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Belgian Shepherd breed Information

Belgian Shepherd: Ultimate Breed Guide (2020)


Belgian Shepherd: The Ultimate Guide 2020


Are you interested in buying or adopting a Belgian Shepherd? Is a Belgian Shepherd the right breed for you? If yes, then you just landed in the right place. We have come up with a comprehensive guide that explains the characteristics, vital stats, fun facts, history, average size, personality, and general health of a Belgian Shepherd.


Let’s begin the exciting adventure of getting to know everything about this remarkable breed.


Four Varieties of Belgian Shepherds

The Belgian Shepherd dog is a versatile breed with four varieties distinguished by coat color, type, and length. These are 

  • Groenendael
  • Tervueren
  • Laekenois
  • Malinois 

The colors are Black, Brindle, Cream, and Fawn. Originally developed and named as Belgian sheepdog, they are a medium to large breed that is athletic and intelligent.


Characteristics Of Belgian Shepherd Dog Breed

Belgian Shepherd is a multi-talented and versatile breed with elegant robustness. It is a highly trainable breed and developed for endurance. This makes it suitable for many types of work and dog sports. A Belgian shepherd dog is an active fellow and is a keen and vigilant watchdog. This intelligent and obedient breed is a great companion for families.


We have listed below Belgian shepherd dog breed characteristics. This list is meant to be a general guideline for Belgian shepherd’s characteristics. Let’s dive in:

1. Adaptability

Belgian Shepherds are easy-going and adapt well to different living environments. They don't mind moving from one place to another with their owner. They have an average of 4 out of 5 stars adaptability level


This factors contributing to high adaptability score are:


  • If Belgian Shepherds are regularly exercised, they will do fine with apartment living. They are moderately active when indoors and so for apartment living, they score 3 out of 5 stars. 
  • When it comes to novice owners, a Belgian Shepherd scores 3 out of 5 stars. This shows they are moderately suitable for first-time parents.
  • This breed is a little more sensitive than other breeds. They cannot easily handle loud noises and irregular daily routines. Punishments and negative reinforcements affect them emotionally. This breed has a high sensitivity level of 5 out of 5 stars.  
  • Belgian Shepherds are at their best when the owners are around. They share a bond with their owners and have a moderate tolerance for being alone. They score 3 out of 5 stars for being suited to be alone.
  • Belgian Shepherd can adapt well to cold weather. This breed has a 4 out of 5 stars tolerance to cold weather and prefers moderate or cold weather. 
  • They have a moderate tolerance for hot weather. Although they prefer cold weather, they are not that vulnerable to overheating. This breed has a 3 out of 5 stars tolerance to hot weather.

2. All-Around Friendliness

Belgian Shepherds are among the most friendly dog breeds. They are playful and have the ability to form solid-bonds and prove to be excellent companions. They have 5 out of 5 stars all around friendliness


The reasons for their outstanding all-around friendliness are:


  • Belgian Shepherds are affectionate dogs and shower the whole family with love and loyalty. Hence they hold 4 stars out of 5.
  • Belgian Shepherds are very gentle and friendly with children and possess 5 out of 5 stars for being kid-friendly. This breed is a good choice if you have children at home.
  • Belgian Shepherd is a dog-friendly breed and holds 5 out of 5 stars rating. If you already have another pet dog, the Belgian Shepherd can be a great choice.
  • Belgian Shepherds are stranger-friendly dogs and possess 4 out of 5 stars for being less aggressive to strangers. They won’t bother your guests with continuous bark.

3. Health And Grooming Needs

Belgian Shepherd is a healthy breed but sometimes, it is at risk of dog diseases. It requires regular grooming to keep its coat in good condition. They are rated at 3 stars out 5 for health and grooming needs. 

