Fédération Cynologique Internationale

The Kennel Club

Chien de Berger Belge

(Belgian Shepherd Dog, Groenendael)

Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael)


ORIGIN

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FCI
Belgium.

PUBLISHED

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FCI
13.03.2001.
KC
March 1994

UTILISATION

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FCI
Originally a sheep dog, today a working dog (guarding, defence, tracking, etc.) and an all-purpose service dog, as well as a family dog.

CLASSIFICATION

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FCI
Sheepdogs
KC
Pastoral

TRANSLATION

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FCI
Mrs. Jeans-Brown, revised by Dr. R. Pollet.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY

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FCI
In Belgium, at the end of the 1800s, there were a great many herding dogs, whose type was varied and whose coats were extremely dissimilar. In order to rationalise this state of affairs, some enthusiastic dog fanciers formed a group and sought guidance from Prof. A. Reul of the Cureghem Veterinary Medical School, whom one must consider to have been the real pioneer and founder of the Belgium Shepherd.
This breed was officially born between 1891 and 1897. On September 29th, 1891, the Belgian Shepherd Dog Club (Club du Chien de Berger Belge) was founded in Brussels and in the same year on November 15th in Cureghem, Professor A. Reul organised a gathering of 117 dogs, which allowed him to carry out a return and choose the best specimens. In the following years they began a real programme of selection, carrying out some very close interbreeding involving a few stud dogs.
By April 3rd, 1892, a first detailed breed standard had already been drawn up by the Belgian Shepherd Dog Club. One single breed was allowed, with three coat varieties. In 1901 the first Belgian Shepherds were registered with the Royal Saint-Hubert Society Stud Book (L.O.S.H.). By 1910 the type and temperament of the Belgian Shepherd had been established. During the history of the Belgian Shepherd, the question of differing but acceptable varieties and colours had led to many heated discussions. On the other hand, anything involving morphology, temperament and suitability for work has never caused any disagreement.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

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FCI
The Belgian Shepherd is a mediolineal dog, harmoniously proportioned, combining elegance and power, of medium size, with dry, strong muscle, fitting into a square, rustic, used to the open air life and built to resist the frequent atmospheric variations of the Belgian climate.
Through the harmony of its shape and its high head-carriage, the Belgian Shepherd should give the impression of that elegant strength which has become the heritage of the selected representatives of a working breed. The Belgian Shepherd is to be judged in its natural stance, without physical contact with the handler.
KC
Medium-sized dog, well proportioned, intelligent, attentive, hardy and alert. [Four Varieties: Groenendael; Laekenois, Malinois and Tervueren.]

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS

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FCI
The Belgian Shepherd dog can be fitted into a square. The chest is let down to the level of the elbows. The length of the muzzle is equal to or slightly longer than half the length of the head.
KC
With fine proportions and proud carriage of head, conveying an impression of graceful strength. Not only a sheep dog, but a guard dog.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT

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FCI
The Belgian Shepherd is a watchful and active dog, bursting with energy, and always ready to leap into action. As well as its innate skill at guarding flocks, it also possesses the highly prized qualities of the best guard dog of property. Without any hesitation it is the stubborn and keen protector of its owner. It brings together all those qualities necessary for a shepherd, guard, defence and service dog.
Its lively, alert temperament and its confident nature, showing no fear or aggressiveness, should be obvious in its body stance and the proud attentive expression in its sparkling eyes.
When judging this breed, one should take into consideration its calm and fearless temperament.
KC
Wary, neither timid, nervous nor aggressive.

HEAD

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FCI
Carried high, long without exaggeration, rectilinear, well chiselled and dry. Skull and muzzle are roughly equal in length, with at the most a very slight bias in favour of the muzzle which puts the finishing touch to the whole head.
KC
Head finely chiselled, long but not excessively so. Skull and muzzle roughly equal in length, with at most slight bias in favour of muzzle, giving impression of a balanced whole. Skull of medium width in proportion to length of head, forehead flat, centre line not very pronounced; in profile, parallel to imaginary line extending muzzle line. Muzzle of medium length tapering gradually to nose. Nose black, well-flared nostrils. Moderate stop. Arches above eyes not prominent, muzzle finely chiselled under eyes. Cheeks spare, quite flat but well muscled.

