Belgian Shepherd 101: What you need to know

Featured image by © / CID-c5NxwLN3MV

What is a Belgian Shepard?

The Belgian Shepherd is a versatile and intelligent herder that is the national dog of Belgium. For centuries, Belgian farmers developed a variety of sheep dog, which eventually was catalogued by Professor Reul of the University in Brussels in 1891. The Belgian sheepdog, also known as the Groenendael, is one of four varieties of Belgians all named for Belgian villages: Groenendael, Laekenois, Malinois, and Tervuren. The Belgian is highly sporty and an eager workaholic, ready to please. 

Pros and Cons

Appearance and Size

Group:    Herding (AKC)
Height:    22 – 26 inches
Weight:   60 – 75 pounds

The Belgian Shepherd is a medium-sized, well-balanced and elegantly built dog with only a few minor differences between the village breeds (mainly coat color and its length). The Tervueren has a long tawny coat, the Malinois a short tawny coat, and the Laekenois a wire tawny coat. Ears are classic triangular and erect, and medium-sized brown eyes. Belgians are bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and look somewhat similar to a German Shepherd to most people.

© / Seregraff
Portrait of Happy Belgian Shepherd Malinois © / Seregraff


Belgian Shepherds are an intelligent and attentive breed with legendary intelligence. They are usually wary of strangers, but are not known to be aggressive or timid. They love their family and are quite protective of them, however if left alone can become introverted and even fear-biters. They have intense loyalty toward their owner and crave human companionship. They simply loathe being left alone. They are slow to mature mentally, and are not considered mature until three years old. Overall, the Belgian wants nothing more than to make their owner happy. As such, training should come easy, especially with some treats.


The Belgian Shepherd’s double coat requires a weekly brushing and combing, with special attention to the undercoat during the shedding season. During shedding season, you should brush daily to remove excess hair from the body, the inner ear, and between the toes. Infrequent baths are fine with this breed. As with all breeds, check and trim their nails on a regular basis.


The Belgian Shepherd is a relatively robust and healthy dog. However, like a lot of larger breeds, hip and elbow dysplasia can be common health problem. Other conditions can include epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, and sensitivity to anesthesia. Ensure your pup lives a healthy life by feeding him high quality dog food.

Malinois Dog Sitting Outdoors In Green Spring Meadow
Malinois Dog Sitting Outdoors In Green Spring Meadow © / Grisha Bruev

Life Expectancy

Belgian Shepards typically live around 12-14 Years

5 Fun Facts About Belgian Shepherds


These elegant and highly intelligent dogs are ideally suited to active families with older children, or a person with the extra time available to devote to this dog. They love human companionship and love nothing more than to please. A large fenced in yard is ideal for agility and obedience training, and playing ball. The Belgian requires at least a 30-minute walk each day to be happy. Do not leave your Malinois alone in the backyard all day as they can become destructive. A good high quality chew toy would be great, but they you will definitely need to participate in daily activities with your dog

If you’re looking to add a Belgian Shepherd to your family, consider adopting one instead. Rescuing an animal is a win-win for all, and you save a life.