Showsight Presents The Belgian Sheepdog

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BELGIAN SHEEPDOG

By Terri Votava Sans Branco Kennel

T

he Belgian Sheep- dog breed came into being in 1891 in Bel- gium when Adolpho Reul chose medium sized dogs with prick

of the breed in the US. Zulvo and this litter impacted Geier Tal, Mi-Sha-ook, A-Yacht, C’est Si Bon, Ganymede, Bin- gen, Ebon Will, Solarmarc, Siegestor and Val de Tonnerre. You will find these kennel names behind virtually every American dog. Th e next great impact on the breed was the straw vote of 1959 that split the breed. Belgians were registered and shown as one breed in the United States. Th e AKC gave each variety a separate status. Th e long- haired black dog was recognized as the Belgian Sheepdog. Th e uprising by the Tervuren people allowed them to be rec- ognized and to compete as a separate breed in the group. Th e Malinois did not achieve AKC recognition until the 70s and the Laekenois is still working on achieving full AKC recognition. Th is split has the United States as the only country where we are not one breed in the world. Today Belgian Sheepdogs show their talents in the conformation, obedience and agility rings, tracking, schutzhund and in herding. Th ey are still used in police work and in search and rescue. Th ey make excel- lent service dogs for the handicapped and therapy dogs. Th e Belgian Sheepdog con- tinues to prove themselves as one of the most versatile breeds and still maintains devotion and beauty. BIO I’ve been an owner and active breeder of Belgian Sheepdogs since 1972. I have bred over 60 champions that have been top ranked and include Best of Breeds at Westminster and Eukanuba Best in Show in the US and Canada. I have produced Belgians topping the performance charts in all venues such as tracking, herding, agility, and obedience with over 150 titles.

ears that were sheep herders. Th ese dogs were traced back to Central Europe as a domestic dog that protected stock from predators. Sheep herders found them to be desirable because they were strong and agile, and could withstand any climate. Because of their intelligence and easy trainability, they were adaptable to many functions. Th e first decade of the Twen- tieth Century found Belgian Sheepdogs working for the police forces through- out Belgium, Paris, New York City, and in Newark, New Jersey. Th ey were also employed by European border patrols as watchdogs. During the Wars Belgians served as message carriers and Red Cross dogs. Since World War II, interest in the breed has continued to grow and develop very quickly because of it’s versatility. In the early 1900’s some Belgians were imported into the US with AKC records showing them being imported and regis- tered in 1911. Rudy Robinson is credited with the increase of the Belgian Sheepdog. He kept his people updated with his own newslet- ter and is credited with having imported over 50 dogs. He was an active commu- nicator with the European breeders. Th e greatest impact was probably the 1951 importation of Zulvo and Zamarone. Zulvo would have a tremendous impact on most of the major kennels of this time and therefore can be found behind most of our American dogs. Zamarone was to be a brood bitch of the Krohn’s kennel. Th e importation of the Pirata Nero litter from Italy also impacted the development

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2014 • 201

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