Are You Ready for a Belgian?

All potential puppy owners can expect to be screened for suitability for a Belgian puppy. No doubt they are beautiful dogs, but they are also not for everyone. Find out as much as you can about the temperament of a Belgian and whether you are ready to take on this responsibility. Belgians need a job to do. Keeping their minds working as well as their bodies is important for a satisfied Belgian.


The Belgian Shepherd is an alert and very exuberant dog that openly expresses its own emotions and is very ‘tuned-in’ to its owner’s moods.

It is an exceptionally intelligent breed of dog and although it is a very fast learner it is an impressionable dog when young and incorrect handling in it’s formative stages could have a negative impact on it’s future development.

As most original herding dogs the ‘Belgians’ can be distrustful of strangers and possessive over its own pack and territory. It is a dog that thrives on the human contact with its owners and can be both a good protector of its territory and a loyal family companion.

This is an energetic breed that is slow maturing and will remain active for most of it’s life. 

Owning a ‘Belgian’

The Belgian Shepherd is an excellent ‘all-round’ dog. The breed’s medium size and natural build make it suitable for a wide range of functions.

The breed’s responsiveness and tendency to form a strong bond with its owner makes this the perfect breed for people who thrive on close interaction with their animals. People who can not cope with an enthusiastic dog are advised to rather look for a more placid breed. 

In the working environment this close bond is very useful in training the dog to perform the required tasks which he does with speed and enthusiasm.

In the family environment the dog will be devoted to it’s pack - both a loyal friend and protector – provided that the owners are willing to nurture and develop this behaviour. They need mental stimulation to develop to their full potential and training is therefore highly recommended.

The Belgian Shepherd is an alert dog with a great deal of presence and many people who also own other breeds openly admit that there is something ‘special’ in the type of ‘feedback’ that they get from their ‘Belgian’.

Last but not least – the 'Belgian' is a strikingly beautiful dog. Its alert inquiring expression and proud bearing reveals its vigilant nature and combined with its sparkling temperament makes owning this breed an uplifting experience.


The Belgian Shepherd is a very intelligent dog that responds better to being ‘taught’ rather than being  ‘trained’.

A ‘Belgian’ is a ‘fun’ dog and training must remain pleasurable - training methods that are based on excessive repetition will quickly bore a ‘Belgian’. Short active training sessions will give better results than long repetitive ones. These dogs are not robots and it much nicer to see a ‘Belgian’ really enjoying the training session and respond to its owner than just going through the motions.

This is a slow maturing breed and due to it’s capacity to learn quickly there may be a tendency to advance too quickly - care must be taken not to put excessive pressure on the young dog - incorrect handling can prove difficult to correct.

As is the case for many herding breeds the 'Belgian' can be distrustful of strangers and will require some socialization with humans and other dogs to allow it to develop fully. Even if no further training is planned this socialization is very important.

"Character, Owning a Belgian & Training" were taken with permission from the website of the Highveld Belgian Shepherd Dog Club of S. Africa.

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