Belgian Shepherd Dog - General Features, Temperament, Health problems

Belgian Shepherd face

FCI # 15, Origin: Belgium, Group 1.1 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs.

Height: 22-26 in, Weight: 60-75 pounds

Grooming: Medium, Shedding: Medium, Coat: straight, of moderate length.

Color: solid black.

Ease of training: High, Energy level: High, Span of life: 12-15 years.

Breed: Although Belgium is a somewhat small country, it has produced four excellent Shepherds, you can easily fall in live with each one of them for at least one name only. Groenendael, Tervuren, Malinois, Laekenois - it sounds so romantic, that one may immediately start thinking of the Prince Charming on his White Horse, enchanted castles, sleeping princesses and other delightful nonsense.

But in fact, everything, related to this lovely breed of dogs, of course, is far more prosaic - like all decent people, the Belgians also had flocks and herds, so for sure somebody had to graze them. Theoretically, sheep and cows could be entrusted to a man, but man can fall asleep on the working place, or even sometimes get drunk, get away to a nearby village to see his sweetheart, suddenly start writing poems and generally afford many things, that a decent Shepherd will never even think to do. Therefore, the human shepherd, that could be tormented by the human frailties, was strengthen by a dog, that was fearless and perfect in working.

And for the time being, all these herding dogs were just dogs, no one was seriously thinking about breeding them. This was the case in most of the countries in the world - and in Belgium too - until in the second half of XIX century in the family of a quite ordinary shepherd dogs there was not born a very beautiful black puppy, quite different from his brothers and sisters. Fortunately, the dog attracted attention of people, who were curious about dog breeding - they called that puppy Duke, and gave him a pleasant life - namely, they brought for him the most perfect dog ladies, from those female dogs our hero - Duke - had a lot of puppies. As a result of his efforts there finally appeared a new breed that has received a lavish name - Groenendael. Although actually Groenendael - is just the name of the town, where the new breed was developed.

It happened so, that from the legendary Duke were bred not only the Groenendaels, but also the other varieties of Belgian Shepherds: smooth-coated Malinois, long-haired red Tervuren and funny, looking a bit disheveled, and very rare Laekenois. For some time they were considered one breed, but this misunderstanding has long been relegated to the past - namely, to 1891, when the Belgian Shepherd Dog for the first time visited the exhibition. At this time there was developed,written and approved the first standard for the Groenendael - and the recent changes in the standard were introduced in 2002. And it had a reason, because for the past decades the Groenendael quite changed, and for the better: they are much prettier and stronger now, and their coats began to look even more magnificent, than even it was in their modest progenitor - Duke.

Belgian Shepherd dog breeds

General Features: Today Groenendael  is fairly tall dog (about 60-65 centimeters at the withers), but he is quite light and he does not have a massive bones. Average weight of a fully grown Groenendael is 25 kiligrams. The dog is covered with long stiff black hair. However, the rigidity of Groenendael's coat can be detected only by touch. When you only look at this dog, his coat seems to be sleek and silky. Sometimes there may be a white tie (but never a collar!) on the neck of Groenendael - it is permissible. The portrait of a Groenendael will not be completed without his smart black eyes, the erect ears and a somewhat sly expression of the muzzle. However, in the nature of this breed indeed there is a little more autonomy than in most of the other Shepherd Dogs - creatures, living only for prediction and performance of all master's wishes.

Temperament: Of course, the Groenendael is also very obedient, otherwise he would lose the right to be called a real Shepherd Dog. But he is not obedient to infinity - the inherent vitality of this breed's temperament does not allow Groenendael to perform the same command stupidly a hundred times in a row. Especially because this choleric being, when he heard "sit" for the first time, will not just sit down quickly, and in three different ways, but also will lie, give paw, bring slippers, go to the supermarket and in general - just in case - will show you everything that he knows: this breed is very initiative. Generally the Groenendael Shepherds are capable of doing many jobs - they are not only the shepherds, but also a wonderful caretakers, and fearless bodyguards, irreplaceable police dogs, and customs officials, sport dogs, rescue dogs and guides, or simply unemployed family favorites. Very talented pooches!

Belgian Shepherd Dogs actually are quite peaceful creatures, and if this handsome black gentleman during the walk will meet some bullying Rottweiler, then he would not insist on his rights and will just go away to the side, to let somebody who is in a hurry to pass first. But this way the Groenendael will behave only if the Rottewiler's (or somebody else's) behavior is dangerous only for himself (meaning - for the Groenendael). In the situation, when the Belgian Shepherd feels, that his owner or someone from his family is in danger - there will be no peaceful talks. Groenendael does not know fear and no matter how huge and powerful will be his opponent, the Belgian Shepherd will do everything to stop him, even at the cost of his own life. Yes, the Groenendael is somewhat fragile - especially if you compare him with the powerful fighting dogs, weighing 2-3 times more than he does. However, he is so agile and so good in jumping, that not every muscular bumpkin will have a chance to bite him at least once, that is why from most of the fights our elegant hero - the Groenendael - comes out as a winner. Though in fact the Belgian Shepherd would prefer to avoid the fight, because he enters a battle only if it is really needed, and not for the love of a pure fighting.

