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Belgian shepherd is a medium size herding dog species which developed in Belgium where it was utilized for herding sheep. Later the police department started using it for their work. Presently, it is being used for many types of tasks due to its versatility.
These dog breeds take part in many dog sports activities too. It is known to be alert, devoted and securing.
It looks elegant and graceful with its lengthy black coat and an imposing look. This breed is athletic and beautiful too apart from being a good working dog for which it was famous originally.
It is a good choice of dog for competitions related to obedient agility and herding.
These dogs are safe to be tamed in a fenced yard. Being a herding breed, they are great chasers and tend to pull off if they see cycles, joggers and other passers around the house if not protected by the fence.
They socialize well with the kids in the family if they are raised along with them from the early stage. They also get along well with other animals and pets brought out along with them in the same family.
It is a versatile breed, but it is not a great choice of pet for first-time dog owners.
Belgian Shepherd History
The Belgian shepherd dog is amongst the four types of the shepherd breed which originated from Belgium at the end of the 1800s. The four types of the breed are Malinois, Tervuren, Laekenois, and the Belgian shepherd or Groenendael.
The American Kennel Club defines all the breeds but differentiates the Laekenois as a different breed in the US. However, the United Kingdom Kennel Club defines all the four breeds as one.
The Belgian shepherd dog with a black coat was initially bred by breeder Nicolas Rose who had a kennel back in 1893.
This breed got its European title from Rose’s estate Chateau Groenendael in the outskirts of Brussels. He had bought the foundation dogs of this breed, Picard d’Uccle, and Petite.
The offspring of these dogs are the ancestors of the present day’s Belgian Shepherd breed. The dogs were immediately famous for their versatile behavior and were considered as police dogs in Paris and New York until the beginning of the 1900s.
The customs officers in Belgium patrol with these dogs in the border. This breed was used to pull ambulance and machine gun carts in the World War I times apart from carrying messages.
They became much famous in the United States after the wartime and the Belgian sheepdog club came into existence in America in 1919. The depression era led to a decrease in the number of dogs in this breed, however, they still served in World War II as war dogs.
Later the interest in this breed has gradually raised with time.
Currently, the Belgian Shepherd excels in canine performance sports and it is placed in 122nd rank by American Kennel Club amongst the 155 breeds and types recognized by AKC.
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Belgian Shepherd Appearance
The Belgian shepherd is a dog with a double coat. The upper layer of the coat has excess lengthy straight hair which is on an average is rough to touch and not silky or wiry.
The coat underneath the top layer is usually soft and dense and it protects the dog from various weather conditions. The thickness of this undercoat varies based on the climate in which the Belgian Shepherd lives.
It has short hair over its head, besides the ears, and over its legs. The opening in the ear is protected by tufts of hair. The rest of the body of the dog has long hair and it’s quite long and abundant.
The hair around the neck called the collarette is quite evident in the male species of this breed. It also has a fringe of long hair which flows down behind the front part of the legs and behind the thighs.
This breed has abundant hair over its tail too. Similar to most of the breed the male breed is considered to be highly ornamental than the female species.
The ideal Belgian Shepherd is absolutely black all over or black with little white patches covered in between the pads in the foot, on the ends of the hind toes or tiny patches or stripes cover over the fore chest. This dog gas a small frost over its chin or muzzle.
White patches over the front toes end are generally noted as fault as per the breed standard. However, this doesn’t affect the ability of the dog is being a good companion or a working dog.
- Dog breed group – Herding dog
- Height – Ranges from 1 foot, 10 inches to 2 feet, 2 inches of height to the shoulder level.
- Weight – Between 60 to 75 pounds.
- Lifespan – 10 to 12 years.
Belgian Shepherd Size
The male species of the Belgian shepherd has a shoulder length of about 24 to 26 inches. It has a weight of about 65 to 75 pounds. The female breed is of 22 to 24 inches and weighs within 60 to 70 pounds.
The Male breed is usually larger than the female dogs.
Belgian Shepherd Lifespan
The average lifespan of this breed is about 10 to 14 years which is considered quite good enough for a dog of its weight and height.
