Belgian Shepherd11 July 2023
Let's talk about... Belgian Shepherd Dogs: What are they?
- Belgian Shepherd Dogs, also known as Belgian Shepherds or Belgian Sheepdogs, are a versatile and intelligent breed hailing from, unsurprisingly, Belgium.
- They are highly regarded for their herding abilities, intelligence, and loyalty.
- The breed consists of four distinct varieties: the Groenendael (also called the Belgian Sheepdog), the Malinois, the Tervuren, and the Laekenois. Each variety has its own unique coat type and characteristics.
- Belgian Shepherds are medium to large-sized dogs with an average height ranging from 56-66cm
- They tend to weigh between 20-30kgs.
- Their life expectancy is usually around 10 to 14 years.
What is the temperament of Belgian Shepherd Dogs like?
- Belgian Shepherd Dogs are known for their alertness, intelligence, and strong work ethic.
- They are highly trainable and excel in various dog sports and working roles.
- These dogs are loyal and form strong bonds with their families, often displaying a protective nature.
- They are generally reserved with strangers and may exhibit a high level of territoriality.
- Early socialisation and proper training are crucial to ensure they develop into well-rounded and balanced dogs.
- Belgian Shepherds thrive in environments where they are given plenty of mental stimulation, tasks to accomplish, and a sense of purpose.
How much exercise do Belgian Shepherd Dogs need?
- Belgian Shepherd Dogs are energetic and active dogs that require a substantial amount of exercise.
- On average, they need at least 1.5-2 hours of physical activity each day.
- This should include both mental and physical exercise to keep them happy and well-balanced.
- Engaging in activities such as brisk walks, jogging, hiking, agility training, and interactive play sessions can help meet their exercise needs.
- Providing them with tasks, such as obedience training or learning new tricks, can also stimulate their minds and prevent boredom.
- Puppies of Belgian Shepherd Dogs have specific exercise requirements. Until they reach around 3 to 4 months of age, their exercise should primarily consist of short play sessions and gentle activities. This is because their growing bodies are more susceptible to injury.
- It's important to avoid strenuous or high-impact exercises during this developmental stage.
- From 4 months to around 12-18 months, gradually increase their exercise time up to the recommended amounts mentioned above.
Do Belgian Shepherd Dogs need a lot of grooming?
Belgian Shepherd Dogs have different coat types depending on the variety:
- Groenendael (Belgian Sheepdog): They have a long, abundant, and straight black coat. They require regular brushing to prevent matting and to keep their coat in good condition. More extensive grooming, including bathing and thorough coat maintenance, is typically needed a few times a year.
- Malinois: They have a short and dense coat that is relatively low-maintenance. Regular brushing to remove loose hair is usually sufficient. They shed seasonally, and during that time, more frequent brushing may be necessary.
- Tervuren: They have a long and straight coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting and to keep it clean. More extensive grooming, including bathing and coat maintenance, may be needed periodically.
- Laekenois: They have a rough and tousled coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. Additional grooming, such as hand-stripping or trimming, may be necessary to maintain their coat's texture.
- Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Are Belgian Shepherd Dogs easy to train?
- Belgian Shepherd Dogs are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them generally responsive to training.
- They excel in various dog sports and working roles, showcasing their trainability and versatility.
- However, their intelligence and energy levels require an experienced and consistent handler and they are not recommended as a breed for a first-time owner.
- Early socialisation and obedience training are essential to ensure they develop into well-behaved and confident dogs.
- Positive reinforcement techniques, using rewards and praise, work best with this breed.
- Engaging their minds through interactive training sessions and providing them with a job or task to fulfil is highly beneficial.
What do Belgian Shepherd Dogs eat?
- To maintain their overall health, Belgian Shepherd Dogs should be fed a balanced and nutritious diet twice daily. High-quality commercial dog food that is suitable for their age, size, and activity level is recommended.
- The specific amount of food depends on factors such as metabolism, exercise levels, and individual needs. Feeding guidelines provided by the manufacturer can serve as a starting point.
- Treats can be given occasionally, but they should be factored into the overall daily calorie intake to prevent overfeeding.
- Feed them puppy food 3-4 times a day when they are young, reducing to twice a day at 6 months and feed puppy food until about 12-18 months old, and as advised by your pet food supplier and/or vet.
Are Belgian Shepherd Dogs healthy?
Belgian Shepherd Dogs are generally healthy dogs, but like any breed, they can be prone to certain health conditions including:
Bones and Joints
- Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
- Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint
- Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - this is when the retina of the eye breaks down, leading to blindness
- Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!
- Epilepsy - A condition of the brain that causes dogs to have fits
This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Belgian Shepherd is right for you, consult with your vet.
BorrowMyDoggy loves Belgian Shepherds
BorrowMyDoggy has 436 Belgian Shepherd members.
Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.
Herding Dog Breeds
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