The reasons that contribute to this score are:

  • Belgian shepherds shed twice a year and hold 5 out of 5 stars for the amount of shedding. If you are intolerant of dog hair in your house, then this breed is not for you.  
  • Belgian Shepherds have low drooling potential and hold a rating of 1 out of 5 stars. When they come to say hello, they don’t leave big, wet spots on your clothes.
  • Belgian Shepherds require regular grooming to stay healthy and clean. They hold 3 out of 5 stars for ease of grooming. 
  • It is a moderately healthy breed and possesses 3 out of 5 stars when it comes to its health.
  • It has a low potential to gain weight with 2 out of 5 stars.
  • Belgian Shepherd is a medium-sized dog and holds 4 out of 5 stars.

4. Trainability

Belgian Shepherds should be trained gently, but with determination. They are quite easy to train and find out the association between commands and follow instructions without putting in much effort. They have good training experience of 4 out of 5 stars.


Let's have a look at the factors for good trainability score:


  • For ease of training, Belgian Shepherds hold 5 out of 5 stars. They do learn quickly and are adverse to harsh treatment. Hitting or yelling at them will only have negative effects.
  • Belgian Shepherds are smart dogs and have high intelligence and concentration level. They score 5 out of 5 stars in intelligence level.
  • Belgian Shepherds have a low tendency to nip, chew, or play-bite people. They have a 2 out of 5 stars potential for mouthiness. 
  • They have an inborn desire to chase and catch something. They hold a 5 out of 5 stars rating for prey drive. They need to be leashed when going out for a walk. 
  • Belgian Shepherds have 1 out of 5 stars barking potential. 
  • They have a strong desire for escaping the house and exploring the world. They have 4 out of 5 stars for wanderlust potential.

5. Physical Needs

The Belgian Shepherd is a high energy dog and has high physical needs of 5 out of 5 stars. 

The reasons for high physical needs are discussed below: 


  • Belgian Shepherds have a high energy level rated at 5 out of 5 stars. They become bored and mischievous without physical activities.
  • They are moderately vigorous dogs and possess 3 out of 5 stars intensity levels. 
  • Belgian Shepherds need to be regularly exercised. They are rated at 5 out of 5 stars for exercise needs. 
  • Belgian Shepherds are highly playful and have a playfulness potential of 5 out of 5 stars.


After having a look at the breed characteristics, Belgian Shepherds sounds like a great choice to buy or adopt. 

Vital Stats About Belgian Shepherd Dogs



Dog Breed Group/Purpose


Grooming Needs


Coat Length


Average Height

Males: 61 - 66 cm

Females: 56 - 61 cm

Weight Range

Males: 25 to 34 kilograms 

Females: 18 to 27 kilograms 

Energy Level


Tendency to Bark


Tendency to Dig


Life Expectancy

12 to 14 years 

Litter Size

Average 6 - 10 puppies



















Other Fun Facts About Belgian Shepherds 



Let’s have a look at some fun facts about Belgian Shepherds:

  • Belgian Shepherds are super fast and can run close to 50km per hour.
  • They are playful, loyal, and energetic, but sometimes can also be shy and sensitive. When you put time and effort to train and socialize them, they are well worth all your work.
  • With powerful herding instincts, Belgian Shepherds love to chase. When you take them out in parks, make sure they are leashed. 
  • They may mistake the noise and high spirits of play as an assault and try to bark at your kid's friends. With proper training and supervision, they can be taught to avoid this behavior.
  • They tend to chase joggers, bicyclists, and cars if they are not contained by a fence. It's always better to keep your Belgian Shepherd in a fenced yard.
  • This multi-talented dog combines the versatility of a working dog with the friendly-attitude of a family dog. Belgian makes an affectionate family companion as long as it's exercised regularly.
  • The Belgian Shepherd is not a breed that enjoys lying on couches and lazing around the house. It always wants a job to do.
  • This intelligent breed gets bored easily and needs variety in life. 
  • They don't like to be left alone and want to be included in family activities.
  • In Europe, the four Belgian Shepherd breeds are also known collectively as Chiens de Berger (bair-zhay) Belge (belzh).

History/Origin Of Belgian Shepherd Dogs

The Belgian Shepherd, sometimes also referred to as Belgian sheepdog, is a medium-to-large sized breed. This breed has originated from Belgium. During the 1800s, Belgian farmers were focused on cattle herding and breeding of herding dogs. There were once eight varieties of shepherd dogs that were unique to Belgium. They were officially classified for the first time in the 1890s.


