He has a sympathetic appearance – the Belgian shepherd dog. But this can be deceptive. We often see this dog with the task forces of the police or customs. Sure – by his appearance he does not seem intimidating to people. But when it comes down to it, he shows what he can do. Because this enthusiastic learner he is and he can put everything he learns into practice very well.
You would like to have a working dog, which is also a watchdog, which keeps the events on the property under control? Nevertheless, he should be friendly and open-minded towards humans and curl up in the evening as a family dog in the good room. Because as safe, self-confident and brave as he may be – he can also cuddle all the time.
… one more thing: The Belgian Shepherd belongs to the large dog breeds. And he this refers not only to the size, but also to the self-confidence of the animal.
Character of the Belgian Shepherd Dog
The short description of this dog is “agile, alert, intelligent, lively, faithful”. Doesn’t everyone wish to have such a dog?
Well, this dog has roots that go way back to the herding and driving dogs. These ancestors have ensured that the Belgian Shepherd simply has it in his genes to be a true workhorse. If he was not used for herding or guarding the flocks, he had to do other tasks, which he does with great ease.
This led to the fact that he developed versatile in all respects. A development that today makes him a versatile dog, who in turn values the intimacy of his family above all else. Some are cuddle dogs all their lives, as long as they are in their family. For example, if they are on duty with the police and the code word has come down, no one will dare to cuddle them.
In addition to the qualities already mentioned, they are also brave, relentless and hard-working. Until they complete their task, they will not let up. Whatever that task may be.
Whoever acquires a Belgian Shepherd and knows how to imprint the dog on himself on the “family” level, will know the greatest dog of his life at his side.
The historical background of the Belgian Shepherd Dog
Strictly speaking, it is quite a young breed, which was formed only around 1900. This happened at the same time as the German Shepherd was formed. Before that time, all shepherd dogs were grouped together. Due to the diverse demands on a shepherd dog, one found a very motley group.
Thus, there were regions where many wolves, lynxes and even bears were found. Right, these shepherd dogs were very big and muscular, because strictly speaking they did the job of a guard dog to protect the herd. In other regions, they “only” had to keep the herd together. They were more elegant and not necessarily as tall.
The shepherd dog in Belgium had another very important job to do: he helped drive the herds through the region to the slaughterhouse. For this, in addition to a certain speed and agility, it required great endurance.
In all regions they were harnessed as draught dogs in front of the carts. Thus, there are photographs of sheepdogs pulling the mortician’s cart with the coffins to the cemetery. Another reason for a strong physique, isn’t it?
No matter where they were at home, sheepdogs were used as yard and guard dogs. The division into the German Shepherds and the Belgian Shepherds was probably done rather insidiously. As with many other dog breeds, the two world wars brought severe regression. Fortunately, these could be caught up in the following time, so that we find today a stable breeding basis.
The colors of the Belgian Shepherd Dog
In this regard, the Belgian Shepherd Dog is divided into four breeds:
- The Laeken is rough-haired.
- The Malinois is the short-haired representative.
- The Tervueren is not only ginger-haired, but also has long fur.
- The Groenendael is the long-haired, black representative.
Since all Belgian Shepherds are bred according to the standards, it is not surprising that there are also mixtures of these four possibilities.
Both the short-haired and long-haired specimens are very easy to care for, so you can disregard this point when deciding.
What are the demands of the Belgian Shepherd?
The first requirement of this dog is to be a full member of the family and to be able to spend the evenings with his people in a friendly atmosphere. The kennel attitude, which is still carried out by various owners, is acceptable only if several dogs are in the possession of the family, which in pack attitude would have to spend all together the night in the kennel. Anything else would be tantamount to torture for this sensitive dog.
Work – I want to work. The Belgian Shepherd would sound like this or similar, if we could understand his vocalization well. Why? He likes to learn and he would like even more to put into practice what he has learned. And this is possible only when he is worked. That is why he is so popular with law enforcement officers and the military. He is perfectly capable of implementing the various lessons and shows that no task is too difficult for him.
