Belgian Native Dog Breeds – Have You Met Them All?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
You have heard about the Belgian Malinois, but did you know that the Malinois is just one of four types of Belgian sheepherding dogs? Check the other varieties and discover added dog breeds from Belgium.

Do you fancy Belgian Malionius?

Are you fascinated with the breed’s endurance, elegant look, and ability to jump high and perform the craziest tasks?

If so, you will be more than happy to hear that this famous Belgian breed has relatives!

Belgium claims several dog breeds as its own. As a general rule, Belgian breeds are working dogs, used to active life, herding livestock and guarding flocks, and there are not two or three, but seven Belgium breeds that you should learn more about.

Read on to learn more about fascinating dog breeds from Belgium.

But First… Belgian Shepherd

The Belgian Shepherd is a popular dog with a long history. This breed has over a hundred years of breed recognition.

Due to their appearance, people often mistake them with German Shepherd dogs.

They have some similarities in appearance and in nature: both are extremely loyal to their people and are some of the best guard dogs out there.

The Belgian Shepherd was primarily used as a herding dog and over time they evolved to companion dogs. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot find them today working in the fields.

To truly understand Belgian dog breeds, you need to understand that there are four varieties of Belgian shepherd:

  • Belgian Shepherd Malinois, or shorter Belgian Malinois
  • Belgian Shepherd Groenendael, or shorter Groenendael
  • Belgian Shepherd Tervuren (sometimes spelled Tervueren), or shorter Belgian Tervuren
  • Belgian Shepherd Laekenois, or shorter Laekenois

Just like there are different types of German Shepherd, there are different types of Belgian Shepherd. These Belgian types are named after different regions in Belgium.

Now that you know the basics of Belgian Shepherd, let’s check the amazing Belgian dog breeds.

1. Belgian Malinois

Quick Facts

Real name: Belgian Malinois
Other names: Chien de Berger Belge, Mals
Origin: Belgium
Breed type: Herding Dog
Weight: 60-80 pounds (male), 40-60 pounds (female)
Height: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
Lifespan: 6-10 puppies
Color: Rich fawn with black tipped hairs, mahogany with black tipped hairs
Coat: Short, double coat, flat, straight

Belgian Malinois is probably one of the most popular dog breeds of today.

They are elegant in appearance, durable, active, and amazing when it comes to performing some of the most challenging physical tasks.

Originally, the Belgian Malinois was a sheepherder, developed in the Malines region outside of Brussels. When not herding, this breed was busy protecting family and farm.

Interesting fact: the Belgian Malinois is the only one of the Belgian shepherd dog breeds with a short coat.

This breed is often seen performing various tasks, from herding, over being companion dogs, to be used as military dogs and police K-9.

As mentioned earlier, they are often mistaken with the German Shepherd dog, although they’re similar in many ways.

Still, a Belgian Malinois has a different physical appearance and more of a square-like body outline and a lighter build body.

Malinois’ coat is significanly shorter than the German Shepherd’s. Experienced dog owners of both breeds claim that Belgian Malinois is far more intense than the German Shepherd.

2. Belgian Tervuren

Quick Facts

Real name: Belgian Shepherd
Other names: Chien de Berger Belge, Belgian Sheepdog
Common Nickname: Terv
Origin: Belgium
Breed type: Herding Dogs
55-75 pounds (male), 45-60 pounds (female)
Height: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
Lifespan: 10 – 14 years
Litter Size: 6 – 10 puppies
Color: Varies by variety
Coat: Varies by variety

Belgian Tervuren is a dog for more experienced dog owners. Due to their high energy levels, this breed should be avoided by first time dog owners.

The Belgian Tervuren’s breed standard says that he is “always in motion unless under command,” which is something that should say more than enough on how active and physically demanding this breed is.

If you are first time dog owner choose a breed thats more suitable for those who are just entering the fascinating world of canine ownership.

The Belgian Tervuren separates from other varieties by its coat length and color, although there are most similarities with Groenendael, often called the Belgian Sheepdog.

This variety has a long which and double coat, which comes in various shades of tan. The face is usually covered with a black mask. This breed was standardized in the village of Tervuren.

