Belgian Shepherd

Canis lupus

Last updated: April 18, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Lisjatina/

The sheepdog is also known as the Groenendael. All four Belgian varieties have nicknames for Belgian villages.


Belgian Shepherd Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Belgian Shepherd Conservation Status

Belgian Shepherd Locations

Belgian Shepherd Locations

Belgian Shepherd Facts

Fun Fact
The sheepdog is also known as the Groenendael. All four Belgian varieties have nicknames for Belgian villages.
Intelligent, energetic, alert, protective

Belgian Shepherd Physical Characteristics

  • Grey
  • Fawn
  • Black
Skin Type
10–14 years

Belgian Shepherd as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$300 average if adopted, $800–$3,000 from a breeder
Dog group
Male weight
55-75 lbs
Female weight
40-60 lbs

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species.

View all of the Belgian Shepherd images!

Share on:

The Belgian Shepherd serves the greater good; it is trained to work with law enforcement and the military in a variety of roles.

The Belgian Shepherd comes out of Belgium where it worked as a herding animal for centuries. Some Europeans classify the breed into four types: the Groenendael, Laekenois, Malinois, and Tervuren. However, the American Kennel Club recognizes the four types as four breeds. Here, we will use the name in general.

See all of our expert product reviews.

This dog is an extremely intelligent animal suitable for a variety of jobs, tasks, and sports. Referred to as a sheepdog, the Belgian Shepherd is a devoted, protective, and alert companion. These canines are famous for their affection, sensitivity, and long black coats.

Due to its physical and mental acumen, taking care of this breed means giving him plenty of mental stimulation and physical activity. Like most dogs, the Belgian Shepherd can be destructive if bored or restless.

As herders, he’s famous for chasing things, whether a squirrel or a passing biker. It’s important to keep him leashed and fenced securely.

The Belgian Shepherd is best owned by an active family that can manage his energy. Although the dog will keep you busy, everyone can look forward to growing with a loyal, loving, and bright family member.

7 Different Types of Shepherds and Shepherd Mixes

Here are various types of dogs that belong to the Shepherd family.


  • Belgian Malinois: The Malinois has a laborer’s background. It’s often mistaken for a German Shepherd. The Malinois is a fawn-colored, shorthaired breed with a black mask.
  • German Shepherd: The German Shepherd is diligent, noble, and extremely smart. People love their large, athletic builds. They serve as guide dogs for the blind and are excellent laborers.
  • Collies: Energetic and fun, Collies aren’t often seen as shepherds, but they are. There’s the Rough Collie, Border Collie, and Bearded Collie. The breeds have long coats, giving them a shaggy appearance. The Border breed belongs in a home experienced with dogs. The others are perfect for novices.
  • Miniature American Shepherd: As tough as it is tiny, the Mini American Sheperd is popular with equestrians who appreciate the dog’s affinity for horses. The mini shepherd has a keen eye and will study you with intense intelligence. He excels in tracking, obedience, and agility.
  • Welsh Corgi: Bred as herders, these tiny Welsh dogs are hardy, tolerant, and versatile. These pooches aren’t as energetic as their cousins, but they like brisk exercise. Like many shepherd breeds, the Corgi is happiest at work.


  • Labrador Malinois: This Lab is born from a Labrador Retriever and a Belgian Malinois. Friendly and agreeable, this Lab wants your attention and will work hard for it. It gets along with children and small animals. The dog needs to get outdoors often and loves socializing with neighbor animals.
  • Belusky: The Belusky is a mix of the Malinois and a Siberian Husky. Be prepared. Both parents of this breed have high energy levels, and the Belusky doubles down in that department. It is a challenge to provide enough exercise, so it is not the dog for the couch potato or the person working all the time.

3 Pros and Cons of Ownership

Versatile and smart
The shepherd is intelligent and flexible. It wants to please you and likes seeing you happy. You can train bad habits out of these dogs. The puppy is watchful and observant, ready to learn early so that you can prevent later bad behavior.

Playful and frisky
This is a fun dog, highly dependable and capable. If the puppy is exposed to different sights, people, sounds, and experiences, you’ll have a well-rounded dog that will always keep you smiling.

Protective as it gets
The standard for the Belgian Sheepdog is to protect. Bred to safeguard crops and flocks, the canine has a natural desire to watch over property, other pets, and people, but it’s best if it is trained to distinguish between friends and foes.
Needs exercise and mental stimulation.
The Belgian Shepherd needs consistent opportunities to burn off energy and play games that challenge it intellectually. This dog is hardwired to run, play, chase, poke, etc. It is going to require significant exercise and play. This is not the dog for those who don’t get out or keep their animals busy.

