The Belgian Sheepdog!

The breed commonly known as the Belgian Sheepdog was also given the name to differentiate it from the other three Belgian sheepdog varieties, namely the Malinois, the Tervuren, and the Laekenois. The Groenendael looks much like the others, with its proud appearance, muscular built, even proportions, slightly pointy muzzle, tight lips, an even or scissors type bite, triangle-shaped ears, and a fluffy tail. It is named after the Belgian village where it was developed, and remains the most popular of the four Belgian sheepdog varieties. Some also refer to it as the Belgian Shepherd.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
10-12 years

Energy Level:

Living Conditions:
Fine for apartments, but yard is preferred.


Exercise Needs:
Boisterous play or brisk jog.

Breed Group:


22 to 26 inches

60-75 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Black with white markings.

National breed club:
Belgian Sheepdog Club of America

Belgian Sheepdog Skills

Aside from herding and guarding, the functions that the Groenendael was originally developed for, the breed has served well as war dog and police dog during World War I and II. It is also currently preferred as companion dog, and does quite well in herding trials. It is also capable of assisting in search and rescue operations, as well as drug detection.

Belgian Sheepdog Personality

This adept watchdog is very intelligent, determined, protective, alert, and obedient. The Belgian shepherd will need to be well socialized and consistently trained from the beginning. However, it tends to be too sensitive for stern treatment, as it tends to be obstinate when treated stringently. This breed should not be left unattended for too long, or it could cause trouble in trying to keep amused. It also has good stamina, though may try to herd people by nipping at their heels.

Exercise Needs

This breed must be allowed some intense exercise sessions, possibly in the form of boisterous play or an extended jogging session, on a daily basis.

Living Conditions

The Belgian shepherd is amenable to apartment life, provided adequate exercise. A medium-sized yard accommodates well its level of activity. It would be happy spending time outdoors as well as in the home, where it can interact with its owners.

Grooming Requirements

This breed’s coat needs to be brushed twice a week, and given more attention when it sheds, as it does so quite heavily at least two times a year. Clipping must be done in some areas, such as the extremities of the ears, in between toes, and in areas where matting occurs.

Health Issues

Some possible risks are skin allergies, hip dysplasia, and epilepsy, though the Belgian Groenendael tends to be quite a healthy breed.

If you liked this dog… might also like the Belgian Malinois, particularly if you like the Belgian Sheepdog without the high-maintenance coat. Another likely choice is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, a cattle-driving breed that also has good watchdog potential. This breed also does well when closely surrounded by its people, though will survive without lawn access.

Belgian Sheepdog


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