The Belgian Laekenois: Your complete guide!

The Belgian Laekenois, an embodiment of strength, unwavering loyalty, and versatility, has earned its place in the hearts of dog enthusiasts and professionals alike. With its Belgian origins, unique physical characteristics, and a wide range of temperament traits, this breed is esteemed as a dedicated working partner and loyal family companion.

Belgian Laekenois portrait
Rare | Tenacious | Curious
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    Everything you need to know about the Belgian Laekenois!

    Category (Explanation)Breed Information
    Year of Breed Conception19th century
    Country of OriginBelgium
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Male)55-65 lbs (25-29.5 kg)
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Female)45-55 lbs (20-25 kg)
    Coat TypeRough double coat
    Color VariationsFawn with overlay
    Shedding Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Height (cm & in)22-26 inches (56-66 cm)
    Breed SizeMedium to large
    Trainability (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Mental Needs (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Intelligence Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Energy Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Agility (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Loyalty (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Playfulness (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Exercise NeedsVigorous exercise and mental stimulation
    Guarding Proficiency (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Sociability with Children (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Barking Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Digging Tendency (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Destructive Behavior (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Drooling Level (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Obedience Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Apartment Friendly (Yes/No)Can adapt to apartment living with sufficient exercise
    Inherent Prey DriveHigh
    Physical Risk to Others (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Travel Fatality Risk (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Allergen PotentialLow
    Health Concerns (List of Common Health Concerns)Hip Dysplasia, Eye Issues, Epilepsy
    Average Life Expectancy (Life Expectancy in Years)12-14 years
    Make sure to take care of your Belgian Laekenois and

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    History of the Belgian Laekenois

    The Belgian Laekenois is one of the Belgian Shepherd breeds, known for its history of herding and versatile skills. These dogs hail from Belgium, where they were initially bred for herding duties.

    Their name, “Laekenois,” pays homage to the Belgian town of Laeken, where the breed was developed. Belgian Laekenois dogs are characterized by their rugged and tousled appearance, which reflects their herding heritage.

    Over time, they have demonstrated their intelligence and loyalty, excelling in herding, police work, and as devoted family pets. Their history is a testament to their enduring service to humanity.

    What makes the Belgian Laekenois so special?

    Belgian Laekenois showing friendly

    The Belgian Laekenois is unique for its protective instincts and herding abilities. These dogs have a rich history of guarding and herding livestock. Their loyalty and courage make them exceptional working dogs and devoted companions.

    Belgian Laekenois have a heritage as herding dogs in Belgium. Their agility, strength, and intelligence made them skilled herders, guiding and protecting livestock. They were known for their resilience and work ethic. Today, they participate in dog sports and continue to serve as herders, preserving their tradition as dependable working dogs.

    Belgian Laekenois are celebrated for their protective and loyal personalities. They are known for their intelligence, courage, and herding abilities. These dogs have a history of guarding and herding livestock.

    Their protective instincts and strength make them reliable working dogs, and their loyalty to their families is evident. Belgian Laekenois are characterized by their courage, devotion, and a strong sense of responsibility, epitomizing the ideal blend of loyalty and protection.

    Belgian Laekenois are intelligent and protective. They are typically loyal to their families but can be reserved with strangers. Early socialization is important to ensure a balanced temperament.

    They require mental and physical exercise to stay content.

    Belgian Laekenois are medium-sized dogs with a well-proportioned and tousled appearance. They have a chiseled head with expressive almond-shaped eyes and slightly rounded ears.

    They have a rough, wiry coat in a fawn color with black overlay. Their tail is often carried high.

    Males typically stand between 24 to 26 inches (61-66 cm) at the shoulder and weigh between 55 to 75 pounds (25-34 kg), while females are slightly smaller and lighter.

    Belgian Laekenois have a rugged and alert presence, reflecting their role as herding and working dogs.

    Belgian Laekenois usually have a rough, tousled fawn coat with black overlay. They may not exhibit distinct coat colors.

    Belgian Laekenois usually have a rough, tousled fawn coat with black overlay without distinct coat patterns.

    Belgian Laekenois have a moderate shedding level. They shed throughout the year, with increased shedding during seasonal changes. Regular grooming and brushing are important to control shedding and maintain their coat.

    Belgian Laekenois have a wiry, medium-length coat that requires regular grooming. Grooming habits for this breed include:

    1. Brushing: Regular brushing, about once or twice a week, is essential to prevent matting and remove loose fur. Use a slicker brush or pin brush for grooming.

    2. Bathing: Bathe Belgian Laekenois when necessary, using a dog-specific shampoo and thorough rinsing.

    3. Ears: Check and clean their ears regularly with a veterinarian-recommended solution to prevent wax buildup or infections.

