The dense double coat requires lots of brushing to avoid mats and minimize shedding.
The Belgian Sheepdog is happiest with an owner who can give him plenty of jobs to do. This breed gets along with gentle children, and will thrive in either country or suburban living if exercise is readily available. This is also a protective breed, and his intelligence and trainability make him an excellent watch dog. His long coat should be brushed weekly.
Depending on the size of your dog as an adult you are going to want to feed them a formula that will cater to their unique digestive needs through the various phases of their life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and giant breeds. The Belgian Sheepdog is a large breed and has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
A nice rubber-tipped pin brush, a slicker brush and a greyhound comb will work best with this breed’s coat. Their strong nails should be trimmed regularly to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Keeping nails tidy will reduce the risk of causing problems for their feet and legs. Their prick ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
Belgians are highly trainable herders famed for versatility and work ethic. They excel in all manner of dog sports, and they’ve found work as police and military K-9's, service dogs, searchers and rescuers, watchdogs, and tireless backyard tennis-ball fetchers. These sensitive souls crave human companionship and abhor neglect. In turn, owners tend to form a special bond with their eager workaholics. As one devotee puts it, Belgians “inspire such intense loyalty because they themselves live and love with such great passion.”
Belgian Sheepdog &HEALTH
Like all living things, Belgian Sheepdogs can be susceptible to disease and affected by hereditary issues. Every breed has health concerns that owners (both new and experienced) need to be aware of in order to make the best decisions about ownership. In this breed, some problems that are seen are cancer, epilepsy, hip and elbow dysplasia, PRA and cataracts. Hypothyroidism and retained testicles issues are seen as well. Each of these health issues are commonly found across all pedigree lines. A breeder that subscribes to the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America Code of Ethics will try to reduce the likelihood that these health issues will occur in the dogs that they produce by completing health clearances on their breeding dogs. But most of these health issues are polygenetic and come from more than one gene pair.
These traits are more complex than the typical dominant or recessive genetic trait and therefore, much more difficult to identify in breeding stock unless the dog is symptomatically affected. Another point to consider is that the health concerns highlighted here are very rarely unmanageable—or result in the death of a pet. Many times, the health concerns referenced are much more of an inconvenience to the owners than they are to the dogs—which learn to compensate quickly.