The first impression of the Belgian Sheepdog is that of a well balanced, square dog, elegant in appearance, with an exceedingly proud carriage of the head and neck. He is a strong, agile, well muscled animal, alert and full of life. His whole conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The male dog is usually somewhat more impressive and grand than his female counterpart. The bitch should have a distinctly feminine look.
Any deviation from these specifications is a fault. In determining whether a fault is minor, serious, or major, these two factors should be used as a guide: 1.) The extent to which it deviates from the standard. 2.) The extent to which such deviation would actually affect the working ability of the dog.
When viewed as a whole, the Belgian Sheepdog should present a well-balanced impression. No part must seem out of balance and no part should overwhelm the others. From the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, the parts must fit together into a harmonious flow for true breed type and soundness. Correct skeletal structure, proper musculature, proper temperament and intelligence lead to the soundness and correct overall impression of the dog. The elegance so necessary to the breed is readily visible in the general appearance of squareness, strength, harmony and exceedingly proud carriage of the head and neck.
Coarse, heavy, plodding dogs are as undesirable as spindly, long weak dogs. At no time should a Belgian be preferred just because the dog is bigger and heavier. These qualities are uncharacteristic of the breed that was developed for ease of movement, quick footwork, strength and beauty. The breed standard has a height range and limits both upper and lower dimensions, so that the breed is kept “medium sized”. Adult males are distinctly masculine, whereas females are likewise feminine, and the judge should be able to distinguish between a male and a female with ease. A male that looks bitchy, and a female that looks doggy due to size or secondary sex characteristics are not representative of the breed.