Breed Information Centre

Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael)


Illustration of Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael)

Sheepdogs of this type date back in Belgium to the Middle Ages. Four varieties of the breed exist sharing the same physical attributes and alluded only by coat and colour - Groenendael: black and long coat; Tervueren: long coated and seen in red, fawn or grey, often with a black mask and overlay; Malinois: with a dense, short coat and with the same colourings as the Tervueren; Laekenois: a harsh wiry coat, red/fawn with some black shadings.

It was not until 1891, the first breed club was formed and Professor Adolphe Reul of the Belgian veterinary school examined 117 examples of the breed and classified the varieties which were named according to the area of Belgium where they originated. The Laekenois gained its name from the Château of Laeken – a royal residence of Queen Marie Henriette who favoured the variety.

Their physical attributes equip them to be excellent herding dogs: they are agile, fast and lightly built yet robust, but the breed has shown its versatility as a service dog, widely used by the police and armed forces. They have an appetite for work, being watchful, wary and highly intelligent.

Breed Group
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
More than 2 hours per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
More than once a week
Supposedly sheds? *
Town or Country
Type of home
Large House
Minimum Garden Size
Over 10 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.

The Pastoral Breed Group

The Pastoral Group consists of herding dogs that are associated with working cattle, sheep, reindeer and other cloven footed animals.

Usually this type of dog has a weatherproof double coat to protect it from the elements when working in severe conditions. Breeds such as the Collie family, Old English Sheepdogs and Samoyeds who have been herding reindeer for centuries are but a few included in this group.

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