Care and exercise
Coat care and maintenance obviously take more time and effort for the long-coated varieties than the others, requiring a couple of thorough grooming sessions a week and more during shedding. The short-coated Malinois also needs brushing twice a week, but the job is done much more quickly, with the coarse, wiry Laekenois coat wanting something in between. Plenty of exercise is indicated for this very active, alert working breed and it should receive positive, consistent, gentle obedience training from the time it comes home. Socialisation is most critical for a Belgian Shepherd puppy if this is not achieved successfully the result can be a shy, spooky, unconfident and untrustworthy adult.
An excellent family pet and watchdog when raised and trained properly, the Belgian Shepherd is a little different in appearance and character from other working dogs, and the choice is there as to which coat type you prefer. A good choice for the dog owner prepared to spend time with their friend, exercising, training and grooming. All this will reap handsome rewards in the form of love, loyalty and devotion.
These loving sheep-herders and guardians have come a long way since the days of hard work. Although still widely used across the globe as working dogs, these lovable pooches have now found a way into our hearts as a wonderful couch companion.
There are, in fact, four varieties of Belgian Shepherd, all very similar in build, varying only in coat type and colour. As you would imagine, Belgium is their home country and the name of each variety identifies its locality of origin.
The best known is the black, long-coated Groenendael. The three others are coloured fawn, grey or mahogany with shading: the long-coated Tervueren, short-coated Malinois, and the harsh, wiry-coated Laekenois, the rarest of the quartet.
Used in Belgium as sheep-herders and guardians, they all have very well developed working and protective instincts and have found acceptance throughout the world in other spheres, such as the police and armed forces. Like the slightly similar German Shepherd, they have also found favour as family guardians and pets. Typical herding dogs, they are willing to please and easy to train provided harsh methods are avoided.
Around 60-65cm at the shoulder, a Belgian Shepherd should weigh between 27kg and 34kg at maturity. Rather square in outline, the Belgian moves with a quick, light, graceful step.Love our breeds? Find your new best friend on our DOGSLife Directory