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ABOUT THE BREED

History

In Belgium, at the end of the 1800s, there were a great many herding dogs, whose type was varied and whose coats were extremely dissimilar. In order to rationalise this state of affairs, some enthusiastic dog fanciers formed a group and sought guidance from Prof. A. Reul of the Cureghem Veterinary Medical School, whom one must consider to have been the real pioneer and founder of the breed. The breed was officially born between 1891 and 1897. On September 29th, 1891, the Belgian Shepherd Dog Club (Club du Chien de Berger Belge) was founded in Brussels and in the same year on November 15th in Cureghem, Professor A Reul organised a gathering of 117 dogs, which allowed him to carry out a return and choose the best specimens. In the following years they began a real programme of selection, carrying out some very close interbreeding involving a few stud dogs. By April 3rd, 1892, a first detailed breed standard had been drawn up by the Belgian Shepherd Dog Club. One single breed was allowed, with three coat varieties. However, as was said at the time, the Belgian Shepherd only belonged to ordinary people and therefore the breed still lacked status. As a result, it wasn't until 1901 that the first Belgian Shepherds were registered with the Royal Saint-Hubert Society Stud Book (L.O.S.H.). During the following years, the prime movers among the Belgian Shepherd enthusiasts set to work with great determination to unify the type and correct the faults. It can be said that by 1910 the type and temperament of the Belgian Shepherd had been established. During the history of the Belgian Shepherd, the questions of differing but acceptable varieties and colours had led to many heated discussions. On the other hand, anything involving morphology, temperament and suitability for work has never caused any disagreement.


Belgian Shepherd Dog - Breed Standard


IS A BELGIAN SHEPHERD RIGHT FOR YOU ? ?

Originally raised primarily as herding dogs, the Belgians have grown with the times, and are now fast becoming a favoured family pet. Like any other guard dog, the Belgians can be suspicious of those they do not know, and unfamiliar situations. Also, like any other intelligent breed, the Belgians require consistent training and firm handling to establish leadership.

 

Today they also serve as police and military dogs, search and rescue aides, sentries, guardians, and leader dogs for the blind. Retaining their herding instinct, they also compete and excel in herding tests and trials, as well as agility, obedience and fly ball competitions.

 

A Belgian Shepherd breeder from Ohio, Phyllis Davis is quoted as having said "This breed is not for everyone. They are active, highly intelligent, have a unique sense of humour, and are totally devoted to their family. Early obedience training is a must, they require a gentle voice and hand in training and are always eager to please their humans."

 

With a long life expectancy, the Belgians are, however, susceptible to several diseases, including seizures, hip dysplasia, thyroid conditions, cancer and some eye problems.

 

If you are thinking about acquiring a Belgian Shepherd, please keep in mind that these active, playful dogs require a home where they have the room to play and exercise, as well as an owner willing to devote the time and energy needed to do so.

 

If you are looking for a dog who will lay quietly at your feet for the most part of the day, and be content with short, scattered walks for exercise, then the Belgian may not be the right breed for you, and you might consider another type of breed instead.

 

Having said that, if you still think that the Belgian is the right breed for you, please keep the following points in mind. Once you have made the decision to own a Belgian (or any other dog for that matter) you must realize that you are making a life long commitment. Make sure that you research your possible breeder's carefully, and do not be afraid to ask any questions whatsoever. Choose your puppy or adult dog lovingly, invest time and energy into proper training and obedience work, and you will end up with a life long partner who above all else, only wants to please you.


Other Information

The definition of a Belgian Sheepdog depends a bit on what country you are in. The Belgian Sheepdog encompasses four varieties, according to the official breeders' organizations of the UK, Canada, and South Africa. In the words of the Belgian Sheepdog Association of Great Britain, the varieties are: "Groenendael  (long haired black), Tervueren (long haired, all shades of red , fawn and grey with black mask and overlay), Malinois (short haired, colour as Tervueren) and Laekenois (wirehaired, reddish fawn with black shading)." According to the American Kennel Club and its Australian and New Zealand counterparts, each of those "varieties" is actually a separate breed. The American Kennel Club has officially reserved the name, "Belgian Sheepdog" to refer only to the Groenendael.

   Yschia D'Eroudur Imported from Belgium and our Foundation Laekenois   
            Malinois                                  Laekenois                        Tervueren                           Groenendael

 


CHARACTERISTICS

Often used around the world, and now in Australia, by the Police and Defence Forces. Due to their intelligence, alertness and ability to learn things rapidly, they are an easy dog to train as long as you treat them with kindness and firmness. If you are cruel to a Belgian, he will forgive but he will never forget!
A Belgian Shepherd will bond very closely to their master, and becomes very sensitive to your moods. You need to live with a Belgian Shepherd before you can understand the deep loyalty and affection that they have for their family. With your friends they will be curious and a little aloof, with strangers they will be vigilant and alert until they are given the chance to assess the newcomers. The Belgian is contagious by nature. You cannot be glum for long if you are with your Belgian. They are happy dogs, have curious and inquisitive minds and will take any opportunity to show off their well-developed sense of humour.

APPEARANCE
When you first take your Belgian puppy home, he will be a wonderful, warm and fuzzy bundle of energy. (Unless you have chosen a Malinois, in which case you will have a wonderful, warm bundle of mischievous energy!) It will not be long before your rotund puppy gains co-ordination and starts to 'strut' about your yard like a regal prince. At this time you will start to admire his aristocratic appearance and elegance.There is little else in the canine world that matches the silhouette of a Belgian Shepherd when standing alert. He is a square dog, which means his height is approximately the same in measurement as his length from chest to rump. His movement is quick, light and agile, appearing effortless. He has a deep chest, nice length of neck, slightly arched and is moderately boned.In the case of the Tervueren and Groenendael, they have an abundant stand-offish coat (the Laekenois is also stand-offish, but also ruffled), usually with feathering on the front and hind legs and a tail that is heavily plumed. The male of all varieties will develop mane framing his expressive face. A Belgian Shepherds head should be fine and well chiselled. When looking side on the skull should run parallel with his muzzle if a line were to be drawn along both planes, and with skull and muzzle measuring equal length. The eyes should be dark almond shaped and ears should be high set and triangular, held erect. Feet should be small and catlike. In all varieties the male should stand 24 to 26 inches and the female 22 to 24 inches.

 

GROOMING


Although the Groenendael and Tervueren both have abundant coats, grooming them is simplicity itself. Just one thorough comb and/or brush each week will keep them free of mats and their coats glistening. This may need to be done daily through their coat drop, but once all of the dead coat is stripped, you can go back to a weekly groom. Even if you decide to show your Belgian, do not be put off by their coats, a good brush through the night before, or a bath a few days before a show-and there you have it! If you have chosen a Malinois, well what can we say? Just take a Chamois with you to the show and give him a good wipe over before you enter the ring.