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Belgian Sheepdog Breed

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Belgian Sheepdog Breed

belgian sheepdog

Belgian Sheepdog Breed

The Belgian Sheepdog is one of four varieties of shepherd dogs that were developed in Belgium in the late 1800s. The four varieties are the Malinois (fawn-mahogany, short coat with black mask), Tervuren (fawn-mahogany, long coat with black mask) the Laekenois (fawn, rough coat), and the Belgian Sheepdog, or Groenendael (black, long coat). The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes all but 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 shepherd dogs from that area. After much deliberation, veterinary professor Adolphe Reul and a panel of judges concluded that the native shepherd dog of that province were square, medium-size dogs with well-set triangular ears and very dark brown eyes and differed only in the texture, color, and length of hair. Subsequent examinations of dogs in other Belgian provinces resulted in similar findings.

The black-coated Belgian Sheepdog was developed primarily by breeder Nicolas Rose, whose kennel dates to 1893. The breed takes its European name from Rose’s estate, Chateau Groenendael, outside Brussels. He purchased the breed’s foundation dogs, Picard d’Uccle and Petite, and their offspring are the ancestors of today’s Belgian Sheepdogs. The dogs were immediately popular for their versatility and were used as police dogs in Paris and New York in the early 1900s. In Belgium, customs officers patrolled the border with them.

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