For the private owner, of course, this means a lot of work. Because this dog does not distinguish between official and private keeping. He wants and needs to work in order not to become ungracious. So, if you should play with the thought to want to acquire a Belgian Shepherd, consider also already in which kind of sport / dog sport you want to be present with him. Because he will not let himself be taken away from this presence. He wants to be there, and at the top. So he needs at least one adult family member who can follow his urge to move. The not so sporty family members can take over the caring and loving units of dog keeping.
“Growing up” requires a little patience with the Belgian Shepherd. He is one of those late bloomers that are not mentally mature until 3 years of age. Before that, they are sweet, but sometimes rambunctious brats who are still in the midst of training and development. This means that they first need a lot of time to play and live puppy-style and, of course, learn basic coexistence with their two-legged friends.
Direct education and basic obedience training should not take place until the average specimen is 10 months old. For this you can then be reasonably sure that the lessons also sit and can be implemented. Before that, it is a nerve-wracking game for both dog and master. But if the dog has learned the basic rules, the commands and prohibitions, it is a pleasure to accompany the dog’s progress.
The serious recommendation is: for this dog you need professional training, which is best done in a dog school or club for these dog breeds. These people know about the characteristics and peculiarities of the dogs and are therefore the best contacts at all
Even if it is common in many places, all violent measures and stun guns to force obedience should be refrained from. They only lead to a completely destroyed self-confidence of the dog and a split relationship with people in general. It will take forever to resocialize these dogs.
The Belgian Shepherd and his health
Breed-typical diseases can actually not be found in the Belgian Shepherd due to its origin. However, in recent years, more and more nervousness, shyness, as well as an increasing tendency to aggressive behavior could be noticed. These are unfortunately results, which can be put to wrong breeding goals to the load. Work zeal and one-sidedly promoted performance are the reasons for this. It is now up to the breeders to reverse these tendencies in their breeding lines.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Belgian Shepherd Dog.
The diversity, which is in his genes, is the absolute advantage of a Belgian Shepherd. There is no discussion about it at all. Thus, he is gladly used by law enforcement officers. Whether “sniffer dog” at the customs or mantrailer at the police – this dog will master every requirement in the best way. He is also gladly used as a rescue dog.
As a pure private dog, one should consider which dog sport should be intensively pursued with him. In any case, one should be able to challenge this dog physically as well as mentally. Simple, albeit long walks are far from enough to satisfy and exhaust him.
Of course, this dog still has the protective genes that made him such an excellent herding dog. And he will still want to use these today. So they have to be directed in the right way from the beginning, so that they do not turn against the owner or themselves.
This applies to the basic training as well as the advanced training and of course also to the socialization of the animal. With this, the next question is already answered by itself: As a beginner dog, the Belgian Shepherd is not recommended.
The perfect person for a Belgian Shepherd Dog
This person should already have a lot of dog knowledge and even more dog sense. He has not only dealt with the breed, but also knows exactly in which sections the dog must be raised and trained. Ideally, a dog school or a corresponding dog club is already known.
The perfect person for the Belgian Shepherd should definitely be active in sports, so that the dog also gets the exercise it needs, even if there is no day at the dog school, on the club premises. Long walks can be a good balance for exhausting days on the field.
By the way, this also applies to service dogs. They know how to distinguish between duty and leisure. If they are sufficiently challenged, they also like to spend a quieter day with their humans.
Buying Belgian Shepherd puppies
The Belgian Shepherd Dog should be bought exclusively from a reputable breeder, who is known for his breeding line. This way, it can be ruled out that any of the undesirable tendencies are present in the dog’s temperament. However, it may be wise to have a little patience. Because the demand for these dogs is great.
Not only private inquiries are received. Various breeders have already moved to the fact that their puppies are only delivered into the hands of the authorities. They work closely with the police, customs and the armed forces and have aligned their breeding goals accordingly.
