History & Overview
The Belgian Sheepdog, also called Groenendael, is a well-balanced, medium-sized, elegant dog with a proud carriage. Alert and full of life, he is an ideal companion for a family of many interests. Typically strong and agile, he stands 22 to 26 inches (55 to 66 cm) at the withers and weighs 50 to 60 pounds (23 to 27 kg). The Belgian Sheepdog’s coat can only be black.
Belgian Sheepdogs have an impressive record in obedience, military service, search and rescue, Schutzhund trials, tracking, herding, and agility. They have been quite successful as therapy dogs, guide dogs for the blind, hearing assistants for the deaf, and service dogs for the handicapped.
There are four varieties of Belgian shepherds: the Groenendael, the Tervuren, the Malinois and the Laekenois, which are distinguished by the coat type. The coat varies in length, direction, appearance and color.
As the names suggest, all four varieties originated in Belgium as herding and guardian dogs. In Europe, the four varieties are recognized as one breed, the Tervuren. In the United States, they are separated into four breeds. The American Kennel Club recognizes the Belgian Tervueren and the Belgian Malinois, in addition to the black-haired Belgian Sheepdog.