As a novice pet owner, the Belgian Sheepdog is not your average choice to act as a tryst. They are intelligent, enjoy family activities that include them and super energetic or demanding daily long walks.
Undeniably, the Belgian sheepdogs are an adorable and good-size type of a family dog likely to steal your heart once you lay your eyes on cutie puppy Belgian sheepdogs. They are fond of forming a strong bond and are very people-oriented.
So, if Belgian sheepdogs are excellent family dogs, why should new pet owners refrain from choosing them as their first pet? Well, am glad you asked?
The Belgian sheepdogs are intelligent, high energy levels, and maybe easy to train for experienced pet owners.
However, as a new pet owner, the last thing you need is to try training Belgian Sheepdogs who are susceptible to boredom and often tend to have a mind of their own if they spot a weakness in their owner.
For this reason, this dog breed is not recommended for inexperienced pet dog owners.
Besides being a good family dog, the Belgian Sheepdog also has a knack for being a watchful protector type of dog breed.
And I can assure you that if anyone was putting a formidable list of popular large dog breeds, with an inherent protection nature, the Belgian Sheepdog would make it on that list.
What made this breed to become so popular?
The Belgian Sheepdog is an affectionate pet dog, multi-skilled (when it comes to the number of things that it can do) and at home, it makes an excellent family pet.
Can Belgian sheepdogs make a good guard dog?
Yes, Belgian sheepdogs make excellent guard dogs and here is why:
- The breed is very loyal and affectionate to its owners as well as other familiar faces. Along with that, they wary of strangers and can get aggressive to them very quickly.
- Also, they are very alert. These characteristics describe a great watchdog.
- They also have a deep bark, which, along with the dog’s masculinity, is intimidating to intruders.
With all things considered, you can see why the Belgian Sheepdog will protect you when you are around and when you are away, they will look after your property.
Quick Facts About the Belgian Sheepdog
- Weight: 44 to 66 pounds
- Lifespan: 10 to 14 years
- Height: 22 to 26 inches
This breed has a very muscular appearance and a well-built shape. Along with that, it has a happy and proud behavior around its owners.
It has eyes that shine bright, which brings out their overall adorable look.
It likes to form a special bond with one person in the family; mostly it is the person that mostly takes the duty of grooming the dog.
Their coat goes from the neck all the way to its hindquarters and they have a bushy tail.
It is related to the Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren and the Laekenois.
How skilled are they?
The police use these dogs as law enforcement service dog in which they track suspected offenders and assist in investigations.
Due to their excellent sense of smell, they are also used by search and rescue teams to track and locate missing people.
They participate in all different kinds of dog sports such as agility and obedience training.
History of the breed
The breed is said to have been produced during the year 1891 in Belgium. During that time, there were a lot of cattle farmers around the country.
In Belgium, the key component to their economy is milk chocolate.
You can only tell that the country has to have a lot of cattle to be the world’s leading exporter for such an amazing product.
Farmers needed a dog that would help them in herding these cattle.
The Belgian shepherd dog club then produced the Belgian Sheepdog. It could run at fast speeds and was strong enough to fight off big predators in the area.
This breed was officially recognized in the year 1901. Prior to that, the breed characteristics were written.
After that, the breed soon became popular around the country for its skills and versatility.
There was, however, some controversy about the varieties between the American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club and the Australian Kennel, just to mention a few.
As we mentioned earlier, the Belgian Sheepdog is related to the Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren and the Laekenois.
The debate was whether to recognize them as different varieties of the same breed or to recognize them as individual breeds.
Today, these dogs are used in as service dogs to both the military and the police. They are also used in sporting events.
Most of them are still doing what they were originally created for- herding. This means that behind every Belgium milk chocolate, there is a Belgian Sheepdog that worked hard in herding and guarding cattle.
The Belgian Sheepdog is also known by the names Groenendael or Chien de Berger Belge
How can you recognize them? (Physical Appearance)
The Belgian Sheepdog has a square-shaped muzzle with a black nose.
They also have a strong head on which there is a domed-curved forehead.
Like in many breeds, female Belgian sheepdogs have a much smaller look and have a lighter weight as compared to the Males.
The weight of male sheepdogs usually ranges from 55 pounds to 66 pounds while a female’s weight is ranged from 44 pounds up to a maximum of 55 pounds.