Potentially aggressive.
Natural leaders, Belgian Shepherds can be aggressive or dominant with other dogs, especially if they’re the same sex. It’s part of their temperament. Strong instincts drive the dog to chase, especially small or fleeing creatures.

Extreme Shedding
You’re likely going to find hair all over the house. The breed will have at least one heavy shedding a year. It also easily mats, which means it’ll need a lot of brushing and combing.
Belgian shepherd dog in a snowy forest in the winter.

The Belgian shepherd is a beautiful dog that is intelligent, playful, and protective.


Size and Weight

The Belgian Shepherd is a multi-talented, obedient animal. It is a medium-sized dog, and the male can weigh up to 75 pounds.

Height (Male)24–26 inches
Height (Female)22–24 inches
Weight (Male)55–75 pounds
Weight (Female)40–60 pounds

Common Health Issues

The Belgian Shepherd has health concerns owners want to be aware of. Avoid breeders, shops, and owners who cannot produce documentation that a dog’s parents were healthy. You can have any puppy checked at the vet, but that’s not a substitute for knowing your pooch is genetically healthy.

Here are some health issues for this breed, many of which are common to most dogs.

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Cataracts
  • Cryptochidism
  • Sebaceous adenitis


The Belgian Shepherd is brave, alert, smart, and loyal. While obedient, he loves freedom, staying in motion when allowed to roam. Though friendly, the dog naturally distrusts strangers. The trait makes your dog an excellent watchdog. But without proper socialization, your dog can also be aggressive.

With training, the shepherd is a great protector and won’t attack unprovoked. He’ll be friendly with people he’s familiar with, glad to share time and attention with them.

It’s a sound idea to get your dog socialized while it is a puppy. While scouting for a puppy, stay away from bullies or the puppy hiding in corners. Shyness can lead to socialization problems.


The Belgian Shepherd is quite comfortable indoors but needs to get out. A home with a secured yard is perfect! It loves off-leash fun as well as long walks and runs. You want to make sure it gets the diet and grooming it needs too. Here’s some info that will help.

Best Dog Food

Belgian Shepherds need a diet rich in high-quality fats and healthy proteins. The dog is an active breed. Get a large-breed formula while monitoring its weight and condition. A freeze-dried raw kibble is a great way for your dog to get plenty of protein and fat in a less processed package for optimal digestion and energy.

So, A-Z Animals picks Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free & with Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food as the best dog food for Belgian Shepherds.

Since this food incorporates chunks of raw protein, it retains more nutrition, including high protein for lean muscle and endless energy. It also includes glucosamine, proven to help keep dogs’ joints in good shape and prevent conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia.

Best for Large Breeds
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe, 20-lb bag
  • Freeze-dried raw-diet dry dog food with beef.
  • Features real deboned beef as the very first ingredient.
  • Contains freeze-dried raw-coated kibble and freeze-dried raw bites.
  • Includes lamb and rabbit in a protein-rich and highly-digestible poultry-free formula.
  • Crafted in Hereford, TX and cooked in the USA.

Check Chewy Check Amazon

Maintenance and Grooming

This sheepdog has a rustic, long, natural black coat that looks beautiful. It does shed heavily and mat easily, so you want to groom and maintain that coat. Get yourself a slicker brush, pin brush, or metal rake comb and work the coat for at least 20 minutes a week. Don’t trim to the point where you diminish its natural appearance.

Over its lifespan, the dog will shed heavily once a year. During this period, warm baths will release dead hair from the coat.

Follow safety rules when clipping nails. Shave thin portions to avoid frightening or hurting the dog. Use several sessions to trim long nails. Better yet, avoid letting nails get too long. Talk with your vet or breeder about the frequency of nail clipping.


The Belgian Shepher needs early, responsible socialization that it will carry over its lifespan. Owners can streamline much of this with training. Generally good with humans and very intelligent, Belgian Shepherds are highly trainable. The dog’s not stubborn or willful, but it is best trained by an experienced owner or trainer. Leadership, confidence, and consistency will be important.


The Belgian Shepherd has a lot of energy to burn. The pooch is capable of running in circles with glee. These canines will go after a stick and leap for a Frisbee. It will happily run and jog with loved ones. The shepherd requires at least an hour of activity a day. Divide the regimen into two or three sessions. Keep the dog busy before it finds annoying ways to busy itself.


Belgian Shepherd puppy posing outside on the grass.

Belgian Shepherd puppy should come from a reputable breeder who can verify the dog’s genetic health.

