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Belgian Shepherd Groenendael: Features and More!

Belgian Shepherd Groenendael

The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is an intelligent and sociable breed that thrives under strong and fair leadership.
Originally bred as a sheepdog , it is increasingly finding work in security services due to its ability to handle complex tasks with ease.

The breed is recognized as four distinct varieties, the Groenendael , Laekenois , Malinois , Tervueren .

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Profile of the Belgian Shepherd Groenendael

Size : Large
Origin : Belgium
Life expectancy : 12-16 years
Height at the withers : The male 60-66 cm and the female 56-62 cm
Weight : 20-30 kg
Coat : Black
Aptitudes : herd driver at origin, guardian, defender, tracker and high-level sportsman
Classification according to the FCI : Group 1: Herding dogs and cattle dogs. Guard dogs function.
Character : Eager to work, eager to learn, active, alert and agile

Origin and history of the breed

The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is a long-haired black Belgian shepherd dog. It is one of the four varieties of this breed of dog. The varieties differ only in the coat. Those with long hair are the black Belgian Shepherd Groenendael and the reddish brown Tervueren, those with rough hair are those of Laekenois and those with short hair are those of Malinois. But they are all raised to the same standard. The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael takes its name from a town near Brussels. Also the other varieties are named according to the places of their origin.

Belgian Shepherd Dogs, including the Belgian Shepherd Groenendael , were formed as a breed of dog around 1900. It was the same historical process in which the German Shepherd was born. Before 1900, the working dogs of the shepherds and shepherds of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and several other countries belonged to a single large and varied group of sheepdogs.

Depending on their requirements, which were established by the man with the work tasks, the dogs were however regionally everywhere somewhat different. In areas where there were still wolves and lynxes, sheepdogs used to be stronger, because they also had to do the work of the pack’s protection dogs.

The Belgian sheepdogs were rather slimmer and more agile, because they had to work very skillfully and forward thinking with the herds of the already densely populated area divided into a small scale at that time. Wolves or lynxes did not exist there for a long time. The Belgian sheepdogs also did other jobs in the service of man.

They helped as lead dogs to lead the herds of cattle to the slaughterhouse. They also occasionally served as draft dogs, usually in teams of two. This work required the dogs to have a strong and sturdy build. They also often served as guard and yard dogs. However, Western European sheepdogs represented a single huge gene pool. This changed around 1900. Belgian Shepherds were now also separated and bred according to the standard and pedigree.

In 1891 the Club du Chien de Berger Belge (Belgian Sheepdog Club) was founded. Soon there was a first show, where no less than 117 dogs were shown. However, mixed with colors, partly still with dangling ears. Then it was very fast with the development of the current Belgian Sheepdogs. In 1901 the breed was officially recognized. All four varieties were bred from the beginning, but crossing was still allowed.

The two world wars caused severe setbacks. However, it was possible to quickly revive the cattle and, moreover, turn it into a first-class working and service dog.


The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is a medium-sized, long-haired dog. It is immediately recognizable as a sheepdog. The color of his coat is always black. As with all Belgian Shepherd Dog varieties, a small white patch on the chest and small white markings on the toes are tolerated. The coat should be lush and shiny with a dense undercoat. The outer layer is long on the body, short on the face and front of the legs, and longer on the neck. There it forms an opulent necklace, especially in men.

The standard gives a range of body measurements. The desired size or height at the withers is on average 62 cm for males and 58 cm for females. The weight should be about 25 to 30 kg for males. Females, on the other hand, should only weigh about 20 to 25 kg.

Unfortunately, as of 1973 the hair varieties were genetically separated and crosses between them, which until then had always been allowed as “of different color”, were prohibited. The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael   is – although very beautiful to look at – not a “beautiful” dog. He always was and still is a versatile working dog.


The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is like all Belgian Shepherds at its roots a herding and driving dog. But he always had a wide range of other duties up to the physically heavy work as a draft dog. Although you may not always see it at first glance, it is a very robust and strong working dog, capable of obtaining the highest performance.

It is about the same size as the German Shepherd, but much less massive. This makes it more agile, agile and responsive. Therefore, the balance between body weight and performance is very effective.

The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael can be used in many different ways. That is why it works as a service dog in many areas. It is a good watchdog. It also does very well as a sporting dog. However, it is not as performance-oriented as its short-haired relative, the Malinois. The standard calls for a lively and lively temperament.

It must have a fixed character that knows neither fear nor aggression. The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael as a working dog – very intelligent, sensitive and above all willing to work – needs a master and a lover who are active with him. You should always keep this in mind.

Because if these dogs are not challenged, this leads to long-term frustration. In the extreme case they discharge this in aggressiveness on the furniture. If you work with the Groenendael professionally, whether in service or in sport, he is also a wonderful family dog.


Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is extremely undemanding regarding the external conditions of its maintenance. However, it is very demanding when it comes to handling it.

You need mental as well as physical activity. In addition, it is ideal as a companion for jogging, horse riding or cycling. He also likes to go to the water, even in winter. The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael needs a lot of exercise and that on a daily basis.

Otherwise, he becomes restless and unbalanced. A rural setting where you can be taken on daily excursions is ideal. This breed of dog needs active people around it. Because it’s not a couch potato or a lap dog.


The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael takes a long time to grow. It is not until he is three years old that he is adequately mature mentally. Since these dogs are dedicated, willing to work, and highly intelligent, they make great demands on their owners early on.

They can be trained very easily and very well. But you have to know how. In the first time you should play a lot with them. At the same time they have to learn the basic rules of living with humans. Training should begin with reasonably stable individuals from the tenth month of life.

Unfortunately, sometimes, despite the legal prohibition, stun guns and other violent measures are used. But this only destroys the self-confidence and joy of working these dogs. The use of such means is not even necessary and only shows the incompetence of the owners. Dogs want and can learn.

On the basis of trust, as well as proper communication for dogs, they can act enormously in the service of humans. A Belgian Shepherd Groenendael must be educated first like any dog. So learn the social rules as well as the orders and prohibitions. After that, the dog should be trained as a rule.

Only there can he develop his temperament and satisfy his need for work. For training it is best to contact the appropriate professionals from schools and dog clubs.

Care and health

The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is an easy-care dog, extremely robust and without much effort. The coat does not require any special care. Only during the time of the change of coat the Groenendael should be brushed.

Typical diseases of the breed

The only major health concern is the relatively high incidence of epilepsy in the breed. As is common in large breeds, there is also a tendency for hip dysplasia.


The breed has no special dietary requirements.

Life expectancy

The Groenendael enjoys robust health and good physical condition. It can easily live to be 12 to 16 years old.

Buy a Groenendael

If you want to buy a Groenendael Belgian Shepherd , you must bear in mind that the breed is a true working dog. You should look to breeders and puppies of this breed cost around $ 1,200.

Photos of the Belgian Shepherd  Groenendael

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I love the animals. Reading and writing about them, their customs, their peculiarities or the attention they require is exciting, and I also believe that it makes us better people. I share articles that solve the questions that dog caregivers face on a daily basis.

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