|Group classification: Herding||Country of origin: Belgium||Date of origin: 19th century|
|Weight (M): 55 - 75 lb||Height (M): 24 - 26"||Life expectancy: 10 - 12 years|
|Weight (F): 40 - 60 lb||Height (F): 22 - 24"|
The Belgian Sheepdog is a muscular and sturdy medium-sized dog with a well-proportioned body. This dog sports long, straight guard hairs that are neither wiry nor silky, with a moderately harsh texture. The undercoat is thick and dense, although its density can depend on the climate in which the dog lives. A lush fringe of hair protects the neck, and the ears are protected by tufts of hair as well. The hair on the head and lower part of legs is shorter than on other parts of the body. Coloring is almost always pure black, although on some Belgian Sheepdogs there will be small areas of white on the forechest, toes, muzzle or chin. The head features a flattened skull top rather than a rounded one and triangular ears that are well-proportioned and erect. The muzzle is around the same length as the topskull and pointed moderately. Nose should be black with no discoloration, as should lips. Eyes are dark brown in color and the expression is one of intelligence and curiosity. The tail is sturdy at the base with the bone reaching the hock. When the dog is active the tail is raised with a slight curl close to the tip.
Belgian Sheepdog Temperament
Belgian Sheepdogs are protective and territorial dogs that should be socialized frequently and from a young age. They respond best to firm yet loving discipline and will not do well when reprimanded harshly. They make great family pets and are appropriate for families with children as long as they are raised with children from puppyhood. You'll find that the Belgian Sheepdog is loyal and an ideal watchdog, as well as a playful and energetic companion. This breed needs lots of love and attention and shouldn't be confined to a kennel for long periods of time. It is important to work with your Belgian Sheepdog daily, as this breed thrives on interaction and is always ready to please its master.
Caring for a Belgian Sheepdog
Because of its abundant coat, the Belgian Sheepdog requires attentive grooming. You'll need to brush the coat thoroughly each day, and more than once a day during shedding season. In addition to using a sturdy, firm-bristled brush, you'll want to also comb the coat using a coarse-toothed comb to discourage tangling. If mats form in the coat, simply trim them carefully. The hair between the toes will also need a careful trimming on a regular basis. These dogs shed heavily, especially during the warm weather months. The Belgian Sheepdog is a notably healthy breed, and health problems are rare. The dog is somewhat prone, however, to seizures, skin disorders, allergies, hypothyroidism, canine hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and hemangiosarcoma.