Due to its good sense of smell, the Belgian shepherd Groenendael is a good defense dog, but it also stands out in the obedience, herding, sledge, search and rescue fields, and like police dog and in the detection of fire. It is the most popular Belgian shepherd, and despite it robust appearance, it is very agile.
In the last stages of the nineteenth century there were numerous local sheepdogs in Belgium and Germany that had many common characteristics. For a control, four varieties of Belgian Shepherd Dogs (Groenendael, Laekenois, Malinois and Tervueren) were identified. It is speculated that the Groenendael descends from herd dogs of central Europe or that comes from crosses between breeds of local sheepdogs and Deerhounds, powerful British hounds.
On April 3, 1892, the “Belgian Shepherd Dog Club” wrote a first well detailed race standard. A single race was admitted, with three varieties of hair. Anyway, as it was said at the time, the Belgian shepherd was only a dog of humble people and therefore a race that lacked prestige yet. Therefore, it is not until 1901 that the first Belgian shepherd dogs were recorded in the Book of the Origins of the Royal Society SaintHubert (L.O.S.H.).
We can say that by 1910 the Belgian Shepherd’s type and character were already established.
The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is a square-shaped dog, powerful and well proportioned. Its extremities are straight, strong and good bones. It has triangular and upright ears and a medium length tail. It has a black hair, long and abundant, with a medium rough texture. The sub hair is very dense and woolly and varies depending on the weather.
It is a long-haired dog except for the face where it is short, black uniform throughout the body and only some small white markings are allowed on the chest and on the fingers of the legs. It measures about 60 cm in height to the withers, with an approximate weight of 28 kilograms, somewhat less in females.
The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is affectionate and feels very attached to its owners. It’s loyal and intelligent. It loves playing outdoors and is a great companion for the kids. It is extroverted and friendly with people but can be a bit reserved and shy. At the same time it is also serious and vigilant, with very strong protective and territorial instincts.
If the Belgian Shepherd Groenendael has to live locked in a house is indispensable to do daily exercise, to burn its energies running through the field. Otherwise the dog may become quite nervous.
It needs attention; it can’t be left in a corner without doing anything. It is recommended to try to integrate it into family life since it is a puppy, but it can unleash the nervousness for which it is known.
The Belgian Shepherd Groenendael is a pretty strong and healthy dog but can suffer from hip dysplasia and in some cases also epilepsy.
In the United Kingdom, the main causes of death were: cancer (23%), age (23%) and failure of internal organs, heart, kidneys, liver (13%).
Belgian shepherds suffer from common dog diseases in relation to reproductive aspects, skeletal muscle and skin issues. However, studies have been conducted on the incidence of seizures and/or epilepsy in the breed.
You can download the FCI (International Cinological Federation) standard at the following link: http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/015g01-en.pdf