Overview of Belgian Sheepdog
In 1892, Belgium achieved independence and like many other countries, it wanted symbols of national pride, so the Belgian Shepherd became their national herding dog. Later, the Belgian Sheepdog a.k.a the Groenendael became their first police dog. There are four varieties of Belgian Shepherd dogs that are considered separate breeds in the U.S. These include the Belgian Malinois (tan with black mask and shorthair), the Belgian Tervuren (tan with black mask and longhair), the Belgian Laekenois (tan with rough coat), and the Belgian Sheepdog (black with longhair). Belgian Shepherds predate German Shepherds with written accounts dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries and remain unchanged from their original breed standard. The city of Ghent in the 1890s was the first place to have a professional police dog that was a majestic Belgian Sheepdog. By the early 1900s, they were the premier police dog in Europe and the U.S., later to be eclipsed by their cousins, the Malinois, and their distant relatives, the German Shepherd. Despite the popularity of Mals, Belgian Sheepdogs are similarly versatile. They excel in military and police roles, as seeing-eye dogs, service dogs, search and rescue dogs, herding dogs, and even as sled dogs! Just like the first Model T Fords, these medium-large (30-80 lbs) pooches come in any color as long as it's black!
Personality of Belgian Sheepdog
Like their other Shepherd cousins, the Belgian Sheepdog is a fast-learner who is intelligent and always happy to work. You could say that the raven-haired Groenendael is like your all-around work dog. They will do as much or as little, as long as it's with you. They’re also the happiest if given a job where they get to work alongside you, as your partner but not as your servant! Belgian Sheepdog puppies are very versatile and can work with sheep, cattle, geese, or any other domestic flock if tasked with herding. They are always willing to try new things but may not be the best for wild flocks. Keep in mind, these pups are more independent-minded than German Shepherds; however, they may sulk and take it very personally if scolded unfairly! So if you're looking for a dog to laze around and sleep all day, the Belgian Sheepdog may not be the right choice. But if you're looking for an extremely hardy and athletic breed who will want to work right into their golden years, then you’ll love this dog!
Common Health Issues & Recommendations for Belgian Sheepdog
Epilepsy in dogs: is a common neurological disease that causes repeated seizures. It is more prevalent in certain breeds, such as the Belgian Sheepdog, so there may be genetic factors involved.
Recommendations for Epilepsy in Belgian Sheepdog:
- PetOmega 3 - Is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids that can help support healthy cognitive function, brain and nerve health.
- Lesstress - A natural aid that can help calm excitability and relax your dog in stressful situations.
- Turmeric - Contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support for the body. It can also help supportthe brain and neurological system as well as the digestive system.
- Old Timer - A natural blend of herbs rich in antioxidants and restorative properties that may help reduce seizures and chronic injuries.
IBD in dogs: also known as inflammatory bowel disease, is a common gastrointestinal issue that Groenendaels may be susceptible to. It is characterized by inflammatory cells invading the GI tract (stomach, small intestine and large intestine) and upsetting body processes such as motility, digestion and nutrient absorption.
Recommendations for IBD in Belgian Sheepdog:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease Comfort Kit (IBD/IBS) - A bundle of natural remedies that can help reduce intestinal spasms, support health bowel movements, encourage gastrointestinal tract healing, and contains powerful antioxidant support.
Heart disease in dogs: is a common health concern in many dog breeds and a Belgian Groenendael is no exception! There is no singular cause for a heart condition, but diet and exercise play key roles in maintaining heart health.
Recommendations for Heart Disease in Belgian Sheepdog:
- Heart Health Super Support Kit - A bundle of natural remedies that can help to support canine cardiovascular health, may improve circulation to the heart, and add immune support.