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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Out of all of the Belgian Shepherd varieties, the Tervuren Shepherd or Groenendaels Shepherd both struck me the most as a dogs that may fit into my future lifestyle. I'm not planning on getting another dog for another year or two, but I've been looking into some breeds that might align with my personality so I can do plenty of research in the mean time. (A couple years of Aussie research before I ended up with Cosmo!)

It's important that my future dogs personality meshes with an Aussie personality, as Cosmo must get along with them and they have to have some kind of mutual understanding. So do the Belgian Shepherd? More specifically the Tervuren or Groenendaels Shepherd?

Are they prey driven like huskies or Borzoi? Are they velcro dogs? Would they be interested in agility? Are they willing or motivated to please? Are they independent? Are they easily trainable? Any health problems? Anything I should know about them? Activity level?

Anything at all you can give me would be great!

Thanks!
 

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As far as I know, while they're most of the time not allowed to crossbreed, the different fur variants are not that different in their character.
They're working dogs, they learn fast, like to work very closely together with their handler, sensitive and because they're intelligent they'll find their own pass-time if you don't exercise them enough mentally and physically.
they are active dogs, but when exercised right, they can be big couch potatoes in the house.
I'm sure, if they're healthy (I'd test for HD and ED at least and wait until they're 1,5-2 years before getting serious with sport) they can have fun with Agility.
Like a lot of the bigger working breeds they often show a certain aloofness, so it seems to me. The don't really need strangers, dogs and humans alike and can show protection drive.
Most of these things are probably stuff, that you know how to deal with already, if you have an Aussie. these are also issues that are not seldom with Aussies as well.
We have a lot of Malis [the other fur variants are more rare] that come around the age of 7-10 monthy to our shelters, because the peopl are overchallenged with them.
But you're no beginner and I'm sure you could do it. :)

Every dog can have preydrive, since they're all carnivores, but if I'd search for dogs with prone to having a high preydrive, I'd probably search more among the hounds. depending on the bloodline the Shepherds can be very driven though.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
A lot of those points sound similar to an Aussie, some of them do not but for the most part it sounds similar at least so that's certainly good because if I'm going to branch away from an Aussie Id like to get a similar breed as our lifestyle works very well together.

I was under the impression that Malis are more intense when it comes to protection and things, and the Groenendaels/Tervuren were "softer" varieties. Could be wrong though!

Cosmo definitely has prey drive, but my big thing is owning a dog that is motivated to please me so I can call them off of the chase. A dog like a husky or greyhound may have less desire to please their owner and stop chasing the squirrel they're after.

I also want to be able to have a dog capable of being trusted off leash

A challenging dog is absolutely no problem for me if the challenge is activity and training. I can run, jog, bike, hike, and camp my dog to exhaustion! Not to mention I'm really into obedience, manners, and fun useless tricks like "go get me a water!" so mental stimulation is not a problem.

I do have a problem with dogs that are challenging in the sense of refusing to cooperate on commands or independent behavior. Any dog that's compared to as "cat like" is a no. I thought Malis were Independent before I looked into the breed. Now that I have actually looked into them they sound lovely :)
 

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the Belgian Shepherds i know, regardless of their fur, were all very interested in pleasing their owner. they are like shadow dogs following you around everywhere you go, when they have accepted you.
I don't think you can compare them with Huskys, that are a lot more independent in their thinking. They have their own head and if they felt they needed to they'd probably also make own decisions, but they love working together with their handler.
they are a totally different type of dog, in my opinion.

However as i said, I mainly met them in shelter situations, so a lot of then had a little quirk and often thin nerves, prone to overexcitment... perhaps a well-socialised puppy from a good responsible breeder would be different.
 

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We had two Tervuerens when I was a kid.

I do not know what velcro actually means, but our Tervs wanted to be wherever we humans were. They were especially attached to my mother. I spent more time with the younger one so my experience of the breed is mostly based on her.