The Belgian Tervuren has high energy levels and needs regular and the right amount of exercise to burn that extra energy.

They will demand your attention, so make sure that you provide enough love and a supportive environment for this breed.

Otherwise, you can expect some form of destructive behavior.

This variety demands a high level of exercise, due to their natural agility. If you decide to get this breed, make sure that you provide enough time outdoors.

They will be like your shadow and never leave you behind. However, they may be shy around strangers.

3. Bouvier des Flandres

Quick Facts

Real name: A Bouvier des Flandres
Other names: Flanders Cattle Dog, Vlaamse Koehond
Nickname: Bouvier
Origin: Belgium (Flanders); France
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 70-110 pounds
Height: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Litter Size: 5 – 10 puppies
Color: Fawn, brindle, black, grey or blonde
Coat: Double coat with rough looking outer coat

The Bouvier des Flandres is a barrel-chested dog of Flandres, who was originally bred to be a hard-working dog. They are smart, strong, and all-purpose dogs who tend to be great watchdogs.

Originally from the Flanders region of Belgium, this dog was mostly used as a livestock herder and all-around farm dog.

Compared to another breed, this dog is quite large and of heavier build. Yet, their most unique trait is tousled rough coat.

They aren’t alert all the time, or at least they tend to be calm and steady all the time.

They need early socialization and proper training from an experienced dog owner who can provide proper training, enough activity, and the right mental stimulation.

The Bouvier’s coat is what makes everyone notice this breed.

As expected, this lavishing coat requires regular brushing once or twice a week. Make sure that you have adequate grooming tools on hand.

The beard may need cleaning at the same time, and nails should be trimmed or grinded every week or two.

This is a breed with a strogn personality, who will show his gentle side when it comes to his humans. Overall, this is a healthy breed, but they are still prone to certain conditions.

This doesn’t mean that they will get any of this disease, but it’s important to be aware of them if you are considering welcoming this breed into your life.

Educate yourself on the following conditions in dogs:

If you are buying a puppy make sure that you are dealing only with a responsible breeder who will health screen the puppy and both puppy’s parents.

4. Brussels Griffon

Quick Facts

Real name: Brussels Griffon
Other names: Brussels Griffon, Belgium Griffon, Petit Brabançon, Griffon Belge, Brabançon Griffon
Common Nicknames: Griffon, Griff, Bruss
Origin: Belgium
Breed type: Toy Group
Weight: 8-10 pounds
Height: 7-10 inches
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Litter size: avg. 1 to 3 puppies
Color: Red, black and tan, or black and reddish
Coat: Wiry/rough and smooth coat

Unusual in his appearance, the Brussels Griffon is one of the most unique dogs alive.

Originally from Belgium, this breed is today a full-time pet, while not that long ago, the Brussels Griffon was primarily used to hunt and kill rats.

Interesting fact: the Brussels Griffon is the smallest of the breeds native to Belgium.

This little dog was used as a ratter in horse stables, which is why they may even today chase anything smaller than them. This is why your Brussels Griffon should be on a leash whenever you are on a walk.

From stable ground, this little dog moved to the royal palace – starting with Belgium’s Queen Henrietta Maria, who fell in love with the breed in the 1870s. This is understandable by many because people find it hard to resist this scruffy face and charming nature.

Plus, there are puppy eyes that dogs get to keep until their senior days. Today, this is the ultimate lap dog and companion. As such, they hate being left alone for too long a period and frequency.

Make sure that there is always someone with your Brussels Griffon and avoid leaving them without dog toys.

5. Schipperke

Quick Facts

Real name: Schipperke
Other names: Spitzke (until 1888), Spits (until 1888), Spitske (until 1888)
Origin: Belgium
Breed type: Non-Sporting Group
Weight: 10-16 pounds
Height: 11-13 inches (male), 10-12 inches (female)
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Litter size: avg. 2 to 7 puppies
Color: Black or red/liver
Coat: Double coat with a soft and fluffy undercoat

Schipperke is a lively, curious, and often mischievous dog who will adore you. With this breed, you will never have a dull moment.

With only 13 inches, Schipperkes are small dogs with strong endurance. These small dogs were bred to be hard-working dogs.