Belgian Shepherd Temperament
The Belgian shepherd has a high level of intelligence and performs really good in herding and other dog sports.
This dog breed is highly alert and sensitive with good observing capacity about all the happenings in their surroundings which is the major reason for them being skillful in herding.
Although this dog was considered as a herding breed initially, it gets along well as a good family pet. As it is loyal, trainable and bonds well with children it is a good choice to tame at home.
It is a breed which doesn’t need any specific type of exercise and socializing activity, as they are by quite gentle by nature and they feel very comfortable in close bonding with people.
Belgian Shepherd Training
The Belgian shepherd is a very intelligent and perfectly trainable breed similar to other herding breeds. Although the dogs in this breed are very friendly in nature and have a good relationship with people around them, they at times tend to not trust strangers.
It is considered for this reason that they are well trained right from the beginning with good socialization practice. If this dog is trained perfectly it is an amazing guard for the family and things around, however, it will not pounce without being provoked.
Mental stimulation is a must for this breed because of their high level of intelligence. Advanced training with long play time sessions with interactive toys is recommended for dogs in this breed.
It is not a dog which is willful or stubborn yet it grows well in hands of an experienced dog owner who has the ability to be firm and consistent in both leadership quality and training.
The Belgian Shepherd is both an indoor and outdoor breed. He likes to be with the family inside but also loves playing around outside. Playing outside is restricted to a fenced area because there is a risk of this breed chasing the passers, cyclists, and cars.
It is good to train the dogs in this breed with certain off-leash exercises in a fenced ground apart from long distance walks and jogs. It requires a minimum of at least one hour of training activity which can be practiced in two or three different schedules.
Are you a hiker or jogger?? If yes, then Belgian shepherd is a perfect partner for you. Try training your shepherd dog to compete in being obedient with agility. It is good to keep dogs in this breed busy.
Don’t be taken aback if your Shepherd dog takes big circular rounds it is a remnant of its heritage of herding.
Let the puppies practice exercises gradually. Beginning with 9 weeks up to 4 months, it is considered puppy kindergarten where weekly once or twice exercising is considered good.
Apart from exercising, it is good to have training and socializing activity for about 15 to 20 minutes in the play yard both morning and evening. Throwing and fetching of ball exercise is also a good activity for this breed.
Beginning from 4 to 6 months conducting obedience classes every week along with half-mile walking every day and playtime in the yard is important for training this breed.
Later, after 6 months until one-year playtime of the dog can be increased to 40 minutes. However, limit the walking distance to half a mile only.
After one year your Belgian Shepherd is all set to go for jogging with you but remember to limit the distance to one mile only with frequent breaks in between.
It is advised to keep the dog away from rough surfaces such as asphalt and concrete. The walking distance can be gradually increased as the dogs get matured.
The above exercising sessions will help the dog with the development of bones and strong joints.
Though Belgian shepherd is a smart and easily trainable breed it is known to be independent thinking dog. To train this breed successfully a trainer needs to earn its trust and confidence without interrupting with anger, intimidation and physical hindrance.
Being quite confident and strong the Belgian shepherd is, however, sensitive and its temperament can be spoilt at times irreparably if the ough correcting technique is practiced.
This breed performs at its best with firm, fair and consistent regulations along with rewards for good performance and fair behavior.
Belgian Shepherd Grooming
It is good to brush at least 15 to 20 minutes in a week to remove the dead hair in the coat and to remove the mats and tangles.
It is good to practice this weekly brushing schedule or a quick brushing session every day to keep your house and surroundings away from loose dog’s hair.
Grooming tools for easy brushing are a brush with medium size pin for lengthy hair, for puppies and to brush on short hair parts of the dog it is good to use wire slicker brush.
To remove shredded hair a grooming rake is used and to remove the mats which form in the ear back and in the parts of legs, a mat comb is a must.
Belgian Shepherd shed almost throughout the year similar to most of the double coat dogs. It experiences at least one heavy shedding in a year based on the climatic condition and the type of coat they have.
To shrink the shedding time faster a warm bath once or twice with frequent brushing will help release the coat. Few people collect the fur and spin it into sweaters or clothing.