    4. Nails: Trim their nails to a comfortable length to maintain proper gait and prevent discomfort.

    5. Teeth: Brush their teeth regularly to ensure dental health and prevent bad breath. Dental chews or toys can be helpful.

    6. Tail and Paw Care: Maintain cleanliness in the tail and paw areas, inspecting for any signs of irritation or injury.

    Belgian Laekenois have a very high activity level and thrive on physical and mental challenges. Key points about their activity level include:

    1. Exercise Needs: Belgian Laekenois require daily, vigorous exercise to stay content. Activities should be high-intensity and engaging.

    2. Energy Level: They are known for their high energy levels, especially when young. Regular exercise is essential to prevent restlessness.

    3. Herding Heritage: Historically, Belgian Laekenois were bred for herding livestock. They excel in activities like herding trials, agility, and obedience.

    4. Mental Stimulation: In addition to physical exercise, mental challenges through obedience training and puzzle games are crucial.

    5. Outdoor Enthusiasts: They enjoy outdoor activities and make great companions for those who enjoy hiking, running, and dog sports.

    Pembroke Welsh Corgis are highly intelligent dogs known for their quick learning abilities. Here are some key points about their intelligence:

    1. Trainability: Pembroke Welsh Corgis are highly trainable and excel in obedience training. They quickly grasp commands and are responsive to positive reinforcement-based methods.
    2. Problem-Solving: They exhibit good problem-solving skills, which are advantageous in herding work where they need to make decisions based on cues.
    3. Adaptability: Pembroke Welsh Corgis are adaptable to various living environments, making them versatile companions.
    4. Work and Utility: Historically bred for herding, their intelligence is an asset in responding to cues and commands efficiently.
    5. Social Intelligence: Pembroke Welsh Corgis form strong bonds with their families and are attentive to human emotions. They are loyal and protective.

    Pembroke Welsh Corgis’ intelligence and agility make them excellent companions and working dogs. Training, socialization, and mental stimulation are essential for their well-being.

    Belgian Laekenois are highly intelligent and need constant mental stimulation. Engage them in obedience training, agility courses, and complex tasks to keep their minds active.

    Social Interaction: They are social dogs and require regular interaction with their human family. Isolation can lead to anxiety and behavioral issues.

    Exercise: Mental challenges are as important as physical exercise. Provide them with tasks that require problem-solving and focus.

    Training and Obedience: Belgian Laekenois thrive on obedience training, which not only provides mental stimulation but also reinforces their bond with their owners. Consistency and positive reinforcement are essential.

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    What to look out for, before you get a Belgian Laekenois!

    Belgian Laekenois showing

    Considering a Belgian Laekenois? Keep these points in mind:

    1. Activity Level: Laekenois are active dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation.

    2. Training Commitment: They are intelligent and need consistent training to prevent behavior issues.

    3. Space: Laekenois need space to move around, making them better suited for homes with yards.

    4. Shedding: Their double coat requires regular grooming to manage shedding and matting.

    5. Work or Activities: Many Laekenois enjoy dog sports and tasks that engage their minds and bodies.

    Belgian Laekenois, though not as large as some breeds, may pose a physical risk to others if not properly socialized, trained, or managed. The risk assessment factors include:

    1. Protective Instinct: Belgian Laekenois may have a protective instinct, especially towards their family or territory. Proper training is essential to manage this instinct.

    2. Socialization: Early and thorough socialization is crucial to ensure Belgian Laekenois are comfortable around people and other animals. Poor socialization can lead to fear or aggression.

    3. Training: Obedience training is essential to teach Belgian Laekenois appropriate behavior and ensure they respond to commands. Well-trained dogs are less likely to engage in aggressive behavior.

    4. Owner Responsibility: Responsible ownership involves being aware of the dog’s behavior and taking necessary precautions in public settings.

    5. Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL): Belgian Laekenois may not be commonly subject to BSL, but owners should be aware of local regulations.

    6. Individual Variability: Each dog is unique, and behavior can vary. Responsible ownership, proper training, and socialization are key to minimizing the potential physical risk to others.

    Belgian Laekenois can be good with children, but their protective instincts may require supervision. They are loyal and may form strong bonds with kids. Early socialization is important to ensure they are well-adjusted around children.

    Belgian Laekenois dogs can be good swimmers. Their strong and agile build is advantageous for swimming. Many may exhibit a natural instinct for it and enjoy being in the water. However, individual comfort levels with swimming can vary, so provide supervision and safety precautions.

