The Belgian Sheepdog is an elegant herding dog of astounding intelligence and ability. They are extremely devoted to their families, and love being around their people. From their contagious energy, to their loving demeanor, the Belgian Sheepdog is an excellent all-around dog that excels at both protecting and nurturing.
Strong and agile, this breed is a powerhouse when it comes to work, but loves to play with the family. A robust dog that is beautiful and clever with all the qualities of a cuddler and worker rolled into one furry package. Read on to learn more about the Belgian Sheepdog.
Description of the Belgian Sheepdog
With glistening, long black fur and a symmetrical square body, the Belgian Sheepdog watches proudly over his quarry. Whether this is a herd of livestock or your family’s home, he is a natural watchdog and his sharp intelligent eyes don’t miss a thing.
Their herding blood means they have abundant energy, and love to engage in exercise and playtime with their owners. This dog’s muscular body makes it powerful and hardy, and quite well-suited to working hard. The pointed triangular ears and long muzzle are defining characteristics of this breed.
The Belgian Sheepdog was originally bred in (you guessed it!) Belgium to watch over livestock. Four breeds of shepherd dog from Belgium remain today, with one of them being the Belgian Sheepdog. But as word of their intelligence, adaptability, and endurance got out they became popular working in other sectors and could be seen working as police dogs and ambulance dogs, among other things.
This breed is all black, but will occasionally have small patches of white on the chest, muzzle, or paw area. Their shiny fur is long and durable. They often can be seen to have a collarette of fur around the neck that gives them a very regal appearance.
Life Expectancy and Size
This hardy breed is pretty durable and encounters fewer health problems than many other breeds. They live an average of 12 – 14 years, which is a respectable lifespan for a medium to large dog!
Females stand 22 – 24 inches tall and weight 45 – 60 pounds while males stand 24 – 26 inches tall and weigh 55 – 70 pounds. Their abundant fur and tall ears give them some stature but their lean body underneath is well proportioned and a very nice midsize.
The Belgian Sheepdog is a naturally active dog and this combined with good nutrition and proper care can lead to a long and happy life for your pup. But always work with reputable breeders to be aware of potential health problems and make sure your dog is getting regular check-ups to try and catch or prevent problems early.
Having been bred to herd and protect livestock and lands, the Belgian Sheepdog is a natural guard dog. They are vigilant and attentive, without being apprehensive towards strangers. Fearless and full of courage, this breed will make an excellent protector while still being loving and gentle with those he is close to. Always moving and observing, these dogs never miss a thing and are very possessive of their family and property. You cannot go wrong with this strong, devoted, and attentive dog.
The Belgian Sheepdog is renowned for his intelligence. Combine that with a very eager to learn and alert attitude, and you have an excellent recipe for training success! They do best with positive and rewards based training. Incorporating treats, games, and positive praise are the best way to train your Belgian Sheepdog. They love to learn, so don’t be surprised when your pup catches on quickly!
Be careful to avoid overfeeding, though, as the Belgian Sheepdogs can be susceptible to becoming overweight.
Another important aspect to your Belgian Sheepdog’s training should be early socialization. They are a naturally protective breed, so introducing them to other people and dogs early will make sure your dog doesn’t become shy or timid. Puppy classes are a great option as they will provide valuable socialization for your dog and will also give you two some important bonding time.
Many Belgian Sheepdogs excel at dog sports like agility and herding. Having your dog participate in these activities could provide a great outlet for energy, give you both more bonding time, and help with training.
Don’t be surprised if your Belgian Sheepdog is always moving. With a natural instinct to herd and protect, they are always running around making sure everything is safe and secure. This breed requires daily exercise, or they will quickly become antsy or destructive. But just letting them out into the yard is not enough.
this highly sociable breed needs interaction with you, so expect to take your dog on walks, runs, or to play games with them outside. Ensuring your dog gets adequate time with you, and exercise every day, will keep him fit and happy. Involving your Belgian Sheepdog in canine sports is a great outlet for energy.
