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Belgian Shepherd Dog Groenendael

Belgian Shepherd Dog Groenendael

Medium sized and square in outline, the Belgian Groenendael long, smooth coat that is black in colour, occasionally with small white markings on the chest and toes. The Groenendael is often mistaken for a solid black long coat German Shepherd, but they are lighter in build and far more elegant and refined.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Large dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 10 - 14 years
Weight: 27.5 - 28.5kg
Height: Males between 61 - 66cm, females between 56 - 61cm
Colours: Black with occasional white markings on chest and toes
Size: Medium
Kennel Club Groups: Pastoral


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 5/5


Clever and attentive, although somewhat wary of strangers, the Groenendael is to this day, all a herding and guarding breed should be. Very trainable, with a huge capacity for learning but willing to make their own decisions should instruction not be forthcoming, they are in need of a dedicated owner with plenty of time to work with them and train them to a high standard. Friendly, and devoted affectionate to close family and friends, they do take time to warm to strangers and will not tolerate rough handling or over-familiarity from those they do not know.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Belgium

There are four varieties of Belgian Shepherd and these were originally just variations in coat type, as they were primarily bred for their ability to herd and guard so they were considered one breed. Now the four types, the Laekenois, Groenendael, Tervuren and Malinois are classified separately as breeds in their own right - although this took some time, with the Belgian Kennel Club only recognising three types initially (the Groenendael, Tervuren and Malinois) in 1897.

The Groenendael is possibly the most striking of the four, with their luxurious black coat and pricked ears and was created by Nicholas Rose, owner of Chateau de Groenendael, south of Brussels in 1885. He owned what would become the foundation bitch, a long-haired black dog named Petite, and spent a year searching for a male that would match her. He found a dog called Piccard D’Uccle, and together these two founded the breed. The Groenendael first reached the US in 1907, but didn’t reach England until 1931.

Health and Common Concerns

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Belgian Shepherd Dog Groenendael

Training Belgian Shepherd Dog Groenendael

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • The Groenendael is named after the Belgian Chateau de Groenendael.
  • They are always black; no other colour appears and only very scarce small white markings on the chest and toes are permitted.
  • Groenendael’s have been used as police and armed forces as working dogs since the late 19th Century.

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