Are you looking for a furry buddy who is not only versatile in skills but also affectionate? If yes, we present you the Groenendael dog breed

This Belgian shepherd will amaze you with its energy levels and make you admire them for their curious nature. Here, we have everything you need to know about the Groenendael dog breed before you adopt them.


Height24-26 inches
Weight45-75 lbs
Life span12-14 years
Exercise needs1-2 hours daily
TemperamentAffectionate, Independent, Barks a lot
GroomingHigh maintenance

Origin of the Groenendael

As their name suggests, the Groenendael dog breed originated in a village called Groenendael, Belgium. The breed has a name attached to it, the Belgian Shephard Groenendael. It is because Groenendaels are one of the four Belgian shepherds. In the late 19th century, Nicolas Rose, the early breeder, found this breed and recognized its skills. 

The Groenendael dog breed used to work as a herding dog. Since then, the breed has evolved a lot in terms of its appearance and working capabilities. Not only this, but the credit for Groenendael’s sharp intelligence and versatility also goes to Nicolas Rose. 

This dog breed is excellent at its work, so they were even chosen to be a part of world wars. Unfortunately, the breed lost a lot of its kind. Later, dog enthusiasts stepped up to preserve Groenendael’s dog breeds. 

After being recognized by dog clubs, Groenendaels gained popularity among the common folks and were admired for their “pet-able” qualities. 

Appearance of the Groenendael

The Groenendael has quite a unique appearance that sets it apart from other breeds:

1. Size

The Groenendael dog breed is up to 24-26 inches tall and weighs about 45-75 pounds. Just like in the case of most dog breeds, here, the females are smaller than the males. All the other features are the same in both males and females. This large-sized dog breed has a distinctive appearance that can take away anyone’s attention. 

2. Coat

This luxurious dog breed has a stunning double coat that protects them from harsh weather conditions. Not only this, but it is also one of the identification features of the Groenendael dog breed. The coat is soft to the touch but is dense and glossy (if taken proper care of). For their coat, we recommend slathering them in coconut oil for shinier skin (unless your dog is allergic to coconut). 

Moreover, the coat comes in a solid black color, which makes them look very classy and admirable. 

3. Other features

They also have a long, thick tail that is covered in fur. With their athletic body under that furry coat, these dogs have an intimidating posture. Their almond-shaped eyes complement their pointed muzzle and edgy face. 

Personality and Temperament

Here are the personality traits of the Belgian Shepherd Groenendael dog breed:

1. Energetic

The Groenendael dog breed is packed with energy for all day long. They cannot sit idle in one place unless you find them a bag of treats or a ball to play with. Their this quality makes them more admirable, but also hard to keep up with. Basically, you will need to direct their energies effectively. Otherwise, they will release it in barking or other unwanted behaviors

2. Affectionate

Groenendael is for you if you want a family dog who can adjust and doesn’t act strange around family members! They love being around children and can create emotional bonds with human families. If you train them well for socialization, they can adjust at an early age. Groenendaels are highly protective of their owners and human family members. 

3. Independent thinkers

Due to their rich history of herding and protecting, Groenendaels have developed sharp decision-making skills. They are decisive and can make decisions independently if in a challenging situation. These instincts should be encouraged with mentally stimulating exercises where you challenge Groenendael’s decisiveness. 

4. Bark a lot

Another personality trait of the Belgian Shepherd Groenendael dog breed is that they bark a lot. You may find them barking at random strangers from the window or their enemies. You should consider training them if you observe that they are barking and showing too many unwanted behaviors. 

5. Curious and alert

Last but not least, Groenendaels are very curious. They are like those annoying 5-year-old kids who always keep asking questions. Of course, as dogs cannot ask you questions, they are curious about squirrels and butterflies who keep running from Groenendaels. Not just this, these dogs are hyper-aware of their surroundings and sounds, which allows them to react on time.

This pitch-black dog- Groenendael, used to be in the good books of the armed forces and police in the 19th century.
a Groenendael standing near a woodland lake

Grooming Needs of the Groenendael

The Groenendael dog breed is extremely high maintenance and needs proper care and attention to stay hygienic. As they are not hypoallergenic, Groenendaels shed a lot all year long. Just like other breeds, these dogs also have grooming requirements like:

1. Brushing

As you can tell by their looks, Groenendaels are covered in long, heavy fur coats that keep them warm. And for the coat to serve its purpose, you should take care of it by brushing it at least once or twice a week. You can use a wide-toothed comb or a brush that smoothens their coat. Everything must be combed from their body to their tails to eliminate loose hair or tangles. 

