AKC Group: Herding
Height: 22 inches (Male)
Weight: Approximately 44 pounds (Male)
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The hardworking shepherds' dogs from Belgium have rated raves since the Middle Ages. In those days, type varied widely and breeding was based on herding ability. It wasn't until 1891 that Professor Adolphe Reul of the Belgian School of Veterinary Science cataloged and established standards for the various types of Belgian Sheepdogs. He found them remarkably similar in type, with the main differences being color, length and coat texture. He divided them into varieties - at one time, there were as many as eight. Today, there are four: the Malinois, the Laekenois, the Tervuren, and the Groenendael. These dogs are considered breeds by the American Kennel Club (AKC), and the Groenendael is known as the "Belgian Sheepdog." However, in other parts of the world, "Belgian Sheepdog" indicates the group in which the four varieties belong. A Belgian restaurant owner and dog breeder is credited with fostering the Belgian Sheepdog. Near the village of Groenendael, Mr. Nicholas Rose's breeding program produced Duc de Groenendael - the keystone sire of these intelligent black herding dogs. Today, the Belgian Sheepdog (Groenendael) is the most popular of the Belgian Sheepdogs and excels in many sports and working trials.
During World War I, the Belgian Sheepdog served his country by helping find wounded soldiers and carrying messages to the front.