Vol. 2 No. 2 (2016)
Short Communication

Behavioral differences among Belgian Shepherd Dogs varieties.

Published 2016-08-01


  • behavior,
  • Belgian Shepherd,
  • breed,
  • dog,


The aim of the current research was to assess whether Groenendael, Tervueren and Malinois varieties of Belgian Shepherd behave differently one from another. The survey was carried out by using a questionnaire filled in by 88 Belgian Shepherd dog owners recruited by personal contacts.

Groenendal dogs seem to show a lower arousal, as they were reported to exhibit the following behaviors less than other varieties: exaggerated greeting to owners returning home (G 57.6%, M 88.0%, T 73.3%; χ2=6.542; p=0.038), digging (G 15.2%, M 48.0%, T 30.0%; χ2=7.378; p=0.025) and raising hair when meeting other dogs (G 24.2%, M 60.0%, T 46.7%; χ2=7.863; p=0.020). Malinois dogs instead displayed the following behavior more: scavenging (G 12.1%, M 36.0%, T 13.3%; χ2=6.250; p=0.044), coprophagia (G 6.1%, M 24.0%, T 3.3%; χ2=7.342; p=0.025), raising hair when meeting other dogs and defending the territory (G 36.4%, M 64.0%, T 30.0%; χ2=7.169; p=0.028). Moreover Malinois dogs showed less fear of thunderstorms (χ2=5.317; p=0.070) and loud noises (χ2=6.403; p=0.041) than other two varieties. Potentially new owners should be advised by breeders, veterinarians and animal behaviorists about behavioral characteristics of different canine breeds and even varieties within breeds, as a correct match between dog and owner features reduces the risk of unsuccessful adoptions.