ABOUT BELGIAN SHEPHERD DOGS / CLUB LINKS
The Belgian Shepherd Dog comes in four recognized varieties: the Malinois, the Laekenois, the Groenendael (or Belgian Sheepdog), and the Tervuren. The American Kennel Club (AKC), the registry with which most people are familiar), recognizes three of the four varieties but considers them three separate breeds. In other words, to the AKC a Belgian Malinois is as different from a Belgian Tervuren as a Chihuahua is from a Golden Retriever. The Belgian clubs that are members of the AKC are the American Belgian Malinois Club (ABMC), the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America (BSCA), and the American Belgian Tervuren Club (ABTC). The American Belgian Laekenois Association (ABLA), is seeking AKC recognition, and Laekens are currently eligible to compete in AKC performance events. Note: The Laekenois joined the AKC Miscellaneous class effective July 1, 2011.
The United Kennel Club (UKC), based in Michigan, follows the one-breed, four-variety standard of the United Belgian Shepherd Dog Association (UBSDA). Here is just a snippet from the UKC website:
Established in 1898, the United Kennel Club is the largest all-breed performance-dog registry in the world, registering dogs from all 50 states and 25 foreign countries. More than 60 percent of its 12,000 annually licensed events are tests of hunting ability, training and instinct. UKC prides itself on its family-oriented, friendly, educational events. The UKC has supported the "Total Dog" philosophy through its events and programs for over a century. As a departure from registries that place emphasis on a dog’s looks, UKC events are designed for dogs that look and perform equally well. Our mission is to be the world's best registry of purebred dogs, to offer our customers the most efficient and creative services possible, to use our data to help our customers breed the best dogs in the world and to create a wide spectrum of performance and conformation events in which those dogs can prove their instincts and heritage.
History of the Belgian Breeds:
Belgian Shepherds are often mistaken for a variety of different breeds and breed mixes, the most common being German Shepherds. German Shepherd-Collie mixes, black Collies, and wolves are other common guesses. The American Belgian Malinois Club Rescue website describes the differences between the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd on their ID a Malinois page.