General appearance The first impression of the Belgian Shepherd Dog is of a well-balanced square dog, elegant in appearance, with an exceedingly proud carriage of 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 appears unquestionably masculine; the female has a distinctively feminine look. The male and female are to be judged with equal consideration. Like many European breeds, different coat colours, textures, and lengths were preferred by the original fanciers. Today, four distinct coat types are recognized and are the distinguishing characteristics of the four varieties of Belgian Shepherd Dog. The long-haired Groenendael and Tervueren, the short-haired Malinois, and the rough-haired Laekenois variety differ in coat colour, length and texture but are unmistakably the same breed.