Belgium’s fascinating history provides an apt setting for the diverse selection of dog breeds that originated in this small European country. Once a part of the region of Gaul, the nation gets its name from Julius Caesar, referring to the Belgae people living in the north. Its population is diverse, which is reflected in the types of dogs and their functions throughout history.
Many breeds served as herding dogs in the rugged landscape of the Ardennes Forest. Some are very similar in appearance and temperament. There are influences from other nearby countries, including Germany and France. That has given rise to varied dogs for other purposes, such as hunting rodents. Others are more like companion animals.
Our collection includes purebred dogs, along with a few that are extinct or very rare. We’ll also explore the range of hybrids that are equally as lovable and affectionate pets. As you’ll see, the lineup is as diverse as the pups themselves.
1. Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is all business. He is a superior herding dog with a well-earned reputation in this role. He is one of the more popular of the Belgian breeds because of his affectionate nature. He is closely related to other dogs of the country. He stands out as a muscular pooch, capable of doing anything asked of him. He also has the intelligence to make it happen.
2. Belgian Sheepdog
The Belgian Sheepdog takes his job seriously. That makes him a hardworking pooch for protecting the herd that is also suspicious of anything new in his world. He resembles a Collie with his narrow muzzle and pointed ears. Like many European breeds, he also served several vital roles during wartime. He is, in many ways, the Swiss Army Knife of Belgian dog breeds.
3. Belgian Tervuren
The Belgian Tervuren differs from similar breeds because of the color and density of his coat. He is a handsome dog. In Belgium, he goes by the name of Chien de Berger Belge, a nod to the nation from which the country is named. His elegance and stance caught the eye of Belgian artist, Alexandre Clarys, who immortalized this pooch. It’s not hard to understand why he chose this breed.
4. Brussels Griffon
You can’t help but notice the Brussels Griffon. He is as cute as a button with the personality to match. He was a rat catcher in his early days before he gained the popularity to make him an ideal companion dog. It certainly helps when you have caught the idea of royalty and pop culture. The breed joined the American Kennel Club (AKC) elite in 1910.
5. Belgian Mastiff
The Belgian Mastiff is an extinct breed from the country. Also known as the Belgian Draft Dog, the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) no longer recognizes this friendly and loyal pooch. The enthusiasts continue to try to breathe new life in its popularity. We must agree. This pup is too lovable to ignore. We can only hope that he makes a huge comeback for more people to enjoy.
6. Belgian Shorthaired Pointer
The Belgian Shorthaired Pointer is another breed that has an uncertain future. As his name applies, he is a specialized hunter that alerts their owners to the presence of game by outing them. He has a lot of the qualities that define other dogs that serve this purpose. They are tolerant of other dogs since they often worked in groups. They have keen eyesight to spot their quarry, too.
7. Belgian Laekenois
The Belgian Laekenois is another of the herding breeds of Belgium. He looks like a scruffy German Shepherd with similar coloration. He is a smart pooch that serves as a messenger during the first two World Wars. He is an affectionate dog, known for his adaptability. He is a rare breed in the United States with the distinction of becoming one of the latest to earn the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) status.
The Bloodhound is an exceptional scent dog that gives him the capability to take on jobs that few other breeds can. His appearance belies his usefulness and abilities. One would think that he would spend his days sleeping on the porch. Not so with a dog so in tune with his world in an olfactory kind of way. He is a pooch that needs a job. Law enforcement has been happy to oblige.
9. Bouvier des Flandres
Even as puppies, you can’t help but notice the presence of a Bouvier des Flandres. He got his start in life as a cattle herder, which accounts for his fearless attitude. It’s no wonder then that Belgium and France both want to claim this handsome dog for their own. When the work for the dogs began to wane, the British Armed Forces took the lead and kept the breed alive.
The small but mighty Schipperke is a dog of the sea, earning his place as a hunter of rodents on barges. The breed’s name means “little captain” in Flemish, a nod to his performance on the job. He is an independent pooch, a product of his lifestyle on the water. Like many small dogs, he is also tough and would also guard the ships when at the shore.
The Papillon and its variant, the Phalene, have a long history in Western Europe as toy spaniels. The dog is the result of many decades of selective breeding, of which some Belgians can take credit for the modern version we see today. Part of the reason for the enthusiasm for the breed is his happy, go-lucky personality. He was a favorite of the Old Masters and royalty. It’s easy to see why.
12. Belgian Shepadoodle (Belgian Shepherd x Poodle)
The Belgian Shepadoodle brings the hardworking nature of the Belgian Shepherd with the intelligence and friendliness of the Poodle. It’s a winning combination with a pup that is easy to train. The Poodle tames the serious-mindedness of the Belgian Shepherd to make a pooch that is a loyal and affectionate companion.
13. Belusky (Belgian Malinois x Siberian Husky)
The Belusky is the quintessential working dog. This pooch needs a job to be happy. The Belgian Malinois brings his herding instincts to the match, while the Siberian Husky lends his energetic nature. Both parent breeds are athletic dogs with a keen intelligence that makes them easy to train. The Belusky is an active dog that loves to play.
14. Native American Shepherd (Belgian Sheepdog x Native American Indian Dog)
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Both the Belgian Sheepdog and Native American Indian Dog have a similar appearance with a long, thick coat and narrow muzzle. Both are intelligent dogs and eager to please. They are also working dogs, which makes them independent. Early socialization and training are imperative to build trust and the strong bond necessary for a good dog and pet-owner relationship.
15. German Malinois (Belgian Malinois x German Shepherd)
The German Malinois is a handsome dog with a thick, coarse coat. The Belgian Malinois is a confident pooch that matches the fearless temperament of the German Shepherd. Both parent breeds are spirited canines that need plenty of activity to stay fit and happy. The larger size and imposing stance of the German Malinois make him an excellent watchdog.
Although it is a small country, Belgian is large on the number of outstanding breeds and hybrids it brings to the canine world. Their histories also lend a dedicated and loyal nature to the pups. You may even find that they will start to herd the kids—and you!—if given a chance. Most are active dogs that need plenty of exercise. They are also intelligent and will benefit from the extra playtime.
Featured Image: Ekaterina Brusnika, Shutterstock
- 1. Belgian Malinois
- 2. Belgian Sheepdog
- 3. Belgian Tervuren
- 4. Brussels Griffon
- 5. Belgian Mastiff
- 6. Belgian Shorthaired Pointer
- 7. Belgian Laekenois
- 8. Bloodhound
- 9. Bouvier des Flandres
- 10. Schipperke
- 11. Papillon/Phalene
- 12. Belgian Shepadoodle (Belgian Shepherd x Poodle)
- 13. Belusky (Belgian Malinois x Siberian Husky)
- 14. Native American Shepherd (Belgian Sheepdog x Native American Indian Dog)
- 15. German Malinois (Belgian Malinois x German Shepherd)
- Final Thoughts