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Belgian Shepherd Dog Groenendael Dog Breed Profile

Belgian Shepherd Dog Groenendael

Other Names
Chien de Berger Belge, Belgian Shepherd, Belgian Sheepdog 
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
The Groenendael is a member of the pastoral group. They were originally used for herding livestock; today they are used as watchdogs and as companions. 
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
£4-7.50 per week
Feeding Requirements
The Groenendael is an undemanding dog to feed with no special dietary requirements; they generally have a good appetite. 
Other Expenses
The average purchase price of a puppy is £500-£650. 
9 - 15 years
The average lifespan is 13 to 14 years. However some Groenendaels have been known to live less or longer than this. 
Average Litter Size
The average litter size is 6-8 puppies. 
General Physical Description
The Groenendael is a medium sized, longhaired dog that appears square in its outline. Although they are often confused with the ‘long-haired German Shepherd Dog’ by the general public, they are squarer in profile; lighter in bone and more refined in head, with a light, brisk movement.

Height Min Max
Bitch 56cm (22") 61cm (24")
Dog 61cm (24") 66cm (26")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 20kg (44lbs) 23kg (51lbs)
Dog 27.5kg (61lbs) 28.5kg (63lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
Dogs should measure between 61-66cms at the withers and bitches should ideally measure between 56-61cms at the withers. Dogs should weigh between 27.5 - 28.5kgs, bitches between 20-23kgs. 
Anyone looking for a puppy should make sure that both parents are hip-scored and eyes are tested. Hip status in the breed is generally excellent but that’s not to say that there haven’t been the odd high scores. Epilepsy has occurred (and still does occur) in the breed but breeders have worked hard to reduce the incidence to a minimum.  
Common Ailments

React to immunisations and anaesthetics
Tendency to develop dermatitis during shedding  
Susceptibility To Illness
The Belgian Shepherd dog the only breed in the world that comes in 4 varieties: the long-haired black ‘Groenendael’, the long-haired fawn, red or grey ‘Tervueren’, the short-coated red, fawn or grey ‘Malinois’ and the rarer rough-coated reddish fawn ‘Laekenois’. Originating from Belgium, they are named after the areas in Belgium from which they came Groenendael, Tervuren, Malines and Laeken. Hard working sheepdogs from Belgium have been recognised since the Middle Ages. At this time the type varied greatly and breeding was based on working ability. As they were bred from locally certain common characteristics began to appear. In the 1890’s a Professor of the Belgian School of Veterinary Sciences recorded standards for the various types of Belgian sheepdogs. It was noted that they were all similar in type with the main difference being the coat. The Professor then divided them into varieties and advised breeding them as separate breeds. Once there were as many as eight varieties now there are only four. The Groenendael was developed from a black bitch of the Belgian sheepdog type being crossed with another black herding dog. The resulting litter became the precedent of the Groenendael. The breeding schedule of these dogs suffered during the war. During the war they were used to find wounded soldiers and to carry messages at the front. The first Belgian Sheepdog Club can be traced back to 1893, and the name Groenendael was officially chosen in 1910.  
The Groenendael is an intelligent dog that learns very quickly. A gentle but consistent approach is the best way to train this dog. They should be socialised from a very early age< 
Show Characteristics
The head should be long and finely chiselled, with the skull being roughly equal to the length of the tapering muzzle. The nose should be black. The jaw should have a complete scissor bite. The eyes should be dark brown, of medium size and almondish shaped. Their ears should be of small to medium size, triangular and set high. The neck should be well muscled and slightly arched. The body should consist of a deep chest, graceful curved underline with a slightly sloping rump. The front legs should be long and well muscled with accentuated withers, and the back legs should be powerful and well muscled. The front feet should be round and tight with well-arched toes and the back feet slightly oval in shape. Their movement should be light and brisk. The tail should be of medium length with the tip carried slightly above the level of the topline. They should have a long, straight and profuse outercoat with an extremely dense undercoat. The hair should be shorter on the head, ears and lower legs. It is longer and more abundant around the neck (forming a ruff), on the back end and the tail. The back of the legs should have a fringe of longer hair on them. The males are usually longer coated than the females. The preferred colour for the show ri 
Country Of Origin
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
60 - 80 minutes per day.
They need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation and to this end they excel at agility and obedience. They are very active dogs and should not be considered as pets if they are to be left alone all day. 
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
The Groenendael is a devoted companion and does not make an ideal kennel dog, as they become bored and destructive. They are very affectionate and totally devoted to their families. Not a breed for those wanting ‘just a dog’. The Belgian wants to join in with everything including doing the washing up, digging the garden etc. They will protect their home and family but it is not advisable to encourage their guarding instincts when young, as they can get confused and start guarding you in inappropriate situations. Their natural guarding instincts will kick in, if and when necessary. 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
> Once a week 
Requires Professional Groomer
The Groenendael is a longhaired dog that needs a fair amount of grooming. They have a long, straight and profuse outercoat with an extremely dense undercoat.  
The Groenendael is black in colour. They may have limited white on the chest and toes. 
Suffers From Allergies

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