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Belgian Laekenois: Discover the Unique, Friendly Belgian Breed

August 20, 2023

Welcome to our in-depth guide to the Belgian Laekenois, a unique and friendly breed that is gaining popularity in the United States. Originally bred in Belgium for herding, the Laekenois has a distinctive appearance and a playful, intelligent temperament that makes them a great fit for families and working professionals alike.

two Belgian Laekenois dogs sitting next to each other

Key Takeaways:

  • The Belgian Laekenois is a unique and friendly breed originally bred for herding in Belgium.
  • The breed has a distinctive appearance and playful, intelligent temperament.
  • The Laekenois is suitable as a family pet or working companion.

History of the Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois breed originated in Belgium, as one of four varieties of Belgian herding dogs. Along with the Belgian Tervuren, Malinois, and Groenendael, the Laekenois has played an important role in herding and protecting livestock for hundreds of years.

While the other three Belgian breeds were officially recognized in the early 20th century, the Laekenois was not recognized until many years later. In fact, it wasn't until 1955 that the breed was officially recognized by the Belgian Kennel Club. Despite their late recognition, Laekenois dogs have long been valued for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility.

Interesting Facts About the Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois is named after the town of Laeken, a suburb of Brussels where the breed was first developed. The breed's unique coat texture and coloration sets them apart from the other Belgian breeds, with a rough and wiry coat that can range in color from fawn to mahogany.

Laekenois dogs have been used in a variety of roles throughout history, including as messenger dogs during World War I and as police and search and rescue dogs today. They are highly trainable, intelligent, and adaptable, making them a great choice for a wide range of work and activities.

Belgian Laekenois Characteristics

The Belgian Laekenois is a medium-sized breed that is known for its unique appearance and friendly disposition. These dogs are intelligent, confident, and energetic, making them the perfect fit for active families who are looking for a loyal companion.

Physical Characteristics

The Belgian Laekenois has a square-shaped head, sharp-pointed ears, and a long, rough-textured coat. Some Laekenois have a reddish-brown coat color, while others have a fawn-colored coat. Their coat is thick and wiry, and it requires regular grooming to maintain its health and appearance. Laekenois weigh between 55 to 65 pounds and stand at a height of 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder.

Temperamental Characteristics

Belgian Laekenois have a confident and assertive personality, but they are also affectionate towards their families. These dogs are loyal and protective and make excellent guard dogs, although they require early socialization to ensure they don't become too aggressive towards strangers. Laekenois are intelligent and eager to please their owners, which makes them easy to train but also requires regular mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

Overall, the Belgian Laekenois is a unique breed that is perfect for active families who are looking for a loyal and loving companion. Their friendly and confident personality, combined with their intelligence and loyalty, make them an excellent choice for pet owners looking for a long-term companion.

Living with a Belgian Laekenois

Living with a Belgian Laekenois is a joyful experience that requires patience, understanding, and commitment. This breed is known for its lively and playful nature, making them a great companion for families with children. They are also very protective of their families, making them great watchdogs.

One important thing to consider when living with a Belgian Laekenois is their temperament. They are intelligent, eager to please, and enjoy being around people. However, they can also be stubborn and require consistent training, especially when it comes to socialization with other pets and strangers.

Lifestyle Needs

Belgian Laekenois thrive in active households, and they require plenty of exercise and playtime. They enjoy being outdoors and benefit from running, walking, or playing fetch in the yard. This breed is also intelligent and requires mental stimulation, so consider training activities or puzzle toys to keep their minds sharp.

It's important to note that Belgian Laekenois are not suitable for apartment living. They need plenty of space to move and play, so a house with a fenced yard is best.

Training Considerations

Training is essential for a Belgian Laekenois, as they are a working breed that thrives on learning and performing tasks. Positive reinforcement training is recommended, and consistency is key. These dogs respond well to rewards, such as treats and praise, when they do something right.

Early socialization is also important for Belgian Laekenois, as they can be wary of strangers and other pets if not properly socialized. Introduce them to new people, environments, and pets gradually and positively.

Grooming Requirements

The Belgian Laekenois has a thick, wiry coat that requires regular grooming. They shed moderately, making weekly brushing and trimming necessary to keep their coat healthy and clean. Bathe them when necessary, and check their ears regularly for signs of infection.

It's also important to trim their nails regularly, as long nails can cause discomfort and make walking difficult.

In conclusion, living with a Belgian Laekenois requires patience, commitment, and understanding of their unique temperament and needs. With proper training, exercise, and grooming, this breed can be a loyal and loving companion for the right family.

Belgian Laekenois as Family Pets

The Belgian Laekenois is not only a great working dog but also a wonderful companion for families. Their loving and loyal temperament makes them an excellent addition to any family unit.

Their Interaction with Children and Other Pets

Belgian Laekenois is patient and gentle with children, making them perfect playmates. However, like any dog, they require supervision during playtime to ensure everyone's safety. Additionally, they can get along with other pets in the household if they are socialized early and correctly. With proper introduction and training, they can live harmoniously with other household pets.

Loyalty and Protective Instincts

Belgian Laekenois is fiercely loyal and protective of their family. They have an innate sense of protection and can be very territorial. This protective nature makes them a great watchdog, alerting their owners to any potential danger or intruders. They will do anything to protect their family, making them an excellent guard dog.

"Belgian Laekenois is fiercely loyal and protective of their family."

However, it's essential to remember that this protective tendency can turn aggressive if not adequately trained and socialized, so proper training and socialization are crucial for a well-behaved Belgian Laekenois.

Overall, the Belgian Laekenois is not only a unique and intelligent working dog but also a loyal and loving companion. They make great family pets that will love and protect their family.