    1. Early Training: Initiate training your Belgian Laekenois puppy early to take advantage of their quick learning abilities.
    2. Socialization: Expose your puppy to various people, animals, and environments to foster adaptability and reduce fear or aggression.
    3. Positive Reinforcement: Use treats, praise, and toys to reward and reinforce desirable behavior, building a strong bond with your puppy.
    4. Consistency: Maintain consistency in your training methods and cues to prevent confusion.
    5. Basic Commands: Teach essential commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “leave it” for safety and obedience.
    6. House Training: Establish a routine for potty breaks and praise for outdoor elimination to housetrain your puppy.
    7. Crate Training: Use crate training to create a safe space for your puppy and develop positive associations with the crate.
    8. Social Skills: Encourage positive interactions with other dogs and people to foster good social skills.
    9. Exercise and Play: Ensure your Belgian Laekenois puppy gets sufficient exercise and playtime to prevent restlessness.
    10. Chewing: Provide appropriate chew toys to satisfy their need to chew and protect your belongings.
    11. Patience and Persistence: Training may take time; be patient and avoid punitive methods.
    12. Professional Training: Consider professional training classes if you face challenges or need additional guidance.

    Early and positive training will help your Belgian Laekenois puppy become a well-behaved and devoted companion.

    Belgian Laekenois dogs are moderate in terms of noisiness. They may bark or use other vocalizations to alert their owners to unusual events, but they are not overly loud.

    Belgian Laekenois thrive in homes that provide:

    • 1. Active Lifestyle: They do well in households with active individuals or families who can provide regular exercise and playtime.
    • 2. Space: A house with a yard where they can exercise and explore is ideal.
    • 3. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is crucial to their well-adjusted behavior.
    • 4. Routine: Establishing a routine helps them feel secure and reduces anxiety. Predictable daily schedules are beneficial.
    • 5. Training: They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and thrive in environments where training and mental stimulation are prioritized.


    • 1. Lack of Exercise: Without sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, Belgian Laekenois can become bored and may develop behavioral problems.
    • 2. Isolation: They are social dogs and may struggle in homes where they are frequently left alone for extended periods.
    • 3. Lack of Socialization: Poorly socialized Belgian Laekenois may exhibit fear or aggression towards strangers or other animals, which can lead to challenges in public settings.
    • 4. Owner Experience: Inexperienced owners who are not prepared for the breed’s specific needs and characteristics may face challenges in raising a well-behaved Belgian Laekenois.

    Traveling with Belgian Laekenois involves these considerations:

    1. Exercise Needs: Laekenois are active dogs. Plan for breaks for exercise and play during travel.
    2. Size: They are medium-sized. Ensure their safety with suitable travel crates or seat belt harnesses.
    3. Anxiety: Some Belgian Laekenois may experience travel anxiety. Gradual introduction to travel and familiar items can help alleviate stress.
    4. Air Travel: Choose airlines with pet-friendly policies and suitable crate requirements for air travel.
    5. Identification: Ensure proper identification for your Belgian Laekenois during travel.

    Belgian Laekenois are generally healthy, but they can be prone to certain health issues, including:

    • Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition that affects the hip joints and can lead to arthritis and lameness.
    • Elbow Dysplasia: A condition affecting the elbow joints, causing pain and lameness.
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A group of inherited diseases that can lead to blindness.
    • Epilepsy: A neurological condition that can cause seizures.

    Proper nutrition is essential for Belgian Laekenois. Follow these nutritional habits:

    1. High-Quality Dog Food: Choose dog food with high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient.
    2. Age-Appropriate Food: Feed the appropriate life stage formula.
    3. Protein: Opt for a diet with moderate to high protein content.
    4. Balanced Diet: Ensure a balance of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
    5. Portion Control: Prevent overfeeding with proper portion sizes.
    6. Fresh Water: Always provide clean, fresh water.
    7. Avoid Table Scraps: Refrain from feeding human food.
    8. Treats: Use treats in moderation for training and rewards.
    9. Consult Your Veterinarian: Seek guidance from your vet for the best diet.
    10. Special Dietary Needs: Address dietary restrictions or allergies with your vet.
    11. Weight Management: Maintain a healthy weight through exercise and portion control.
    12. Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for monitoring.

    Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of Belgian Laekenois.

    Breed-specific laws (BSL) may affect Belgian Laekenois in specific regions, and owners should be aware of these regulations. BSL is typically enacted at the local level, and the restrictions can vary from one jurisdiction to another. Here are some common types of BSL restrictions that Belgian Laekenois may encounter:

    1. Mandatory Spaying/Neutering: Some areas may require owners of Belgian Laekenois to spay or neuter their dogs under BSL.
    2. Special Licensing: BSL may necessitate special licenses for Belgian Laekenois owners, often involving additional fees and regulations.
    3. Liability Insurance: Owners of Belgian Laekenois may be mandated to carry liability insurance as part of BSL.
    4. Muzzling in Public: In specific regions, BSL may dictate that Belgian Laekenois be muzzled when in public spaces.
    5. Ownership Bans: In extreme cases, BSL may ban the ownership of Belgian Laekenois altogether in certain areas.

