Breed Info

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FAQ

 

What is it like to be owned by a Belgian Shepherd?

The Belgian Shepherd is a complex and unique breed, a very natural dog with no exaggeration. They are growing in popularity in the UK,  mainly due to their versatility  and in the case of the long haired variety, their glamorous appearance. I would like to introduce this wonderful breed to you, giving you a general insight into the history and development of the breed. I am well qualified to do so having judged them in various parts of the globe and having been owned by Belgian Shepherds for over 33 years. Somehow the Belgian Shepherd always makes you feel that he owns you rather than the other way around.

Be warned before you read any further the Belgian Shepherd is most definitely addictive. You have been warned!!

The Belgian is a true Continental Shepherd Dog, not related in any way to the German Shepherd, but a separately evolved shepherd and distinct to Belgium. The Belgian Shepherd was first noted in 1890 and the long haired black or Groenendael was the first recognised variety

 

Breed Characteristics:-

He is a medium sized dog with medium not heavy bone, harmonious proportions and no exaggerations. He is hardy and robust, used to the open air life. At the same time, he should convey intelligence and great elegance. He should look proud and carry his head high, arch his neck, prick forward his high-set ears and look at you with an alert inquisitive expression, almost as if he were asking the question, what are we going to do next? Often he seems to know before you do.

 

LONG HEAD FRAMED BY A LIONS MANE

With fine proportions and a proud head carriage Wary of strangers, but showing no aggression. Head finely chiselled, long with a flat scull, giving the impression of a sculptured head. Dark almond eyes which are alert and enquiring. Ears smallish triangular and set high on the head and constantly in use. A long supple neck gives a proud head carriage. In the case of the Groenendael and Tervueren the head is framed by a distinctive ruff, similar to a lion's mane. Altogether he is not a heavy dog; a  mature male should not weigh more than 65lbs and should be between 24 and 26 inches at the shoulder, females weighing around 45lbs and being 22 to 24 inches at the shoulder. A Belgian Shepherd should never be fat, they are athletes and should be kept fit, lean and muscular. 


AN ACCOMPLISHED GARDENER

When adult he will protect "his or her family" and their possessions diligently. He is happy to  help with any amount of household chores, including sorting the laundry, smelly socks hold a particular fascination to him. Vacuum-cleaning is fun, as he rushes forth to protect you from the evil noisy demon for the umpteenth time. He is an accomplished gardener, who will sit happily watching you working, then, when you move on, will helpfully dig up all the plants it's taken you an hour to plant and just to show off his retrieving skills, he will return them all to you in five minutes flat! When you exercise him, he tends to move around you in wide circles, making sure that he can see you all times. He is very fast and when he trots, his favoured gait, he moves with speed and great ease. He has great endurance and does not tire easily.

THE SENSITIVE SHEPHERD

Belgian is a very lively and exuberant dog, willing to please and sensitive to handle, often sensing your mood. Your voice is  enough to reprimand for any wrong doing, heavy handling of a Belgian Shepherd is totally unnecessary, to do so will crush the dogs spirit. They respond well to a gentle kind approach are extremely trainable, often to a very high level. They are loyal defenders of their family and their family's possessions. Generally children and Belgian Shepherds get on extremely well, one must always ensure the children respect the dog and the dog respects the children. Regardless how well your dog behaves with young children, it is never a good idea to leave any dog alone with children.

YOU NEED TO BE SPECIAL TO OWN A BELGIAN SHEPHERD

He is not a dog that will suit everyone and great care must be taken in assessing ones suitability for this breed. 

Remember  this cute little bundle 

 

turns quickly into 

 

 

this bouncy demanding and very loyal friend

 

NATURAL COLOURS AND A WONDERFUL COAT

  

The Belgian Shepherd comes in a wonderful array of natural colours, from jet black with white markings in the chest and feet, to wolf-like grey,  and any shade of warm red to hot mahogany in-between. The Tervueren has a black mask and an overlay which is in the form of a veil or fine black dust brushed over his coat. This overlay is not pronounced until the dog reaches maturity at around 4 years of age. In other words each time he moults his coat will come back slightly darker

 

 

 

VERSATILE WORKER

The Belgian Shepherd is very versatile in  In the first World War Belgians were used as couriers and rescue dogs. The Red Cross used them to find wounded soldiers in the bomb shelled trenches. In Switzerland the BSD acts as an avalanche dog for which he is particularly suitable; he is light in weight and very sure footed. In the UK the RAF accepts Belgians either as guard dogs or as sniffer-dogs used to find explosives, also in mountain search and rescue, and they are also used for general farm work.  In the USA Belgian Shepherds have also been trained successfully as guide dogs for the blind and the near future the breed may be used in the UK to help the

STAR OF STAGE AND SCREEN

 

The Belgian's trainability makes him a natural on stage and screen; for instance, did you know Wellard of Eastenders fame, is a Belgian Shepherd. Gill Raddings, Well'ards owner, runs the famous Stuntdogs Kennels and has several Belgian superstars on her books. Gill started by providing the Belgians that starred in the film "Company of Wolves", in which thirty of the breed were made-up to look like wolves! Another example of the Belgians screen prowess is in the TV series " All Creatures Great and Small". It is worth looking very closely when you see a wolf depicted on the screen, it is more than likely a Belgian in disguise.

 

 

 

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