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The medium-sized Belgian Sheepdog is a herding dog breed originating in Belgium, where these dogs were used to herd sheep. They later moved into police work, and today their versatility makes them suitable for many jobs and dog sports. Although these are purebred dogs, you may find them in the care of shelters or rescue groups. Remember to adopt. Don’t go shopping if you want to take a dog home. Belgian Shepherd Dogs are alert, devoted and protective. They are also very sensitive and affectionate, and can make excellent family companions. That said, they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to be happy. A bored dog can quickly become a destructive dog. They need room to run and a well-fenced yard, as these pups tend to chase anything that moves, whether it’s a bicyclist or an unruly squirrel. If you have the energy to keep up with this puppy, you will be rewarded with a loving, loyal, and furry family member.
Shyness can be a problem in this breed. Choose the average puppy, not the one that beats up littermates or hides in a corner. Belgian Shepherd Dogs need at least one hour of exercise a day. If you do not provide them with exercise and mental stimulation in the form of training or play, they will find their own entertainment, and it will most likely be expensive to repair. Belgian Shepherd Dogs shed year-round and require 15 to 20 minutes of weekly brushing. Belgian Sheepdogs can get along well with other dogs and cats if raised with them, but they have a chasing instinct and will go after animals that run away from them. Belgian Shepherd Dogs chase joggers, bicyclists and cars, so they need a well-fenced yard. Belgian Sheepdogs are very intelligent and alert. They also have a strong herding and protective instinct. Although they are good-sized dogs, they are very people-oriented and want to participate in family activities. Belgian Shepherd Dogs are play-oriented and sensitive. Training sessions should be fun, consistent and positive. Because of their intelligence, high energy levels and other characteristics, Belgian Shepherd Dogs are not recommended for inexperienced dog owners. To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests their breeding dogs to make sure they have no genetic diseases that can be passed on to the puppies and that they have a healthy temperament.
The Belgian Sheepdog is one of four varieties of sheepdogs that developed in Belgium in the late 19th century. The four varieties are the Malinois (fawn-mackerel, short-haired with a black mask), the Tervuren (fawn-mackerel, long-haired with a black mask), the Laekenois (fawn, rough-haired) and the Belgian Shepherd Dog or Groenendael (black, long-haired). The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes all dogs except the Laekenois as separate breeds in the U.S., while the United Kennel Club recognizes all four types as one. The Club du Chien de Berger Belge (Belgian Shepherd Dog Club) was formed in September 1891 to determine which of the many different types of dogs was representative only of the shepherd dogs developed in Belgium. In November of that same year, breeders and fanciers met on the outskirts of Brussels to examine the sheepdogs of that area. After much deliberation, veterinary professor Adolphe Reul and a panel of judges concluded that the native sheepdogs of that province were square, medium-sized dogs with well-placed triangular ears and very dark brown eyes, differing only in texture, color and length of coat. Subsequent examinations of dogs from other Belgian provinces yielded similar results. The black-haired Belgian Shepherd Dog was developed primarily by breeder Nicolas Rose, whose kennel dates back to 1893. The breed takes its European name from Rose’s estate, Chateau Groenendael, just outside Brussels. He purchased the founding dogs of the breed, Picard d’Uccle and Petite, and their offspring are the ancestors of today’s Belgian Shepherd Dogs. The dogs were immediately popular for their versatility and were used as police dogs in Paris and New York in the early 20th century. In Belgium, customs officials patrolled the border with them. During World War I, they carried messages and pulled ambulance wagons and machine guns. Their popularity in the United States increased after the war, and in 1919 the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America was formed. The Depression era reduced their numbers, but they served as war dogs in World War II, and interest in them has gradually increased since then. Today they excel in canine performance sports and rank 122nd among the 155 breeds and varieties recognized by the American Kennel Club.
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