AKC Dog Breeds: Belgian Sheepdog

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Herding Group
Height: 22-26 inches   Weight: 60-75  pounds  Color: Black or  black with white

The first impression of the Belgian Sheepdog is that of a well balanced, square dog, elegant in appearance, with an exceedingly proud carriage of the head and neck. He is a strong, agile, well muscled animal, alert and full of life. His whole conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The Belgian Sheepdog is a very athletic and able dog that is alert, intelligent yet also a very good companion dog. The Belgian Sheepdog, known in its native land, as the Groenendael is one of the four types of shepherd dogs from Belgium, all that are very similar except for their coloration and coats. The all black Belgian Sheepdog is derived from a single kennel in Groenendael, hence the traditional name. The breed was developed by Nicholas Rose the late 1800s from a pair of all black shepherds. Mr. Rose bred his dogs for both herding and protection and they were very popular in the area, with the demand for the dogs increasing with every litter.

General Appearance
They are very similar in overall appearance to the German Shepherd although the Belgian Sheepdog is typically all black or black with a very slight amount of white allowed on the chest and the muzzle, with white tips allowed on the hind toes and between the pads of the feet. The Belgian Sheepdog has somewhat of a harsh texture to his coat, but it should be neither silky nor wiry. A full double coat, the outercoat should remain coarse yet soft, and the undercoat should be dense and fluffy. The head of the Belgian Sheepdog is very clear and crisp in its outline and formation. The ears are very erect and completely triangular and always held very erect and pricked. The muzzle is long and very tapered with a noticeable stop between the muzzle and the forehead. The eyes are wide set, dark brown and very intelligent and alert looking. The hair on the face is very short and dense, gradually lengthening into a ruff and the longer hairs on the neck and body.


The Belgian Sheepdog is a very people loving dog, and is versatile, willing, eager, and quick to learn. These dogs are very obedient and intelligent which makes them highly trainable. A well socialized Belgian Sheepdog will be confident and well balanced. These dogs make good companions because they are very devoted, but some can have a dominant or stubborn streak. The Belgian Sheepdog should reflect the qualities of intelligence, courage, alertness and devotion to master. Attentive, alert, loving, and smart, the Belgian Sheepdog requires firm socialization at an early age as they tend to be very protective of their owners and territory. Nipping at ankles is a common trait for this breed, as they still possess a strong herding instinct. The Belgian Sheepdog can do well with children, but can present aggressive behavior towards other dogs. It does well with other household pets if properly socialized.


The Belgian Sheepdog is one of the breeds of dogs that "blows" its coat in the spring and fall. This means that the winter and summer coat is lost in a very heavy shed twice a year. Clip the hair around the feet and between the pads to prevent balls from forming between the toes. These balls of hair and debris can cause severe lameness and infections between the toes. Clipping the long hairs on the ears and plucking or pulling any long hairs in the outer ear area will help prevent infections in the ear itself.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The lifespan of the Belgian Sheepdog is 10-12 years, and there are a number of health problems and disorders that are associated with the breed. This includes thyroid problems, epilepsy, cataracts, pannus, PRA, and HD.

Activity Level

The Belgian Sheepdog is a working or herding dog, and must be exercised mentally as well as physically. They need to feel that they have something to do or a task to complete, even if it is protecting the property or escorting you on long walks. The Belgian Sheepdog will often turn to destructive type behaviors such as chewing, digging, barking and even finding ways to get out of the yard if they are not given the right amount of exercise and human contact.


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Belgian Sheepdog profile on dog encyclopedia
Belgian Sheepdogs on dog encyclopeda