Canis lupus

Last updated: November 9, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

Although developed as a herding dog, the breed makes an excellent guard and working dog and is used by police forces and the military.

Groenendael Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Groenendael Locations

Groenendael Locations

Groenendael Facts

Fun Fact
Although developed as a herding dog, the breed makes an excellent guard and working dog and is used by police forces and the military.
Alert and confident, friendly but can be stubborn.

Groenendael Physical Characteristics

  • Black
Skin Type
12 to 14 years
75 lbs

Groenendael as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
65-75 lbs
Female weight
60-70 lbs

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Although developed as a herding dog, the breed makes an excellent guard and working dog and is used by police forces and the military.

The Groenendael is one of four breeds that originated in Belgium. Instantly recognized by his pricked ears and luxurious black coat, the breed is well suited for many activities and makes an excellent companion animal for the active family.

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Different Types of Groenendaels

In most of the world, the Groenendael is grouped together with the Belgian Laekenois, Belgian Tervuren, and Belgian Malinois into one breed, known as the Belgian Shepherd Dog. In the US, these dogs are split into four distinctive breeds. The American Kennel Club recognizes each of these dogs as a separate breed. The Laekenois is the most recent of the breeds to win AKC recognition, which it did in 2020, joining the other Belgian Sheepdogs in the Herding group.

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3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Groenendael

Is smart and easy to trainRequires daily, rigorous exercise
Can be an effective watchdogHerding instinct may lead to nipping others
Will get along with all family membersCan be aggressive toward other animals
Groenendael in a snowy forest in the winter.
Groenendael in a snowy forest in the winter.


Groenendael Size and Weight

The Groenendael’s height classifies it as a medium to large breed. It is neither stocky nor fine-boned, and the ideal dog is slightly longer than he is tall. Males can reach up to 26 inches while females may mature to 24 inches.

Height (Male) 26″ Tall
Height (Female) 24″ Tall
Weight (Male) 75 lbs
Weight (Female) 70 lbs

Groenendael Common Health Issues

The Groenendael is a generally healthy breed. Like other dogs its size, some may develop hip or elbow dysplasia. These conditions aren’t as widespread as in many breeds, such as the German Shepherd.

Some individuals of the breed may also develop skin allergies, epilepsy, or progressive retinal atrophy. With an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, regular veterinarian care is important to diagnose age-related concerns early.

Health and Entertainment for your Groenendael

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Groenendael Temperament

The Groenendael is an observant, obedient dog. When socialized from a young age, they make great companions. However, dogs that aren’t exposed to strange people and places may become overly shy or aggressive.

The breed is generally easy to train and responds best to a handler who is consistent and positive. Harsh, negative corrections can make the dog apprehensive and timid.

How to Take Care of the Groenendael

The Groenendael belongs in the house with his family. This is not a breed that does well left alone in a yard or kennel. They are highly trainable and can learn excellent manners, making them easy to get along with for all family members, including children and other pets.

The Best Dog Food for Groenendaels

It is important to feed your Groenendael high-quality dog food. Eating at least twice a day ensures he takes his time eating and is beneficial for digestion. The breed does have a tendency towards obesity, so it is important to keep a close eye on his weight. If your Groenendael deals with allergies, a limited-ingredient or allergy-friendly diet could help.

A-Z Animals believes the best dog food for Groenendaels is Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Natural High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food.

This is a clean, high-protein food with no fillers. Just real beef as the first ingredient, for 32% protein and a happy, energetic dog. There’s natural glucosamine for stabile, mobile joints, with vitamins A and K, which support eye health and clear vision.

You can buy Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Natural High Protein dog food on Chewy and Amazon.

Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Natural High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food
  • High protein beef and salmon recipe for strong muscles and heart health
  • Supports muscles, joints, and active lifestyle
  • Omega 6 fatty acids for shiny coat and healthy skin
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Groenendael Maintenance and Grooming

With his soft undercoat and coarse outer coat, the Groenendael needs frequent brushing to look his best and minimize the hair he leaves around the house. Spending a few minutes each day brushing is better than a marathon session over the weekend.

Regardless of how well you keep up on his grooming, expect a major shed twice a year. Anyone who has an issue with dog hair on their clothes and furniture may want to select a different breed.

Groenendael Training

Groenendael’s willing temperament and intelligence make training a rewarding endeavor. Expect them to pick up lessons quickly, whether it is obedience, agility, or simply good manners. Patient and consistent behavior from the handler yields the best results.

