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In World War II, Belgian Sheepdogs (also known as Groenendaels) took to the field to carry messages, attend to the wounded, and even drag machine guns. It's no wonder that Belgium made this courageous canine its national dog breed!
Today, Belgian Sheepdogs excel in tracking, herding, and obedience training. They also make exceptional therapy, service, guide, and search and rescue dogs.
This medium-sized, high energy breed can grow to between 45-75 pounds and lives an average of 12-14 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Herding group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Herding
Breed Group: Herding
Average Lifespan: 12-14 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
Energy level A marathoner
Exercise needs An hour or more a day
Playfullness and Games All day, every day
Attachment to People I'm looking for more of a roommate than a companion
Behavior with Other Dogs Ok with early socialization and consistent training.
Behavior with Other Small Pets I may be ok, when socialized early and often
Behavior Toward Strangers I'm a single-family or person dog at heart
Trainability I'll probably make you work at it
Watchdog ability I know all that's going on, all the time
Protection ability I can be highly protective
Grooming needs Regular brushing, probably professional grooming
Cold tolerance I'll probably need a jacket in the cold
Heat tolerance A warm day can be fun, but not too hot please.
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A BELGIAN SHEEPDOG'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Belgian Sheepdogs are energetic, serious, intelligent, and devoted. Somewhat affectionate and very playful, this breed can be friendly with dogs and other pets and small animals. They are often suspicious of strangers and play best with supervised children.
WHAT IS BELGIAN SHEEPDOG BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Belgian Sheepdogs are sturdy and versatile; they have a very strong work ethic. They make for vigilant, motivated, and very protective watchdogs that can be somewhat prone to barking. Most importantly, a Belgian Sheepdog needs a job that keeps its active mind and body busy.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A BELGIAN SHEEPDOG?
This is a trainable and very intelligent breed that wants nothing more than to please you. Belgian Sheepdogs are great candidates for rally, agility, flyball, obedience, herding, tracking, and search/rescue training. They're sensitive souls, so be gentle with them and use positive reinforcements like play, food, and praise.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO BELGIAN SHEEPDOGS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
The Belgian Sheepdog has a longhaired, dense double coat. They are seasonal shedders who require weekly brushing and grooming. Ask your groomer to demonstrate “line brushing” so you can be sure to brush all the way through to your pup's skin.
Belgian Sheepdogs living in warmer climates shed less than their cold-weathered brethren; but regardless of location, your furry friend will shed once or twice a year. Be sure to brush more frequently during sheds to keep the amount of loose hair at bay.
Their hair sloughs off dirt, so your Belgian Sheepdog shouldn't need frequent baths. However, warm baths followed by blow outs may help manage dead hair while they're shedding.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO BELGIAN SHEEPDOGS HAVE?
Some are prone to seizures. Belgian Sheepdogs have also been known to develop elbow and hip dysplasia, eye ailments, epilepsy, and cancer. Some may also suffer hypothyroidism or retained testicles in males. But by and large, Belgian Sheepdogs are a healthy breed.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE BELGIAN SHEEPDOGS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Belgian Sheepdogs among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large and hairy as a Belgian Sheepdog! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S A BELGIAN SHEEPDOG'S BEST DAY?
A day outside trying to figure out a new game or toy would keep this pup's brain and body going. Follow it with a hearty meal and comfy couch, and you've given your pup heaven.
SHOULD I ADOPT A BELGIAN SHEEPDOG?
This dog wants to run and jump and climb and play with you. If you're a sedentary homebody, the Belgian Sheepdog is not your best bet. They're equally well suited to warm and cold weather, but they cannot stay still for long. They're also not a great choice for a first family dog; you'll want some experience with training and keeping up with such an active smarty paws! But an experienced and athletic person or family could be this busy, brainy breed's ideal match.
Have you decided that a Belgian Sheepdog is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.