What is this mystical herding breed, where did he come from, and what is he like? Find out all about the Belgian Shepherd Below!
What is a Belgian Shepherd?
As you’ve probably guessed, the Belgian Shepherd is a herding breed descending from Belgium. Though many consider it a single breed, the Belgian Shepherd actually consists of four slightly different herding breeds or varieties.
What is a Belgian Malinois?
Bred as herding dogs originally and falling under the ‘Belgian Shepherd’ category, you might mistake a Belgian Malinois for a German Shepherd at first glance. These are extremely intelligent dogs, often used for military and protection work today.
The friendly and intelligent Belgian Malinois just as often makes a loving family pet!
Belgian Shepherd History
The Belgian Shepherd, or Belgian Sheepdog, can be traced back to 19th century Belgium. Original varieties of the breed took their names from suburbs and towns near Brussels, the capital city of Belgium.
These varieties were chosen for differences in coat color, length, texture, etc.
The short-haired type we are concerned with here, the Belgian Malinois, is named for the city of Malines.
Belgian Shepherds are very intelligent and highly versatile dogs! This high level of intelligence and trainability makes them perfect for almost any function imaginable a dog would be used for.
They were extremely popular police dogs during the first part of the twentieth century in Belgium, Paris, New York City, and Newark, New Jersey! These guys were also popular watch dogs patrolling the European border!
Belgian Shepherd Dog Nature
What is the famous Belgian Malinois like? What are his quirks and natural traits? Let’s explore them below!
Because Belgian shepherds were bred as herding dogs, Belgian Shepherd dog nature is to be always alert! These fabulous dogs were also used to guard and protect livestock from potential predators, again requiring them to constantly be watchful for anything unusual.
This is one reason why they are so popular for military and police work. If you’re looking for an alert dog, look no further!
Again, Belgian Shepherds were valued for their protective qualities around the livestock they guarded. If you’re looking into protection work, few dogs will match them.
Socialization during puppyhood is especially important for anyone not wanting a dog suspicious of strangers or unfamiliar animals.
Don’t worry! Socialization is simple and a natural process, as long as you don’t avoid it completely. Show your Belgian Malinois that these things mean good, positive experiences for him at a young age, and he won’t have any reason to be suspicious of them later!
Devotion is ingrained in Belgian Shepherd dog nature! These dogs were bred to be devoted to the animals they worked with on a daily basis, and the instinct comes very naturally.
In fact, most livestock guardians or herding breeds will be very devoted to their families.
Are you looking for a devoted family pet, great with children?
You won’t find many herding breeds that aren’t very smart. In fact, some of the smartest dog breeds on Earth were bred as herding dogs! Many experts would say two of the top three smartest dogs on the planet are herding dog breeds.
The Belgian Malinois is so popular for military and police work because he is so very intelligent and trainable!
The Belgian Malinois received a perfect 5/5 trainability rating with the American Kennel Club!
These natural herders are sensitive and loving dogs! Because they are so sensitive and affectionate, these guys tend to make wonderful family companions.
Be sure to always incorporate rewards and positive training methods. Convince your pup to want to work with you. Not only is this a better general training method, but it will enhance pet-owner bonding experiences!
What Do They Need?
Because they are herding breeds and tough, energetic working dogs at heart, the Belgian Shepherd would be happiest with plenty of space to run and play! Are you able to provide a fenced-in yard or daily walks?
Are you or a relative home much of the day, or are you at work?
Socializing your Belgian Shepherd
Because he was bred to be suspicious of anything mysterious, introduce your pup to anything and everyone at a young age! Teach him or her that every encounter, whether it be with other dogs, puppies, cats, strangers or children, means great things!
Teaching your pup these things are crucial for his lifelong psychological development! Well socialized dogs are rarely ever aggressive, play well with others, are less anxious, and are happier in general!
- Begin during puppyhood, after the pup has received vaccinations
- Never separate from litter prior to 6 weeks, preferably 8
- Shower your puppy with praise around new encounters
- Use treat rewards and play to encourage happy encounters
- Never frighten, punish, or yell at the puppy
Will your Belgian Sheepdog Shed Much?
Your Shepherd dog, with his two thick coats, is going to shed a lot! You’ll have to be willing to spend just a few minutes grooming each day.
If you don’t brush your pup regularly, he could shed the equivalent of another dog! You’ll have fur all over the house and all over your clothes. You could even wind up with matted fur, requiring an appointment at the groomers.
A ‘undercoat rake’ tool would be a nice investment, but a few minutes’ worth of brushing daily will be enough.
Belgian Shepherd Puppies
What are Belgian Shepherd puppies like?
When it comes to a litter of these pups, they are like most other litters. There is not much difference between these puppies and many other breeds, as far as early personality.
An average Belgian Shepherd will consist of 6-10 puppies. Most breeders won’t adopt these out any earlier than 8 weeks, and nearly all experts won’t recommend anything earlier.
In the United States, you might pay credible breeders an average falling anywhere between $1,500 and $3,000 USD per puppy.