Belgian Shepherd Dog



About Belgian Shepherd Dogs

There are four varieties of Belgian Shepherd Dog, the Tervueren, Groenendael, Malinois and Laekenois. The breed standard explains the differences between them.

Belgian Shepherd Dogs are highly intelligent, alert, sensitive to everything going on around them and develop extremely strong relationship bonds. They need significant socialising as puppies, enjoy a lot of activity and close interaction with people. They are considered to be beautiful, loyal, intelligent, fun, highly trainable and well suited to family life.

As with all dogs, the owner of a Belgian Shepherd Dog must maintain the dog's respect, and respect the dog in return. Belgian Shepherds react badly to negative training or punishment, so their training should be reward based. Belgian Shepherds enjoy obedience, agility, herding and other sports and many are trained to be assistance or search and rescue dogs.


Belgian Shepherd Dogs are generally healthy and remain active into old age. Most live to at least 12 years old, and some even make it beyond 18!

Summary results of the Purebred Health Survey for the Belgian Shepherd Dog (PDF)

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is relatively rare in BSDs, but most responsible breeders have their dogs hips x-rayed and scored under the BVA/KC hip-scoring scheme before breeding.

Hereditary juvenile cataracts

Hereditary juvenile cataracts affect some BSDs and most responsible breeders only breed from BSDs with a current clear BVA/KC/IDS Eye Scheme test certificate. However, as the cataracts generally develop as a dog gets older, it may have been bred from before being found to be affected. It is likely that there will be a DNA test for this condition in the future.


Epilepsy can be a problem and it appears to be inherited, although the way it is inherited is not well understood. It is difficult to eliminate by selective breeding as it often does not appear until the dog is around five years old, when the dog may already have been bred from. We are collecting money towards epilepsy research and hope that in time, genetic markers will be identified to help prevent this condition.

A study of the genome-wide association of idiopathic epilepsy in the Belgian Shepherd has published results (10 September 2020) where the study sought to identify additional loci that influence idiopathic epilepsy in the breed.

If you would like to make a donation towards epilepsy research, please contact Bonnie Wraight, tel 01482 667080 or email



Tervueren on dog walk
Photograph courtesy of
Jo Armstrong

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