    The rationale behind BSL is often based on concerns about public safety and perceived risks associated with specific breeds. While Belgian Laekenois are not inherently aggressive, they can be affected by BSL due to their physical resemblance to breeds sometimes included in these laws.

    It’s important to note that BSL is a contentious topic, and many advocates argue that it unfairly targets breeds rather than addressing individual dog behavior. They emphasize that responsible ownership, training, and education should be emphasized instead of breed-specific restrictions.

    To determine if there are breed-specific laws or restrictions regarding Belgian Laekenois in your area, you should check with your local animal control or government authorities. Be aware of and comply with any local regulations to ensure that you are in compliance with the law while owning a Belgian Laekenois.

    Woof Mastery is reader supported and our articles may contain affiliate links. 

    Instead of running third party ads that we have no control of we only use links from high-quality companies we are directly partnered with. Making use of these links come at no cost to you our reader, and in many cases have the extra benefit of discounted rates or sign up bonuses.

    If you’re interested you can read more about our affiliate policy here.

    We appreciate your support and always insure that the products and services we recommend are high-quality, helpful and relevant to the subject at hand!

    Fun Facts About The Belgian Laekenois

    Myth 1: Belgian Laekenois are the Same as Belgian Malinois

    Truth: Belgian Laekenois are a distinct Belgian Shepherd breed. They have their own unique characteristics and history.

    Myth 2: They are Aggressive and Unpredictable

    Truth: Proper training and socialization can lead to well-behaved and friendly Belgian Laekenois dogs. They are not inherently aggressive.

    Belgian Laekenois dogs are a rare breed, and famous individuals of this breed may not be as well-documented. However, they are known for their loyalty and versatility in various roles, including herding, protection, and companionship.

    • Herding: Belgian Laekenois have a background in herding and working with livestock.
    • Working Dogs: They are employed as working dogs on farms and continue to be valued for their herding skills.
    • Companionship: Belgian Laekenois are cherished family pets known for their loyalty and protective nature.

    Belgian Laekenois dogs have been cherished by owners who appreciate their rugged and versatile nature. Notable historical owners may not be widely recognized, but they have contributed to various working roles.

    Belgian Laekenois, like all breeds, face certain challenges and dangers. Some of the greatest dangers and concerns for the breed include:

    1. Misunderstanding: Misconceptions about the breed’s energy level and exercise needs can lead to misunderstandings and potential challenges for owners who are not prepared for the breed’s requirements.
    2. Health Concerns: Belgian Laekenois are susceptible to specific health issues, including hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and eye conditions. Responsible breeding and regular veterinary care are essential to address these concerns.
    3. Behavioral Problems: Without proper training and socialization, Belgian Laekenois can exhibit behavioral problems, including excessive guarding instincts and reactivity.
    4. High Energy: Belgian Laekenois have a high energy level and need regular exercise and mental stimulation. Insufficient activity can lead to restlessness and destructive behavior.
    5. Climate Sensitivity: Their double coat makes them sensitive to heat. Owners in warm climates must take precautions to prevent heat-related issues.
    6. Breed-Specific Legislation: Belgian Laekenois may be affected by breed-specific legislation (BSL) in certain areas, leading to restrictions or bans on ownership.
    7. Irresponsible Breeding: Irresponsible breeding practices can result in health and temperament issues. Ethical breeding is crucial for the breed’s well-being.
    8. Training Needs: Proper training is essential for Belgian Laekenois to ensure they understand boundaries and socialization. Inadequate training can lead to behavioral problems.
    9. Work and Activities: Belgian Laekenois thrive on work and activities, and their needs for stimulation and engagement should be met to prevent boredom-related issues.
    10. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is necessary to ensure Belgian Laekenois are well-adjusted around strangers and other dogs.

    By understanding these challenges and providing responsible ownership and care, many of these dangers can be mitigated to ensure the well-being of Belgian Laekenois.

    The Belgian Laekenois is one of the Belgian Shepherd breeds, along with the Malinois, Tervuren, and Groenendael. It was developed in Belgium for herding and livestock guarding. The breed’s history includes regional herding and working dogs selectively bred for specific traits required in their roles.

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    Why you're going to love the Belgian Laekenois

    The Belgian Laekenois is a breed known for its rustic appearance and intelligence. They excel in various roles, from herding to obedience. Their affectionate nature and distinctive coat have made them beloved companions.

    Being a Belgian Laekenois owner involves providing mental stimulation, exercise, and regular grooming. Responsible ownership includes addressing potential health concerns and nurturing their herding instincts through training.

    With their tousled fawn coats and agile demeanor, Belgian Laekenois continue to charm those who appreciate their versatility and loyalty.

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