These dogs do require a lot of attention and will love to hang out with their family. But they are not a couch potato kind of dog, so don’t expect a TV-binging companion when you get a Belgian Sheepdog. Without adequate exercise this breed may become anxious or destructive, and you could see changes in its personality. They do not do well when left alone, either, so make sure you can provide the daily companionship they need.
What Living with a Belgian Sheepdog is Like
The Belgian Sheepdog makes a loyal, protective, and kind companion. These characteristics make them an excellent choice of dog for kids, as they will be extremely protective and gentle with them. The Belgian Sheepdog is very attentive and loving towards their owner, and requires lots of daily interaction to be happy. They crave your attention and are very eager to play with you. Their calm and alert nature makes them a versatile breed that can do well in most situations.
These dogs require a lot of daily physical activity, and would not do well in a home without access to the outdoors – if you live in an apartment, be prepared for long outdoor excursions with your new dog. As an active and affectionate breed, the Belgian Sheepdog needs a home where his family will partake in his exercise. But your loyal and loving dog will also love to be the center of your attention and you can expect some serious loving from these devoted companions.
Care of the Belgian Sheepdog
The Belgian Sheepdog is a quite adaptable breed. The most important requirements that must be met are adequate social interaction and exercise. If you can fulfill these two things your will have one happy four-legged friend!
These dogs are surprisingly adaptable to all sorts of environments. Their long black fur and dense undercoat will keep them very warm in cold climates, but they can do equally well in heat as long as they’re out of the sun. The same undercoat that provides them so much warmth in winter will shed and adapt to hot summer climates.
As a herding breed, the Belgian Sheepdog needs plenty of daily exercise. They will become very anxious without it. Providing adequate daily exercise will also help keep your Belgian Sheepdog at a healthy weight. If they are becoming obese make sure you are meeting their activity needs and reevaluate their diet to be sure they aren’t being overfed.
Daily walks or runs, and playtime with you are a must for this breed. Be sure you can carve out at least an hour a day to be active with your furry friend.
Belgian Sheepdogs are natural herders. They are constantly in motion and have energy levels off the charts! As they are always looking for a job to do, providing them with daily structured movement is a great way to burn off some of this energy and keep them happy. Sports like Treibball or herding can really help get that herding instinct put to good use!
Shedding and Grooming
The Belgian Sheepdog’s luscious black coat is surprisingly low maintenance for most of the year. They do have a major shed once a year, and you should expect to be brushing them daily during this time. The rest of the year weekly brushing should suffice to keep mats at bay. Pay special attention to the areas around their collars or harnesses and behind their ears for small dreadlocks.
Bathing can be infrequent. Like all breeds, the Belgian Sheepdog will need regular nail trimmings to avoid discomfort or ingrown nails.
Ideal Home Environment
The Belgian Sheepdog makes a great family dog. Protective, loyal, and great with kids this breed is very popular among families. But they can do well in almost any home as long as they are given affection and exercise.
This breed makes a great watchdog, but is not lazy and won’t do well in a home where left alone, or not given proper daily activity. Friendly, attentive, and intelligent the Belgian Sheepdog craves connection, mental stimulation, and purpose. They require a big commitment but the returns they offer more than make up for it.
A robust breed, the Belgian Sheepdog is relatively healthy, but can be susceptible to certain health problems. Because of their active nature, this breed is particularly prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. Frequent check-ups and proper exercise and nutrition can help keep the onset of this disease at bay.
This breed is also at risk for epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and certain cancers. Proactive screening can sometimes catch problems early and help your dog live the fullest life possible.
This intelligent and passionate breed is quick to learn and easily trainable. Their loyalty to their owners and natural sense of duty make them a responsible breed. Because of their love of family and duty they need plenty of daily attention and activity to avoid developing behavioral problems out of anxiety and unhappiness. Give your Belgian Sheepdog enough attention and exercise and they will be okay.
Ensuring proper socialization will also make sure these dogs are not shy or timid, which is very unusual this breed. Your Belgian Sheepdog will be an able and loyal companion as long as you make sure he is a part of the family.