Elgian Sheepdog

Black Sheepdog Breeds

he Belgian Sheepdog is one of four breeds that make up the Belgian Shepherd family. The breed can credit its existence to Nicolas Rose, who established the first known kennel of the breed. His foundation pair, Picard d'Uccle and Petite, can be found in the lineage of most Belgian Shepherds today. These are superb working dogs.

The breed has a very distinct look. All black (or with just a touch of white on the forechest), the dog stands tall, with head up and with pricked ears. The coat is luscious, with a heavier ruff around the neck and a plumed tail wagging slowly. Males are 24 to 26 inches tall and about 55 to 75 pounds; females are slightly smaller.

The Belgian Sheepdog's coat is long, of medium harshness, and has a very dense undercoat. Although the coat is not prone to matting, tangles can form behind the ears or in the pantaloons. The coat should be brushed at least twice a week, although during the spring and fall, daily brushing can keep shedding under control.

This breed was designed to work and likes to be active. Daily aerobic exercise is very important—running alongside a bicycle, jogging with you, playing a vigorous game of retrieve, or a quick run through the agility course.

All Belgian Sheepdogs should attend a puppy socialization class when they are young so they get to meet a variety of people. Training should be introduced early, in puppy class, and continued through adolescence, as the breed is very intelligent but can also be somewhat independent. Training should be structured yet fair and fun and should keep the dog challenged.

Belgian Sheepdogs are excellent watchdogs, yet are affectionate and loyal to family and friends. They can be good with children, although they often try to herd (circle) and control rambunctious kids. The breed can be good with other dogs and small pets, although these interactions should always be supervised. Health concerns include hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, and seizure disorders.


Breed in Brief

Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC Occupation: Herder, farm dog, police dog, performance sports Size: 22 to 26 in tall; 50 to 75 lbs

Longevity: 12 to 14 years Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise Training: Easy; hard to keep challenged Grooming: Easy to moderate

Belgian Sheepdog 149

elgian Tervuren


he Belgian Tervuren is one of four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd. All four varieties originated in Belgium as herding and guardian dogs and became recognized in the late 1800s. In Europe, all four varieties form one breed with different coat types; only in the U.S. are they separated into four breeds.

The Tervuren is the most elegant of the four varieties. Although the size and body type are very much the same, the Tervuren's wonderful coat and proud head carriage set her apart. The Tervuren stands between 22 and 26 inches tall and weighs between 40 and 80 pounds, with females smaller than males. The eyes are dark brown and expressive; the ears are upright. The body is strong, and the tail reaches the hock. The coat is elegant. The outer coat is long with a thick undercoat. The coat can be fawn to mahogany, with black tips and a black mask and ears.

The coat needs regular brushing, especially during the spring and fall when shedding is at its heaviest.

The Tervuren is an active breed that needs vigorous daily exercise. She can take a couple of long walks every day but also needs to train on the agility course, chase tennis balls, or run alongside your bicycle. Without enough exercise she will get into trouble.

The Tervuren is the most sensitive of the four varieties of Belgian Shepherd and should begin puppy socialization classes early so that she meets many different people. Training should begin early, too, to challenge the Tervuren's mind and to give her a job to do. The training should be structured yet fun. The Terv excels at many canine sports.

The Tervuren should have an active, experienced owner who knows what she needs. She can be a good family dog but tends to bond more closely with one family member. She is usually good with other dogs but may not be good with dogs of the same sex. She will try to herd the family cat. Health concerns include eye and thyroid problems.

Breed in Brief

Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC Occupation: Herder Size: 22 to 26 in tall; 40 to 80 lbs

Longevity: 12 to 14 years Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise

Training: Easy; needs to work Grooming: Moderate

Pit Bulls as Pets

Pit Bulls as Pets

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