Four types have been identified by various registries as separate breeds or varieties. These are Groenendael, Laekenois, Tervuren, and Malinois. These breeds have many things in common but vary with coats in terms of texture, color, and length.


The wire-haired fawn shepherd dog is named the Laekenois. It was first bred for the suburb of Laeken. The short-haired fawn is known as the Malinois, for the city of Malines. The long-haired fawn is the Tervuren, for the village east of Brussels, where the first Tervuren were bred. The long-haired black was officially given the name Groenendael, for the village of Groenendael. A man named, Nicolas Rose was a renowned breeder of that time and he purchased the foundation couple and first bred them.


Interest in the breed developed very quickly due to its versatility. Belgian Shepherds proved to be highly intelligent and very adaptable. They were able to perform a lot of functions. During the first decade of the 20th century, both Paris and New York began relying on Belgian Shepherds as police dogs. They were also employed by European border patrols, serving as watchdogs.

During both world wars, Belgian Shepherds served on the battlefields, serving as message carriers, Red Cross dogs, and defense dogs. This breed continued to show their talents in conformation, obedience, and agility rings and interest in the breed has continued to grow. They are still used as police dogs and guide dogs for search and rescue operations. They continue to prove themselves as a truly versatile breed and kept as both working dogs and as a loving family companion.


Belgian Shepherds were registered as one breed in the United States. After some time, issues arose over color and inter-variety breeding. In 1959, the American Kennel Club (AKC) gave each variety a separate status. The long-haired black dogs kept the AKC breed name of Belgian Sheepdog.


In 1974 Groenendaels were the first of the varieties to be imported into Australia. The pair was imported from the UK by a syndicate in Melbourne. The names of the dogs were Matthias of Zellik (male) and Zellik Lucinda (female). This was followed by the Tervueren in 1980 and later both the Malinois and Laekenois in 1987 and 1990 respectively. The working attributes of the Malinois are being utilised by Australian armed forces and police. 

What Is The Average Size Of A Belgian Shepherd


The Belgian Shepherd is an energetic and intelligent dog that shows a natural tendency to be in motion. This medium-sized herding dog breed originated in Belgium where he was used to herding sheep.


Average Weight of Belgian Shepherds:

  • Males: 25 to 34 kilograms 
  • Females: 18 to 27 kilograms 


Average Height of Belgian Shepherds:

  • Males: 61 - 66 cm
  • Females: 56 - 61 cm


If you are planning to buy or adopt a Belgian Shepherd dog, the good news is that it can easily adjust to both big and small houses and apartments, if regularly exercised. 

Personality Of Belgian Shepherd


The Belgian Shepherds are highly intelligent and multi-talented dogs. They prove to be great in herding, obedience, tracking, search and rescue and many other functions. Although this breed is alert and highly trainable, this dog is demanding and needs an experienced owner. Sometimes, a Belgian sheepdog can be difficult to control unless the owner or caretaker knows how to handle it. 


Like every dog, Belgian Shepherds need early socialization. Belgian Shepherd puppies must see different people, sights, sounds, and experiences. This helps ensure that your pup grow-up to be a well-rounded dog. Belgian requires plenty of physical activities and mental stimulation. It can be in the form of training and play, such as fetch games, obedience training, and running.


Belgian Shepherds have a wide range of temperaments and aggressiveness. They want to be with their family and don’t like to be left alone. They are affectionate and friendly with people they know, especially family members. Excessive shyness can be a problem in this breed but a well-socialized and trained Belgian Sheepdog is a confident protector of his people and property and doesn't attack without cause. 


Major Health Concerns Of Belgian Shepherd Dog Breed


The Belgian Shepherd is a healthy dog and has an average rating of 3 stars out 5 for being a healthy dog. There are some conditions that may affect this breed. These health concerns include eye issues like progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts, epilepsy, elbow and hip dysplasia, and certain forms of cancer. Parents of these dogs should note that Belgian Shepherds are sensitive to anesthesia if requirements for surgery ever arise. 


