The history of Belgian Shepherd dogs dated back to ancient time. A certain tribe, the Belgae, used herding dogs to tend to their livestock.

Belgian Groenendael in snow

Later on, they lent their names to what would become Belgium. And their need for intelligent herding dogs gave way to the creation of Belgian Shepherd dogs.

Belgian Shepherds were separated into three major categories, each different in physical appearance.

The name Groenendael referred to Belgian Shepherds who have long and black coats. Nicolas Rose, a man from Groenendael, established the kennel group that would create the foundations of the Belgian Groenendael.

The Belgian Groenendael first arrived in America in 1907. This is also the first time that a Belgian Shepherd has made its appearance in the country.

This breed was widely used by the police as Police Dogs.

In 1947, the breed would bring forth the creation of another variety, the Belgian Tervuren, a non-black, long-coated version of the Groenendal. In the July of 1958, the American Kennel Club decided to separate the different varieties of the Belgian Shepherds. The Groenendael kept the name Belgian Sheepdog.

Traits and Behavior

Like other varieties of Belgian Shepherds, Groenendals are working dogs. They are energetic, lively, cheerful and enthusiastic. They are also loyal and highly affectionate to their family. They are well known for creating bonds with children, especially when introduced to them at a young age.

Belgian Groenendael lying in fallen leaves

At the same time, they are wary of strangers and quite protective of their homes. Proper socialization should be done early on.

Because of their affectionate nature, Groenendaels are prone to separation anxiety. So, this dog is not for people who aren’t home most of the time.

Like most Belgian Shepherds, training Groenendaels should be fairly easy if done at an early age.

Owners and trainers should be consistent and firm, or else, the dog tends to become dominant and may walk all over them.

These highly intelligent dogs are eager to please their masters but are warned, they don’t tolerate any form of unkindness. They should only be reinforced positively.

Pet Care and Diseases

They are built for endurance, speed, and agility, therefore needing an active lifestyle. They should be constantly occupied, lest they would be bored and may become destructive. They need a large area to roam around and spend their boundless energy.

Belgian Groenendael playing frisbee

This breed’s coat should be brushed and combed more than two times a week. Tangles and mats should be removed.

Nails and hair on the ears should be trimmed to prevent infections. Mild shampoo should be used on the dog’s coat.

And make sure that the thick double coat is dry and free of any dampness to prevent any irritation on the dog’s skin.

This dog is a moderate shedder with the males shedding more than the females. Appropriate care should be observed.

However, they can also suffer from various health problems, including hip dysplasia, skin disorders, eye problems, cancer, and thyroid problems.


Like the other variety of Belgian Shepherds, Groenendael has a moderately long and chiselled head with a flattened forehead. Its nose is tapered and is black and has open nostrils. The soft, almond-shaped eyes are dark brown with black rims.

Belgian Groenendael tongue out

The triangular ears are upright, pointed and are set high up in the head.

Groenendael has a distinctly long and lustrous coat that is all black. However, white patches are allowed in moderate amounts. This variety has a double coat that protects it from extreme environments

The undercoat is extremely thick and dense, while the outer coat is profuse, straight and long. The Groenendael’s coat is moderately soft and smooth to the touch.

Although they are well known for their long coats, short hair can also be found at the head, ears, and front of the legs. The hair on the neck is rough and plentiful, especially the males. The hair of Groenendaels are always straight, it is never curly or wavy.

General Information

The breed is expected to live for 12-13 years. A litter may consist of 6-10 puppies. BSD, Groenendael, Belgian Sheepdog, and Chien de Berger Belge are among its few other names.

Breed Club

Visit this dog club website dedicated to Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael). Click this link: http://www.bsdcc.org/