Monday, March 11, 2013

Belgian Shepherd

                                  BELGIAN SHEPHERD 





History

The Belgian sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren and Belgian Malinois began as three local variations of one breed, which was known as the Belgian shepherd or Continental shepherd. The dog that was heir to the name Belgian sheepdog was originally known as the Groenendael variation of the breed. Like all the Belgian shepherds, it was a working farm dog expected to both herd and guard. It differed from the others because it had a rather long, black coat. In 1910 these dogs were officially dubbed Groenendael after the kennel that had selectively bred the black dogs since 1893 (just after the Belgian shepherds were recognized as a breed). By this time, the breed had gained some repute as a police dog and was already employed in this capacity in America. In World War I, they continued to shine as sentry dogs, messengers and even draft dogs. It was here that they captured the attention of the public, and they soon enjoyed a fair amount of popularity after the war. In 1959, the three Belgian shepherd breeds were divided into separate breeds, with the Groenendael subsequently known as the Belgian sheepdog. With its shimmering black coat, it is the most striking of the Belgian breeds, and that fact, along with its versatile abilities, has won it many faithful supporters.

Description


The body of the Belgian Sheepdog is well muscled, with tight skin and a squarely proportioned body. The overall size of the head should be in proportion with the body. The top of the skull is flattened rather than rounded. The muzzle is moderately pointed with a moderate stop. The lips should be tight. The dog's bite should be either even or scissors. The medium sized, almond-shaped eyes are brown. The erect ears are triangle in shape and in proportion to the head. The legs are parallel, straight and strong. The feathered tail is strong at the base with the tailbone reaching the hock. The dewclaws are usually removed. The feet are cat-like in shape. The weather-resistant coat is moderately long, with a ruff of fur around the neck and extra feathering on the legs, tail and underneath the body. The coat color is black, either solid or with a small amount of white on the chest, chin or toes.


Temperament

The Groenendael is (very) intelligent, active, loyal and quietly affectionate. Groenendaels are not a breed for the faint of heart. However for those who have plenty of time, energy, confidence and love, they are wonderful friends. Attentive, alert, loving, and smart, the Belgian Sheepdog requires firm socialization at an early age as they tend to be very protective of their owners and territory. Nipping at ankles is a common trait for this breed, as they still possess a strong herding instinct.

Training and socializing is essential. They are wary of strangers and protective. They love children as long as they are introduced to them at an early age. The Groenendael bonds deeply to its people and cannot live outdoors or in a kennel. It needs to spend time with its family every day and may experience separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time


Height, Weight
Height: Males 24 - 26 inches (61 - 66 cm) Females 22 - 24 inches (56 - 61 cm)
Weight: Males 65 - 75 pounds (29 - 34 kg) Females 60 - 70 pounds (27 - 32 kg)

Living Conditions
The Belgian Sheepdog would do best with at least an average sized yard but is given proper exercise, can do well without one. Long brisk walks are required if this breed is to live without a yard. This breed does best when off lead in a safe and fenced in area.

Exercise
Belgian Shepherds can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Groenendael exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials. One of the basic activities of the Belgian Shepherd was guarding the flock. This make that the Belgian shepherd is extremely useful for protection purposes. The Malinois is famous for its IPO or Policedog performance, but the Groenendael can also be used for this purpose.

Life Expectancy
About 13-14 years

Grooming
The medium-length coat of the Belgian Sheepdog only requires an occasional brushing. But because he sheds excessively you may find yourself brushing him daily to remove loose hair. (What you get out with a brush doesn't fall out in your home!)

Conclusion
A member of the herding group, the Belgian Sheepdog does exceptionally well in herding and guarding. An intelligent and affectionate breed, the Belgian Sheepdog does best in a country environment, but can do well in home life. This breed has very strong protective instincts and does well as a guard dog.
The Belgian Sheepdog is happiest with an owner who can give him plenty of jobs to do. This breed gets along with gentle children, and will thrive in either country or suburban living if exercise is readily available. This is also a protective breed, and his intelligence and trainability make him an excellent watch dog. His long coat should be brushed weekly.

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