Belgian Laekenois

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 4, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© cynoclub/


Belgian Laekenois Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Belgian Laekenois Conservation Status

Belgian Laekenois Locations

Belgian Laekenois Locations

Belgian Laekenois Facts

Name Of Young
Most Distinctive Feature
rough and wiry coat
Other Name(s)
Laekense, Belgian Shepherd Laekenois
intelligent, energetic, and protective

Belgian Laekenois Physical Characteristics

  • Grey
  • Fawn
  • Red
Skin Type
Top Speed
28.72 mph
10-12 years
55-65 pounds
22-24 inches (females), 24-26 inches (males)

Belgian Laekenois as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Cold climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
55-65 lbs
Female weight
55-65 lbs

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Belgian Laekenois Introduction

The Belgian Laekenois is an intelligent, hardworking dog. One of four (and perhaps the oldest) variations of the Belgian Shepherd, this energetic dog is distinguished by its rough red coat and is named after the village of Laeken in Belgium.

Originally bred to herd livestock (and protect drying laundry), this member of the herding group is up to almost any task. Its agile mind and sturdy build have suited it for various tasks, including carrying messages for the military and serving as police or narcotics dogs. It has a lot of energy and needs to be worked or exercised intensely.

Notwithstanding its working pedigree, the dog is also capable of loyal and affectionate interactions with its owners. When properly socialized, it can be a solid family dog, though adults should always monitor interactions with small children, as it tends to chase and nip at the heels when not properly trained.

Belgian Laekenois Fun Fact

In addition to guarding flocks, this dog was responsible for protecting hanging linen drying outdoors.

3 Pros And Cons Of Owning A Belgian Laekenois

The Laekenois is a quick learner who excels at challenges and is curious, observant, and obedient. They served as military dogs in WWII because of their trainability and adaptability.
High exercise needs
The Belgian Laekenois is a working dog. Its high-energy nature requires more than 60 minutes a day of intense activity. It enjoys time outdoors and benefits from time off-lead in an enclosed space.
As a herding dog, it is instinctively protective and territorial. A well-trained Laekenois makes a good watchdog due to its strength and size.
Potentially destructive when bored
This dog needs a job to do, or it can become destructive due to its energy and intelligence. Training in obedience or agility can help with that.
Affectionate to owners
It forms strong bonds with one or two members of the family. Its goal is to make its owners happy, and when directed, it will be joyfully obedient.
Reserved with strangers
The flip side of its protective and affectionate nature is that it is wary of strangers. It will take note of anyone new in its environment. If not properly engaged and socialized, it may bite.

History Of The Breed

The Belgian Laekenois is named for the municipality of Laeken, in Brussels, where they originated in the 1880s, as a herding dog of the Laeken Castle and can be traced to the Belgian Royal Family where they were intended to protect and herd the royal sheep. Originally thought to be the same breed of sheepdog as the Malinois, the Groenendael, and the Turveren, and merely differentiated by their coat colors and textures, they were all declared separate breeds by the American Kennel Club and the Belgian Laekanois is the oldest and rarest of the Belgian shepherds

The Best Dog Food For Belgian Laekenois

Belgian Laekenois

This breed of dog is high-energy and a raw-infused grain-free diet might be best.

© – License

The Belgian Laekenois is a larger, high-energy dog that uses much energy. That, in conjunction with the breed’s potential hip and elbow issues, leads us at A-Z Animals to pick Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free & with Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food as the best dog food for the Belgian Laekenois.

Merrick Backcountry Dog Food is a freeze-dried kibble that packs a lot of protein into a smaller package. This brand is high in protein for the dog’s energy needs and has Glucosamine and Chondroitin to maintain healthy joints.

Types Of

The Belgian Laekenois is a single breed, which means there is only one type of this particular shepherd but it does come in different coat colors. This sheepdog has a rough, tousled coat that comes in three possible shades of red, fawn, or tones of gray.

Size And Weight

The Belgian Laekenois is a sturdy, medium-to-large-sized dog that maxes out at about 55-65 lbs. The male will grow to approximately 24 to 26 inches, while the female will reach 22 to 24 inches in height.

Height (Male)24-26 inches
Height (Female)22-24 inches
Weight (Male)55-65 lbs.
Weight (Female)55-65 lbs.

Common Health Issues

Rarest Dogs: Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois, while relatively healthy, may suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia.


While the Laekenois is a sturdy, robust breed with a relatively good health record, there are some issues you should keep an eye out for. Like many larger dogs, it tends to suffer hip and elbow dysplasia. Proper dental hygiene is a necessity for all dogs. Many of these issues are common to most dogs:

  • Skin allergies
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Dental issues


Belgian Laekenois are active, intelligent, and hardworking dogs. Their energetic nature and trainability make them good hiking, running, and cycling companions. They tend to bond intensely with one or two family members, and they are good with children if they acclimate to them from an early age. Though they connect well with their owners, they tend to be wary of strangers. In conjunction with their intelligence and obedience, this alert nature makes them good guard dogs.

