Belgian shepherd dog

Belgian shepherd dog Breed description: Character & Co


When you hear something about the Belgian Shepherd Dog, you probably first have images of strong character and courageous Malinois in mind. In fact, there are four so-called varieties of the Belgian Shepherd, which differ especially in the coat, but also in their character.

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Alternate Name Groenendael, Laekenois, Malinois, Mechelaar, Tervueren, Belgian Shepherd, Belgium Shepherd
Origin Belgium
Life expectancy 10 - 14 years
Care requirements high-maintenance
Activity level high
FCI group Sheepdogs
AKC group Herding Group
KC group Pastoral Group

The Malinois: Belgian shepherd dog, which one associates first

As a police dog, the Malinois has almost replaced the German Shepherd worldwide. But also in the Bundeswehr and in the security service as well as in the private protection service the Malinois stands his man. Therefore, the Malinois breeding is still essentially characterized by breeding strong sports and working dogs. In the last years the Malinois is also increasingly partner of people like you and me. If you are interested in a Malinois (in Belgium it is also called Mechelaar because of its origin) make yourself clear that this is not at all a dog for couch potatoes. Malis are said - often rightly - to have relatively thin nerves. They hear and see every leaf falling in the forest, so they can get nervous very quickly. But if you are active in sports and a rock of character, a Malinois will read your wishes from your eyes. Sometimes even before you know what you want.

The Belgian Black Beauty - Groenendael

The Groenendael is the long-haired, black variety of the Belgian Shepherd. A beauty, but also a working dog, though not quite a heavy boy like the Malinois. The Groenendael is said to be softer and gentler than its Belgian counterparts when comparing varieties. For this reason, the Groenendael is comparatively often found in private hands. It is a great sporting partner for the whole family, but not infrequently has to deal with increased nervousness.

Tervueren - long-haired Malinois or red-brown Groenendael

This long-haired Belgian with a coat coloring like the Malinois has its fan club not only in the protection dog sport. Also in rescue dog sport, agility or tournament dog sport you can meet the Tervueren again and again. And apart from the sport: Isn't he just beautiful? If you are interested in a Tervueren, the best place to get information about Tervueren breeding is the Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen (VDH) e. V. (German Kennel Club). In Germany there are several breeding associations that look after the Tervueren. You can find a list of these associations here.

Laekenois - the curly clown

Last but not least, the Laekenois must not be missing here. The Laekenois has a reddish-brown coat like Malinois and Tervueren, but with cheerful curls. If you haven't seen such a dog live, it's probably because the Laekenois is the least common variety of Belgian Shepherd. Just as docile and eager to work as the other varieties, the Laekenois can be found in almost all areas of service and sporting dogs.

Groenendael lies on a meadow, belgian shepherd dog

When is the Belgian Shepherd the right dog for you?

Buying a Belgian Shepherd is not a decision you should make on instinct. Belgians are great dogs, but in the wrong hands they can quickly become insane. Here are a few criteria to help you decide if you are the right partner for a Belgian Shepherd:

  • You are sporty, active and not a couch potato?
  • You already have some experience with keeping, training and exercising dogs?
  • You already do dog sports or have time for this new hobby?
  • You are not only looking for a comfortable everyday companion?
  • You are able to control yourself in stressful situations and can also radiate calmness for your dog?
  • You don't mind if your dog isn't "everybody's darling" but chooses his own friends?
  • You like healthy, straightforward German shepherd types?

Congratulations, you seem like the right person for a Belgian! Have you looked around for a Belgian Shepherd breed yet?

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Before we look at the differences, first to the common characteristics of the Belgian. Because its stature, also called conformation, should not differ from each other. With the exception of the coat, which is just characteristic of each variety.

Here is a short profile of the general characteristics of the Belgian Shepherd Dog:

  • Utility dog with a simple and purposeful build.

  • Height at withers males: 60-66 cm

  • Height at withers bitches: 56-62 cm

  • Weight males: 25-30 kg

  • Weight bitches: 20-25 kg

Malinois - born to work

The short coat characterizes the variety of the Malinois. The coat color ranges from a very light sandy yellow to a rich reddish brown to a dark, grayish brown. In addition, the Malinois wears a black mask and a black cloud, the so-called Charbonnage.

Fur length medium
Fur flat coated
Ear shape Standing Ears
Tail lang
Anatomy muscular, rugged, strong, hefty
Size ♀ 56 - 61 cm
Weight ♀ 25 - 30 kg
Size ♂ 61 - 66 cm
Weight ♂ 25 - 30 kg
Suitable For -


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Groenendael lies on a meadow, belgian shepherd dog
  • Hip dysplasia (HD)

    Hip dysplasia (HD) is a genetic condition in dogs where the hip joint is not shaped properly. This leads to pain, stiffness and restricted movement.

  • Elbow dysplasia (ED)

    Elbow joint dysplasia is a chronic disease complex of the elbow joint of fast growing dog breeds.

  • Spondylosis

    pathological changes in the vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs

Other large dogs

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