The recorded history of the Belgian Sheepdog can be traced to the late 19th century. Efforts to determine if there were true shepherd dogs representative only of Belgium identified a square, medium sized sheepdog. Differing in coat colors, texture, and length, the original varieties of the Belgian shepherd dogs took their names from the towns and suburbs near Brussels.
Interest in the breed developed very quickly, and it was apparent that although initially a shepherd or sheepdog, the Belgian Sheepdog was a versatile animal. With their keen intelligence and easy trainability, they were readily adaptable to a variety of functions. The first decade of the Twentieth Century found Belgian Sheepdogs working for the police forces throughout Belgium, Paris, New York City, and in Newark, New Jersey. They were also employed by European border patrols, serving as watchdogs.
The first impression of the Belgian Sheepdog is that of a well balanced, square dog, elegant in appearance, with an exceedingly proud carriage of the head and neck. He is a strong agile, well muscled animal, alert and full of life. His whole conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The male dog is usually somewhat more impressive and grand than his female counterpart. The bitch should have a distinctly feminine look.
The Belgian Sheepdog should reflect the qualities of intelligence, courage, alertness, and devotion to master. To his inherent aptitude as a guardian of flocks should be added protectiveness of the person and property of his master. He should be watchful, attentive and always in motion when not under command. In his relationship with humans he should be observant and vigilant with strangers, but not apprehensive. He should not show fear or shyness. He should not show viciousness by unwarranted or unprovoked attack. With those he knows well, he is most affectionate and friendly, zealous of their attention, and very possessive.
Males should be 24-26 inches in height and females 22-24 inches, measured at the withers.
Black. May be completely black, or may be black with white, limited as follows: Small to moderate patch or stripe on forechest. Between pads of feet. On tips of hind toes. On chin and muzzle (frost – may be white or gray). On tips of front toes – allowable but a fault.
Learn more at the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America.