The Belgian Shepherd Dog is a majestic yet hardy dog of medium size and good proportion. Versatile and adaptable, he is quick and agile, with the endurance needed to herd flocks of sheep all day, the purpose for which he was originally bred.
A native breed to Belgium dating back to the 1800s that was developed to herd sheep, the Belgian Shepherd Dog became popular for his abilities as a smart, adaptable working dog. The Club due Chien de Berger Belge (Belgian Shepherd Dog Club) was formed in 1891 as a means to define consistency for these native dogs, which were identical anatomically but different in terms of their coat texture, length and color. Of those varieties, the black long-haired dog was called Groenendael; the fawn rough-haired dog, Laekenois; the fawn short-haired masked dog, Malinois; and fawn long-haired masked dog, Tervuren. Having been imported to the United States in the 1900s, today, these four varieties are viewed as a single breed, the Belgian Shepherd Dog, as recognized by the United Kennel Club since 1991.
Alert, intelligent and inquisitive, the Belgian Shepherd Dog also is a loyal, vigilant watchdog and eager-to-please, tenacious guardian for his human family. Although somewhat reserved around strangers, the Belgian Shepherd Dog is warm and friendly with those he adores.
The Belgian Shepherd Dog is accustomed to an active life outdoors. As such, he requires plenty of daily exercise, such as a long walk or free play in a fenced yard, as well as ample mental stimulation. Proper training and socialization is a must for this sensitive breed, as is a confident and firm owner to be the alpha. Because the Belgian Shepherd Dog is a true herding breed, take caution around children, as his natural herding tendencies can kick in. He does well with other dogs and pets, too, provided he’s been properly introduced. The Belgian Shepherd Dog has a long, straight coat that heavily sheds seasonally. Daily brushing is needed, as is the occasional bath and regular nail trimming, teeth brushing and ear cleaning.