A beautiful dog in a saturated black color is the Groenendael. It is his color that is the hallmark of the breed. Thanks to the black luxurious coat, Groenendael can not be confused with any other look.
The original purpose of the Belgian Shepherd was a shepherd’s work. Now this smart dog is considered universal, it can be an alert watch dog, a guard of the owner’s property and a true friend for all members of the household.
The first information about Belgian shepherds is dated 1650. A variety of this breed called “Groenendael” appeared in 1879. The ancestor of these dogs is Nicholas Rose. It was in his possessions “Chateau Groenendael” that was born the first litter of a new breed. Parents of puppies differed from other Belgian shepherds in long black hair. This feature has become a hallmark of all Groenendals.
The main function of the Belgian Shepherd Dog is the protection and supervision of a herd of livestock. Over time, extraordinary mental abilities, industriousness, endurance allowed the Groenendael to be not only an ideal shepherd, but also a watch dog, guard, search dog and just a pet. Belgian shepherds were especially noted in the police and customs. These smart animals take part in various competitions, often coming out of them as winners.
In 1912, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Belgian breed Groenendael.
Physical characteristics of the Groenendael
Groenendael refers to medium-sized rocks. He has a proportionate, harmonious physique. This dog perfectly combines strength and elegance. The weight of adults is 25-35 kg., With a growth of about 56-66 cm.
An elegant, long head rests on a slightly elongated muscular neck. Ears are erect, unbending, straight, triangular in shape. Dark eyes are almond-shaped, they are not too large, not convex. The look of the Groenendael dog is always alert. The nose is black, the back of the nose is straight. The jaws are strong, well developed. Scissor bite.
Athletic physique, powerful body. The chest is deep, not wide. The ribs are arched. The back is wide, straight. The tail is medium long, very fluffy. The abdomen is not saggy, harmoniously bent by a beautiful line, not lean. Long limbs with strong bones, with well-developed muscles. Paws are round, paw pads are thick, claws are large, dark.
The coat of the Groenendael is long, the hair is straight, smooth. There is a thick undercoat. Color is allowed exclusively black. A significant drawback is a red tint on a black background and gray “pants”.
Character and temperament of the Groenendael dog
The character of the dog originates in the womb and is formed at an early age. Therefore, it is important to properly educate the puppy Groenendael, develop its strengths and prevent the development of excessive aggression, stop bad habits.
The main character traits of the Belgian Shepherd – Groenendael: independence, love of freedom, courage, activity, endurance, playfulness, fidelity.
The independence of the Groenendael is manifested in its ability to make decisions independently, if the situation requires it. These seemingly quite peaceful dogs turn into fearless defenders when it is necessary to defend the property of the owner or himself.
A more hardworking, hardy dog is hard to find. The Groenendael is very active, the movement is his life. Even at a considerable age, Groenendael is playful, like a puppy. He takes part in any games with pleasure, just to run and jump.
The dog is infinitely devoted to his master. With proper education, he obeys implicitly not only him, but also all members of the family. It refers to strangers without much aggression, but wary. At any moment, Groenendael is ready to respond to the provocation of a stranger and show in all its glory its security and watchdog qualities.
Specimens of the breed easily find a common language with children. Tolerate children’s pranks, for example, tugging at the ears or tail, such a dog can, but not for long. Being a shepherd dog, the Groenendael constantly strives to raise children, reacting to their disobedience with a loud bark. This does not mean that the Belgian is able to harm the child, on the contrary, he will protect and protect him.
With other domestic animals, especially small ones, the Belgian dog behaves like a shepherd. She tries not to lose sight of them, to guide them, to guide. Such behavior is inherent in all representatives of shepherd breeds.
Belgian Shepherds are naturally strong, healthy dogs. With proper care, representatives of the breed can live up to 12-14 years. The owner of the Groenendael must be aware of the main diseases that the pet is predisposed to:
- Epilepsy – accompanied by convulsions, involuntary bowel movements.
- Joint dysplasia – at the initial stage it is accompanied by pain, with further development of the disease lameness appears, pain becomes unbearable, immobilization occurs at the last stage.
- Obesity – occurs due to improperly composed diet, overfeeding.
- Eye diseases – most often the eyes of the Groenendael suffer from inflammatory processes, conjunctivitis.
- Allergy – may occur from improperly selected detergents, allergic reactions to products also occur, therefore, it is necessary to introduce new ingredients into the Belgian diet very carefully, gradually.
- Depression – a prolonged depressive state with subsequent disruption of the body can occur due to isolation of the Groenendael from people, this is a very sociable dog, loneliness is destructive for this dog.
To maintain health, it is important to give your pet vaccinations on time. Scheduled examinations in a veterinary clinic, treatment for skin parasites, especially in the summer, and deworming are also needed.
Groenendael, as the owner of long hair and a descendant of shepherd active dogs, may well be kept on the outside. Only in this case the chain is eliminated, instead of it you need a spacious aviary and a warm booth. Set up an aviary not in a draft or in the sun; the dog should be able to take refuge in the shade. Also, with an open-air cage, it is necessary to walk the pet in the open space, allowing him to run freely without obstacles.
