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The Belgian Sheepdog, known as the Groenendael in other parts of the world, is a whirlwind of constant motion, high-intensity activity, and serious herding skills. These large dogs stand between 1 foot, 10 inches tall and 2 feet, 2 inches tall. Belgian Sheepdogs have some time-consuming needs. They need to be groomed quite a bit, and they need to be trained, exercised and kept active in order to flourish as the loyal, protective and intelligent dogs that they are.
Belgian Sheepdogs have intense personalities. They take work and play very seriously, which means they need about an hour of vigorous exercise every day. They are smart, hard-working dogs who will resort to destructive and disruptive habits if they're left unoccupied. Belgian Sheepdogs are protective of their home and family, especially of their family's children. They won't tolerate other dogs or animals approaching their property unless they've been introduced to them before.
Because these dogs require a significant amount of interactive activity and intelligently motivated training that provides them with firm, consistent rules, they flourish with experienced owners who can respond to their need for responsive training and constant activity. They are human-like in their intelligence and sensitivity, which means that they love to feel as if they're an important member of the family.
Belgian Sheepdogs have a dense under coat and a long, straight over coat of guard hairs. The full coat is fairly long with a thick ruff, called a collarette, around the neck. The underbelly, legs and tail are feathered and the face and lower legs are covered in short, soft hair. The feathered tail is long and powerful. These dogs are solid black, which makes their appearance so dramatic, but a little bit of white hair on the chest, chin or toes is acceptable. Their triangular nose and prick ears make their face similar to the other Belgian shepherd dogs and different from the German Shepherd's.
Belgian Sheepdogs' long, natural coats give them a rustic appearance, so they should never be groomed or trimmed to the point of losing their natural appearance. Plan to spend about 20 minutes a week brushing your Belgian Sheepdog with a pin brush, a slicker brush and a metal rake comb. Frequent brushing will remove dead hair, prevent mats and tangles and help reduce the amount of black hair you find around your house. Use a pin brush to brush through the Belgian Sheepdog's long body hair, a slicker brush to brush out the hair around the face and legs, and a comb on areas of the body hair that are matted or tangled, usually behind the ears or legs, and to remove shedding hair.
Once a year, the Belgian Sheepdog will shed quite significantly. During this time, give them a warm bath to help them release hair and remove any dead hair from the coat. With all that brushing, don't forget to check your Belgian Sheepdog's ears for loose hairs or infection and brush his teeth at least twice a week.
No aspect of home dog grooming requires as much time and regular devotion as brushing. Routine brushing keeps your pet’s hair clean and tangle-free, while keeping his skin healthy by stimulating blood flow, removing dead hair and distributing natural oils.
Double-coated dogs have two distinct coats -- a soft undercoat and a protective outer coat -- as well as a combination of straight and short-to-moderately long hair, making it a challenge sometimes to maintain proper grooming. It's why double-coated breeds are often considered moderate to moderately high on the grooming scale, requiring a minimum of weekly brushing. Their harsh outer coat often results in profuse shedding, while the undercoat can become matted very easily. A neglected undercoat can be very painful to brush out. Use a slicker brush, combination comb and shedding blade to maintain a smooth, tangle-free coat.
Once a year, the Belgian Sheepdog will shed quite significantly. During this time, give them a warm bath to help them release hair and remove any dead hair from the coat.
Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, it is simple to give your dog a haircut and save expensive trips to the groomer.
Dogs with double coats generally require regular trimming. It lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him. Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use trimmers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Trim around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, if needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Trim with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
Don't forget to check your Belgian Sheepdog's ears for loose hairs or infection.
Brush his teeth at least twice a week.