Monday, January 17, 2011

3 Good Things (The Belgian edition)

This is not about the waxed moustache, the little gray cells, or even about David Suchet’s excellent portrayal of Agatha’s Christie’s detective Hercule Poirot.   This is about three AKC recognized breeds of Belgian herding dogs whose appearance I have admired over the years and would like to know more about.

Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael)

All the Belgians come from the same shepherding stock; the difference seems to be in the area of Belgium from whence they hail which then were slowly bred into superficial physical attributes.  The shorthaired masked Belgian is from the region of Malinois, as the long-haired brown/black masked Belgian is from Tervuren, leaving the all black, better known as Groenendael, after Chateau Groenendael, a restaurant owned by breeder Nicolas Rose, to be called the Belgian Shepherd Dog.  There may be a fourth Belgian, the Laekenois variety (or breed), soon to be recognized by the American Kennel Club.

I find myself completely enamored with the appearance of this breed/these varieties of dog.  They exhibit the strength and discipline of a German Shepherd, but without the skulking hips, the attention and constant eye contact of a Pug, without the lap dog demeanor and snorting, and the beauty of a Collie, without having to rename your children, Timmy.  While I’m a sucker for a good mask on the face of a dog, and generally dislike long hair, I’m particularly attracted to the Greonendael.

But I’d happily adopt any one of the three.

Enjoy this video, not for its music, but for the excellent pictures of some Groenendaels (the all black Belgian Shepherd Dog).  As any owner of an all black dog with tell you, it’s really hard to capture their beauty on film.

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