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Belgian Sheepdog basic information

Belgian Shepherd Dog (also know as the Belgian Sheepdog or Chien de Berger Belge) can refer to any of four breeds of dog: the Groenendael, the Laekenois, the Tervueren, or the Malinois. In some regions, these are considered four different varieties of a single breed; in other regions, they are considered a single breed.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes only the Groenendael under the name "Belgian Sheepdog", but also recognizes the Tervueren (with the alternative spelling "Tervuren") and the Malinois as individual breeds. The Laekenois can be registered as part of the AKC foundation stock service and should eventually be recognised fully by the AKC.

The Australian National Kennel Council and the New Zealand Kennel Club recognize all four as separate breeds. The Canadian Kennel Club, Kennel Union of South Africa and the Kennel Club (UK) follow the FCI classification scheme and recognises all four as varieties of the same breed.

All are hard-working, intelligent dogs of the same general size and temperament. They differ in their coats and superficially in appearance.
They are so closely related that, when breeding any two dogs of the same coat colour and length (eg Groenendael), it is possible for puppies of different "breeds" to be in the same litter. For example, a Groenendael litter could contain a brown-coated long-haired puppy; in countries that consider them the same breed with 4 coat variaties, this is fine and the puppy would be a valid Tervueren, but the AKC considers it to be an aberration of the all-black Belgian Shepherd and disqualifies it in the conformation ring. This dog can be breed with other Groenendaels (indeed the AKC allows this because the dog is after all registered as a Groenendael!)and worked in obedience, agility and other sports venues. Likewise, a Tervueren could have a short-coated puppy; in some countries, this is merely the Malinois coat variation but the AKC again considers it to be a disqualifiable fault in the conformation ring.

In years gone past, the Groenendael and Tervuren were one breed with coat variations until the Club decided to petition the AKC to make the separation into two separate breeds.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Belgian_Sheepdog".
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