Level: Moderate - high
Function: herding and protection
vigilant & attentive, his look alert and enquiring,
denoting his intelligence.
By the harmony of his shape and the proud carriage of his head,
the Belgian Shepherd Dog must give the impression of that robust
elegance which has become the heritage of the selected representatives
of a working breed. He combines the valuable qualities of the best
guard dog for property with his inborn aptitude for guarding flocks.
for: Working homes & families.
10 to 15 years
Dogs 62 cm (24 1/2 ins)
Bitches 58 cm (23 ins)
Groenendael - long coated black
Tervueren - long coated, fawn with black overlay
Malinois - short coated, charcoaled fawn with dark
Laekenois - rough-coated, Only fawn with traces
of black overlay, mainly on the muzzle and the tail.
Appearance: A well-balanced, square dog, elegant in appearance
with an exceedingly proud carriage of the head and neck. Skull is
flattened rather than rounded, muzzle is moderately pointed. Eyes,
brown, preferably dark brown, slightly armond shaped. Ears erect
& triangular shaped. Tail long & lowset.
The Belgian Shepherd was used
in Belgium, as a necessary part of farm life, herding and guarding.
In the late 1800s studies were done in Brussels, which resulted
in the division of the breed into four varieties. The four varieties
have quite large differences in appearance.
The jet-black, long-coated Groenendael (called the Belgian Sheepdog
in the US), the long-coated fawn dogs with black overlay known as
Tervuren, the rough-coated fawn dogs with traces of black known
as Lakenois, and the smooth-coated charcoaled fawn with dark mask
known as Malinois. In the beginning, the Malinois was simply referred
to as the shorthaired type.
Initially, breedings produced dogs of the different coat types in
the same litters, so the types share common ancestors. As breeders
selected coat types, they founded the base stock for the modern
Belgian sheepherding dogs.
Three types took names from the area in which they developed. Thus
the Parc du Laeken section of Brussels gave rise to the Laekenois;
and the Malines region was home to the Malinois; and the town of
Tervueren perfected the Tervuren. The Groenendael got its name from
Chateau Groenendael, a restaurant owned by breeder Nicolas Rose.
Today they serve as police dogs, search and rescue aides, sentries,
guardians, and leader dogs for the blind. They also excel in schutzhund,
agility, obedience, and flyball competition. They have also retained
the herding instinct and compete in herding tests and trials.
They are easily trained but like most highly intelligent breeds,
they need consistent training and firm handling to establish leadership.
Firm handling is not the same as harsh correction or punishment;
Belgians treated to tough training methods may become fear-biters.
They do also make excellent pets, which are loyal loving companions.
Groenendael & Tervueren - longhaired dog that
needs a fair amount of grooming. They have a long, straight and
profuse outercoat with an extremely dense undercoat.
Malinois & Laekenois
- shorter coat needs less grooming.
They need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation and to this
end they excel at agility and obedience. They are very active dogs
and should not be considered as pets if they are to be left alone
This breed has few genetic diseases, but watchout for hip dysplasia
and eye problems. For Diet and other general dog health information