CRANIAL REGION

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FCI
Of medium width, in proportion with the length of the head, with a forehead flat rather than round, frontal groove not very pronounced; in profile, parallel to imaginary line extending muzzle line; occipital crest little developed; brow ridges and zygomatic arches not prominent.

Stop

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FCI
Moderate.

FACIAL REGION

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Nose

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FCI
Black.

Muzzle

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FCI
Medium length and well chiselled under the eyes; narrowing gradually toward the nose, like an elongated wedge; bridge of the nose straight and parallel to the continuation of the topline of the forehead; mouth well split, which means that when the mouth is open the commissures of the lips are pulled right back, the jaws being well apart.
KC
Wide, lips thin-textured, very firm, strongly pigmented. Strong white teeth firmly set in well developed jaws. Scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Pincer bite tolerated.

Lips

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FCI
Thin, tight and strongly pigmented.

Jaws/Teeth

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FCI
Strong, white teeth, regularly and strongly set in well-developed jaws. Scissor bite; pincer bite, which is preferred by sheep and livestock herders, is tolerated. Complete dentition according to the dental formula; the absence of two premolars 1 (2 P1) is tolerated and the molars 3 (M3) are not taken into consideration.

Cheeks

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FCI
Dry and quite flat, although muscled.

Eyes

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FCI
Medium size, neither protruding nor sunken, slightly almond-shaped, obliquely set, brownish colour, preferably dark; black rimmed eyelids; direct, lively, intelligent and enquiring look.
KC
Medium size, neither protruding nor sunken, slightly almond-shaped, preferably dark brown; black rimmed eyelids. Direct, lively and enquiring look.

Ears

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FCI
Rather small, set high, distinctly triangular appearance, well-rounded outer ear, pointed tips, stiff, carried upright and vertical when dog is alert.
KC
Distinctly triangular appearance, stiff and erect, set high, moderate length with external ear well rounded at base.

NECK

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FCI
Well standing out, slightly elongated, rather upright, well-muscled, broadening gradually towards the shoulders, without dewlap, nape slightly arched.
KC
Very supple. Neck slightly elongated, well muscled and without dewlap, broadening slightly towards shoulders. Nape very slightly arched.

BODY

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FCI
Powerful without being heavy; length from point of shoulder to point of buttock approximately equal to height at withers.
KC
Body powerful but elegant. In males, length from point of shoulders to point of buttocks approximately equal to height at withers. In females slightly longer permissible. Chest deep and well let down. Ribs moderately well sprung. Upper line of body straight, broad and powerfully muscled.Belly moderately developed neither drooping nor unduly cut up continuing lower line of chest in a graceful curve. Rump very slightly sloping, broad but not excessively so. Skin springy but quite taut over whole body. All external mucous membranes highly pigmented.

Topline

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FCI
Upper line of back and loins is straight.

Withers

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FCI
Pronounced.

Back

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FCI
Firm, short and well-muscled.

Loin

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FCI
Solid, short, sufficiently broad, well-muscled.

Croup

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FCI
Well-muscled ; only very slightly sloping ; sufficiently broad but not excessively so.

Chest

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FCI
Little broad, but well let down; upper part of ribs arched; seen from the front forechest little broad, but without being narrow.

Underline and belly

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FCI
Underline begins below the chest and rises gently in a harmonious curve towards the belly, which is neither drooping nor tucked up, but slightly raised and moderately developed.

TAIL

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FCI
Well set on, strong at the base, of medium length, reaching at least to hock, but preferably further; at rest carried down, with tip curved backwards at level of hock; more raised when moving, although without passing the horizontal, the curve towards the tip becoming more accentuated, without ever at any time forming a hook or deviation.
KC
Firmly set, strong at base, of medium length. When at rest, hangs down, with tip slightly bent backwards at level of hock; when moving it should lift accentuating curve towards tip, never curled, nor bent to one side. Tip may be carried slightly higher than topline.

LIMBS

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FCI
Bone solid but not heavy; muscle dry and strong; front legs upright from all sides and perfectly parallel when seen from the front.

FOREQUARTERS

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KC
Withers distinct, strongly boned throughout with wiry, powerful muscle structure. Shoulder blades long and oblique, firmly attached, flat, forming such angle with humerus as to enable elbows to work easily. Forelegs long, well muscled, parallel. Pasterns strong and short. Carpus clearly defined. Dewclaws permissible.