One area not to ignore when raising a Groenendael is socialization. Proper socialization is the most important step you can take to ensure you raise a confident, willing dog. Groenendaels that are kept at home without the opportunity to meet strangers and other animals can become very timid. This timidity can show itself as either shyness or aggression.

Groenendael Exercise

This breed is active and needs plenty of exercise. If you aren’t prepared for daily walks as well as time to romp and play, this isn’t the dog for you. A fenced yard does not provide the stimulation this breed needs, they are people-oriented and need training and playtime, as well as exercise, every day. Without enough activity, the breed tends toward destructive behavior, such as chewing, barking, and digging.

Groenendael Puppies

The average litter of Groenendaels has between 6 and 10 puppies. Initially, a Groenendael puppy should be fed four times a day. When the puppy reaches 3 months, feedings can be reduced to three times a day.

The most important duty of a new Groenendael owner is proper socialization. Talk with your veterinarian to learn when you can take the pup in public. Regular socialization from a young age is important if you want a happy, confident adult dog.

Groenendael puppy outside on the grass.
Groenendael puppy outside on the grass.

©Eve Photography/

Groenendaels and Children

The Groenendael, of all the Belgian Shepherds, makes a fine companion for a family with children. Some training may be necessary. The breed’s strong herding tendency can result in him running circles around the child and even gently nipping in an effort to herd them. With patience and gentle correction, they will learn this is unacceptable behavior.

The breed’s high energy level and obedient nature make it a fun choice for endless games of fetch and as a companion on hikes and other adventures.

Dogs Similar to the Groenendael

If you are interested in this breed and want to compare it with some similar breeds, look at any of the other Belgian Shepherds. They all have similarities as well as some things that make them unique.

  • Belgian Malinois (pronunciation ma – luhn – WAA) – Short, smooth coat requires less grooming than the Groenendael. Color can range from lighter fawn to deep mahogany. Has a black mask. Generally more aggressive than the Groenendael.
  • Belgian Laekenois (pronunciation lak – in- WAA) – Rough coated and a newly recognized breed by the AKC.
  • Belgian Tervuren (pronunciation tr – VYUR – uhn) – Long coat, similar to the Groenendael, aside from color. The Tervuren is fawn to mahogany in color, with each hair tipped in black. This breed also has a black mask.

In addition, the German Shepherd, while not related to the Belgian Shepherds, shares many characteristics, including intelligence, eagerness to please, and a high activity level.

Groenendael Versus Malinois

The Malinois and Groenendael are both Belgian Shepherds, and roughly the same size and weight. They are both herding breeds as well. They do have several key differences. The Malinois is the more aggressive of the two. They are not a good choice for the less experienced dog owner.

Both the Groenendael and Malinois have a high prey drive, but the Groenendael is generally easier to train to leave household pets alone. Finally, the Groenendael is the more affectionate choice. While the Malinois will bond with his family and is eager to please, the Groenendael is more inclined to enjoy cuddles and love.

Popular choices for males include

  • Buddy
  • Cooper
  • Bear
  • Sam

Top choices for females include

  • Molly
  • Daisy
  • Luna
  • Sadie

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


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Groenendael FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much do Groenendaels cost to own?

The initial price of a purebred puppy is between $1500 and $3000. Although a generally healthy breed, the puppy will still need several rounds of shots, and investing in professional training is money well spent.

Are Groenendaels good with kids?

They can be very good with kids, but it is important to work with both the dog and child. The herding tendency of the breed can lead to circling and nipping, which may be cute in a younger dog but is not much fun with an adult dog or with a small child.

How long does the Groenendael live?

The average lifespan of the Groenendael is between 12 and 14 years.

How do you say Groenendael?

GROAN – en – dahl

How much does a Groenendael cost?

The average price of a purebred puppy is $1500 to $3000. You may find a young dog or adult at a more affordable price by working with a rescue.

Are Groenendael good guard dogs?

The breed’s size and attentiveness make it a good guard dog. Socialization is important to prevent shyness and timidity. A well-socialized dog is confident and not overly aggressive.

Do Groenendael shed?

Yes, they are heavy shedders. They require regular grooming to look their best and experience major shedding twice a year.

What are the key differences between the Belgian Tervuren and the Groenendael?

The key differences between the Belgian Tervuren and the Groenendael are size, appearance, ancestry, and breeding. Other differences include behavior, health, and lifespan.

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  1. American Kennel Club, Available here:
  2. Dog Breeds List, Available here:
  3. Belgian Sheepdog Club of America, Available here:

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