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9 Belgium Dog Breeds ( Native Belgian Dogs)

For a small country, Belgium has an impressive list of dog breeds which have a rich and colorful history.

In the Belgian Shepherd group there are four breeds of dog.

All are strong, muscular dogs that work hard and are keen to please their owners. They are useful workers in many industries including farming and police work and make great pets also.

Let’s meet the four Belgian Shepherd dogs and then the other breeds of dogs that come from Belgium.

1. Groenendael

Groenendael dog photographed against a white background

The Groenendael is one of the four varieties in the Belgian Shepherd dog group.

The history of the Groenendael breed dates back to the 1800s. They were officially named in 1910 after Groenendael Village, where a man named Nicolas Rose first bred them.

The Groenendael has a long-haired black double coat (sometimes with patches of white) and grows up to be a medium-sized dog.

It has a strong, sturdy appearance. It needs a lot of training, attention and exercise on a daily basis and does well in dog trials and as a family pet as both utilize its skills and requirements.

Did You Know?

  • The Groenendael has a missing optic chiasm, but it’s vision is surprisingly not impaired.
  • This breed of dog can get separation anxiety if left alone too long and loves company.
  • Sometimes it’s used in the police force and with search and rescue agencies.

2. Laekenois

Laekenois puppy in front of white background

The Laekenois is another variety in the group of Belgian Shepherd dogs.

This strong, sturdy dog with a rough coat in red, gray or light brown is the rarest of the four in this group.

The Laekenois reacts well to positive reenforcement during training sessions. With high energy levels it need daily exercise.

This friendly dog also needs regular brushing of its rough-haired fawn coat. It is reserved with strangers, but devoted to those it knows. This dog needs a confident owner who can control a strong-minded dog.

It is used for police work including bomb detection, drug work, search and rescue and guiding the blind.

They can make great pets if the owner has time to devote to training, exercise and care needed.

Did You Know?

  • The Belgian Laekenois is very protective of both its owner and habitat.
  • Originally guarding linen drying in the fields was one of its jobs as well as herding.
  • It was used as a messenger in World War I and II.

3. Tervuren

belgian tervuren dog on white background

The Tervuren is the third of the four varieties in  Belgian Shepherd group.

It hails from the area of Tervuren in Belgium.

The dog’s history traces back to the late 1800s. It may have been assisting shepherds herd animals for centuries before though.

One of the early breeders of the dogs bred Tom and Poes, who are considered to be the breed’s foundation dogs. They produced Miss, who then gave birth to Milsart, the breed’s first champion in 1907.

And so began a long history of Tervuren dogs.

It is a confident and hard-working herding dog that never gives up on the task assigned. It is affectionate and even possessive with its owner and family.

Did You Know?

  • Many Belgian Shepherd, including the Tervuren, are aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex.
  • It’s long-haired mahogany or fawn-colored coat usually darkens with age.
  • If you own a Tervuren you should brush it’s double coat once or twice a week for about 15 minutes.

4. Malinois

belgian malinois with goggles on white background

The Malinois is the last of the four varieties in the group of Belgian Shepherds.

Its name comes from Malines, the French name for the breed’s Flemish city of origin, Mechelen.

It is an excellent herder of cattle and sheep with it’s strong, well-built body and willingness to work hard.

This dog is totally devoted to its owner and very keen to please. It responds very well to training and direction and will cause major problems if it’s ignored or unloved.

The male is bigger than the female and more masculine in appearance also.

Did You Know?

  • The Malinois is used in the police force and military.
  • This large short-haired dog is prone to being overweight so it’s diet needs to be carefully monitored.
  • Mal is the nickname given to the Malinois breed.

 

As well as the four Belgium Shepherd dogs there are also many more impressive dogs from Belgium.

Let’s learn about them.

5. Bloodhound

2 Bloodhound dogs in the garden

The Bloodhound is one of the four varieties in the group of Belgian Shepherd dogs. You could be forgiven for falling instantly in love with the bloodhound’s adorable appearance and puppy dog eyes.

