Belgian Shepherd Groenendael: Dog Breed Profile


The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is a  robust and elegant dog. Harmoniously built, it has a dry and well-developed musculature.

Its look give an impression of intelligence and gentleness. The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is distinguished from other Belgian Shepherd dogs (Tervueren, Laekenois, and  Malinois ) by its long, exclusively black coat.

It’s a working dog as well as a guard dog and a companion dog. It excels in the latter area. Intelligent, reliable, protective, and playful, he is also calm and athletic.

Other names: Belgian Shepherd Groenendael


History of the breed

The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael comes from the Belgian village of the same name. The breed was created by Nicolas Rose in 1879 from a black, long-haired Dog, and a herding dog resembling It.

The puppies resulting from this cross were then used as a basis for the development of this variety of Belgian Shepherd dogs.

Like the Malinois, the Tervueren, and the Laekenois, the Belgian Shepherd Groenendael was recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale on January 1, 1956.

Physical features

  • Its hair: long and smooth all over the body, with the exception of the head, the outer face of the ears, and the lower limbs. Dense and tight, it is associated with a woolly undercoat, the whole giving the dog very good protection.
  • Its color: exclusively black zain.
  • Its head: long, straight, well defined, and carried high. The skull is moderately broad, the forehead is rounder than flat, the median groove is not very pronounced. The stop is moderate, the nose is black and the muzzle of medium length.
  • Its ears: set high, small in size, triangular in shape, ending in points, and well erected when the dog is active.
  • Its eyes: in almonds, medium in size, brownish to dark in color. Show an expression that is intelligent, gentle, and lively.
  • Its body:  writable in a square. The line of the back and the kidney is straight, the withers accentuated, the back firm and well-muscled, the loins solid, the croup well muscled, the belly slightly raised.
  • Its tail:  moderately long, thick at its attachment, hanging down at rest, carried higher when the dog is awake

Behavior With Others

The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is a dog of great intelligence and overflowing with vitality. Vigilant, hardworking, in constant search of activity, It’s as good at leading herds (It’s, as Its name suggests, a shepherd dog at the base) as at guarding and defense.

It’s a very strong instinct for protection, Its courage, and Its determination will lead It to prevent any intrusion into Its master’s house and any aggression targeting It and Its family. The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael combines all the qualities of a working dog.

It’s also an excellent companion dog.


The Groenendael is a frank and intelligent dog. Therefore, it is very easy to educate. It’s gentle and particularly sensitive.

This peculiarity obliges its master to show gentleness in an education that combines firmness and rigor associated with a  good dose of play and affection to be obedient and balanced.

You should not give the Groenendael repetitive exercises because It might get bored with them. You must succeed in creating a  climate of trust between the dog and Its master.

Its flair, excellent, must be developed. It is not for nothing that it is often used as a research dog. It cannot stand brutality. It must be socialized very early in order to avoid dominant behavior towards its congeners.

Living Conditions

Preferring life in a rural environment, in the middle of wide-open spaces and with great freedom of movement, the Belgian Shepherd Dog Groenendael can however adapt to life in an apartment if It enjoys sufficient daily activities.

Its master must be available (to offer It exercise), firm and fair. It needs to frolic in order to be happy and to develop fully. It doesn’t appreciate solitude at all. Its master should always be by Its side.

Health & Maintenance

The double, long, and thick coat of the Belgian Shepherd Groenendael ensure excellent protection against the harsh climate. Like all Belgian Sheepdogs, the Groenendael has robust health.

However, even if it tolerates climatic changes very well, it can be subject to a few diseases that affect large dogs.

Thus, It can develop hip dysplasia, hence the importance of moderating Its physical activity when It’s still young. In addition, it can be affected by muscular dystrophy. Finally, Its ears are particularly sensitive and ear infections are often legion.

However, apart from these risk factors, it does not present any hereditary pathology.

The life expectancy of a Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is, on average, between 10 years and 12 years.

The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael remains subject to 2 moults per year. The maintenance of its long coat must be ensured on a regular basis. Despite its long coat, the Groenendael does not need to be groomed or washed. A  regular brushing, bi-weekly, adequate.

Its master must ensure it cleaned properly ears regularly as it is affected by ear infections and infections  ORL.

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About Jessica Vanclap

Passionate about animals, but also about health, I did not hesitate for long in choosing my studies. Veterinary assistant by training, I worked in a veterinary clinic for several years. I then made the choice to share my knowledge and experiences by joining the training team of a school of Veterinary Assistant and Grooming.

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