sensitivity, cancer, PRA, thyroid problems, eye problems.
- The Belgian Sheepdog was developed in Belgium for the guarding and herding of sheep. Belgian Sheepdogs were formally recognized as the Belgian Shepherd Dog in 1891. Present in the gene pool of this breed are alleles producing long coats, short coats, rough or wired coats and a variance of colors. This created the Belgian Shepherd Dog with four different varieties. The Groenendael (known simple as the Belgian Sheepdog), with a long, solid black coat, the Laekenois, a rough or wire-coat in fawn, red or brown, the Malinois, a short coat in fawn, red or brown and the Tervuren, a long coated fawn or dark red dog. All of these dogs originated from the variance of sheepdogs that existed in Belgium towards the end of the 19th century. In the year of 1890, a man named Monsieur Nicholas Rose of the Cafe du Groenendael found a completely black, long-haired Belgian sheepdog in a litter. After buying a dog similar to this one, Monsieur Rose used selective breeding to create the Belgian Sheepdog, or Groenendael. In 1891 the breed was decided upon to develop and separate three more versions of this dog at the Brussels Veterinary University. The American Kennel Club has recognized three of these four varieties. The United States and Belgium are the only countries to accept at least three of the four of them as distinguished from each other as four separate breeds. The British Kennel Club regards them as a single breed and the Federation Cynologique states one breed with four varieties. Because of this, the dogs are always registered on their coat type and color, not of their parents. The Belgian breeds were used as sentry dogs, messengers and even draft dogs in World War I, and continued to serve in World War II.