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Belgian Sheepdog


Belgian Sheepdog Facts

  • Group
  • Herding
  • Affiliations
  • UKC, AKC
  • Height
  • 22" - 26" (56 - 66cm)
  • Weight
  • 60 - 80lbs (27 - 36.3kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • A Quick Learner
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Easy
  • Colors
    • Silver / Grey
    • Black
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Ok outdoors
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The Belgian Sheepdog is also known as Belgian Shepherd Dog, Chien de Berger Belge, or Groenendael.


The Belgian Sheepdog breed originated in Belgium.

Date Of Origin

The Belgian Sheepdog originated in the late 1891 by Professor Adolphe Reul of the Belgian School of Veterinary Sciences.


In 1891, Professor Reul, of the Belgian School of Veterinary Science, conducted a field study of all the existing sheepdogs in Belgium, and eventually 4 different breeds were nationally. The Belgian Sheepdog (Groenendael), Belgian Laekenois, Belgian Malinois, and Belgian Tervuren. In many countries, these breed variations are all considered to be the same breed - the Belgian Sheepdog. Nicolas Rose established the first kennel for the modern Belgian Sheepdog. His foundation pair, "Picard d'Uccle" and "Petite" can be found in the lineage of most Belgian Sheepdogs today.

During World War I, Belgian Sheepdogs distinguished themselves on the battlefields, serving as message carriers, ambulance dogs, and sometimes helping pull machine guns.

The first Belgian Shepherd Dogs were imported into the United States in the early 1900's. Although earlier identified as 4 separate breeds, the UKC registered the Belgian Shepherd Dog as a single breed with four distinct varieties in 1991.

The Belgian Sheepdog was recognized by the AKC in 1912 and by the UKC in 1991.


The Belgian Sheepdog is an elegant, well-proportioned, medium-sized, square dog who is completely black, or may be black with white, although there are limitations to their white markings. Bone structure should be moderately heavy in proportion to his height so that he is well balanced throughout and neither spindly or leggy nor cumbersome and bulky. The Belgian Sheepdog should stand squarely on all fours. Side view - The topline, front legs, and back legs should closely approximate a square. Expression indicates alertness, attention, readiness for activity. Gaze should be intelligent and questioning.


Developed as a sheep herding dog, the Belgian Sheepdog is very intelligent, enthusiastic, and remarkably quick. They were developed for endurance, and should be watchful, attentive, and always in motion when not under command. He must be able to move and tend the flock all day and to guard it from all invaders.

The Belgian Sheepdog is highly trainable and affectionate with their owner and family and makes an exceptional watchdog and a tenacious and brave defender. He is vigilant, and highly responsive to his owner's direction.

Alert, intelligent and inquisitive, the Belgian Sheepdog will typically exhibit reserve with strangers. He should not show fear or shyness. He should not show viciousness by unwarranted or unprovoked attack. With those he knows well, he is most affectionate and friendly, zealous of their attention, and very possessive.

Training and socialization for the Belgian Sheepdog should begin early to allow them to meet a variety of people and pets. Training should continue through adolescence, as the breed is very intelligent but can be independent. Training should always be structured, fun, and fair to keep the dog challenged.

While Belgian Sheepdogs are generally good with children that know how to handle dogs, they may, at times, try to herd rambunctious children. This breed is good with other dogs and pets, but interactions should be supervised.

The Belgian Sheepdog was designed to work and will need daily aerobic exercise in the form of running alongside a bicycle, jogging, fetch, or agility training will suffice.


The Belgian Sheepdog is an outstanding herder and guardian. It is also proficient at police work and makes a wonderful family companion.

Health Concerns

Possible health concerns for the Belgian Sheepdog include anesthesia sensitivity, epilepsy, hip and elbow displasya, PRA, thyroid issues.

Additional Information

The Belgian Sheepdog is known to be protective and territorial and are best fit with dog-experienced owners in rural or suburban homes.

Grooming the Belgian Sheepdog includes brushing twice weekly, and daily brushing during spring and fall.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

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