Origins and History

Historical notes: the definition of a Belgian Sheepdog depends a bit on what country you are in. The Belgian Sheepdog encompasses four varieties, according to the official breeders’ organizations of the UK, Canada, and South Africa. In the words of the Belgian Sheepdog Association of Great Britain, the varieties are: “Groenendael (long haired black), Tervueren (long haired, all shades of red , fawn and grey with black mask and overlay), Malinois (short haired, color as Tervueren) and Laekenois (wirehaired, reddish fawn with black shading.

General Appearance


– A medium sized dog, harmoniously proportioned, intelligent, hardy, accustomed to the open-air life, built to resist the bad weather of the seasons and atmospheric variations so frequent in the Belgian climate.
Athletic, agile, lithe, elegant, the Belgian Shepherd Dog is frequently in motion, often moving in quick, light-footed, seemingly tireless circles.
This working dog needs a lot of exercise (running, hiking, biking, fetching) to stay in hard condition.
Even more important is personal interaction and mental stimulation (advanced obedience, agility, herding, Schutzhund, tracking). Responsible and eager to learn, he becomes bored, frustrated, and prone to obsessive behaviors without something to do.
Sometimes playing the mischievous clown, yet more often serious, the Belgian Shepherd is observant, often reserved with strangers, and has strong protective instincts.
He needs more extensive socialization than most breeds so that his watchfulness doesn’t become suspicion or sharpness. Shyness and spookiness are present in some lines.
Most are okay with other pets if raised together, but he has a high prey drive, so small animals (cats, rabbits, ferrets, birds) should be introduced with care and supervision.
Belgian Shepherds often poke (or nip) people and other animals in an attempt to move them along or gather them together.
Attentive and responsive to the direction of a confident owner, he requires a light hand on the leash, for he is extremely sensitive to correction.
This intelligent dog muct be owned and handled by someone who is as smart and capable as he is, and who will provide for his exercise and working needs.”

Main Characteristics

The Belgian Sheepdog, also known as the Groenendal, is one of four Belgian breeds that are nationally known throughout Belgium.Originally, this dog was used as a livestock herding dog.
Today, the Belgian Sheepdog is used as both a watchdog and companion dog.
The Belgian Shepherd Dog was developed in Belgium as a herding dog to work sheep. He is enthusiastic and remarkably quick. He shows a natural tendency to be in motion. The Belgian was developed for endurance. He must be able to move and tend the flock all day and to guard it from all invaders. In addition to his inborn ability as guardian of the flocks, he is an exceptional watchdog and a tenacious and brave defender of his master and family. He is vigilant, and highly responsive to his owner’s direction. He is alert, intelligent and inquisitive. While he is firmly loyal to those he knows and loves, he typically exhibits reserve with strangers.

Physical Characteristics

• Size: males: 24 to 26 inches; females: 22 to 24 inches
• Coat: a long-haired overcoat over an extremely dense undercoat
• Color: Black
• Eyes: dark brown, medium-sized and slightly almond-shaped
• Ears: stiff, triangular, and standing straight up
• Skull: flattened and about as wide as long, but not wider
• Muzzle: pointed
• Nose: black
• Tail: sturdy


Correct temperament is essential to the working character of the Belgian Malinois. The breed is confident, exhibiting neither shyness nor aggressiveness in new situations. The dog may be reserved with strangers but is affectionate with his own people. He is naturally protective of his owner’s person and property without being overly aggressive. The Belgian Malinois possesses a strong desire to work and is quick and responsive to commands from his owner. Faulty temperament is strongly penalized.


Around 22-26”.

Weight :

Both males and females should weigh between 55-70 lbs

Life Expectancy :

13-14 years.

A well-balanced diet :

As a responsible Groenendael owner, you should provide your pet with meals containing proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fatty acids and minerals. A proper balance of the above components will not only keep the dog healthy and happy but it will also save you from the hassles and frustration of frequent vet visits. And it will help you save on your vet bills too.
Owners can opt for either home-cooked or readymade food for their Belgian Sheepdog, or a combination of both.
Home-cooked food, can do wonders for the dog. Yes, for today’s time-crunched Belgian Sheepdog owners, cooking food at home is a hassle – but the results that you get are worth the effort.
Aside from homemade food, the dog can also be fed dry food available in the market. Dry food usually helps to keep the dog’s teeth clean and moreover, helps him to work his jaws. This kind of dog food is easily digestible.

Here are 5 food items that you should NEVER give your Dog:

1. Chocolate, Tea, Coffee
2. Alcoholic Beverages
3 Grapes and Raisins
4. Bones from fish, poultry or other meats
5. Raw eggs
Apart from this you should avoid giving Sugar to your Dog. And even Salt should be given in administered quantities.
It is extremely essential to feed your prized Belgian Sheepdog the right food as it would develop complex health issues, otherwise.
Due to lack of proper nutrition, Groenendaels can suffer from vomiting, belching, loose stools, gassiness and stomach ache after meals. In order to give your Belgian Sheepdog a long, happy, healthy life, you need to be conscious about what you are feeding him

How to choose a Belgian Sheepdog

Because the Belgian Sheepdog has so much energy it does best with a large yard. It will do well in an apartment if given a lot of exercise. These working dogs thrive when off leash so time must be made to give them that release.

Age comparison between the Belgian Sheepdog Breed and a Human

Age comparisons between dogs and humans are always a matter of debate – we hope that the following information clarifies the situation. After the first year of life, a dog is equivalent to sixteen human years. After two years, they are equivalent to a 24 year old, at three years a 30 year old, and each year after, add 5 human years to determine a dog’s age.

Potential problems of the Belgian Sheepdog Breed

All owners of dogs and puppies are concerned about the health care of their pets and just as with humans dog health issues arise from time to time. Resolving dog health problems, including those of the Belgian Sheepdog, can prove to be costly and it would be wise to consider the benefits of obtaining dog health insurance. Diseases in dogs may occur because of trauma, infection, immune system abnormalities, genetic factors, or degenerative conditions. Common health problems and questions occur in relation to the Bones, Joints, Muscles, Nerves, Ears, Eyes, Teeth and the Mouth. Other, more serious, issues can relate to the Digestive System, Heart & Respiratory Systems, Immune & Blood Systems, Reproduction and Urinary Systems. Potential health problems of the Belgian Sheepdog can include:

  • Hip dysplasia (abnormal development of hip joints)
  • Epilepsy
  • Eye problems

Sources: Your Pure Bred Puppy, Dogmania, Ankc Aust, Big Paws Only, Train Pet Dog, I Love Dogs, Dog Names

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