Most common health problems in Belgian Shepherds, plus health care and feeding. Belgian Sheepdog, Groenendael, Tervuren, Malinois, Laekenois.

My Complete Health Care Program for your Belgian Shepherd

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Belgian Shepherd, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Belgian Shepherd already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

Dog books written by Michele Welton

Belgian Shepherd dog breed

Belgian Shepherd Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton

Quick list of Belgian Shepherd health problems

There are four varieties of Belgian Shepherd – the Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Laekenois, and Belgian Groenendael (also called Belgian Sheepdog, which is kind of silly, since all four varieties are sheepdogs or shepherd dogs!).


In the United States, those four varieties are actually considered different "breeds." So they're not bred together. Keeping each gene pool separate from the others means some of their health problems are a little different.

The most frightening health issue in Belgian Shepherds is inherited epilepsy. It occurs in all four varieties, but is especially common in Tervurens.

The most common (serious) eye disease is cataracts.

Hip and elbow dysplasia, which cause pain and lameness, occur in all four varieties but are most common in the Malinois.

Lots of cancers in Belgian Shepherds: lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and osteosarcoma.

Other serious health issues include thyroid disease, heart disease, degenerative spinal myelopathy.....

(See more health problems below.)

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Belgian Shepherd have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases and hip and elbow dysplasia, your Belgian Shepherd has less risk of developing those conditions.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Belgian Shepherd, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Belgian Shepherd puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Belgian Shepherd puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Belgian Shepherd lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.

Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Belgian Shepherd
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.

Natural dog foods for your Belgian Shepherd. Kibble or Canned Dog Food – Almost As Good As Homemade?
Are you looking for the best dry kibble or canned dog food?

NomNomNow homemade dog food service Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but think you don't have the time or skill to make it? I have the solution for you....

Pet insurance Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.

Information on booster shots for your Belgian Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Belgian Shepherd puppy really need? Does your adult Belgian Shepherd need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.

Information on spaying your Belgian Shepherd. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.

Information on choosing the best vet for your Belgian Shepherd. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.

Complete list of Belgian Shepherd health problems

Inherited epilepsy is the most frightening health problem in Belgian Shepherds. It occurs in all four varieties, but is especially common in Belgian Tervurens, with up to 17% of the breed affected.

Compared to other large breeds, hip dysplasia is not considered a serious problem in the four Belgians. The Malinois has the highest rate, at 5%. The other varieties are at 3-4%.

Elbow dysplasia is also most common in the Malinois, with 10% affected. The Groenendael and Tervuren are at 5-6%. Can't tell about the Laekenois – not enough X-rays submitted.

Other orthopedic diseases in Belgian Shepherds include osteochondritis, panosteitis, and luxating patella.

Eye diseases affect about 15% of Belgian Shepherds. Most common is cataracts, which appear in adult dogs. Persistent pupillary membranes are fairly common in the Belgian Tervuren. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and retinal dysplasia have been reported in Belgian Shepherds.

Skin diseases include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma) and demodectic mange. In Tervurens, a rare skin disease called vitiligo has been reported.

Like most breeds, Belgian Shepherds are often victims of cancer. The most common cancers in Belgian Shepherds are lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and osteosarcoma.

Other serious health issues of concern in the Belgians include hypothyroidism, bloat, heart disease (cardiomyopathy), degenerative spinal myelopathy, colitis (inflammatory bowel disease), and pancreatitis.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book cover My puppy training book is Respect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old, this highly-acclaimed training program is based on respect. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all great family dogs need to know.

If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.

book cover Do the 11 Things in my dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, and your dog will live a longer, healthier life and seldom need to visit the vet.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy family companion.