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Belgian Sheepdog

BelgianSheepdog

A Dedicated Herding Dog

Alert, playful, independent

Belgian Sheepdogs are highly active, loyal, and obedient, large dogs. These protective dogs are wary of strangers, but are excellent watchdogs for their family. This highly intelligent breed requires a strong leader. Sometimes known as Groenendaels, they make great working dogs or companions for active individuals and farmers. This breed requires vigorous everyday physical and mental exercise.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

Breed Details

Height:22-26 in. Weight:40-75 lb Lifespan:12-14 years

Size
4

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
3

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
4

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
5

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
4

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
1

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: Naturally a bit wary, they are distrustful of strangers; bond them to children early to trigger protective behaviors. They are large, smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts.

Grooming: They need a thorough brushing at least weekly most of the year. Twice a year they blow their coat and lose crazy amounts of hair; daily brushing is recommended during this time.

Dental: Belgian Sheepdogs generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


Belgian Sheepdogs are highly intelligent and require a strong leader. They will work hard and thrive when given an important job.

Positive Traits:

• Highly active and eager to have a purpose

• Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used

• An excellent family dog that loves human companionship

• Protective of owners; excellent guard dog

• Loving and loyal to her owners

• Highly intelligent, playful, and energetic

Negative Traits:

• Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices

• Sensitive by nature, a bit slow to mature

• Exhibits signs of separation anxiety if left alone too much

• Has a tendency to herd, including small children

• Can be aggressive, fearful, or snappy if not socialized properly

• Standoffish toward strangers

Whether you are considering adding a new Belgian Sheepdog to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Belgian Sheepdog will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Belgian Sheepdog you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

Some health issues a Belgian Sheepdog could encounter:

The Belgian Sheepdog (or Shepherd) originated in the area of Groenendael, Belgium during the 19th century. They were used as an all-around working farm dog, skillfully herding and guarding. The breed still retains a strong working instinct and thrives when active. They require almost constant attention from their master.

The Belgian Sheepdog is a generally healthy dog with an average lifespan of 12-14 years. They have been known to suffer from some common conditions such as epilepsy and cataracts. Early detection is the key to a long and happy life, so be sure to schedule routine checkups.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Belgian Sheepdog shows signs of the following:

• Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

• Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

• Cloudiness to eye lens

• Small blood vessels extending onto the clear cornea

• Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

• Pale gums, labored breathing, weakness, or sudden collapse

• Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss

• General reluctance to run or play

• Dragging the hind toes and hind limb weakness

• Underbite, drooling, dropping food

• Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

• Coughing, fainting episodes, tiring easily

• Patchy white spots

• Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen


  • Care

    Routine Care: Naturally a bit wary, they are distrustful of strangers; bond them to children early to trigger protective behaviors. They are large, smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts.

    Grooming: They need a thorough brushing at least weekly most of the year. Twice a year they blow their coat and lose crazy amounts of hair; daily brushing is recommended during this time.

    Dental: Belgian Sheepdogs generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


  • Characteristics

    Belgian Sheepdogs are highly intelligent and require a strong leader. They will work hard and thrive when given an important job.

    Positive Traits:

    • Highly active and eager to have a purpose

    • Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used

    • An excellent family dog that loves human companionship

    • Protective of owners; excellent guard dog

    • Loving and loyal to her owners

    • Highly intelligent, playful, and energetic

    Negative Traits:

    • Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices

    • Sensitive by nature, a bit slow to mature

    • Exhibits signs of separation anxiety if left alone too much

    • Has a tendency to herd, including small children

    • Can be aggressive, fearful, or snappy if not socialized properly

    • Standoffish toward strangers

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Belgian Sheepdog to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Belgian Sheepdog will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Belgian Sheepdog you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues a Belgian Sheepdog could encounter:

  • History

    The Belgian Sheepdog (or Shepherd) originated in the area of Groenendael, Belgium during the 19th century. They were used as an all-around working farm dog, skillfully herding and guarding. The breed still retains a strong working instinct and thrives when active. They require almost constant attention from their master.

    The Belgian Sheepdog is a generally healthy dog with an average lifespan of 12-14 years. They have been known to suffer from some common conditions such as epilepsy and cataracts. Early detection is the key to a long and happy life, so be sure to schedule routine checkups.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Belgian Sheepdog shows signs of the following:

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Small blood vessels extending onto the clear cornea

    • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

    • Pale gums, labored breathing, weakness, or sudden collapse

    • Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Dragging the hind toes and hind limb weakness

    • Underbite, drooling, dropping food

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Coughing, fainting episodes, tiring easily

    • Patchy white spots

    • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen


Belgian Sheepdog Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Belgian Sheepdog breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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