Belgian Laekenois

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Is the Belgian Laekenois right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Laekens; Laekenois; Belgian Shepherd Dog; Chien de Berger Belge

The basics:
The Belgian Laekenois is a medium-sized, hard-working member of the sheepdog family. The Laekenois is one of four types of Belgian Shepherd dogs, each variety differing in coat type and color. The others are: the Groenendael, which has a long, black coat; the Belgian Malinois, which has a short, fawn-mahogany coat with black marks; and the Belgian Tervuren, which has a long, fawn-mahogany coat with a black mask. The Belgian Laekenois has a rough, wiry, fawn-colored coat.

According to the American Belgian Laekenois Association, "The Laekenois' original duty, in addition to guarding and tending the flock, was to guard linen drying in the fields. He was an enthusiast worker and a quick learner that made him a desirable choice for the task at hand. He was later called on to serve as a messenger dog during World War I and II...He is still able to herd and guard his flock, and protect his people and their property. His ability to adapt to new situations and to respond to his master's commands makes him an alert, intelligent, inquisitive animal. He typically is reserved with strangers."

This is a breed for the confident owner who can socialize and exercise a large working dog that demands a sense of purpose and something interesting to do. A bored Belgian Laekenois will become destructive.

Appearance / health:
The Belgian Laekenois have a wire coat that gives them a unique appearance. They have a well-balanced, square structure and appear elegant. They have a proud carriage of the head and neck. The skull is rather flat and the muzzle, moderately pointed. Eyes are almond-shaped and brown, or preferably dark brown. The ears are triangular and erect. The hindquarters are muscular, while the chest, which reaches out to the elbow, is deep without being excessively broad or narrow. The front legs are straight and parallel to each other. The Belgian Sheepdog has round cat-feet. The dewclaws are usually removed from both, front and hind legs. The tail is long and set quite low.

Belgian Laekenois need minimal grooming. The rough, wiry coat needs to be trimmed about twice a year. Dead and excessive hair may need to be removed with a coarse-toothed comb. They are bathed only if absolutely necessary, as bathing removes the natural waterproofing of the coat. This breed sheds little to no hair.

This working dog breed is accustomed to an active outdoor life. They need a lot of exercise, preferably off the leash as much as possible, in a safe area. Walks for at least 45 minutes a day are necessary to keep the breed fit and happy.

This is a hardy and healthy breed that has no major health issues. Some minor concerns include epilepsy, skin allergies, eye problems, excessive shyness, excessive aggressiveness, and occasional hip and elbow dysplasia (deformation of joints leading to lameness). This breed also has a tendency to become obese. Cataracts may sometimes develop between two and four years of age.

Behavior / temperament:
The Belgian Laekenois is a smart and obedient breed. They are loyal and thrive on loving companionship. This breed needs to be part of a family and may not take to being confined to a kennel; if left to alone, the Laekenois will find ways to entertain self, often at the owner's expense. This breed prefers to bond strongly with one or two people.

The Laekenois is an intelligent dog and a quick learner. They need extensive socialization from an early age, and gentle but consistent training by an experienced trainer. Harsh or overbearing training methods only serve to make them uncooperative, so know how to use positive reinforcement and reward-based training. They are good for working and competition obedience. These dogs make excellent police and guard dogs.

The Laekenois barks loudly at outsiders, but is quiet otherwise.


watch dog, wonderful companion, loyal dogs, loyal companions


typical doggy odor


Minimal grooming requirements

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