Belgian Sheepdog (Herding Group)
The Belgian Sheepdog is an all-natural guard dog that was bred to herd stock and protect the animals. The carry themselves with confidence and pride, always alert to what is going on around them. These dogs have the physical appearance of a muscular, yet elegant and proportioned canine, with a heavy bone structure and the drive to run and herd non-stop for hours.
The temperament of the Belgian Sheepdog is best described as playful yet protective, tough yet loving, and with an independent personality. They can be intense and weary of strange people and moderately friendly towards strange dogs and other pets. The Belgian Sheepdog is an intelligent breed, easy to train, and makes a courageous protector.
A Brief History Of The Belgian Sheepdog
As the name suggests, the Belgian Sheepdog originated from Belgium and has been around since the 1800s. They were used primarily as stock herders. The breed actually shares part of the same history with the Belgian Malinois and the Belgian Tervuren. All three dogs were local variations of the same single breed, known as the Continental Shepherd (some called it the Belgian Shepherd)
The specific dog that led the the Belgian Sheepdog was, back in those times, known as the Groenendael variation. They were working dogs used to guard and herd. This breed stood out from the rest of the dogs due to its long, black coat. They also excelled as trustworthy police dogs and service canines.
By the early 1900s, the Groenendael dog breed became popular among the Americans, employed mostly as police dogs. During World War I, they were counted on as sentry dogs, draft dogs, and messengers. It didn’t take long for the public to take notice, and in 1959, all three variations were divided into separate breeds. The Groenendael name was then changed to the Belgian Sheepdog.
Upkeep Requirements For The Belgian Sheepdog
This is one breed that must have plenty of ways to expend its high energy levels. Daily exercise through jogging, running, or playing is a must. A few walks on the leash will not be enough to keep the Belgian Sheepdog happy. Strenuous play games combined with advanced obedience training are best.
These dogs must have lots of room to move during the day. Apartment living is out of the question. The ideal living arrangement for the Belgian Sheepdog is to have access to a wide-open yard during the day, and to sleep indoors with the family at night. They form a tight bond with family members and make excellent watchdogs. Grooming requirements for the Belgian’s double coat calls for a good brushing two to three times weekly.
The average lifespan of the Belgian Sheepdog is between ten and twelve years. A genetically healthy breed, there are no major Health Concerns. Minor health issues include allergies, seizures, hypothyroidism, and skin disorders. Rarely seen is PRA, hemangiosarcoma, CHD, elbow dysplasia, and pannus. Veterinarians suggest that the Belgian Sheepdog get specifically tested for thyroid, eye, hip, and elbow problems.