The Belgian Shepherd

There are many books, articles, videos and nowadays there are even several documentaries and or movies about the Belgian Shepherd Dog, particularly the Belgian Malinois, although the Malinous is not the only variety of Belgian Shepherd Dog.
There are in fact four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd Dog, but not many people are aware of this and even fewer know much about the different varieties. As the name suggests, the Belgian Shepherd Dog originates from Belguim and all were bred as working dogs.

The four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd Dog are:

  • the Groenendael, a black long coated dog;
  • the Tervuren, also a long coated dog but varying in colour from grey to fawn to 'mahogany';
  • the Laekenois, the rough or wire coat version of the Malinois with much of the same colouring as the malinois;
  • and the last variety is of course the Malinois.

There are some significant differences in the appearance of the four varieties but realistically all four varieties were bred for very much the same purpose.

Ideally all four should have the same working abilities and capabilities, however, this is generally speaking, no longer the case. This is said in a very broad sense because as is the case with any breed, there are always exceptions. This is partiallly because of todays lifestyle which has been dramatically influenced by the media, by social economical climates and security situations among other reasons, but we won't go into that in much detail here.
The Malinois' are the variety most widely seen still performing a working function nowadays, particularly in military, security and sports contexts. In the early years of the breed it was not unusal to see all four varieties performing working roles.
Early documents of the Belgian Shepherd Dogs often show the Groenendael being used for carting. In the infancy of Ring Sport, the Tervurens won the contests regularly and Laekenois' were often seen herding farm animals.

The Belgian Shepherd Dog is often mistaken for a German Shepherd Dog (or GSD mix) but is a completely separate breed from the German Shepherd Dog. The Belgian Shepherd Dog was introduced into South Africa in the nineteen eighties but who exactly brought the first specimens into the country is hotly contested. Be that as it may, the Belgian Shepherd Dog is gaining popularity, not only in South Africa, but all over the world.

Unfortunately, like many other breeds in the past, popularity leads to poor breeding as a result of the high demand (i.e. the dogs become a commodity). High numbers of dogs that have not been correctly placed in suitable and or educated homes also leads to many of these dogs being abandoned.

How does the Belgian Shepherd differ from the Belgian Sheepdog?

In very simplistic terms, it doesn't.
The Belgian Sheepdog, is in fact the name that the American Kennel Club has given to the Groenendael variety. As explained above the Belgian Shepherd Dog is the collective name of the four varieties of the breed however some countries, such as the Kennel Club, view each variety as a separate breed and in some cases do not recognise all four varieties. For example, the Laekenois, is not recognised by the AKC.

With the objective of educating the public about this wonderful breed, a few videos depicting the different varieties are shown on this page.
When viewing these videos, remember that these are not necessarily the best specimens of the breed and the aim thereof is to provide information about each variety rather than to point out or discuss any faults that the specimens in the videos may have.

We hope that you enjoy these clips.

The difference between the four varieties

More videos about the Belgian Shepherd Dog

Below are four additional videos, however, each video provides detail about the spcific variety of Belgain Shepherd Dog. We hope that they provide you with some useful information.





The Groenendael

The Tervuren

The Malinois

The Laekenois