Belgian Sheepdog, breed of herding dog existing in four varieties—the Belgian sheepdog (Groenendael), Belgian Laekenois, Belgian Malinois, and Belgian Tervuren. The Belgian Laekenois is not a recognized breed. The varieties have similar characteristics and differ greatly only in the nature and color of the coat. The Groenendael, named for the Belgian village where it was developed in the latter part of the 19th century, has a long-haired black coat. The male is 61 to 66 cm (24 to 26 in) high at the shoulder, and the female, 56 to 61 cm (22 to 24 in); the dog weighs about 23 kg (about 50 lb). It has a flattened skull; alert brown eyes; triangular ears held stiffly erect; a round neck; powerful back, loins, and hips; and a tail of medium length held low when the animal is at rest and raised and curled toward the body when the dog is in action. All varieties of the breed are used for guarding sheep, as watchdogs, and for police work.
Groenendael Belgian Sheepdog: Its black color distinguishes the Groenendael variety of Belgian sheepdog from the three other varieties—the Belgian Laekenois, the Belgian Malinois, and the Belgian Tervuren. Although sheepdogs were first developed in the 1200s, the Groenendael breed, also known simply as the Belgian sheepdog, was not created until the late 1800s, when the owner of a café in Groenendael, Belgium, mated two black sheepdogs. The Belgian sheepdog is often used to herd and guard farm livestock.