Belgian Shepherds and Herding
F.A.Q. Belgians & Herding
1. Country (or
area) of origin
2. Century the breed was first documented
3. Taking into consideration that all breeds are 'man made' what breeds went in to the make up of your particular breed.
4. If it is a recently developed breed (say the last 2 centuries), for what purpose was it developed
Questions 1 to 4) The known history of the Belgian Shepherds traces to the 1880s when these dogs (along with German Shepherds, French Shepherds and Dutch Shepherds) were called Continental Shepherd Dogs. In September 1891, the Club du Chein de Berger Belge (Belgian Shepherd Dog Club) was formed for the purpose of determining if there was a true shepherd dog representative only of Belgium.
On November 15, 1891, under the direction of veterinary professor Adolphe Reul, a gathering was held at Cureghem, on the outskirts of Brussels, to examine the shepherd dogs of that area. Besides identifying Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, Beauceron, Briards, Bouviers and German Shepherd Dogs, Professor Reul and his panel of judges also concluded that, for the Brabant province, there was a consistent type of native shepherd dog: a square, medium-sized dog with well-set triangular ears and very dark brown eyes that differed only in the texture, color and length of hair. Similar exhibitions in the remaining Belgian provinces resulted in similar findings.
In 1892, again under the direction of Professor Reul, and modeled after England's Collie standard of the time, the first Belgian Shepherd Dog standard was issued, and recognized three varieties: dogs with long coats, short coats and rough coats. The CCBB petitioned the Societe Royale Saint-Hubert (Belgium's equivalent to the AKC) for breed status in 1892, but was denied. Between 1892 and 1901, when Saint-Hubert recognized the Belgian Shepherd Dog as a breed, efforts were concentrated on developing the varieties and establishing type.
5. Original purpose/work of the breed
5 & 6) The BSD's first task was to guard live stock at pasture against wild animals and cattle thieves, back then the BSD was more aggressive with a more substantial body. When it was time to bring the herd home, he also worked as a driver. When the wild animals decreased in number the Belgians work changed and he became a light, alert and helpful herder.
7. Is the breed still used for its original purpose in the country of origin
7) Yes, it is still used for its original purpose in the country of origin
8. Has the breed diverged into working lines and show lines ie does it still have the same basic look as the original dogs and if so are the different 'strains' ever mixed?
8) IMO. More or less yes, the basic structure of the dog is still the same, it is perhaps a bit more coated and refined particularly in the head, dogs from different lines (eg particular Kennels - not just the varieties themselves - or working/show) can often be distuingished from each other and have a distinct "type/style". The working Malinois probably has the most noticable difference between it's working and show lines and yes the two "Strains" are mixed (although there are opinions are devided as to the benefits).
Lastly, here's the link to an interesting article on the BSD and it's working/herding style, worth a read for those interested. http://www.dovetailweb.com/epix/working.html
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ANKC Rules and Regulations for Herding
Herding and Belgians
Working with the Belgian Shepherd - by Karin Olsson
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Double K Herding Training - Nyora,Victoria
Working Dog Training, Warragul Dog Club - Warragul, Victoria
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Victorian Yard Utility Farm Dog Association Inc
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Herding Articles by Candy Kennedy
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