Nevertheless, you should not be discouraged and, if necessary, wait a little longer for your favorite dog. Sufficient reputable breeders are available in any case, so you do not have to worry in this regard.
First equipment for the Belgian Shepherd Dog
- Dog collar
- Dog harness
- Dog leash, additionally possibly a drag line
- Water and food bowl, if possible easy to clean
- Dog bed / blanket for the resting place
- Long hair brush
- Undercoat brush
- dog comb / lice comb
- possibly clippers (but these should only be used if you really know how to use them).
- dog food
- possibly toys
- possibly treats
Dog food for the Belgian Shepherd Dog
If you take it exactly, the Belgian Shepherd has only one requirement to the food: It must be of high quality. However, in this regard, of course, should always be based on its husbandry and daily occupation.
A service dog, of course, needs a carefully composed menu when fully occupied, while the family dog is also happy to cope with high-quality wet food. Those who like to cook the food themselves or BARFt, should look at the appropriate literature to meet the dog. In case of doubt, the veterinarian or veterinary practitioner will step in to set up an appropriate nutritional concept.
This dog grows up to 62cm in height at withers. Thus, he definitely belongs to the large dog breeds.
No! The Belgian Shepherd has a strong urge to move, which cannot be adequately satisfied in the city. In addition to sufficient exercise and intellectual stimulation, a garden would be nice, which he can guard and watch over on his own.
You could say that we are dealing with an average price. The minimum price is $1,200. Many small dog breeds are just as expensive.
Basically, it is a robust animal without hereditary diseases. However, the number of nervous and shy animals tends to increase, even showing aggressive tendencies. This is a genetic problem. It is now up to the breeders to eradicate this deficit again.
NO, this dog needs an experienced dog owner / handler. This is because he has a great urge to move, great intelligence and wants and needs to work! Without a suitable occupation to work, herding, guarding and the like, he can not live up to his potential. This would lead to frustration and associated negative characteristics. Even experienced dog owners often need support from accomplished dog trainers or the police dog club, where one knows best with these animals.
Of course, it depends a little on the breeding line and the direct demand for these very puppies. Basically, a minimum price of $1,200 should be expected. Upwards the price limit is open. Mixed breeds are usually offered cheaper. However, care should be given at very low prices (below $1000), so that you do not catch a dog from a dubious breeder / multiplier.
The current origin of the Belgian Shepherd Dog is to be given as Belgium. But to which region one must go back to be able to name its true origin is unknown. The breed name and thus the current origin was formed around the 1900.
The lifespan attributed to the Belgian Shepherd is 12 to 16 years. Optimal husbandry is assumed. In this regard, it is necessary to pay attention to the load of the aging dog. In particular, retired service dogs require a task so that they do not decline too quickly and develop problems from this.
The standard desires an optimal weight between 20 and 25kg for females and 25 to 30kg for males.
Regarding the size, male and female should be distinguished:
Male: circa 62cm
Bitch: circa 58cm
The average litter of the Belgian Shepherd Dog consists of 4 to 8 puppies. This varies individually and always depends on both breeding animals. The age of the breeding bitch can also play a role.
Due to his original “occupation”, the Belgian Shepherd still has the urge to protect his flock. Nevertheless, he would not be trained to be a hunting dog, as he lacks certain dispositions for this. In this area, other breeds will cut a better figure. However, this will not stop the Belgian Shepherd, when off leash, from eventually running after a wild animal, especially when young. On the leash should be considered in field and meadow always paid attention.
A pure family dog is the Belgian Shepherd not. If he is active as a service dog, for example, and is appropriately utilized, he can be well integrated into the family of his handler. He likes being with all ages within the family very much.
A clear NO. The Belgian Shepherd has a great urge to move, which he must meet daily. If he still has a desire to exercise despite good exercise, there should be a large, well fenced garden so that he can roam around there. The city cannot offer him this. An apartment in the countryside with a large garden would be an alternative. But garden must be!