©Eve Photography/

Puppy diets should prevent rapid growth. Large-breed puppy food will help. Regardless of where you get your puppy, have a contract verifying health. If you want a good buying experience, a breeder is more important than the right puppy or a good price. Once you adopt, get the puppy to a vet soon to check for visible issues.


If raised alongside kids as a puppy — and trained — your Belgian Shepherd promises to be a good companion to all members of the household. But remember, these are laborer animals. Untrained, the dog uses its talents to herd children while playing. That can include aggressive pushing and even nipping to keep kids in line. Untrained dogs should never be around any child unsupervised.

Similar Dogs

If you like dogs of medium size with the rustic look of the wilderness, here are a few dogs similar to the Belgian Shepherd.

  • King Shepherd: This is an oversized shepherd bred from Alaskan Malamutes, Great Pyrenees, and the American and European German Shepherd. While less aggressive, they are more muscular and powerful than other family members.
  • Black Russian Terrier: If you’re in the market for a giant, take a look at the Black Russian. Bred as guard dogs, their instinct to protect and intimidate is front and center. But the dog is as loving as they get, affectionate with familiars, and reserved with strangers.
  • Bernese Mountain Dog: Many of these dogs have this gorgeous, black silky coat. They shed, but no owner seems to have a problem with it. This breed is great in colder climates. Smart, strong, and, for a dog that size, needs only moderate exercise.

Belgian Shepherd vs. German Shepherd

The first noticeable difference between the Belgian and German Shepherd is their color. The Belgian has a thick black coat while the German comes in many black, brown, and tan shades. Next is the size. The German Shepherd is going to be larger than the Belgian.

The German has a double-layer coat to help keep it warm. Both dogs are bright, loyal, and great family members. The German Shepherd has a lower energy level and might be better suited for a slower lifestyle.

Here are five of the most popular names for the Belgian Shepherd.

  • Hansel
  • Josh
  • Indigo
  • Higgins
  • Keanu

View all 284 animals that start with B

Share on:
What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

Belgian Shepherd FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Belgian Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

This breed is gentle and affectionate, but he has strong leadership instincts and can chase, nudge or nip. If raised with kids or placed with older kids, the dog will do well.

Is the Belgian Shepherd a Dangerous Dog?

They can be aggressive, but not necessarily dangerous. But they are smart and can be trained to change that behavior.

Is a Belgian Shepherd the Same as a Belgian Malinois?

The Belgian Malinois is a type of shepherd. Many people do seem to accept the duo as interchangeable. The way the Belgian stands gives it a square profile while the Malinois has a sloping stance.

What is the Difference Between a Belgian Shepherd and a German Shepherd?

The size is slightly different and they do closely resemble each other. The German has a thicker coat.

What Does a Belgian Shepherd Look Like?

A dog of medium size, the Belgian Shepherd has a lush black coat. He has an imposing presence. The canine usually has sharp, upright ears though floppy ears aren’t unusual. If looking for a beautiful dog, this one’s worth the price.

What are the key differences between Catahoula Leopard Dogs and Belgian Malinois?

The key differences between Catahoula Leopard Dogs and Belgian Malinois are origin, appearance, lifespan, temperament, trainability, and grooming.

What are the differences between a Belgian Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois?

The key difference between a Belgian Malinois and a Belgian Shepherd is coat length and color. Other notable differences are size and lifespan.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


  1. Puppytoob / Accessed July 2, 2021
  2. American Kennel Club / Accessed July 2, 2021
  3. Dogtime / Accessed July 2, 2021
  4. The Spruce Pets / Accessed July 2, 2021
  5. Spirit Dog / Accessed July 2, 2021
  6. Love Your Dog / Accessed July 2, 2021
  7. Your Pure Bred Puppy / Accessed July 2, 2021
  8. Petolog / Accessed July 2, 2021
  9. Indulge Your Pet / Accessed July 2, 2021
  10. Orvis / Accessed July 2, 2021
  11. Hill's Pet / Accessed July 2, 2021
  12. Pet Guide / Accessed July 2, 2021
  13. Wikipedia / Accessed July 2, 2021
  14. (1970)

Newly Added Animals

A Great White Shark
Great White Shark

Can grow to more than 8 meters long!

A Cobalt Blue Tarantula
Cobalt Blue Tarantula

Cobalt blue tarantulas spend most of their time in self-dug burrows and only emerge when it's time to eat

Most Recently Updated Animals

A Great White Shark
Great White Shark

Can grow to more than 8 meters long!

A Cobalt Blue Tarantula
Cobalt Blue Tarantula

Cobalt blue tarantulas spend most of their time in self-dug burrows and only emerge when it's time to eat