The Belgian Sheepdog, also known as the Belgian Shepherd or Groenendaeler, is a popular breed of square, muscular dog that originated in Belgium. It belongs to the herding breed family which is notable for their exceptional ability to control the movement of other animals. Belgian Sheepdogs have been bred to become sheep herders and livestock guardians. Their weather-proof coat is moderate in length and has ruff of fur surrounding the neck. Extra feathering can also be found on their tail, legs, and underneath their body. Coat colors could either be solid black or with some white markings on the chin, chest, and toes.
Height and Weight
The male members of the Belgian Sheepdog breed normally stand a height of 24 to 16 in at the wither, and weigh 65 to 75 lbs. Bitches, on the other hand, are slightly smaller with a common height of 22 to 24 in, and a weight of 60 to 70 lbs.
Belgian Sheepdogs, in general, are very obedient and intelligent dogs. They are energetic, determined, and observant. They also have strong protective as well as territorial instincts. Unsurprisingly, Belgian Sheepdogs are considered to be the most popular among the four Belgian Shepherds. Socializing this herding dog early is highly advisable to prevent shyness and sensitivity. Experienced masters also need to be firm yet gentle in their leadership. Being self-assured and consistent when disciplining the Belgian Sheepdogs is also recommended. Additionally, the breed is very loyal, alert and watchful. No wonder, they make reliable guard and police dogs. They bond well with children if socialized properly, though can be rather dominating around other pets. Providing them with ample leadership, exercise, training, as well as companionship would keep the Belgian Sheepdog pets from becoming destructive and uncontrollable.
To avoid matting, Belgium Sheepdogs have to be combed and brushed on a regular basis. Clipping out the mats that form in the ruffs around the legs would also be necessary. Clipping their hair is also recommended. Belgian Sheepdogs are seasonal heavy shedders.
Members of the Belgian Sheepdog breed are generally healthy. In fact, they have an average lifespan of 13 to 14 years. Nonetheless, they are still prone to a few health issues. These include allergies, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and eye problems.
Because the breed craves for constant human companionship, they rarely thrive as kennel dogs. They require a home environment and to be brought up with a family. Belgian Sheepdogs may do fine in apartment-living but it would be best if they have access to a yard. Since the breed is a working dog that has been accustomed to a vigorous outdoor lifestyle, handlers have to provide them plenty of regular exercise.