This information is for the prospective Belgian Shepherd owner, or anyone interested in a general breed outline.
THE BELGIAN SHEPHERD DOG
ONE BREED FOUR VARIETIES
First recognised as a breed in 1891, the Belgian Shepherd Dog was originally bred to herd sheep.
Structurally they are all the same and differ only in coat and colour.
They are -
long coated black – Groenendael,
long coated other than black – Tervueren,
short coated – Malinois,
rough coated – Laekenois.
With the harmony of his shape and the proud carriage of his head, the Belgian Shepherd Dog should give the impression of robust elegance.
They are a medium sized dog accustomed to the open-air life, built to resist the bad weather of the seasons and atmospheric variations so frequent in the Belgian climate. A working breed, the BSD has a double coat, the under coat thick and woolly, the longer outer coat being harsh and weather resistant.
The BSD is vigilant and attentive, their look alert and inquiring, indicating their intelligence. They combine the qualities of a natural instinct to guard property, with an inborn aptitude for guarding flocks. When necessary they are obstinate and ardent protector’s of their master/family.
Belgian Shepherd Dogs are loyal and loving with their family and immediate friends and make the most wonderful companions and playmates for children. As with any breed, both dog and child should be taught to respect each other and play gently together.
Most Belgian Shepherds like water and will often swim and play for hours in the water (with or without you). Salt water should be rinsed from their coats afterwards.
They can live in perfect harmony with other pets.
The Belgian Shepherd Dog is not ‘another type of German Shepherd’, the difference not just in their looks. The Belgian Shepherd Dog forms a strong bond with their owners and is quite sensitive to their owners’ moods and reactions. They like to be with you as much as possible and will often follow you around. They do not like to be isolated - or left alone for long periods. The BSD is an active dog that requires physical exercise and mental stimulation. If you are not prepared to spend the time with them - don’t get one.
These intelligent dogs need sensible handling, not harsh discipline, to equip them for a full and happy life with their new family. They are easily trainable and can excel at Obedience, Agility and Tracking. It will benefit both owner and dog, to have some basic obedience training.
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN
AVERAGE SIZE AND WEIGHT
The height at the shoulder is 60cm to 66cm for dogs and 56 to 62cm for bitches; their weight can vary from 20kg to 40kg depending on sex and height. The length of the body should be equal to the height at the shoulder giving the impression of a square dog.
Whether as a companion for a single person or as the family pet surrounded by children - The Belgian Shepherd Dog is a devoted companion and will return your love. They are perfect for those wanting an active dog that likes to enjoy life to the fullest and be part of the family.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE
If you have decided to purchase a Belgian Shepherd Dog, it is a good idea to check that the parents of your prospective puppy have been hip scored and are suitable for breeding. Most breeders in Australia Hip X-ray and score their dogs and breeding stock, as Hip Dysplasia has been known to have occurred in our breed, as it has in other breeds.
The continuous and careful selection of low scoring, Hip X-rayed dogs for breeding is recommended to reduce the incidence of Hip Dysplasia in a breed.
Recommended reading for a detailed history of the breed.
THE HISTORY OF THE BELGIAN SHEPHERD DOG
By Erna Bossi
The Belgian Shepherd has a relatively low maintenance coat. A good brush once every week or so, more often If shedding, paying special attention to the softer coat around the ears and the longer coat on the britches - this is where the coat is most likely to mat. Bitches generally shed twice a year around the time of their season and males usually once a year.
Get your dog used to being brushed gently with a soft brush whilst still a puppy. A routine groom once a week is also a good time to check for any grass seeds between the toes, or long nails that need cutting etc. If done gently and patiently, with lots of pats and attention your Belgian will look forward to this, its own special time to be with you, with your undivided attention.
There is no set rule as to how often to wash a Belgian Shepherd; the best advice is – When they need one! A good wash when shedding will usually loosen the dead coat, but take care, if the coat is really matted, you will need to brush the mats out first.
The breeder of the puppy you decide to purchase should supply a comprehensive list of general care and feeding instructions, vaccination and worming details, etc.
RESCUES/DOGS NEEDING REHOUSING.
Sometimes an older dog may be available for sale or placement to caring, permanent homes. If you are interested in what might be available or would like to be placed on our waiting list, you are welcome to either e-mail or telephone.
This article is Copyright© July 1998 H Cremona & C Hrymek. All rights reserved and may not be reproduced without permission.