Belgian Shepherd Dog

Belgian Shepherd Dog

This article also relates to: Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael), Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) and Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervueren)

The Belgian Shepherd Dog originates from...

Believed to have been officially shaped between 1891-1897, the Belgian Shepherd breed incorporates four different varieties and is the only breed to do so. These variations include the all-black, long-haired Groenendael, the short-haired Malinois, the part-black, long-haired Tervueren and the less popular, rough-haired Laekenois. Traditionally bred as a hardy and versatile working dog, well suited to herding, as a guard dog and in military service, the Belgian Shepherd Dog is adapted to the whims of weather in its country of origin, accustomed as it is to living outdoors.

The Belgian Shepherd Dog is characterised by...

Despite being differentiated between, the breed remains structurally the same, with the only differences being that of colour and coat length. The Belgian Shepherd Dog is characterised by a powerful and agile body, proportionate in head, leg and body, small, high-set ears, a defined skull, deep chest and low-set tail. Capable of changing direction at full speed, the breed boasts athleticism, stamina and instinct. With an in-bred aptitude for guarding flocks, the Belgian Shepherd is an obstinate protector of its master and family, and is highly trainable to discern intruders from those permitted on the property. The majority of Belgian Shepherds love water, whether in a pool, lake or the sea.

The average Belgian Shepherd Dog...

Due to its working nature, the breed requires regular physical and mental enrichment. Possessing a natural authority, the Belgian Shepherd needs gradual introduction to other domestic pets before it relinquishes its inherent instinct to herd. The average Belgian Shepherd will weigh 24-30 kg with discrepancies across gender, and have a life expectancy of 12-15 years when cared for accordingly.


Although typically healthy and long-lived, the Belgian Shepherd is susceptible to various minor health complaints, including skin allergies and intolerances, optical disorders, and occasionally hip and elbow dysplasia. The breed is not known to suffer from any genetic or hereditary diseases.

Our Belgian Shepherd Dog owners have uploaded 64 photos

Our Belgian Shepherd Dog owners' thoughts

Added on 22/02/2014

Hi we rescued a mally who had been to 5 different homes by the time he was 18 weeks, definitely not for the faint hearted.We have previously had 5 german Shepherds and 2 Akitas and although sometimes mistaken for a german shepherd he is a completely different kettle of fish!! Absolutely intense in all he does nothing done in half measures our guy is full on loves to herd, high prey drive extremely alert and protective . When we got him he was a total nightmare no training of any kind mad as a hatter didn't like people or dogs, apparently the litter had been split up when he was just 5 week's old. It took us over a year and at times thought we had bitten off more than we could chew but in the end it was worth it. We now have an extremely loyal loving though still slightly mad (guess we'll never change that) handsome 3 year old who is named Seve (after the great ballesterous) he makes us laugh and sometimes cry with frustration but we never gave up on him and wouldn't change him for the world!!!

Added on 13/11/2015

We have had and still do several!
All are the most loyal , intelligent,sulky (if they get told off) dogs you could wish to own.Each one is different.

We have had 4 Gronds and a Treve ,the black G's have a stunning running action with long coats flowing out behind them,but ours have sadly been short lived,but we don't regret anything (maybe having a cancerous leg removed was a big error in judgement so don't even think about doing it).
One went blind with glaucoma but lived a good few years after.

The groens are sadly in my view overbreed but we still have one and would rescue another any day.

Fabulous breed,if not always easy as they can be as stubborn as a field of mules if they are in that mood !

Added on 08/01/2017
Joined 24/03/2016
From Wrecsam, United Kingdom

Bella is a 5 year old ?cross mal . Parentage unknown as is a rescue. Found nearly dead in a field don't know how long she was out there or why. She was approximately 4 to 6 months old . Had a few issues in the beginning but is a very loving dog to those she trusts. She takes a while to get to trust new people she is very protective of her family and her old mate sheba. She makes us feel safe any time of day or night. She has scared off a man whom approached me for money one evening whilst out walking. I was not aware of him in the lane at first but Bella started giving out a low level growl when I started to ask her what was wrong this man came forward asking for money . Bella usually at the side of me moved forward in front of me showed her teeth and growled at this man this was before I even registered what was happening I did not ask her to do it she must have sensed something was not right . The man backed off straight away and moved away. Normally on our walks strangers can pass us or walk towards us and she does not bother but she must have sensed something long time before I did. She Has some issues with some dogs whilst out but otherwise well behaved. Despite being 5 years old she is still as mad or a hatter will have her mad half hour were she will run and throw herself around the house and yard . Bringing you any number of her toys. She just loves being around her human family. Many people say these dogs are like no other and they are not wrong. I have had different breeds of dogs growing up but never a mal. She has only to be shown something once and she remembers it. Not long after we had her She worked out all by herself how to open doors also a child gate . Now she let's herself out and closes the door after . You can actually see her working stuff out I swear she is cleverer than us as she s certainly knows how to get what she wants. We also have my mum's old girl sheba whose a 14 yr old border collie . She's very affectionate to everybody and would probably lick an intruder to death. She is so stubborn if she does not want to do something thats it Bella will do anything for attention and affection and treats of course. They are not dogs for everyone they need a lot of mental stimulation and exercise. Not for people who want a dog that is friends with every one they meet. They are very loyal loving and protective to their human family . They are very intelligent easily trained but need a firm hand .I can fully understand and see why the armed forces and police use them they are fearless

Added on 21/11/2017
Joined 01/12/2014
From Surrey, United Kingdom

I have always had a Groenendael .I lost one at nearly 16 years old and have the last one just 11 years I am elderly , coping with a hip replacement and my dog has adjusted to my slow walking, does no longer rush around and is the best 'grabber' picking up all that I ask her to! She is a delightful help and companion!

Added on 19/12/2019
Joined 24/11/2013
From Hampshire, United Kingdom

I have an older Groenendael which I have had since he was eight weeks old. He is a retired international show champion, which was followed by a great agility career. I also own a Laekenois and Malinois/GSD Cross. Belgians need a lot of exercise, mine have two walks a day including off lead running. They don’t eat a huge amount and are lean under their thick coats. They are not the sort of breed that can be left all day whilst you are at work, that will bring problems and unhappy dogs. Think twice that you can commit the time these large, intelligent dogs require.

Added on 19/12/2019
Joined 24/11/2013
From Hampshire, United Kingdom

I own a Laekenois which is the variety of Belgian Shepherd with a fawn curly coat with a wiry texture. The Laekenois is similar in temperament to the Malinois, easy to train, obedient but with a high prey drive (unable to go off lead) and can show signs of aggression. Laekenois are quite rare in the UK. They would NOT be happy home alone all day and prefer lots of time outside, mine have two walks a day, and preferably a job/tasks to do. My lad enjoys agility and scent work. Think twice whether you have the time to devote to a Belgian, they are very clever but sensitive dogs who need to be busy! A joy to own if you can commit to them. They also have a long lifespan 12-15 years is normal.

Added on 06/09/2021
Joined 06/09/2021
From SUFFOLK, United Kingdom

We have an 18 month old Mali. She is the most intelligent, loyal, high maintenance dog I have ever owned. They are not the average pet dog, and need lots of attention and stimulation. However you will not find a more loving dog if you have the time to spend with them.