Belgian Laekenois – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Belgian Laekenois is the rarest among Belgian herding breeds. Read on to discover more about this breed's history, personality, and grooming needs.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
22 to 26 inches
44 to 66 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Belgian Laekenois is one of the four native dogs of Belgium.

The curly Laekenois is similar in appearance and temperament to the Malinois, Shepherd, and Tervuren, while still differs in coat color, texture, and length.

Belgian Laekenois is the rarest among Belgian breeds.

This is a strong and sturdy dog known the best for his rough and unkempt coat that comes in shades of red and fawn.

Some may have even have grayish tones. This breed is highly protective when it comes to his people and property.

Highly observant with strangers, this breed is equally affectionate with those he knows well. As expected, such an interesting coat comes with a fair need for grooming.

Occasional bathing is ok, but shouldn’t be forced. As a working dog, this breed needs daily exercise and an experienced dog owner.

Since this is a herding dog they may nip at smaller children’s feet or try to chase smaller pets if not properly trained. With herding dogs, the importance of training cannot be stressed enough.

So, if you are ready to invest in deep dog training and you are ready to handle the breed’s needs and on top of that you are looking for a loyal and active dog, this just might be the breed for you.

Quick Facts

Real name: Belgian Laekenois
Other names: Chien de Berger Belge, Laeken
Origin: belgium
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 44 to 66 pounds
Height: 22 to 26 inche
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Litter Size: 6 – 10 puppies
Color: Commonly red, mahogany, and fawn
Coat: Wiry and tousled coat

Belgian Laekenois History

To understand how this breed was developed it’s important to know that Belgium is known for more than one dog breed.

In fact, this is the main reason why many still see the Belgian Laekenois as a variation of one of the four Belgian Shepherds developed during the 1880s.

Some dog historians claim that this breed has strong aristocratic roots, as they served as protectors of the sheep at the Royal Castle of Laeken.

They had a big role in both World Wars when they spend their days working as messenger dogs.

Belgian Laekenois can be found across the world today, although their numbers aren’t high.

So far, there are around 1,000 representatives of this breed. This means that the Belgian Laekenois is a rare breed.

Among the Belgium breeds, this breed was the last one to be officially recognized.

The AKC recognized Belgian Laekenois as a separate breed in 2020, making it one of the youngest breeds.

The Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren, and the Belgian Sheepdog were all recognized before the Belgian Laekenois.

Today, the Belgian Laekenois is under AKC’s wing as a part of their Herding Group.

Belgian Laekenois Physical Appearance

Belgian Laekenois are larger size dogs. They usually weigh up to 66 pounds, with females being slightly lighter.

As for their height, they usually stand between 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder.

Overall, this is a well-balanced dog of great proportions. Their front legs are straight, while the front and back feet are round and a bit cat-like. Eyes are of dark color and alert.

Ears are also alert all the time and set high, while the nose is black. The coat is slightly shorter than medium length, while the coat density is normal.

As for the texture, you can expect your Belgian Laekenois to have a wiry coat that is easy to maintain.

The neck is round, while the withers are slightly higher. The tail is strong. The overall movement is smooth, easy, and free.

Belgian Laekenois Personality

Belgian Laekenois is often described as a loyal dog who is most of the time highly alert.

They are massive people-lovers, and they prefer experienced dog owners, who know how to manage herding dogs.

Like any other dog breed, the Belgian Laekenois will never respond well to any harsh training methods.

If this occurs they may show some signs of aggression. They are of more intense energy levels, but they are far from being high-energy dogs like Border Collie is, for example.

Still, they will need a fair amount of exercise and outdoor time. Like with any other breed, the Belgian Laekenois needs proper training and socialization.

When trained right, they are great family dogs. This curly-like dog will be a great playmate with older children.

They might get along with toddlers as well, but as herding dogs, they will have the urge to nip at their heels.

This is something that happens often and is one of the main reasons why experienced dog owners prefer to get a dog when a child is older.

This way house dog rules are better followed.

No matter how well children and Belgian Laekenois might get along, there should always be supervised when they interact.

Belgian Laekenois Training

Training herding dogs can be challenging. Belgian Laekenois, just like all dogs, tend to respond well to positive training methods and delicious treats.

They prefer owners of a firm hand who know the way around larger and more active dogs.

As a representative of the herding group, the Belgian Laekenois is an intelligent breed that is quite independent.

As such, they may try to outsmart, which is why you should plan training sessions well.

To keep his interest at a high peak, create training sessions that are fun, short, consistent, and packed with treats.

If you feel like you need support during the training sessions, think about puppy classes.

What if your Belgian Laekenois is actually an adult dog? Fear not, because an old dog can learn new tricks as well.

When looking for a professional dog trainer, make sure that you find the one who has experience working with herding dogs.

Working with companion dogs and herding dogs requires different backgrounds, different training content-wise, and different training styles.

Belgian Laekenois Grooming

The Belgian Laekenois’ coat is wiry. It’s soft in structure and shorter than medium length.

It comes in a variety of colors, including red, mahogany, and fawn. They are not heavy shedders, but you can expect mandatory weekly brushing to keep his coat healthy and shiny.

Also, you can expect more intense shedding during the shedding season, which is in spring and autumn.

Have a brush that is specially designed for wiry hair. When it’s too hot weather, make sure that you apply dog sunscreen because their wiry coat can leave patches of skin sensitive to sun damage.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim nails monthly
  • Check gums, eyes, and ears weekly
  • Check skin during brushing for fleas and any sigh of skin infection
  • Bathe only when needed
  • Clean ears when needed

Be careful when it comes to leaving your Belgian Laekenois outside during the harsh weather.

They may be prone to heatstroke on extremely hot days, and they may get extra cold on low temperatures.

Belgian Laekenois Health

Belgian Laekenois is often described as a healthy dog.

If you are dealing with responsible dog breeders you will know for sure that you’re getting a healthy puppy.

A reputable breeder will always:

  • Show you medical documentation on the dog
  • Show you the facilities
  • Let you meet the bitch
  • Let you interact with all the puppies, and help you choose the one that suits your personality the most
  • Will ask you a lot of questions to make sure that you are a suitable potential owner
  • Inform you on potential future health issues
  • Tell you to return the dog to them if you come across a hardship

Like all breeds, the Belgian Laekenois can be subject to certain health conditions.

This doesn’t mean that your dog will have it for sure, but instead, it just means that he may be prone to certain conditions.

Here is what you can expect to see in terms of health:

Belgian Laekenois Care

To keep your Belgian Laekenois as healthy as possible and enable him to live to his maximum, you should provide proper care.

This means that you follow through with veterinarian advice, provide regular veterinarian check-ups, and are mindful of the dog’s nutrition.

Make sure that you know how much you should feed your dog and how often.

Dogs thrive on food specially designed for their needs, size, age, and activity level. For example, feeding a senior dog puppy food is pointless.

It may provide some feeling of fullness in your dog, but won’t provide any nutritional benefits. This is why it’s important to feed your dog with food specially designed for his age.

Once you bring your Belgian Laekenois home you are directly responsible for his weight.

This means that you should do whatever is possible in your power to keep his weight in balance.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise across the States, and this is something that you don’t want your dog to be part of.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s diet or regarding food or feeding style, make sure that you talk with your veterinarian first.

In the meantime, learn which human foods are safe for dogs and learn to read pet food label guidelines. This is the best way to keep your Fido healthy – while providing necessary nutrients.

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