The Belgian Groenendael is one of four Belgian sheepdog breeds, the other three being the Laekenois, the Tervuren and the Malinois. All four are physically very similar, with their coat being the only major difference. The majority of countries around the world still classify them as varieties of the some breed. However, the United States has recognized them as different breeds for the past 50 years. The Groenendael is an athletic, muscular, medium-sized dog. Its coat is medium-long, with a thick undercoat, and is almost always solid black, although small patches of white are sometimes found on the chest. Bred as a working sheepdog, the breed is often highly intelligent and energetic. Mostly, health concerns are rare, although overfeeding and lack of proper excercise can lead to laziness and obesity.
The Groenendael was developed in Groenendael, Belgium, by a breeder named Nicholas Rose. Their natural intelligence and protective nature lead to their use as guard dogs, and alongside the Belgian Malinois, they became one of the first breeds to be used by the Belgian police. They also make excellent sporting dogs and often perform well at Schutzhund and K.N.P.V. excercises. However, despite their capabilities, the Groenendael is commonly kept today as a pet and companion, while the Belgian Malinois and Laekenois are used more often as security dogs and protection dogs.