Netta chased rabbits, bikes, joggers and skiers but she gave up as soon as she lost eye contact to her prey or realized her people are too far. This behavior was not encouraged and she stopped around the age of three. Except this chasing thing, she was easy to let off-leash. She came when called and did not run away or start tracking animals. Netta was somewhat social towards other dogs even though she bullied shy or fearful dogs. Belinda could not be let off-leash because she was dog-aggressive and we rarely visited places totally other-dog-free. She was allowed off-leash at our summer place when the neighbours were not there.

Belgians LOVE sports and activities. Anything that involves working with their handler and getting rewarded for it is their heaven. Belgians are active so they need to be exercised. Ours did agility and they loved it. Belgians are usually easy motivate because they are hungry and they like to tug and fetch.

I guess that Belgians have some health issues but in general they are not ill bred. I would check everything but what I know, hips, elbows, back. Epilepsy. I would also ask questions about other diseases like allergies, cancer, easily upset tummies and so, but I do not remember if these are problems in the BSD. Our BSDs were quite healthy. Belinda had mild epilepsy (got seizures rarely and she was conscious through them, could not control her muscles properly though and was terrified of that) and she was spayed for pyometra when she was around 7 or 8.

Ours were pets only after the first years when my mom took them to agility and so. Then she did not have time and quit the sports. I wanted to continue but was not allowed so since then they got only walks and my DIY trick training (we did not have internet so no YT tutorials).

A Belgian, (I'm looking at you Netta), can be a terror as a young dog. They are energetic and need training and exercise. You might also teach them to calm down and relax if they do not know it on their own. Netta pulled on leash, barked when left alone, destroyed stuff, chased things and so. Then she turned three and stopped. I don't remember if she was trained or if that was just maturity. At home they mostly slept.

I learned to love Belgians and now I'd like to have a mixed-line Groenendael (where I live, you can now cross the varieties in some extent and this has allowed them to breed working-line Tervuerens (long-haired puppies of working Malinois) into groenendaels) but I must think that through when it is time to get another dog for this breed can be too much to handle for me alone. A show-line bred sports in mind is also an option but I don't like how some show Belgians look now. My current dog is a rough collie which I took in as a compromise. She has some of the characteristics I liked in Belgians but in a mellower package.
 

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I don't know how common temperament issues are or if there are regional differences but I would also check the puppy's parents and relatives. Typical issues are fearfulness and weak nerves. Combine them with dog that is protective and drivey... Also, if looking for a sports dog, see the parents at work or training.
 

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I have a mal, which tend to be a bit more intense than some of the other varieties, but there are a lot of similarities.

A lot will depend on the lines you choose, too, not only specific lines but whether you choose working, sport, or show bred. These breeds are and should be extremely versatile and suitable for a wide variety of activities.

Anyway, Toast is:
Beyond Velcro. He'd live in my skin if he could.
Very handler oriented, biddable, and eager to learn and please
Somewhat prey driven but this has been attainable
Depending on lines, many come with good food and toy drive
Activity level is high, but should have a good off switch
Depending on lines, may be stranger suspicious to reactive
 

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Somewhat prey driven but this has been attainable
Ugh trainable not attainable. Stupid autocorrect. :p He does live with two cats, but they were here first and he grew up with them. Not sure how he would be with a new cat introduced into the home.

I also wanted to add that they tend to be vocal. Since you already live with an Aussie I'm assuming that's not a deal breaker :p.

Also, they can be very quirky puppies and adolescents and may go in and out of intense periods of suspicion and reactivity to people and dogs but generally respond well to just patiently working through it.

Also I would like to add that in my own experience and what I see from fellow owners, it can be very difficult to physically wear them out. They need mental exercise as much or more than physical exercise, more so than other breeds and mixes I've known.
 

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Our BSDs weren't very noisy after they stopped barking when left alone. Yes, they still barked strangers approaching their territory, but not elsewhere.

I agree with that you cannot wear them out. Our Tervs would never have admitted that they were tired. Hours outside walking and running and so and they looked like they would like to take another round but when we got inside, they lied down and were very unnoticeable.

