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Belgian Shepherd

Belgian Shepherd

With four beautiful varieties, and personalities to match, the Belgian Shepherd can make a fabulous family dog.

The Belgian Shepherd is also known as the Chien de Berger Belge and the Belgian Sheepdog. They come in four varieties named after the location they were bred. These are the Malinois, Tervueren, Groenendael and the Laekenois.

As the name suggests, the breed originated in Belgium where they were bred predominantly for herding. They’ve also had careers as service dogs due to their intelligence, particularly in the military and in search and rescue. 

Belgian Shepherds are a medium sized dog weighing up to 28.5kgs and up to 66 cm in height. The four varieties have different colours. The Malinois is fawn, red, or grey with a short coat; the Tervueren is fawn, grey or red with a long coat; the Groenedael also has a long coat but is black; and the Laekenois has a rough coat which is fawn-red in colour.

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Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics

Origin

Belgium

Also known as 

Chien de Berger Belge, Belgian Shepherd, Belgian Sheepdog

Bred for

Herding and guarding livestock

Size 

Large: 56 to 66cm, 27.5 to 28.5kgs

Weight Range

27.5 to 28.5kgs

Colours

4 varieties: the short-coated red, fawn or grey ‘Malinois’, the long-haired fawn, red or grey ‘Tervueren’, the long-haired black ‘Groenendael’, and the rarer rough-coated reddish fawn ‘Laekenois’

Life expectancy

10 to 14 years 

Coat

Malinois – shorthaired; Groenendael and Tervueren  – longhaired, Laekenois – rough haired. All shed

Temperament 

Active, alert, intelligent

Exercise requirements

High. Needs at least 40 minutes a day 

Best suited for 

Experienced dog people with active lifestyles 

Apartment Friendly

Not recommended 

Personality 

The Belgian Shepherd is known for being intelligent, loyal, alert, and courageous. They often excel at activities like obedience, agility, or tracking and can become destructive if their energy isn’t appropriately channelled. They can become overprotective of their families and be aloof with strangers, so they are best suited to a household of active and experienced dog people to ensure that they don’t develop unwanted habits. Apartment living is not recommended for the active and agile Belgian Shepherd. 

Like all dogs, socialisation and training with dogs, other pets and people from an early age is very important. This helps to ensure that your Belgian Shepherd grows into a well-adjusted adult. Dogs that aren't socialised may develop behavioural problems like anxiety or aggression.

Grooming

All varieties of Belgian Shepherd shed fur, and all require some grooming, however the two long-coated varieties, the Groenendael and Tervueren need the most maintenance. The Malinois and Laekenois, with shorter coats, are lower maintenance. Flea control is recommended all year around, as well as tick control if you are in a tick area. 

Feeding 

When choosing a food for your Belgian Shepherd, select a premium food appropriate to your dog’s age and life stage. Ensure that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size. A joint protecting supplement makes a good addition to your regular feeding schedule as Belgian Shepherds are susceptible to developing arthritis. Make sure your dog always has a supply of fresh, clean water available. 

Common health concerns 

According to PetSure data from 2020, the top reasons for a Belgian Shepherd to visit the Vet include skin problems, ear infections, arthritis, and cruciate ligament disease

Condition

Average cost for a single treatment

(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment

(highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)

Skin Conditions, including allergies, infections, and zinc responsive dermatosis

$179

$1,289

Traumatic accidents, including wounds and broken bones

$436

$5,701

Gastrointestinal problems, including gastroenteritis

$493

$4,296

Arthritis 

$493

$4,296

Cruciate ligament disease

$656

$5,321

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular Belgian Shepherd names

According to PetSure data in 2020 the most popular Belgian Shepherd names were:

Most popular names

  1. Blue
  2. Buddy
  3. Max
  4. Zelda
  5. Ash
  6. Asha
  7. Bandit
  8. Bella
  9. Brutus
  10. Chilli

Most popular female names

  1. Zelda
  2. Asha
  3. Bella
  4. Blue
  5. Chilli
  6. Dusty
  7. Echo
  8. Freya
  9. Juno
  10. Karma

Most popular male names

  1. Buddy
  2. Max
  3. Ash
  4. Bandit
  5. Blue
  6. Brutus
  7. Cooper
  8. Duke
  9. Jax
  10. Jett
  11. Ace

Did you know? 

The 2015 movie called “Max” centres stars a Belgian Malinois who’s real life name is Carlos. 

Where can I get a Belgian Shepherd?

If you’re looking for a Belgian Shepherd, check out your local breed specific rescue organisation. Also be sure to check your local pet rescue shelters where you might just find your new best friend! 

References

  1. American Kennel Club, Belgian Sheepdog, Accessed on 01/03/2021
  2. Wikipedia, Max (film), Accessed on 01/03/2021
  3. Wikipedia, Belgian Shepherd, Accessed on 01/03/2021

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Noah
Noah
Bei Bei
Bei Bei
Meeka
Meeka