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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Belgian Sheepdog

Belgian Sheepdog

Origin: Belgium

AKC Group: Herding

Height: 22 inches (Male)

Weight: Approximately 44 pounds (Male)

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Male height: 
22 inches
Male weight: 
Approximately 44 pounds
Double coat with long, abundant, well-fitting, straight guard hairs and very dense, woolly undercoat; very long and profuse hair around the neck, where it forms a collarette.
Black or black with white markings.

The hardworking shepherds' dogs from Belgium have rated raves since the Middle Ages. In those days, type varied widely and breeding was based on herding ability. It wasn't until 1891 that Professor Adolphe Reul of the Belgian School of Veterinary Science cataloged and established standards for the various types of Belgian Sheepdogs. He found them remarkably similar in type, with the main differences being color, length and coat texture. He divided them into varieties - at one time, there were as many as eight. Today, there are four: the Malinois, the Laekenois, the Tervuren, and the Groenendael. These dogs are considered breeds by the American Kennel Club (AKC), and the Groenendael is known as the "Belgian Sheepdog." However, in other parts of the world, "Belgian Sheepdog" indicates the group in which the four varieties belong. A Belgian restaurant owner and dog breeder is credited with fostering the Belgian Sheepdog. Near the village of Groenendael, Mr. Nicholas Rose's breeding program produced Duc de Groenendael - the keystone sire of these intelligent black herding dogs. Today, the Belgian Sheepdog (Groenendael) is the most popular of the Belgian Sheepdogs and excels in many sports and working trials.

The Belgian Sheepdog is intelligent, courageous and devoted. Protective of his family, he can be possessive of their attention. The Belgian Sheepdog is serious and watchful and tends to strongly bond with his owner. He thrives when given a job to do.
At home: 
The Belgian Sheepdog is a truly versatile breed, but urban living may not be the best fit for him. Still, if you are willing to devote plenty of time exercising and training him, this breed can get along just about anywhere. He needs a fenced-in yard to safely play and stretch his legs, as well as plenty of opportunities to run and explore outdoors. He is an all-weather breed.
The Groenendael must have plenty of exercise - he is the very definition of a high-energy dog. Plenty of intense activity and daily play sessions are needed to keep him from becoming bored and destructive.
The Belgian Sheepdog needs a high-quality, nutritious diet for his active lifestyle.
The Belgian Sheepdog needs and thrives on training. Positive, reward-based training works best for this sensitive, intelligent breed. They are quick and eager learners and excel in all types of sports and activities. Early socialization is essential.
Belgian Sheepdogs love children and tend to be protective of them. They may try to "herd" them as they would a flock. They get along well with other pets but will expect to claim most of your attention.
The average life span of the Belgian Sheepdog is 10 to 14 years. Breed health concerns may include elbow dysplasia; epilepsy; hip dysplasia; hypothyroidism; and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Fun fact: 

During World War I, the Belgian Sheepdog served his country by helping find wounded soldiers and carrying messages to the front.

Grooming blurb: 
The longhaired Belgian Sheepdog's double coat requires regular attention - daily brushing with a pin brush is essential, or the fine fur will mat if neglected.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.