7 Canine Species from Belgium

Belgian Laekenois, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren

Belgium claims ownership to a number of dog breeds. A few small-sized dogs contributed their skills as watchdogs, rat killers, and close friends. In the past, several native Belgian dog breeds were working dogs—used to herd cattle, guard flocks, and safeguard the farm.

Read on to meet seven dog breeds from Belgium. 

  • 01 of 07

    Belgian Laekenois

    The Belgian Laekenois is one of four closely related Belgian shepherd dog breeds (pronounce lak-in-wah) (the other three are the Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog and Belgian Tervuren). All four varieties were employed to guard and herd cattle, as well as to keep people and property safe. They were all of a similar size and body type. They are categorized in Belgium as several kinds of the Belgian Shepherd Dog, with coat type and color being the primary distinctions between them. The rarest of the Belgian shepherd breeds, the Belgian Laekenois, is called after the town of Laeken in the Brussels area. The very wiry coat of the Laekenois gives the dog a disheveled appearance. The breed is attentive, devoted, and loving to its family. The Belgian Laekenois is a member of the American Kennel Club Herding Group in this country.

    Breed Overview


    Height: 24 to 26 inches (males); 22 to 24 inches (females)

    Weight: 55 to 65 pounds

    Coat: Medium length double coat with wiry texture and curly nature

    Coat Color: Red, fawn, or gray with traces of black on muzzle or tail

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

  • 02 of 07


    In the Malines area outside of Brussels, the Belgian Malinois was created. The Malinois was a sheep herder and a farm and family guardian, just like its relatives. Only the Malinois has a short coat among the varieties of Belgian shepherd dogs. Due to its extensive employment as military dogs and police K-9s, the Malinois may be the most well-known Belgian shepherd breed in the United States. Sometimes people confuse the Malinois with the more popular German Shepherd Dog. The Belgian Malinois is similar in many aspects, but has a somewhat distinct physical appearance with a square body contour and a lighter physique. Some people claim that the Malinois has a more strong attitude and drive than a German Shepherd because of its shorter coat than the German Shepherd's. The Malinois is a member of the AKC Herding Group in the United States.

    Breed Overview


    Height: 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 50 to 80 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short double coat in rich fawn to mahogany; mask and ears are black

    Life Expectancy: 14 to 16 years

  • 03 of 07


    The only Belgian shepherd dog breed with a long, pure black coat is the Belgian Sheepdog. Although the breed is referred to as the Belgian Sheepdog in the United States, it is known as the Groenendael (pronounced Groan-en-dahl) in other countries. This name comes from the hamlet of Groenendael, where this particular Belgian shepherd dog variation was first developed. The Belgian Sheepdog was employed as a police and military dog as well as to herd sheep and cattle. The Belgian Sheepdog of today is still very adaptable and is trained for employment in law enforcement, search and rescue, as therapy and service dogs, as well as to compete in sports like obedience, agility, herding, schutzhund, tracking, and more. AKC Herding Group includes the Belgian Sheepdog.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding

    Height: 22 to 26 inches

    Weight: 55 to 75 pounds (male), 45-60 pounds (female)

    Coat and Color: Thick double-coat, black color

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

  • 04 of 07


    The Belgian Tervuren, one of the breeds of Belgian shepherd, resembles its cousin, the Belgian Sheepdog, the most (Groenendael). The coats of the two breeds are identical—long, thick, double—but the Tervuren's ranges from rich fawn to reddish mahogany with a black overlay and a black mask on the face, whereas the Belgian Sheepdog's coat is complete black. The town of Tervuren, where the breed as it is known today was standardized, is where the Belgian Tervuren gets its name. The Tervuren needs a lot of activity to expend its copious energy, just like other Belgian shepherds do. They are incredibly devoted and sometimes possessive with their human relatives and want a lot of care. The AKC Herding Group includes the Belgian Tervuren.

    Breed Overview


    Height: 24 to 26 inches (males); 22 to 24 inches (females)

    Weight: 55 to 75 pounds (males); 45 to 60 pounds (females)

    Coat: Thick, double coat

    Coat Color: Red, fawn, or gray and black, with black muzzle

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07


    The Bouvier des Flandres is a breed of dog that originated in Belgium's Flanders, as its name suggests. The Bouvier des Flandres served as a farm dog all-around, much like the Laekenois, Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, and Tervuren. It has a hefty physique and is considerably bigger and stronger than other herding breeds. The breed may be identified by its rough, disheveled coat. Bouviers tend to be calm and stable rather than always "on," in contrast to certain herding breeds. Early socialization and adequate training from a knowledgeable dog owner who can give ample exercise and mental stimulation are essential for bouviers. The AKC Herding Group includes the Bouvier des Flandres.

    Breed Overview


    Height: 23.5 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder

    Weight: 70 to 100 pounds

    Coat and Color: Long, shaggy, rough double coat in black, salt and pepper, gray, fawn, or brindle

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

  • 06 of 07


    The Brussels Griffon is the smallest breed that is native to Belgium, yet it has a tremendous personality. The small dog finally made its way into the laps of royalty, beginning with Belgium's Queen Henrietta Maria, who fell in love with the breed in the 1870s, despite the Brussels Griffon's beginnings as a scrappy dog employed as a ratter in horse stables. It makes sense considering how difficult it is to resist the Brussels Griffon's endearingly scruffy face, deep eyes, and endearing personality. The Brussels Griffon traded up streets and stables for castles and cozy beds because when the queen loves something, it ultimately spreads to the whole public. The ideal lap dog and friend is the Brussels Griffon of today. The breed struggles if left alone for extended periods of time because it needs human company. The AKC Toy Group includes the Brussels Griffon.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy

    Height: 7 to 10 inches

    Weight: 6 to 12 pounds

    Coat and Colors: Smooth coat or rough coat in red, black and tan, solid black, or belge (mix of black and reddish brown)

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

  • 07 of 07


    The Schipperke, pronounced "skip-er-key," is a breed that stretches back hundreds of years to the Middle Ages and originated in the Flemish districts of Belgium. Schipperkes were a familiar appearance in Belgian dockyards because they performed a useful function by eliminating disease-carrying rodents on barges and canal boats and serving as friends and security dogs for boat employees. In fact, the English translation of the breed's Flemish name is "little captain." The little dogs made good watchdogs and vermin hunters, so shops valued them as friends as well. The Schipperke is little but well-built, and it is solidly black. Their clumsy, bulky bodies are tailless and have a square appearance from the side. The breed has a lot of personality, feistiness, and vigor. The Schipperke of today is still a great watchdog, alerting you when intruders approach and joyfully taking care of any rodents in or near your property. The Schipperke belongs to the Non-Sporting Group of the AKC.

    Breed Overview


    Weight: 10 to 16 pounds

    Height: 10 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder

    Coat & Color: Thick, straight, and just a little bit scratchy. The legs are medium length on the torso, longer around the neck, and shorter on the face and fronts of the legs. uniform black coat

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

  • Why are Belgian Malinois used as police dogs?

    With its keen sense of smell, the Belgian Malinois is also smart, athletic, and hard-working, making them the perfect K-9 canine.

  • What is the best dog food for Belgian Malinois?

    Ask your veterinarian to ensure that you meet the nutritional needs of this breed because Belgian Malinois can be fussy. They require a sufficient intake of protein and fat, as well as vitamins, minerals, and perhaps some fruits and vegetables.

  • What does a Belgian sheep dog look like?

    Very much like a German Shepherd!