WHAT ARE WE GOOD AT?
Well where do i start here ....... AGILITY - OBEDIENCE- FLYBALL - TRACKING- SHEEP HERDING - SEARCH AND RESCUE - ARMY - POLICE/PROTECTION WORK, the list goes on.
The BSD is a very versatile breed that can turn its hand to almost anything ....... with the right training and understanding.
They do require a slight different way to training than your average working dog, being a very sensitive breed , you will get the best out of them by being firm but not over the top, they love to play and most are very ball obssesed so training that way works well for them . They hate being shouted at, it hurts their feelings but on the other hand if you are too soft they will walk all over you, if you are too hard they will shut down and can become nervous or aggressive.
Its a fine line with them, you have to find the right balance.
Saying all that they can and do make great pets as long as you are aware they need to be kept busy. They need regular long walks, preferbly off lead for most parts of it, being a very intelligent dog they need to be kept active with their mind, if not they will become destructive, chewing anything they can get their mouth around.
WHEN YOU HAVE A BELGIAN SHEPHERD NOT ONLY WILL YOU TRAIN THEM BUT YOU WILL BE LEARNING BACK
No matter how experienced you are with dogs you will learn from this breed all the time. Sometimes its good, sometimes its bad BUT and its a big BUT you have to meet them halfway otherwise it will not work.
When you do that, then you will learn and learn, something new everyday
So to sum up if you are a couch potatoe, DON'T HAVE ONE....... IF YOU ARE A FAIR WEATHER PERSON ...... DON'T GET ONE ......... IF YOU THINK YOU CAN TREAT THEM LIKE A GSD/ROTTWEILLER........ DON'T GET ONE ..
and if you are not prepared to meet them halfway ....... DON'T GET ONE.
EVERY BREED IS NOT THE SAME NEITHER IS EVERY DOG.
Now if you want a sports dog, or a active, intelligent, extremley affectionate loyal dog, a great family member, have an open mind, are prepared to listen,learn and take advice when needed, can give the excercise and mental stimulation they require, a healthy dog with no exaggerated body parts, then they may be the breed for you
TEMPERAMENT & BEHAVIOUR
The Belgian Shepherd can be a very complex breed, its often said, they are like marmite, you either love them or hate them,unlike other breeds you rarely get 2 the same and by that i mean you could have 2 from the same litter and end up with what seems like 2 different breeds, however they do have certain breed traits that are common amongst them. They are a very sensitive breed and are very affectionate. Common in the breed is their need to jump up on 2 legs but not in a way to knock you over but more to get a cuddle, this can be stopped with correct training but may be harder to stop than in other breeds(although i have yet to stop one doing it, lol). They like to steal food and rumage through bins taking the slightest opportunity to accomplish this, the Laekenois especially, i find to be the worst.
They are very clever dogs and will pick up on body language much quicker than some breeds, this in itself can cause problems in situations if you are not aware of it.
They need to be well socialised from a early age as they can become nervous in situations and with strangers, even aggressive if cornered,. Most go through real bad teenage stages and very often you can wake up one morning and wonder where your dog went. This can be overcome with lots of patience and perserverance and against what most people think, i have found at this stage if you back off a little with whatever training is done and give them some space, go back to basics, that can work well. I find one good experience once a month is better than weekly bad experiences.
The Tervueren and Groenendael are , in most situations a better variety to start of with as their prey drive is usually less intense, the Malinois and Laekenois can be far more challenging and are not for the first time dog owner.
They are great family dogs and having 5 children myself have found them to be superb with my own children but they do need to be reared with them. They can be over protective of the family. They also like to be part of family life, they do not do well in kennels, they think its their right to be apart of all activities that you are doing, again this can cause problems with seperation issues and destructive behaviour, of which can be extreme, Many will also have a jealous streak in them and if not controlled they will claim you for their own, i have found this is worse in the Malinois than the other 3 varieties.
The Belgian shepherd is a realatively healthy dog.
They have changed very little from years gone by, unlike some breeds that are now begining to suffer.
They tend to be a long lived breed with 15, 16 and 17 year old dogs not being unusual, with the average being around 12 - 15 years.
However they do suffer with a few things, probably the most common being Epilepsy, the Groenendael and Tervueren have had more of a problem with it than the other 2 varieties but it can still be found there.
It is not as bad as it used to be, with breeders becoming more aware and trying to breed away from it, however it does still crop up from time to time.
Belgians are Hip scored and have their Eyes tested before breeding but it is unusual for Begians to have bad hips or eyes. The average mean score for Belgians is 10.
Some breeders are now also testing for Elbow dysplacia.
unnofficialy there does seem to be more cases of Stomach and Lymphoma cancer occuring but no link as yet has been made of a connection to the BSD as a breed problem
SO YOU WANT A BELGIAN SHEPHERD?
You like the way they look? You want a active sport dog? You want a pet?
Whatever reason you are thinking of getting a Belgian Shepherd them PLEASE do your research first.
So many people are having them now with no thought about their suitability to fit into their life styles.
Below is some information about their temperament, health, charactaristics etc.
They are not suited to everyone but if after deciding they are what you are looking for and you think you can offer them the TIME, TRAINING AND LOVE they so desire then you will never look back .........
To Sum Up
I do tend to give new prospective owners the bad points first to make sure they are aware of what they are getting into, however not all Belgians are as hard and many will not show any of the behaviors i have said but will sail through life with no issus at all, but if after reading all this you still feel you are right for the breed then talk to as many people you can who own them, contact either us or other breeders and be honest about why you want one and forr what reasons, good breeders will then try and find the right match to suit you