Sometimes known as sheepdogs, these dogs were developed both as guard dogs and for herding purposes. Similar dogs have been kept in Belgium since the Middle Ages, but no serious attempt was made to classify them until 1891. At that stage, eight different breeds were distinguished, but now just four remain.
Coat Type/Colour: Smooth/Shaggy; wide variety
Height: 24 – 26 Inch (61 – 66 cm)
Weight: 62 lb (28.1 kg)
Nature: Adjust wellto home environment; wary of strangers
The Groenendael, with its long black coat, is the form often described in the United States simply as the Belgian Sheepdog. They were introduced here for the first time in 1907, and were also used in the First World War, both as messengers and sentries.
The Tervueren is quite similar to the Groenendael, but can be distinguished by its coloration, which ranges from fawn to mahogany, with the individual hairs themselves being tipped with black. These darker markings are most prominent on the head, forequarters and at the tip of the tail.
The smooth-coated Malinois is rather reminiscent of a German Shephered Dog (formerly called the Alsatian). It was originally developed in the area around Malines, as a sheep-herder. Like their German counterparts, these dogs are very responsive to training. They are likely to prove protective towards their owners and are reluctant to accept strangers.
The final variety of the Belgian Shepherd is the Laekenois, which was first bred in the vicinit of Boom in Antwerp. Here it served to guard linen that was left to bleach in the sun. The Laekenois is fawn in coloration, with black marking confined to the face.