Shoulder

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FCI
Shoulder blade long and oblique, well attached, forming a sufficient angle with the humerus, ideally measuring 110-115 degrees.

Upper Arm

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FCI
Long and sufficiently oblique.

Elbow

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FCI
Firm, neither turning out nor tied in.

Forearm

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FCI
Long and straight.

Carpus (wrist)

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FCI
Very firm and clean.

Pastern

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FCI
Strong and short, as perpendicular to the ground as possible or only very slightly sloping forward.

FEET

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KC
Toes arched, very close together; soles thick and springy with large dark claws. Forefeet round. Hindfeet slightly oval.

Forefeet

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FCI
Round, cat feet; toes arched and well closed; pads thick and springy; nails dark and strong.

Hind feet

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FCI
May be light oval; toes arched and well closed; pads thick and springy; nails dark and strong.

HINDQUARTERS

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FCI
Powerful, but not heavy; in profile hindlegs are upright and seen from behind perfectly parallel.
KC
Well muscled and powerful. Good but not excessive angulation; hocks well let down. Viewed from behind, legs parallel.

Thigh

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FCI
Medium length, broad and strongly muscled.

Stifle

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FCI
Approximately on the plumb line from the hip; normal stifle angulation.

Lower thigh

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FCI
Medium length, broad and muscled.

Hock

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FCI
Close to the ground, broad and muscled, moderate angulation.

Rear pastern

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FCI
Solid and short; dewclaws not desirable.

GAIT / MOVEMENT

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FCI
Lively and free movement at all gaits; the Belgian Shepherd is a good galloper but its normal gaits are the walk and especially the trot; limbs move parallel to the median plane of the body. At high speed the feet come nearer to the median plane; at the trot the reach is medium, the movement even and easy, with good rear drive, and the topline remains tight while the front legs are not lifted too high. Always on the move, the Belgian Shepherd seems tireless; its gait is fast, springy and lively. It is capable of suddenly changing direction at full speed. Due to its exuberant character and its desire to guard and protect, it has a definite tendency to move in circles.
KC
Brisk, free and even.

SKIN

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FCI
Elastic but taut over all the body; edges of lips and eyelids strongly pigmented.

COAT

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HAIR

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FCI

The hair must always be dense, close-fitting and of good texture, with the woolly undercoat forming an excellent protective covering.
The hair is short on the head, the outer side of the ears and the lower part of the legs, except on the rear side of the forearm which is covered from elbow to wrist by long hairs called fringes. The hair is long and smooth on the rest of the body and longer and more abundant around the neck and on the forechest, where it forms a collarette or ruff and a jabot or apron. The opening of the ear is protected by thick tufts of hair. From the base of the ear the hair is upright and frames the head. The back of the thighs is covered with very long abundant hair forming the culottes or breeches. The tail is furnished with long, abundant hair forming a plume.
KC
There are three distinct coat types: Groenendael/Tervueren - Outer coat long, straight and abundant. Texture of medium harshness. Not silky or wiry. Undercoat extremely dense. Hair shorter on head, outside of ears and lower part of legs. Opening of ear protected by hair. Hair especially long and abundant, ruff-like around neck, particularly in males. Fringe of long hair down back of forelegs, long and abundant hair evident on hindquarters and tail. Males longer coated than females. Laekenois - Harsh, wiry, dry and not curly. Any sprinkling of fluffy fine hair in locks in rough coats is undesirable. Length of coat about 6 cms (21/2 ins) on all parts of body. Hair around eyes but not to obscure them. Muzzle hair not so long as to make head appear square or heavy. Tail not plumed. Malinois - Hair very short on head, exterior of ears and lower parts of legs. Short on rest of body, thicker on tail and around neck where it resembles a ridge or collar, beginning at base of ear and extending to throat. Hindquarters fringed with longer hair. Tail thick and bushy. Coat thick, close of good firm texture with woolly undercoat, neither silky nor wiry. No variation in these types is acceptable.