This large scent dog was used since the middle ages to hunt deer and wild boar and to track humans. History shows it came from hounds at the Abbey of Saint-Hubert in Belgium and was bred by the monks.

It’s famous for its incredibly strong ability to track scents which was useful to hunt and also find people who were lost or assisting police find people on the run. It also makes a great family pet.

Did You Know?

  • The Bloodhound can track people over great distances even days after they were in an area.
  • The expected life span of a Bloodhound is only around 7 years making it one of the shortest for all breeds of dogs.
  • Bloodhounds suffer an unusually high rate of gastrointestinal ailments and eye, skin and ear ailments.

6. Bouvier des Flandres

Bouvier des Flandres in front of a white background

The Bouvier des Flandres is a herding dog breed that came from Flanders.

They were originally used for general farm work including cattle droving, sheep herding and pulling carts. Nowadays they work as guard dogs and police dogs, as well as being kept as pets.

Did You Know?

  • The Bouvier des Flandres has a calm nature but will be aggressive
  • Many people say once the dog learns something it will never forget it.
  • This breed stays small with puppy qualities for longer than most other breeds and is considered an adult around 4 years old.

7. Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon standing on the lawn

The Griffon Bruxellois or Brussels Griffon is a breed of toy dog, named for their city of origin: Brussels.

The Griffon Bruxellois may refer to three different breeds, the Griffon Bruxellois, the Griffon Belge and the Petit Brabançon.

There’s a lot of personality in this tiny dog that only weighs about 12 pounds. This smart, funny and sensitive character will entertain its owner and all those around. They are easy to train and make lovely pets, but not great for small children.

Did You Know?

  • In old folk songs the dog was mentioned as bearded dogs referring to their distinctive black muzzle and beard and whiskers.
  • The Brussels Griffon gained in popularity after one was featured in the Jack Nicholson movie As Good As It Gets.
  • They are also known affectionately as Griffs.

8. Schipperke

Schipperke dog standing on the lawn

A Schipperke is a small Belgian black breed of dog that originated in the early 16th century.

There has been a long informal debate about if this type of dog is a spitz or miniature sheepdog. In their home country of Belgium they are considered a small shepherd.

It’s a cheeky, brave and curious dog and has earned the nickname of Little Black Devil (LBD) due to its nature.

The smart and outgoing Schipperke originated in Belgium as a small version of a black Belgian sheepdog known as the Leauvenaar.

The name Schipperke comes from a word meaning “little shepherd,” but the dogs were best known for guarding the boats on the canals between Brussels and Antwerp. Shoemakers and other tradesmen kept them to eliminate rats.

These day they are a loving pet that is usually forgiven for its cheeky personality with a wag of its tail.

Did You Know?

  • Puppies are born with a full tail, half tail or stub.
  • Schipperkes love to splash around in the water and will take a dip any chance they get.
  • They are sometimes a bit too fearless and can get into tricky or dangerous situations.

9. Papillon

Papillon dog photo taken on white background

The Papillon is a dog who will win your heart just with its massive ears and delicate face and features.

The Papillon, also known by the name the Continental Toy Spaniel, is a spaniel breed. Papillon is French for butterfly. It is named after the butterfly-like look of its long, furry ears.

Papillons became popular in the 16th century with aristocrats and artists and can be seen through many works of classic art.

Did You Know?

  • The toy spaniel was often portrayed in paintings by the Old Masters, from as far back as the 16th century.
  • The Papillon is one of the oldest of the toy spaniels.
  • Some simply call it the Butterfly Dog.

Final Thoughts

And so we complete our look at the collection of Belgium dog breeds.

Belgium indeed has a handsome bunch of versatile dog breeds in many different sizes and characters.

For someone looking for a loyal pet you should be able to find one suitable for your lifestyle within this group of dogs.

Check Out Other European Dog Breeds in the links below:

About the author: Pablo Pascua created dogbreedsfaq.com because of his interest in all the different breeds, and his desire to learn more. His inspiration comes from the many dogs he has owned throughout his life.