By Dr. Watuwa JamesDr. James Watuwa Last updated: 27th November 2023


The Laekenois (pronunciation: LAK-in-wah) is a breed of medium-sized dogs recognized as a type of Belgian Shepherd in the US and is not considered as a separate breed. In Canada, Australia, Britain, and the rest of Europe, the Laekenois and its closely-related breeds, including the Malinois, Groenendael, and Tervuren can take part in dog shows. It has a clean-cut head, brown eyes, triangular ears, moderately pointed muzzle, round, somewhat outstretched neck, deep chest, long, oblique shoulders, and a tail of medium length held low at rest but keeps it raised and slightly curved when in action.

Laekenois Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesBelgian Shepherd Dog (Laeken), Belgian Laekenois, Chien de Berger Belge
CoatMedium length, rough
ColorLight fawn, red-brown, black shading, white patch on chest
Breed TypePurebred
GroupSheepdog, Working Dog, Herding Dog, Pastoral
Lifespan10-12 years
WeightFemale: 44-55 lbs
Male: 55-66 lbs
HeightFemale: 22-24 in
Male: 24-26 in
Size of LitterAround 6-10 puppies
TemperamentAlert, lively, protective, loyal, courageous
Good with ChildrenYes
Country Originated inBelgium
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationABLA, ACA, ACR, AKC/FSS, APRI, ANKC, CKC, DRA, FCI, KCGB, NKC, NAPR, NZKC, UKC

Video: Belgian Shepherd Dog Laekenois Agility Training


Developed as a herding dog at the Castle of Laeken, the Belgian Laekenois is considered the oldest and rarest of the Belgian Shepherd varieties that performed other tasks like guarding linen kept in the fields to dry. It also served as a messenger dog during the World War I and II, after which its numbers significantly decreased. For restoring its population, it was freely mixed with the other varieties until the beginning of the 20th century when the dog shows were started. Today, it is admired for its ability to guard its family and home.

Temperament and Behavior

The Belgian Shepherd Dog exhibits its qualities of devotion, boldness, intelligence, and watchfulness to its owner. Because of its inherent guarding instincts, it will always be ready to protect its people from danger.

It is attentive and observant around strangers but not suspicious in its relationship with humans. However, it neither shows extreme fear and shyness nor aggressiveness by an unprovoked attack.

Although it is usually friendly with people and animals it knows well, it may try to herd young children and small pets. Be sure to train your dog early and teach it that this is unacceptable.



Being a working dog, the Belgian Laekenois is familiar to an active life. Therefore, it needs lots of exercises, including long, daily walks as well as off-leash run and play in a fenced area. It can be trained to compete in obedience, agility trials, flyball, tracking, showmanship, and herding events.


Its regular weekly grooming regimen includes brushing its coat, trimming its fast-growing nails, and brushing its teeth. An occasional bath will help keep its coat clean, also giving it a shiny appearance. Its ears should be checked every day for redness, swelling, or other signs of infection.

Health Problems

The Belgian Shepherd Laekenois is generally a robust, healthy breed but some individuals may be susceptible to epilepsy, bloating, hip dysplasia, thyroid disease, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy.


Since the intelligent Belgian Laekenois always wants to please its owner, it takes to training easily and quickly.

In order to help your Laekenois grow comfortable with the people around it, take it out to a public area like a busy street or a park where it will meet humans of different shapes, sizes, and complexion. You may arrange play-dates with your neighbors’ or friends’ pets and help them get acquainted.

Stop unwanted herding
The moment your Laekenois starts poking and pushing you around, stay calm and avoid laughing, yelling at him, or running away, as it might reinforce the behavior. Enforce obedience training and control its actions by teaching basic commands like sit, stay, and stop and practice these commands whenever it is likely to herd people.


It does well on a quality dog food appropriate to its age. Make sure you check its weight level and daily calorie consumption to prevent it from getting overweight.

Interesting Facts

  • The Laekenois can be easily recognized by the blend of its brown and white coat, giving it a rough appearance.

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