Versatility was one of the traits that made me fall in love with Belgians. I felt that I could do anything with Netta if I wanted to.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ugh trainable not attainable. Stupid autocorrect. :p He does live with two cats, but they were here first and he grew up with them. Not sure how he would be with a new cat introduced into the home.

I also wanted to add that they tend to be vocal. Since you already live with an Aussie I'm assuming that's not a deal breaker :p.

Also, they can be very quirky puppies and adolescents and may go in and out of intense periods of suspicion and reactivity to people and dogs but generally respond well to just patiently working through it.

Also I would like to add that in my own experience and what I see from fellow owners, it can be very difficult to physically wear them out. They need mental exercise as much or more than physical exercise, more so than other breeds and mixes I've known.
Thank you all, very helpful information! They sound fairly similar to Cosmo, so I think I may continue to research and meet more Malis and their owners. As far as I'm concerned and to what I've been reading about them and hearing on here, they sound perfect for what I'm looking for in a dog in accordance to what I can give / keep up with. I could never own a low energy couch potato of a dog. That's no fun!

Toast is charming by the way :) Dogs that respond well to humans and are eager to please and attach to their person and are aloof to strangers is a great trait to me. I probably won't ever own a lab, a dog who thinks all people are friendly and want to pet them is not my kind of dog.

For a while I was researching Borzoi, but I decided I couldn't handle prey drive that's as intense as theirs. Off leash capabilities is extremely important to me.
 

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Out of all of the Belgian Shepherd varieties, the Tervuren Shepherd or Groenendaels Shepherd both struck me the most as a dogs that may fit into my future lifestyle. I'm not planning on getting another dog for another year or two, but I've been looking into some breeds that might align with my personality so I can do plenty of research in the mean time. (A couple years of Aussie research before I ended up with Cosmo!)

It's important that my future dogs personality meshes with an Aussie personality, as Cosmo must get along with them and they have to have some kind of mutual understanding. So do the Belgian Shepherd? More specifically the Tervuren or Groenendaels Shepherd?

Are they prey driven like huskies or Borzoi? Are they velcro dogs? Would they be interested in agility? Are they willing or motivated to please? Are they independent? Are they easily trainable? Any health problems? Anything I should know about them? Activity level?

Anything at all you can give me would be great!

Thanks!
I don't *have* a Belgian but am around often. One of my long time classmates/friends is a breeder. The ones I know are mostly tervs and a couple groens.

To me comparing them to aussies in general I find Belgians to be a lot quirkier and a lot more frantic/restless in energy. The groens in my experience are quite a bit calmer but I think line plays a larger role.

Prey drive is definitely high in general. There's been a couple that aren't ok with my papillons (some have been fine if leashed and calm). They tend to be a breed I see often lure coursing well so they definitely like to chase. I also had a classmate with one that would chase cars obsessively even a long distance away. They can be really motion triggered.

one of my play groups is Hank, an Aussie and a Terv and they all match up really really well. The Aussie is definitely the calmest of the three and the terv probably the wildest. But overall they're great matches for each other play-wise.

They are very versatile dogs and pretty much rock at everything I see them try.


The thing about them that stands out the most is they seem less apt to turn off than most breeds, including most other herders. A lot of them are big time pacers it seems. They are generally very intense dogs with tremendous amounts of physical energy and aren't dogs I'd recommend for people not into training or sports. The groens as I said seem calmer to me but not sure if that's a universal truth. They are also a bit weird/spooky about things. Can be real quirky.

Also my favorite Belgian was named Belinda so I had to do a double take at previous posts. She passed a couple years ago but she was awesome!
 

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As far as being able to call off prey... maybe. I would say overall they are very very trainable but I have seen them go obsessive about chasing. It took us over an hour once to corner and catch one terv that got loose in a 50 acre field and was obsessing over cars driving by. (luckily the fence was there!)
 
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