As of their height, the male Sheepdog ranges from 23.6 inches to a height of 26 inches while in females, the height is usually somewhere between 22 inches to 24.4 inches.
Are the Belgian sheepdogs friendly? Temperaments
Yes! In fact, they are quite affectionate with their owners. They like to spend most of their time close to their owners and can play for a long period of time.
They are also good with kids and will most times be seen herding the kids around your compound.
Note: You should keep your dog under supervision when it is playing around small children as they may accidentally knock the child over and cause an injury.
Other interesting Characteristics
- Easy to train
- Belgian Sheepdogs are intelligent dogs and they remember command quickly. On top of that, they always want to do whatever they can to please their masters. These traits make training this dog as easy as 1, 2, 3 for experienced pet owners.
They are Tolerant
This dog would probably rank in the “most active dogs” category. They have an energy level that never seems to drain.
To keep dog like this means that you should be ready to exercise your dog on a daily basis. More on that will be explained below.
However, they are calm dogs and sometimes appear to be lazy. They can learn to adapt to your lifestyle.
Proteins are essential nutrients, especially to active and versatile dogs like this Sheepdog.
Make sure that the proteins are at a proportion of 20% in your dog’s overall diet.
You can also supplement the diet with protein-enriched treats. However, make sure that you do not give your dog too many of such foods that they may become obese.
Vegetables can also be a great source of all different sorts of vitamins and minerals to your dog.
There are plenty of fruits and vegetables safe for your dog to eat nonetheless, there are also unsafe fruits to give your dog without moderation.
So, before you share with your dog grapes, watermelon and any other type of food with your dog, investigate the suitability long before you introduce vegetables to your dog’s diet.
Speaking of, vegetables should only be about 10% of your dog’s diet.
The Sheepdog also does well with high quality manufactured dog food. Dog foods are enriched with a lot of nutrient and the levels of vitamins or minerals in the foods are measured.
Having an active dog means that they need a lot of exercise, which is why it is best to buy the breed if you are a person that likes exercising as well so that it does not become such a tiring job to exercise your dog.
This dog requires more exercise than a walk around the block. If you like long runs, they will be a great form of exercise for your dog as well.
There are other occasional exercises that your dog can do such as tracking competitions or other sports like agility.
How often is grooming required?
Belgian Sheepdogs are very to maintain as compared to most dogs. They have a double coat which consists of a think but soft undercoat and a much harder outer coat.
These dogs can be bathed at least once in a month and be brushed on a weekly basis to keep the fur from tangling.
Their nails must also be trimmed, preferably twice a month.
They are non-hypoallergenic dog breeds.
The dogs shed once a year and in that shedding season, they require a lot of brushing to remove some of the dead hair.
Any health concerns?
In the past, the Belgian sheepdog breed had serious health problems as an adult.
As time passed, people learned about the selective breeding process which has gradually minimized the health issues that these dogs face.
Although there have been a few occurrences, the Belgian Sheepdog is prone to these diseases.
This is a disease that affects vision, mainly in adult dogs. Basically, the dog’s eye becomes cloudy. If not treated in time, the cloudiness can lead to total blindness.
However, this disease is hard to suspect since we do not see through the dog’s eyes.
If you notice that your dog is having difficulty or seems to be taking time to look at something, go get it checked out because there is a chance that it might be cataracts.
This is a common disease that affects large dog breeds like this one. It attacks the dog’s hip joint which causes a lot of pain on the joint.
Hip Dysplasia is sometimes known as Hip arthritis. As a result, the dog is not able to walk right.
This disease is very common in the sheepdog breed. Epilepsy is associated with seizures that often happen when the breed reaches about 7 to10 years of age.
The most recent survey that was conducted in UK in the year 2003 showed that about 9% of Belgian sheepdogs had cases of Epilepsy and/or seizures.
The Belgian Sheepdog is a very sensitive dog therefore, you should be careful of the type of foods that you give it.
Their bodies tend to repel foods that are even categorized as “foods safe for dogs”. In addition to that, they have sensitive skin.
This Sheepdog has been known to develop a lot of skin conditions, most of which are caused by contact with something that triggers their allergy.
Some symptoms of this form of allergy are itching (which leads to scratching), inflammations on the skin or even falling out of fur.
A Belgian Sheepdog’s lifespan ranges where from 10 to 14 years.