Belgian Shepherd

Other names: Malinois, Groenendael, Tervueren, Laekenois

Belgian Shepherd

The Belgian Shepherd is a keen working dog, a little nervous, overflowing with energy and vitality and always ready to carry out tasks given. Naturally the herder of flocks, they are also used to guard a property. Four varieties exist: the Malinois, who was specifically selected for guarding, defence and sporting activities; the Groenendael, the Terveuren and the Laekenois, who preserve the calm and bold side of the shepherd.

Key facts about the Belgian Shepherd

Life expectancy :

5

19

10

14

Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent

Size :

Origins and history

The four varieties were chosen in the late 19th century by a group of dog lovers led by Professor Reul, from the Cureghen Veterinary School, who were trying to sort out a rather confused canine gene pool. The first standard was published in 1894, the starting point for all future breeding.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)

Section

Section 1 : Sheepdogs

Physical characteristics of the Belgian Shepherd

    Adult size

    Female : Between 22 and 24 in

    Male : Between 24 and 26 in

    Weight

    Female : Between 44 and 55 lb

    Male : Between 55 and 66 lb

    Coat colour

    Black
    Blue

    Type of coat

    Hard
    Short
    Long

    Eye colour

    Brown

    Description

    The Belgian Shepherd is a noble, well-proportioned, rustic dog. They are smaller, lighter and more flexible than the German Shepherd. They have a well-chiselled head, long and straight. The skull is of medium width proportionate to the length of the head, the forehead is rather flat, with a moderate stop and a well-chiselled muzzle. The chamfer is straight. The eyes are averagely-sized. The ears are triangular, stiff and straight, set high on the head. The neck is muscular without any dewlap or other hanging skin. The body is powerful but not heavy. The top line is straight. The tail, of medium length, is carried when the dog is at rest and raised when in action.

    Good to know

    Some dogs may be a bit nervous and experience some difficulty in their defence work due to excessive mistrust. However, a good supervisor always succeeds in making the most of this dog with such remarkable qualities, provided that the dog’s family tree is proven.

    Varieties

    Belgian Shepherd Malinois

    Belgian Shepherd Groenendael

    Belgian Shepherd Tervuren

    Belgian Shepherd Laekenois

    Temperament

    • 100%

      Affectionate

      Very attached to their owners, these dogs are completely faithful and devoted to them. Moreover, they are not stingy in showing their affection and can even be possessive.

    • 100%

      Playful

      Shepherd dogs love to play and when they’re having fun, they are letting off some steam and they are also thinking during playtime, a win win situation!

    • 33%

      Calm

      This sheepdog is literally overflowing with vitality. They can of course be calm, and that is sought-after from working dogs, but they must also know how to go mad!

    • 100%

      Intelligent

      Very versatile, this dog can be used for guarding and for defence (especially the Malinois), as a companion dog, a police dog or a competition dog (ring, agility, obedience etc.)

    • 66%

      Hunter

      Like many dogs, the Belgian Shepherd can follow a rabbit when they see one running, but it isn’t their favourite activity.

    • 66%

      Fearful / wary of strangers

      Guardian and defender of their owners and property, this dog does not trust easily and needs time to judge the possible dangerousness of a person. By nature, they will be suspicious but when introduced, they are very friendly.

    • 33%

      Independent

      This dog does not stop pleasing their owners; in this, they are rather dependent and forever waiting for one thing: to be told what task to undertake next.

      Behaviour of the Belgian Shepherd

      • 33%

        Tolerates solitude

        Loneliness is not a situation that this Belgian dog likes. Indeed, they enjoy the company of their family members and can quickly become bored when alone.

      • 66%

        Easy to train / obedience

        The Belgian Shepherd is a very intelligent dog who quickly understand what is expected of them. They are also very lively and respond quickly to different stimuli. This can be an advantage or disadvantage in their training as no mistakes are allowed.
        Waiting to establish training is not advised, neither is setting the rules and limits of life too quickly in order to prevent the Belgian Shepherd puppy from picking up bad habits.
        For working dogs, they should be registered in specialised clubs but beware of traditional methods that are often too coercive and brutal for this sensitive dog.

      • 100%

        Barking

        This dog can be a barker, especially when an intruder is approaching or when they are bored.

      • 66%

        Tendency to run away

        More guardian than predator, it’s rare that a Belgian Shepherd leaves their familiar environment. This is however very often the case of dogs who have never been in the garden; they then scarper off when the opportunity arises.

      • 100%