Belgian Shepherd breed photo

The Groenendael is from those dogs, that scientists call "situational". Therefore, in the store, he stands in line calmly, in the office he is quietly hiding from the authorities under the table, in a sandbox he is playing happily with children, on the walks he is peacefully playing with the good dogs and carefully watching the bad ones and generally he easily adapts instantly to any situation. Such a complaisance and quickness makes the Groenendael a very comfortable creature to live with. Most of the Groenendael owners say, that they do not have any problems keeping this dogs even in the city apartments.  Although if you have a willing to keep you Belgian Shepherd in the yard - it will be fine. In winter this dog is not freezing, because of his luxurious coat (still of course the Groenendael, living in the yard is going to need a dog house there). This dogs usually have a very good heath. They are not fussing for nothing and do not bark for no reason. You will hear your Groenendael's voice only if something really needs your attention. The Belgian Shepherd gets along so well with children, that he could easily work as an English nanny, he also gets along wonderfully with all other domestic animals - this dogs basically take everyone in the household as a flock, that should be taken care of and should be protected. Although it is true that the young Groenendael can bring to a despair the venerable old cat, and indeed any creature who is dreaming of peace and bliss - but sooner or later the puppy will grow up and become a little bit more quiet.

As for the beauty care of this dog, it is quite easy and even the inexperienced in a dog grooming owner can maintain the Groenendael's coat. Most of the Belgian Shepherds manage to look sleek and stylish, even if they are not washed and brushed. And if the owner already takes the trouble to swing a couple of times with a comb, his dog will shine just like a black diamond. As for washing - if you like this idea, you can wash him  - your Groenendael will have no objections. Only here you must make sure that the shampoo does not have any softening additives - the Groenendael must have a stiff coat, too silky and smooth hair is not for him. The coat of this dog almost does not fade. Well, Groenendael do shed, but his hair is not falling down around the house. It stays on the dog - so in the shedding time (which happens twice a year - in spring and autumn) the Groenendale should better be brushed frequently. The claws of a Belgian Shepherds grow also quite slowly, so in most of the cases your dog will need a manicure only a couple of times a year.

With all his cute character the Groenendael can not be called "an easy person" - if someone else's hand will be pulled to stroke his shining black coat, the Belgian Shepherd will prefer to move away: he already has his favorite people, and in most of the cases he does not need any new friends. You can not buy this dog for a sausage - dogs of this breed are generally quite modest in food, and for sure they do not want anything from the strangers. In general, he prefers his owner's praise or at least an approving glance to any tasty treat. Most of the Belgian Shepherds love to watch people's eyes, and because the eyes are high, then the poor dog has to get up on his hind legs, put his paws on the shoulders of the people and look lovingly into the eyes of the dear owner. This is very nice, if you're dressed for walking the dog. But not everyone likes the dog to jump on his evening dress, so you should better teach your Groenendale not to jump on your shoulders from his early puppy-hood. Why do not you sit down yourself, so it was easier for the Groenendael to look into your eyes and understand what you, the owner, need and want right now.

And also many Belgian Shepherds are able to speak - if you will give him a sudden push, he will say a clear "wow", and when he is pleased with something, he is running around the house and saying some : "Grun-Grun-Grun". Apparently he wants to say: "I am a Geunendael" but he just can not pronounce all the letters. 

But no matter how you would like to call the Affenpinscher, he will always be the same - funny, charming, small dog, it is the smallest dog in the family of Schnauzers and Pinschers, very alert, very loving and very loyal, always ready to protect the owner.

Breed name translates as "terrier-monkey" and incredibly accurately describes this little Pinscher with his funny little pretty short muzzle and extremely shaggy eyebrows.
Originally the life mission of this breed was catching rodents on the farms of their masters and the preservation of the winter stocks of their owners. First and Second World Wars had a very negative impact on the breed.

Only thanks to a few fanciers of the Affenpinschers, these little hunters were able to continue their existence.

Affenpinscher differs with his comical character and his endless desire to be always in the spotlight. Friendly, obedient and clever, these little dogs in the normal circumstances do not create too much noise.

However, if within their territory there is happening any suspicious activity, the Affenpinschers are able to raise an incredible barking. If the Affenpinscher has an opportunity to protect his owner, he does not hesitate to throw himself into any battle, whithout paying any attention to the size of the enemy.

These dogs love to be with "their" people, to go with them to all their trips (no matter if it will be a trip to the Moon or to the closest supermarket) and participate in all their adventures. Funny detail: the Affenpinscher is a climber by nature. They always love to climb anywhere.

Tiny Affenpinscher will probably feel the most comfortable in the apartment. This dog can not live outside of the house.

Affenpinscher is quite easy to get along well with the other pets in the house, but he loves to argue and insist on his own opinion.

This dog does not require any special or very frequent care - it would be quite enough to comb the Affenpinscher weekly and sometimes to give him a bath with the special shampoo for dogs. It would be good if you can trim fur around the Affenpinscher's paws, keeping in mind that this little dwarfs prefer the "ragged" style.

Most of the Affenpinschers are very active energetic dogs, so they require at least a relatively frequent walks. And it would be just great if you can offer your Affenpinscher some mental and physical exercises or a job to do. This little hunter is too smart to be just a "coach potato".
Friendliness, obedience, courage and intelligence of the Affenpinschers has earned for these little pooches a special place in the hearts of people long time ago. Especially touching is their willingness to defend the owner: they rush into a battle against any opponent, even if he exceeds several times the size of the Affenpinscher.

Health problems: The Belgian Shepherd is a very healthy and hardy breed.