If you own or are planning to buy a Belgian Shepherd, you need to be aware of its health concerns. Let’s have a look into these health problems:


Atopic Dermatitis

This is an allergic skin disease that causes itch and irritation. The signs of this disease become obvious by one year of age. Management of this disease may involve a combination of lifestyle changes and medication.



Belgian Shepherd dog breed is prone to posterior cataract development. Cataracts can result from disease, old age, and trauma to the eye. The most common causes are inherited conditions. The dog's eyes may look cloudy or bluish-grey. This disease may affect vision in young adulthood.


Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow Dysplasia is a painful condition that causes a developmental deformity of the elbows. It can cause swelling, pain, and often leads to arthritis. Symptoms usually appear between 5 - 15 months of age. It is often hereditary and affects medium and large-sized breeds. It is best prevented by screening breeding adults through x-ray evaluation.



Belgian Shepherds are believed to be at higher risk of developing epilepsy. It is a common cause of seizures in the Belgian Shepherd, with signs appearing in young adults. Epilepsy can be hereditary or may be caused by other factors. As this may be a familial problem, affected adults should not be used for breeding. Epilepsy in Belgian Shepherds can be controlled with medication, but it cannot be cured. A dog can live a full and healthy life with the proper management of this disorder.


Hip Dysplasia

The Belgian Shepherd has a high incidence of hip dysplasia, an inherited cause of hindlimb lameness. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is hereditary, but it can also be triggered by environmental factors, such as rapid growth from a high-calorie diet. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred.


Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

It is a genetic condition in which deterioration occurs in the health of the retina. It can eventually cause blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. The first sign of this disease is night blindness and affected dogs tend to be nervous at night. Dogs that develop PRA should not be used for breeding.


How To Take Care Of Belgian Shepherd Dogs


Belgian Shepherds are medium-sized dogs that are highly adaptable. Like many other herding breeds, they need some regular physical activities. Owners should expect to participate in daily exercise sessions with their Belgian Shepherds. Being a friendly and affectionate dog, it can live indoors with the family but needs access to a fenced yard that will prevent him from escaping to chase passing cyclists, joggers, and cars.


Belgian Shepherds need exercise to stay fit and healthy. You can meet their exercise requirements by:

  • Taking them for a half-mile walk
  • Play fetch
  • Play frisbee
  • Giving them a safe area to run
  • Taking them for hiking
  • Taking them for jogging


This is an intelligent breed and highly trainable. They can fairly understand your commands and learn by positive reinforcement techniques. You can praise them or give treats as a reward. This is a sensitive breed, so punishments and harsh words will make them stubborn and damage their temperament.

Ideal Diet For Belgian Shepherd Dogs

Diet is a very important point that contributes to the overall health of your Belgian Shepherd Dog. If you want your Belgian Shepherd Dog to be in a good physical condition and full of energy, it is essential to feed it properly. 


Feeding guide for Belgian Shepherds is given below:


Cups per day

1 - 3 months

2 - 3 ¾ cups

3 - 5 months

3 ½ - 4 ½ cups

5 - 7 months

4 - 5 cups

7 - 12 months

4 - 5 cups










NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, gender, build, metabolism, and activity level.


Your Belgian Shepherd’s diet should be healthy and include all nutrients. If your dog is on commercial dog food, it must be safe, affordable, and made with high-quality ingredients. The Belgian Sheepdog should perform well on high-quality dog food, either manufactured or prepared at home under supervision. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times for this active breed. Most commercial dog food products also provide detailed feeding guides on the food's packaging. 