Few other grooming requirements are dental hygiene and nail maintenance. It is advised to brush the Shepherd dog teeth twice or thrice weekly to clean the tartar built and to remove the bacteria that lurk within the tooth.
Brushing every day is really good to keep the dog away from gum diseases and foul breath. If the Belgian Shepherd doesn’t wear out nails naturally it is definitely required to trim them.
If you happen to hear the nail ticking on the ground, remember it is time to trim. Short nails are must to maintain the Shepherd dog’s feet in good condition apart from keeping you away from hurting when your dog pounces on you to play.
Start practicing your Belgian Shepherd for brushing sessions and examining activities right from when its pup stage.
Examine its paws, mouth and ears frequently, these dogs are a bit sensitive with their feet. Make grooming sessions easy with fun-filled activities and rewarding techniques.
When you groom your Belgian Shepherd to make sure to see if they are affected with any sores, rashes or any infections like redness, tenderness or skin inflammations in the ears, eyes, mouth, nose, and paws.
Do check whether the ears smell good and also check if there is any wax or gunk in the ears. Also, examine the eyes for any redness or discharge.
Apart from maintenance, grooming helps you to have the complete examination of your dog’s health. You can find out if it has any health disorders.
Belgian Shepherd Interesting Facts
- Belgian Shepherd is known to be highly aggressive breed.
- This breed was initially bred to safeguard people from being attacked by wolves and wild dogs. They till date have that territory protecting strength which is at time misplaced.
- The black breed is the most famous one across the world.
- This dog was also utilized as war dog during the World War I and II.
Belgian Shepherd Price
The price of a Belgian Shepherd ranges based on various factors like the location where it is bred, the reputation of the breeder, litter capacity, puppy’s lineage, vaccine details, the popularity of the breed, its training and socialization behavior, and many more.
At present, the cost of the Belgian Shepherd is $875. It is the budget you need to fix on. If you want a Belgian Shepherd without any breeding rights and show quality, the price will be less.
The price of a puppy in this breed is less without papers. But, it isn’t advisable to purchase a pup without papers.
Are you looking for a superior lineage Belgian Shepherd with breeding rights and proper papers?? Then be ready to shell out some premium price for it.
A good quality Belgian Shepherd would cost around $2900 and may get to the price of $7500 or more. On an average, the Belgian Shepherd costs $1100.
Belgian Shepherd Health Problems
Belgian Shepherd is known as a healthy breed with fewer chances of being affected by diseases.
All the dogs in this breed need not necessarily be affected by the below diseases but it is better known the diseases that would affect this breed if you own one.
It is a condition that passes on to the dog on hereditary. It is a thighbone disorder where it doesn’t fit properly with the hip joint. Dogs affected with thus suffer pain and lameness in one or both the legs.
However, they might not show any symptoms of pain or discomfort. It isn’t advisable to breed a dog with hip dysplasia and it is better to check whether the dog has passed this hip disorder test before purchasing a pup in this breed.
This is a hereditary disorder that is very common in large breed dogs. The difference in the growth rate of the three bones is the main cause. They constitute the dog’s elbow which leads to joint laxity.
It leads to lameness with pain. A vet may prescribe surgery to rectify this disorder along with medicines to control the pain.
The Belgian Shepherd is also prone to Epilepsy which leads to mild or high seizures.
Hereditary epilepsy can be caused due to metabolic illnesses, infections, tumors, and exposure to poisonous materials.
Seizures are a bit scary to watch. However, if treated on time by a vet a Belgian Shepherd affected by epilepsy can lead a long healthy life.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy(PRA)
It is a degenerative disorder caused in the eye which leads to blindness by affecting the photoreceptors in the eye back.
It is not a very common infection in Belgian Shepherd. However, if a dog is affected by this disorder it shows few symptoms of blindness years before affecting completely.
Consult a Veterinary ophthalmologist if your dog shows signs of progressive retinal atrophy.
Dogs also are prone to cancer similar to humans. There are various types of cancer and the success of the medications for every cancer varies.
For certain cancers, the tumors are removed by surgery. Some are treated using chemotherapy and certain cancers are treated by both surgery and medicines.