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Hill’s Brand Horizon

Belgian Sheepdog

dog Breed Profile

The Belgian sheepdog is an elegant, well-proportioned, natural, medium-sized, square dog.


Upright ears (naturally)



55-75 lbs.

40-60 lbs.


22-24 in.

(at withers)

24-26 in.





Black, fawn, sable



>40 minutes/day

Energy level

Very energetic


10-12 yrs.












Grooming Needs


Social Needs


Club recognition

AKC Class.


UKC Class.




The Belgian Sheepdog Breed

The Belgian sheepdog excels in a variety of work from herding and law enforcement to support for the elderly.

About the Belgian Sheepdog

The Belgian sheepdog is an elegant, well-proportioned, natural, medium-sized, square dog.

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Belgian Sheepdog personality

The Belgian sheepdog is a multi-talented breed. He excels not only in herding, obedience, and tracking, but also in protection and law enforcement drug, bomb and gas detection search and rescue sledding agility and therapy assistance to the disabled, ill or elderly. This dog is demanding and needs an experienced owner. A Belgian sheepdog can be difficult to control unless the guardian knows how to handle him. Sheepdogs have a wide range in temperament and aggressiveness. They are people oriented and want to be with their family. This preference makes Belgians unsuitable as kennel dogs because they can become hyper with excessive barking and may dig out.

What to expect

The Belgian sheepdog is smart and obedient. He has strong protective and territorial instincts. He needs extensive socialization from an early age and firm but not harsh training. Unless you are working in a protection sport, you do not need to give your Belgian any protection training as it will come naturally to them.

Belgian sheepdogs make excellent pets for the right homes. They thrive on loving companionship. Belgians instinctively display herding behavior such as chasing and circling, moving effortlessly for hours and nipping at people's heels. They are good for working and competitive obedience, but not for toddlers who run and scream. A Belgian will try to keep the toddler in one spot.

The Belgian sheepdog can live in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. He is moderately active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized yard. He prefers cool climates but readily adapts well to others.

History of the Belgian Sheepdog

The Belgian sheepdog, also known as the Groenendael, is one of four varieties of Belgians all named for Belgian villages: Groenendael, Laekenois, Mechelar (Malinois) and Tervuren.

Belgian sheepdogs go back to the 1880s when these dogs (with German shepherds, French shepherds and Dutch shepherds) were called continental shepherd dogs. In 1891, the Belgian Shepherd Dog Club was formed. Judges determined that the native shepherd dog was square and medium-sized with triangular ears. These dogs differed only in the texture, color and length of hair.

The Malinois and Groenendael varieties were the first to appear in the United States in the early part of the 1900s. The Belgian Sheepdog Club of America was formed (the Malinois, Groenendael and Tervuren were all the same breed at that time) and the breed began to show in AKC events in the early 1950s. In 1959 the Belgians separated into the three AKC breeds recognized today, Shepherd, Tervuren and Malinois.

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