If you want to own one of these fine looking dogs, you may want to get some background on their history and some of the things that have become part of the legacy of the Belgian Sheepdog.
In most other parts of the world, including North America, the Belgian Sheepdog is called the Groenendael or Chien de Berger Belge. This is done in spite of the fact that there are actually four different varieties of Belgian Sheepdogs.
It originated in the late 19th century when it was listed as the Chien de Berger de Races Continentales. This group includes such well-known breeds as the Hollander Herders, Beauceron Bouviers, and Briards. Since that time the breed has gained popularity as not only a family pet but as a working dog, tracking dog, and herding dog as well. They are also used as therapy dogs and to assist those with disabilities.
The late 19th century also found efforts being made to circulate news of a "Belgian breed" that resulted in the formation of the Club de Chien de Berger Belge, or in English, Belgian Shepherd Club. This group eventually was a contributing factor in the rise in popularity of the Belgian Sheepdog.
The existence of the longhaired black Belgian Sheepdogs is attributed to Nicolas Rose. Mr. Rose purchased what we now consider to be the foundation couple of the Belgian Sheepdog. The breed has gained a great deal of popularity over the years, in spite of its decline during some eras in history.
Belgian Sheepdogs were an integral part of the battlefield during WWI. As is part of their breeding to be helpful, they became carriers of messages, ambulance dogs, and used their weight to pull machine guns. Since we know this breed has a need to always have something to keep them busy, it's only natural that they would perform well performing such essential functions in the war zones.
Sadly, during the Great Depression, their popularity took a dive in the United States and other countries as well. After WWII when the decision was made that only the Groenendael variety was permitted registration as a Belgian Sheepdog, their popularity rose once again. This rule commenced in 1956.
Belgian Sheepdogs have a long history behind them, and in spite of their wane in popularity during the Great Depression, the end of World War II brought them back into the world's vision again. One can see from their history that they are versatile dogs capable of performing many functions. The important thing is to understand the breed and knowing the extent of their knowledge and abilities. They are easily trained, and as such, one can only guess how far they can go to perform tasks that are placed upon them.