Best Dog Food For Belgian Shepherd


All major dog food brands formulate products to meet the nutritional standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Never feed your Belgian Shepherd any dog food that does not meet these minimum standards. You must know the best dry dog food for Belgian Shepherd Dog should be elaborated on the recommendations of veterinary dieticians. Few of the best 


Consider feeding your Belgian Shepherd dogs with the following dog food:



Coat Color And Grooming Needs For Belgian Shepherd


Belgian Shepherds have four varieties and each has a different coat color. The colors for the various types are as follows:


  • Malinois: grey, with black overlay and mask
  • Laekenois: fawn with traces of black overlay
  • Tervuren: fawn and grey, with black overlay
  • Groenendael: uniformly black


Like most double-coated dogs, Belgian Shepherds shed year-round with at least one heavy shed per year. It also depends upon the climate in which they live and how much coat they have. Let’s have a look at Belgium Shepherd’s grooming needs:

  • This breed requires 15 to 20 minutes per week brushing. This will help to remove dead hair and prevent mats or tangles. It will also save you from loose hair flying around your house. For best results, supplement the weekly brushing with a quick daily brushing of a minute or two. 
  • Give a weekly warm bath and use a good quality shampoo and conditioner. This also helps to get the shedding period over with more quickly.
  • Brush your Belgian Shepherd's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove bacteria and tartar buildup. Teeth brushing is important if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
  • Trim your Belgian Shepherd dog’s nails regularly. This will keep your legs from getting scratched when your dog enthusiastically jumps up to greet you. Short and neatly trimmed nails keep the dog's feet in good condition.
  • Eyes should be clear with no redness or discharge.
  • Ears should smell good with no exceptional amount of wax.
  • When you groom your Belgian, look inside its mouth and ears. Check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin. 


Your regular grooming and careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards.


Tools used to groom Belgian Shepherd

When it comes to finding tools that can be used for grooming your Belgian Shepherds, here is a list that can help:

  • Medium-size pin brush for long hair
  • Wire slicker brush for use on puppies and on areas of the body with shorter hair
  • Grooming rake for removing shedding hair
  • Grooming scissors for tidying up the coat
  • Mat comb for removing the occasional mat that forms behind the ears or in the areas where the legs join the body
  • Dog Nail clippers
  • Dog toothbrush
  • Set of dog clippers


How Do Belgian Shepherds Relate With Children And Other Pets


Belgian Shepherds are playful, energetic, and incredibly affectionate when they are around kids. They prove to be great playmates for children, especially if they are raised with them. Due to their herding heritage, they may have a tendency to chase them when playing. You must teach your dog to avoid such behavior. Children should also take part in the training activities of Belgian Shepherds. Also, teach your kids how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and kids.


If you already have another pet dog, the Belgian Shepherd can be a great choice. Belgian Shepherd is a dog-friendly breed that gets along best with other dogs and cats when they are brought up with them from puppyhood. Most of the time, they become best friends with cats and other dogs and share a special bond with them. If you want your Belgian Shepherd to get along with other pets you must start early and reward them for appropriate behavior. 

Australian Based Breed Organizations For Belgian Shepherd

If you are in Australia and would want to adopt a Belgian Shepherd dog breed, get in touch with any of the following breed organizations.


  • Belgenbeau Belgian Shepherd Breeder, QLD 


  • Chamshep Kennels, South East QLD  


  • Graebelge Kennels, Belgian Shepherd Breeders, VIC


  • Mirribandi Belgian Shepherd Breeder, QLD


  • Tarraray Belgian Shepherd Breeder, QLD


Rescue Groups For Belgian Shepherd In Australia

Below are some of the rescue groups around Australia that you can contact.


  • Belgian Shepherd Rescue and Rehab, Australia 

Belgian Shepherd Rescue and Rehab, Australia 

  • Belgian Shepherd Rescue - by Belgian Shepherd Dog Club of Queensland Inc.

Belgian Shepherd Dog Club of Queensland Inc.

  • Belgian Shepherd Rescue Australia

Belgian Shepherd Rescue Australia



Before purchasing your Belgian Shepherd, it is important to understand that as a dog owner you are responsible for the care and wellbeing of your pet. Now that you know everything about the Belgian Shepherd dog breed, it is easier for you to buy or adopt one.


They make great pets for families with children, due to their playful and loving nature. The breed is highly energetic and intelligent and is likely to get bored, if not exercised properly. Grab your Belgian Shepherd today and fill your home with happiness caused by this obedient and friendly dog breed.

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