In a house or apartment, Groenendael can also feel comfortable, but not in small-sized housing. When housing a Belgian shepherd, many hours of daily walks are required. Walking should be active with games, with toys and training. If you live in a private house with a personal plot, the Groenendael can be outdoors in the daytime and return to the house for the night, as the breed representatives like to be in the fresh air.
Regarding the maintenance of health and beauty, the owner should accustom the dog from puppyhood to the following procedures:
- The long wool of the Belgian Groenendael needs regular, thorough care, otherwise mats will form. In the summer, when intense molting takes place, we comb out the pet every day using a furminator. In winter, combing is carried out using a comb 1 time in 6-7 days.
- By standard, the coat of a shepherd dog should not look too shiny and silky. That is why adult groenendales can not be bathed more than 2 times a year, unless at least absolutely necessary. We wash puppies every 30-40 days. It is important to choose the right detergent for the shepherd dog, as she has sensitive skin.
- Once a week we brush the teeth of the dog, during the process we examine the gums, noticing inflammation, urgently take measures.
- Auricles are cleaned once a week using a cotton swab and a special solution. Once a month, it is recommended to drip drops in order to prevent infectious diseases.
- Accumulations in the corners of the eyes are removed with a moist cotton pad as necessary.
- Groenendael needs to cut wool between the paw pads. If this is not done, the hair will roll off at the indicated places, which can lead to infections and lameness.
- We cut the claws with a special clipper as they grow.
It is recommended to feed the Belgian with natural products, although you can add dry food (30% of the total diet). Protein food is needed daily for Groenendael. The diet of such a dog should include the following foods: cereals, fish, meat, fruits and vegetables. Sweets, legumes, bread are contraindicated. Vitamin and mineral supplements in quantities recommended by the veterinarian are also important.
Training and education
Belgian Shepherd Dog has a wonderful memory, outstanding intelligence and quick wit. This breed is considered one of the most intelligent. With such data, Groenendael is able to understand the owner at a glance and learn new commands after 2-3 repetitions.
The main thing is to start the educational process from puppyhood, as early as possible. Otherwise, with such a temperamental character, the dog will cause the owner and everyone around him many problems. In the absence of proper behavior skills in the house and in public places, the Groenendael can afford to jump on people, bark for no reason for a long time and loudly, spoil furniture and other household property. This is at best, and at worst, a dog can turn into an uncontrollable, evil animal without training.
An experienced dog breeder independently cope with the education of the Belgian Shepherd, beginners in this matter are encouraged to seek the help of a dog handler. Groenendael is very cunning, he will quickly realize that an inexperienced master can be manipulated, as a result, no training will work.
In the process of training a dog, the following recommendations should be considered:
- The beginning of education is the development of the simplest commands: “place”, “not”, “to me”. Only then can we proceed to the course of protection, obedience, protection.
- Early socialization is a prerequisite. The dog should calmly respond to vehicles passing on the street of people meeting animals. As a result, get an intelligent dog. She will go on a leash without a stretch and adequately respond to events around her.
- You can not reduce the duration of classes, even if the pet has already mastered many commands. The regularity of the lessons will fix the reflex to the command. In addition, an active Groenendael likes physical activity and training.
- The owner for his pet should be an unquestioning leader. Having given the dog a command, be sure to get it done.
- It is unacceptable to let the dog growl at the owner or at family members. Stop food aggression, the dog should calmly give the owner even the most delicious bone, the same applies to toys.
- A rude attitude will not help when raising a Groenendael. The Belgians dogs are touchy, they do not tolerate a cry, too strict a tone, and especially physical punishment. If the owner behaves rudely with his pet, the dog in response closes in and stops responding to commands. In the process of training, it is recommended to use encouragement in the form of stroking, praise or goodies.
Groenendael Fun Facts
- The Belgian Shepherd is characterized by an excessive sense of ownership. If this dog has already determined a place, food or thing of its own, it will zealously protect its property even from an adversary that is superior in strength and size.
- Groenendael refers to long-lived dogs. There are cases when representatives of this species crossed the life line at 18 years old.
- The frost and snow are not terrible for the Groenendals. On the contrary, the favorite winter entertainment of such a dog is to find a larger snowdrift and dig into it with his head, as if swimming in the snow.
Pros and cons of the breed
Groenendael requires attention and care, like any other dog. It seems that such a pet is suitable for any person who can afford to keep an active dog. In fact, it will be difficult for a novice dog breeder to cope with the wayward character of the Belgian Shepherd. Before buying a puppy of this type, it is worth familiarizing yourself with its strengths and weaknesses.
Excellent security and guard qualities.
Easy to train.
Mind, quick wits and great memory.
No complicated care.
Requires large physical exertion, excessive activity.
Does not tolerate loneliness.
Requires serious training.
Excessive aggression with insufficient education.
The manifestation of the instinct of a shepherd dog in inappropriate places and situations.