Welcome to Nighthawk Farm, located just outside the Shenandoah National Park, in Sperryville, Virginia. Here the Belgian Sheepdogs have a large area in which to roam, along with being wonderful house dogs. As a child, I grew up around German and Belgian Shepherd Dogs and knew them to be devoted and watchful companions, protective of their people and property. They are at their happiest when having an active lifestyle with their owners.
Of the four varieties of Belgian Shepherds, I have focused my attention and love on the Belgian Sheepdogs, known in most parts of the world as the Groenendael or Chien de Berger Belge. Their breed type and structure is beneficial for work in agility, herding, or flyball and their intelligence and bidability make them outstanding for competitive obedience and service dog or therapy work.
As you will see from my dogs' pedigrees, all of my males are from Europe and have working lines as well as conformational elegance. My reasons for this emphasis are based on genetics. During World War I, Belgian Shepherds distinguished themselves on the battlefields as message carriers, search and rescue ambulance dogs, and even for pulling the troops' machine guns. By the time the war ended, the breed was almost eliminated. Later in World War II, the breed again came into use and became almost extinct. The huge reduction in numbers of Belgian Shepherd Dogs was countered by inter-variety breeding of Belgian Shepherds in Europe, as a counter to inbreeding due to the limited numbers of dogs remaining in each variety (which led to seizuring among many other disorders). The downside to this is that occasionally a breeding between two Belgian Sheepdogs will produce a brown Tervueren puppy (which cannot go into the show ring in the U.S. but not the case in other countries).
Occasionally, Nighthawk Farm's Belgian Sheepdogs will be bred, after careful research and planning, to promote healthy puppies with excellent temperaments, good minds, and beautiful conformations. I will make every effort to provide them with a solid foundation to prepare them for the rest of their lives. Similarly, I will take the same attention to the careful placement of my puppies in their forever homes.
We offer the following services for Belgians:
- Males w/ pedigrees
- Females w/ pedigrees
- History of Groenendaels (aka Belgian Sheepdogs)
- Performance Photo album
Belgian Sheepdog Breed Standards
General Appearance: A medium-sized dog, which is well balanced, square, and elegant in appearance, with a proud carriage of the head and neck. Each should be a strong, agile, well-muscled animal, alert and full of life. The conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness.
Size, Proportion, Substance: Males should be 24- 26 inches in height and females22- 24 inches, measured at the withers. The length, measured from point of breastbone to point of rump, should equal the height. Bitches may be slightly longer. Bone structure should be moderately heavy in proportion to height so the dog appears well balanced throughout. From a side view the topline, front legs, and back legs should closely approximate a square.
Head: Clean-cut and strong, overall size should be in proportion to the body. Expression indicates alertness, attention, readiness for activity. Gaze should be intelligent and questioning. Eyes brown, preferably dark brown. Medium size, slightly almond shaped, not protruding. Ears triangular in shape, stiff, erect, and in proportion to the head in size.
Skull: Top flattened rather than rounded. The width approximately the same, but not wider than the length. The stop moderate. Muzzle moderately pointed, avoiding any tendency to snippiness, and approximately equal in length to that of the topskull. The jaws should be strong and powerful. Nose should be black without spots or discolored areas. The lips tight and black, with no pink showing from the outside. Teeth should be a full complement of strong, white teeth, evenly set. Should not be overshot or undershot. A scissors bite preferred, an even bite acceptable.
Neck, Topline, Body: The Neck is very supple, round, and rather outstretched and tapered to the body. Topline has the withers slightly higher and sloping into the back, which must be level, straight, and firm from withers to hip joints. Chest not broad, but deep. The lowest point should reach the elbow, forming a smooth ascendant curve to the abdomen. Abdomen has moderate development and is neither tucked up nor paunchy. The loin section, viewed from above, is relatively short, broad, and strong, and blends smoothly into the back. The croup is medium long, sloping gradually. Tail is strong at the base, and the bone is to reach the hock. At rest the dog holds it low, the tip bent back level with the hock. When in action, it should lift accentuating curve towards tip, but never forming a hook. The tip may be carried slightly higher than the topline. A cropped or stumped tail shall disqualify the dog.
Forequarters: The Shoulder is long and oblique, laid flat against the body, forming a sharp angle (about 90 degrees) with the upper arm. Legs straight, strong and parallel to each other. Bone oval rather than round. Development (length and substance) should be well proportioned to the size of the dog. Pastern medium length, strong, and very slightly sloped. Feet round (“cat footed”), toes curved close together, well padded. Nails strong and black, except that they may be white to match toe tips.
Hindquarters: The Legs length and substance well-proportioned to the size of the dog. Bone oval rather than round. Legs are parallel to each other. Thighs broad and heavily muscled. The upper and lower thigh bones approximately parallel the shoulder blade and upper arm respectively, forming a relatively sharp angle at the stifle joint. The angle at the hock is relatively sharp, although the Belgian Sheepdog does not have extreme angulation. Metatarsus medium length, strong and slightly sloped. Dewclaws, if any, should be removed. Feet slightly elongated. Toes curved close together, well padded. Nails strong and black, except that they may be white to match white toe tips.
Coat: The guard hairs of the coat must be long, well fitting, straight and abundant. They should not be silky or wiry. The texture should be a medium harshness. The undercoat should be extremely dense, commensurate, however, with climatic conditions. The Belgian Sheepdog is particularly adaptable to extremes of temperature and climate. The hair is shorter on the head, outside of the ears, and the lower part of the legs. The opening of the ear is protected by tufts of hair.
Ornamentation: Especially long and abundant hair, like a collarette, around the neck; fringe of long hair down the back of the forearm; especially long and abundant hair trimming the hindquarters, the breeches; long, heavy and abundant hair on the tail.
Color: Black. May be completely black, or may be black with white, limited as follows: Small to moderate patch or strip on forechest. Between pads of feet. On tips of hind toes. On chin or muzzle (frost may be white or gray). On tips of front toes—allowable but a fault.
Disqualification: Any color other than black, except for white in specified areas. Reddening due to climatic conditions in an otherwise correct coat should not be grounds for disqualification.
Gait: Motion should be smooth, free and easy, seemingly never tiring, exhibiting facility of movement rather than a hard driving action. Belgians tend to single track on a fast gait; the legs, both front and rear, converging toward the center line of gravity of the dog. The backline should remain firm and level, parallel to the line of motion, with no crabbing. Belgians also show a marked tendency to travel in a circle rather than a straight line.
Temperament: The Belgian Sheepdog should reflect the qualities of intelligence, courage, alertness, and devotion to the master. To their inherent aptitude as a guardian of flocks should be added protectiveness of the person and property of their master. They should be watchful, attentive, and always in motion when not under command. In their relationship with humans, Belgians should be observant and vigilant with strangers, but not apprehensive, showing neither fear nor shyness. They should not show viciousness by an unwarranted or unprovoked attack. Belgians are affectionate and friendly with people they know. Viciousness is a disqualification.
Males under 22 ½ or over 27 ½ inches in height and females under 20 ½ or over 25 ½ inches in height.
Ears hanging (as on a hound).
Cropped or stump tail.
Any color other than black.
Written Standard Courtesy www.akc.org