The Groenendael originated in Belgium. It got its name from a small Belgian village where it was first bred. Originally thought to be a Belgian Shepherd Dog, it is one of four varieties to come from this family.
In addition to the Groenendael, the Laekenois, the Malinois, and the Tervueren also count. The four breeds are very similar in personality and behavior. They are mostly divided by their fur. The decisive factor for the Groenendael is that it has a thick, almost completely black coat.
Originally bred as a shepherd and herding dog, a professor from Belgium started separating the breeds around the 1900s. In 1891 the Club for Belgian Shepherd Dogs (Club du Chien de Berger Belge) was founded and in 1901 the Groenendael was officially recognized as a separate breed.
At that time, his tasks consisted more of driving animals and he was occasionally used as a draft, guard, and farm dog.