In fact, they were created as ratters and watchdogs. They have powerful jaws, necks, and forequarters, supported with a cat-like hunting style.

All in, they were built to be ideal rat-catching machines. This foxy-face dog is covered with a profuse coat around the neck, shoulder, and legs. Tank to their foxy fact this breed is easy to recognize.

This small dog is an ancient breed, dating back hundreds of years to Medieval times.

Back then they were often seen in the dockyards, which is why their name translates to “little captain” in English. That is how useful they were.

They are packed with energy, and when they aren’t looking for the next adventure, they are great watchdogs. Schipperke will be fast to alarm you whenever a stranger approaches.

Make sure that you provide early socialization and proper training.

Also, learn as much as possible about small dog breeds, and what small dog syndrome is, and do your best for your Schipperke to stay away from it.

6. Belgian Laekenois

Quick Facts

Real name: Belgian Laekenois
Other names: Laeken
Origin: Belgium
Breed type: Non-Sporting Group
Weight: 55-65 pounds
Height: 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder
Lifespan: 12 to 12 years
Litter size: avg. 6 to 10 puppies
Color: Red, fawn, or gray with traces of black on muzzle or tail
Coat: Medium length double coat with wiry texture and curly nature

The Belgian Laekenois is one of the newest AKC-Recognized breeds. Originally from Belgium, this breed is one of four native dogs of Belgium.

In terms of temperament, body, body, energy levels, and exercise needs this breed is extremely similar to Malinois, Shepherd, and Tervuren. However, in terms of appearance, this breed is significanly different when compared to toher relatives.

In fact, the Laekenois is so unique that they are the rarest. The Belgian Laekenois is highly protective of his members and property. Therefore, this isn’t a breed for first time dog owners.

They are observant when it comes to strangers, but they are highly affectionate when it comes to their people. Their coat requires a fair amount of brushing and occasional bathing.

Dogs shouldn’t be bath too often they have differnet pH values compared to humans and should be bathed only when in a real mess.

The Belgian Laekenois is named for the town of Laeken in the Brussels region. They are the best know for their wiry coat, which gives them a tousled appearance.

Since they are herding dogs and have strong protective needs, they might be best suited as the only animal in the house. they might try to herd smaller dogs and cats.

Like with any other breed they should be left alone with smaller children. Always educate your children on how to behave around dogs. Teach them not to disturb dogs when they’re eating, drinking water, or resting in their bed.

7. Belgian Sheepdog (Groenendael)

Quick Facts

Real name: Belgian Sheepdog
Other names: Groenendael
Common Nickname: Groenendael
Origin: Belgium
Breed type: Herding Group
Weight: 55-75 pounds (male), 45-60 pounds (female)
Height: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Litter size: avg. 6 to 10 puppies
Color: Solid black
Coat: Long-haired

The Groenendael is a long-haired variety of Belgian shepherds. This dog is known for his black double coat, elegant posture, and incredible strength and endurance.

They have short hair on the face, while the coat is slightly tangled in appearance. This is definitely a breed for experienced dog owners, for those who know how to handle energetic dogs and to provide proper train in and nutrition.

This is a dog build to work, therefore, he has more than enough energy to spend an entire day being active. This is a robust and helahty breed.

Responsible breeders will always provide helahty puppies and let you meet the dog’s parents and check the facilities.

If you are not given medical documentation on the breed, know that you are standing inside the puppy mills.

As with all breeds, a Belgian’s ears gums, and eyes should be checked regularly. Search for any signs of infection. Don’t forget to provide food that promotes tooth health.

The Botoom Line

Do you have your heart set for one of these fantastic dogs? Belgium native dogs are active, no matter how small or big they might be, and they are hard-working dogs no matter how much exercise and outdoor time you provide.

Since these dogs were mostly built to herd something, they still have strong herding instincts and need to access anything smaller than they are.

So, if you have small children, make sure that you do puppy-adult dog-children introduction right and train both sides on house rules, including visitors.

These dogs will demand a fair amount of your time when it comes to brushing, overall grooming, and exercise so if you cannot provide all of that doublethink if any of the breeds from this list is your next dog.

If you are a first time dog owner you should focus on getting a dog that is more suitable for new owners, and build from there.