How to Take Care of Belgian Laekenois

Belgian Laekenois

Belgian Laekenois are energetic dogs, distinguished by its rough red coat and is named after the village of Laeken in Belgium.

© – License

Potential owners of a Belgian Lakaenois, especially a puppy, should consider several factors before taking on this challenge. Regular grooming, consistent training, intense exercise, and early socialization are required to care for this dog properly.

Maintenance And Grooming

The unique, wiry coat of the Laekenois requires special care. Trim the fur about twice a year to remove dead and stray hairs. Don’t shave it short, as this mars its appearance and will take years to grow back. A light shave every once in a while will be fine.

Laekenois don’t shed excessively, but they do shed the entire year. Regular combing with a coarse comb can prevent an excess of hair during any heavy shedding season. The hair should be rough and slightly tangled without curling. Try only to wash the coat when necessary because excessive washing can damage its waterproof nature.

The nails grow fast, so they should be trimmed regularly with a nail grinder to keep them from splitting and cracking. Make sure to brush the dog’s teeth regularly to avoid potential dental issues. Also, check the ears regularly for wax buildup and debris.


The Belgian Laekenois is an intelligent, active, and protective dog, and it’s easily bored. Consequently, it is vitally important that it be trained and socialized. Its herding instincts lead it to chase and nip, which should be actively discouraged. If a Laekenois has nothing to do, it will find something to do. It can be destructive when bored.

Its energy and intelligence make it good at dog sports, like agility training. It also excels at obedience training. Laekenois are very trainable and, in addition to serving as WWII messenger dogs, they currently do various tasks for law enforcement.


Laekenois running down a path with tongue out

Laekenois has incredible energy and requires vigorous exercise on a daily basis.

©Marry Kolesnik/

This dog has nearly boundless energy and requires more exercise than the typical dog. A short walk around the block won’t cut it! Sixty minutes a day, including a vigorous walk, is the bare minimum required for the Laekenois. Some play time off-lead in a safe, enclosed space is also recommended. Obedience and agility work are also good ways to tap this dog’s energy reserves. This dog wants to move!


Because of its protective and herding tendencies, Belgian Laekenois puppies must begin socialization as soon as possible. Due to their intelligence, they can start learning as early as eight weeks. It is recommended that they begin puppy kindergarten between 10-12 weeks and begin heavy socialization rounds. Also, if they are to be around cats, it is recommended that they be introduced to them when they are puppies.

Belgian Laekenois And Children

Laekenois can be good with children, but the dogs must be socialized at the puppy stage with them. Effective, consistent training is also necessary to curtail the dog’s nipping and chasing tendencies. Ideally, the children would be older so that they can handle the dog responsibly. Small children should only play with the dogs under adult supervision.

Dogs Similar To Belgian Laekenois

If you like dogs from the herding group, you may also like these:

  • Great Pyrenees: Like the Laekenois, the Great Pyrenees is affectionate with its owners and wary of strangers. These dogs have been around for thousands of years.
  • Border Collie: The Border Collie shares the intelligence and high energy of the Belgian Laekenois. Like the Laekenois, the Border Collie requires activity and direction.
  • Bernese Mountain Dog: Another hardworking herding dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog, shares the Laekenois affection for cooler temperatures. They are also known to become attached to just one or two people.

Popular Names For Belgian Laekenois

Here are 10 of the most popular names for the Belgian Laekenois:

  • Buddy
  • Max
  • Toby
  • Jack
  • Cody
  • Bella
  • Daisy
  • Coco
  • Luna
  • Maggie

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

Melissa Bauernfeind was born in NYC and got her degree in Journalism from Boston University. She lived in San Diego for 10 years and is now back in NYC. She loves adventure and traveling the world with her husband but always misses her favorite little man, "P", half Chihuahua/half Jack Russell, all trouble. She got dive-certified so she could dive with the Great White Sharks someday and is hoping to swim with the Orcas as well.

Belgian Laekenois FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Do Belgian Lakenois shed?

While shedding throughout the year, the Laekenois sheds very little. When it comes to heavier shedding season, brushing will help reduce the amount of fur found throughout your house.

How do you pronounce 'Laekenois?'

The proper pronunciation for ‘Laekenois’ is LAK-in-wah. This refers to the village of Laeken in Belgium. Though it looks like a Greek word, it is actually French.

Are Laekenois hypoallergenic?

Though its coat looks poodle-like, Laekenois are not hypoallergenic.

What breeds make up the Belgian Laekenois?

The Laekenois came from a common herding dog that was bred in Western Europe from breeds including the Bouvier des Ardennes, the Dutch Shepherd, and the German Shepherd.

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