COLOUR

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FCI
Only uniform black. A small amount of white is tolerated on forechest and toes.
KC
The acceptable colours relate directly to coat type. Groenendael - Black or black with limited white as follows: small to moderate patch or strip on chest, between pads of feet and on tips of hind toes. Frosting (white or grey) on muzzle. Laekenois - Reddish fawn with black shading, principally in muzzle and tail. Tervueren/Malinois - All shades of red, fawn, grey with black overlay. Coat characteristically double pigmented, wherein tip of each light coloured hair is blackened. On mature males this blackening especially pronounced on shoulders, back and rib sections. Black mask on face, not extended above line of eyes and ears mostly black. Tail should have a darker or black tip. Small to moderate white patch or strip permitted on chest, between pads of feet and on tips of hind toes. Frosting (white or grey) on the muzzle. Beyond the age of 18 months a washed out colour or colour too black undesirable. No variation on these colours by coat type is acceptable.

SIZE

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KC
Ideal height: dogs: 61-66 cms (24-26 ins); bitches: 56-61 cms (22-24 ins). Weight, in proportion to size.

Height at withers

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FCI

Measurements: Average normal measures for an adult male Belgian Shepherd of 62 cm at the withers Length of body (from point of shoulder to point of buttock) 62 cm; Length of head 25 cm. Length of muzzle 12,5 - 13 cm.
The ideal weight at withers is on average 62 cm for males; 58 cm for females. Limits 2 cm less, 4 cm more.

Weight

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FCI
Males about 25-30 kg. Females about 20-25 kg.

FAULTS

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FCI

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Temperament: specimens lacking in self-confidence or overly nervous.
General appearance: Cloddy, lacking elegance; too light or too slender; longer than high; fitting into a rectangle.
Head: heavy, too strong, lacking parallelism, not sufficiently chiselled or dry; forehead too rounded; stop too accentuated or too flat; muzzle too short or pinched; Roman nose; brow ridges or zygomatic arches too prominent.
Nose, lips and eyelids: traces of depigmentation.
Dentition: badly aligned incisors. Serious fault lack of one incisor (1 I), one premolar 2 (1 P2), one premolar 3 (1 P3) or three premolars 1 (3 P1).
Eyes: light, round.
Ears: large, long, too broad at the base, set low, carried outward or inward.
Neck: slender; short or deep set.
Body: too long; thoracic cage too broad (cylindrical).
Withers: flat, low.
Topline: back and/or loins long, weak, sagging or arched.
Croup: too sloping, overbuilt.
Underline: too much or too little let down; too much belly.
Tail: set too low; carried too high, forming a hook, deviated.
Limbs: bone too light or too heavy; bad upright stance in profile (e.g. front pasterns too sloping or weak wrists), from the front (feet turning in or out, out at elbow, etc.), or from behind (hindlegs too close, too wide apart or barrel shaped, hocks close or open, etc.); too little or exaggeratedly angulated.
Feet: spreading.
Gait: moving close, too short a stride, too little drive, poor back transmission, high stepping action.
Coat: Insufficient undercoat. Woolly, wavy, curly hair; hair not long enough.
Colour: White marking on chest forming tie; white on the feet going beyond toes. Reddish tinges in the coat; grey breeches.
KC
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS

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FCI

Temperament: aggressive or timid specimens.
General appearance: lack of breed type.
Dentition: overshot; undershot, even if contact is not lost (reverse scissor bite); crossbite; absence of one canine (1 C), one upper carnassial (1 P4) or lower carnassial (1 M1), one molar (1 M1 -upper jaw- or 1 M2; M3 are not taken into account), one premolar 3 (1 P3) plus one other tooth or a total of three teeth (excluding the premolars 1) or more.
Nose, lips, eyelids: strong depigmentation.
Ears: drooping or artificially kept erect.
Tail: missing or shortened, at birth or by docking; carried too high and ringed or curled.
Coat: lack of undercoat.
Colour: any colours which do not correspond with those of the described varieties; too widespread white markings on forechest, especially if they reach as far as the neck; white on feet going more than halfway up the front or the back pasterns and forming socks; white markings anywhere other than forechest and toes; lack of mask, including a muzzle of lighter colour than the rest of the coat in Tervueren and Malinois.
Size: outside the limits laid down.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

other

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FCI
Any matings between varieties are forbidden, except in exceptional circumstances, when this ban can be lifted by the appropriate and official breed councils (Text 1974, drawn up in Paris).


Anatomical Features of the dog

N.B.:

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.