2. Bathing

The Groenendael dog breed needs bathing sessions every 4-6 weeks to look clean. But you don’t have to follow that timeline if they visibly look dirty or smelly after playing in the ground. It would be best to use a dog-friendly shampoo, conditioner, and soap only for bathing.

You must massage the froth in their coat and scrub all the sweat and dirt out. 

3. Cleaning and trimming

Due to their long coat, some hair can grow too far on their eyes, paws, or ears. You can groom them at home by trimming off the hair ends carefully. This will make the Groenendael dog breed look more fine and edgy. For the cleaning, you should take a damp cloth to clean some parts of the dog. Such as:

  • Ears, because ear wax can build up and cause infections
  • Eyes, because too many eye-boogers are a sign of an eye disease
  • Paws, as dirt and debris, can get stuck in their paws and nails

4. Fleas and ticks

Lastly, dogs with thick fur coats are also prone to fleas and ticks. Please remember that it can be extremely hard to get rid of these bacteria that consider dog’s coat their home. You must use dog supplies like repellants or take veterinary advice. It is essential to keep Groenendael free of any bacteria. 

No matter how good of a breed one adopts, the three parameters- nutrition, grooming, and training—can make a massive difference in Groenendael’s or any dog’s lifestyle. Groenendaels have a life span of 12-14 years, and there are some health concerns they are prone to:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Retinal atrophy
  • Seizures
  • Skin allergies
  • Pannus
  • Epilepsy

Exercise and Training Needs

Every dog has different training needs. Similarly, the Groenendael dog breed also needs at least 1 hour of training every day, which can extend up to 2 hours. But what do you do in those hours? Here are the answers to that! Below are some “everyday essentials for training” for Groenendaels:

1. Daily walks

You must take Belgian Shepherd Groenendael dog breed on a walk for at least 30 minutes daily. You can also take them on walks or jogs 2-3 times daily in different slot hours. This will prepare them for the day and encourage them to be active. 

2. Agility training

Fun activities and interactive games will help you to keep the Groenendael dog breed busy and away from distractions. You can also take the help of professionals to make your agility training more physically exhausting yet effective. Such tough exercises will challenge them and make Groenendaels active all day long. 

3. Obedience training

Being a Belgian shepherd dog breed, the Groenendaels respond amazingly well to the commands. If they find a dominating owner, they learn to obey very quickly. During walking time, you can teach and practice condition commands like—”sit” or “shake hands.” You can also encourage them with treats like blueberries or apples

a Groenendael standing majestically under the sunlight

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, the Groenendael dog breed is unsuitable for first-time owners. They are high maintenance and require rigorous training every day. If you are a newbie, it would be hard to dominate a fully grown adult Groenendael due to their size and energy levels.

Hence, if you are an experienced dog owner who loves training hours as much as Groenendael does—then it’s a match made in heaven!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Belgian shepherds the same as Groenendael?

No, but they are related. Groenendael is one of the four varieties of the Belgian shepherd dog breed. The other breeds are Malinois, Tervueren, and Laekenois. They all have many similarities in their appearance and personalities, which confuses people.

Are Groenendael good pets?

Groenendaes are excellent pets if they are trained well. They can live happily with active families that keep them busy and lively. We recommend that you start early socialization so they can adjust well with the family members.

What are the health problems with Groenendael?

There are several health problems that you should know before adopting the Groenendael dog breed, like- Hip dysplasia, Retinal atrophy, Seizures, Skin allergies, Pannus, Epilepsy, etc. It would be best to care for their health by giving them proper nutrition and keeping them active and clean by grooming. Also, regular checkups with veterinarians will keep you updated and alert. 

Is Groenendael hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately, No. The Groenendael dog breed is not hypoallergenic. If you or anyone in your family is sensitive to allergies, this dog breed may not suit you.

What is the life expectancy of a Belgian Shepherd Groenendael?

The Groenendael dog breed has a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. It also depends upon the quality of life, including the nutrition, grooming, and activity level. Also, if your dog has underlying disorders, it can affect the life span of Groenendaels, too.

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