Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Belgian Sheepdog

Belgian Sheepdog


Belgian Sheepdogs tend to be elegant-looking but muscular and hard-working herding dogs. Below you can read the characteristics of the Belgian Sheepdog breed as determined by the American Kennel Club's published breed standard. The leading breeding organizations of Australia and New Zealand follow similar guidelines. Note that in Canada, the UK and South Africa, the Belgian Sheepdog breed also includes the Malinois, Laekenois, Groenendael and Terverueron, which are considered separate breeds in the US, Australia, and New Zealand. Read more about this in the historical note at bottom.

The Belgian Sheepdog's Behavior
Recommended for: herding, pet

Belgian Sheepdogs tend to be protective of their families and their living spaces. After all, they have been bred to guard sheep from predators, so they tend to give themselves the job of watchdog. Generally speaking, however, the Belgian Sheepdog breed does not tend toward viciousness even with strangers, and tends to be very loving with family. As working dogs, they need plenty of outlets for their instincts to get their paws dirty with constructive activity.

Remember that breed only provides a general clue as to any individual dog's actual behavior. Make sure to get to know dogs well before bringing them into your home.

Belgian Sheepdog's Physical Characteristics
Size: males: 24 to 26 inches; females: 22 to 24 inches
Coat: a long-haired overcoat over an extremely dense undercoat
Color: Black
Eyes: dark brown, medium-sized and slightly almond-shaped
Ears: stiff, triangular, and standing straight up
Skull: flattened and about as wide as long, but not wider
Muzzle: pointed
Nose: black
Tail: sturdy
Belgian Sheepdog's Origins and History
Original purpose: herding sheep

Historical notes: the definition of a Belgian Sheepdog depends a bit on what country you are in. The Belgian Sheepdog encompasses four varieties, according to the official breeders' organizations of the UK, Canada, and South Africa. In the words of the Belgian Sheepdog Association of Great Britain, the varieties are: "Groenendael (long haired black), Tervueren (long haired, all shades of red , fawn and grey with black mask and overlay), Malinois (short haired, colour as Tervueren) and Laekenois (wirehaired, reddish fawn with black shading)." According to the American Kennel Club and its Australian and New Zealand counterparts, each of those "varieties" is actually a separate breed. The American Kennel Club has officially reserved the name, "Belgian Sheepdog" to refer only to the Groenendael.

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