The Belgian Laekenois as a Working Dog

The Belgian Laekenois is a versatile breed that excels in various working roles. They are highly intelligent and trainable, making them an excellent choice for police work, search and rescue, and herding.

Police Work

The Belgian Laekenois is a natural fit for police work due to their trainability and protective instincts. They are often used as a K-9 unit for law enforcement, serving as patrol dogs, drug detection dogs, and bomb detection dogs.

They are highly focused and excel in situations where quick thinking and decisive action are required. Their strong protective instincts also make them excellent guard dogs.

Search and Rescue

The Belgian Laekenois is a skilled search and rescue dog due to their keen sense of smell and agility. They can cover difficult terrain and locate lost or missing people with ease.

Their intelligence and trainability also make them excellent for disaster search and rescue work. They can be trained to navigate through rubble and debris to locate survivors.


The Belgian Laekenois was originally bred as a herding dog, and they still excel in this role today. They are highly intelligent and can think for themselves, making them excellent at problem-solving and handling difficult situations.

They have a natural herding instinct, and with proper training, they can herd livestock with ease. They are also a great help in keeping wildlife away from crops and gardens.

In conclusion, the Belgian Laekenois is a highly versatile breed that excels in various working roles. Their intelligence, trainability, and protective instincts make them an excellent choice for police work, search and rescue, and herding.

Belgian Laekenois Puppy Care

Welcoming a Belgian Laekenois puppy into your home requires preparation and commitment. Here are some tips to help you care for your new furry friend:


Belgian Laekenois puppies are highly intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement training techniques. This breed needs consistent training routines and socialization from an early age to ensure that they grow up to be well-behaved and obedient adult dogs. Consider enrolling your puppy in a puppy kindergarten class or working with a professional dog trainer to establish good habits.


A Belgian Laekenois' thick and wiry coat requires regular brushing and occasional bathing to maintain its health and appearance. Use a slicker brush to remove tangles and dead hair, focusing on the dog's undercoat. Do not shave a Belgian Laekenois' coat, as it provides insulation and protection from the elements. Instead, trim any excess hair around the paws, ears, and tail.


Caring for your Belgian Laekenois' health starts with regular visits to the veterinarian. Your puppy will need vaccinations against common canine diseases, as well as regular check-ups to ensure that they are growing up healthy and happy. Keep your dog's teeth clean by brushing them regularly and providing chew toys to help remove plaque.


Belgian Laekenois puppies are naturally social and enjoy spending time with their families. They are also loyal and protective, which means that early socialization is critical to ensure that they are comfortable around strangers and other animals. Introduce your puppy to different smells, sights, and sounds in a safe and controlled environment, and reward good behavior with treats and praise.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your Belgian Laekenois puppy grows up to be a happy and well-adjusted adult dog. Remember to be patient and consistent in your approach, and to enjoy the journey of raising a furry companion.

Training a Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois is an intelligent breed that thrives on learning new things and performing tasks. With consistent training, they can excel in various fields, including herding, search and rescue, and police work. However, training a Belgian Laekenois requires a firm and patient approach.

Training Methods

Positive reinforcement is the most effective training method for a Belgian Laekenois. They respond well to rewards such as treats, praise, and playtime. Consistency is crucial when training a Belgian Laekenois. Stick to a regular routine and avoid confusing them with mixed signals.

Start training your Belgian Laekenois from a young age. Socialization is essential, and exposing them to new people and environments early on will help them become well-rounded dogs. Keep training sessions short and fun, and use lots of positive reinforcement.


Belgian Laekenois can be stubborn and independent, making training challenging at times. They require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Incorporate games and interactive toys into their training routine to keep them engaged.

Additionally, Belgian Laekenois can be wary of strangers and may exhibit protective behavior towards their family. Proper socialization and training can help mitigate this behavior.

Consistency Is Key

Training a Belgian Laekenois requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. With proper training, they can excel in various fields and become well-behaved family pets. Avoid using harsh methods and keep training sessions fun and engaging.

Grooming the Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois has a distinctive coat that requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and looking its best. Here are some tips on how to groom your Belgian Laekenois:


The Belgian Laekenois has a double coat that consists of a harsh, wiry outer coat and a soft undercoat. To keep the coat looking its best, it's important to brush your Laekenois regularly, at least once a week.

Use a slicker brush or a pin brush to remove any loose hair and tangles. Start by brushing against the direction of hair growth to loosen any knots or mats, then brush in the direction of hair growth to smooth the coat. Be sure to brush all the way down to the skin to remove any debris or dirt.


The Belgian Laekenois only needs to be bathed occasionally, about every three months or as needed. Before bathing, brush out any knots or tangles and trim any excess hair around the paws and ears.

Use a dog-specific shampoo and warm water to lather up your Laekenois' coat, working from head to tail. Rinse thoroughly and make sure all the shampoo is removed. Dry your Laekenois with a towel or a blow dryer, taking care not to burn their sensitive skin with the heat.

Grooming the Ears and Teeth

The Belgian Laekenois has erect ears that require special care to prevent infections. Check your Laekenois' ears regularly for any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge. Clean the ears with a cotton ball or a soft cloth moistened with ear cleaning solution, being careful not to insert anything into the ear canal.

The Belgian Laekenois is also prone to dental problems, so it's important to brush their teeth regularly, at least two to three times a week. Use a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to gently scrub your Laekenois' teeth and gums, removing any plaque or tartar build-up.

Grooming the Nails

The Belgian Laekenois' nails grow quickly and need to be trimmed regularly to prevent them from becoming too long and causing discomfort or injury. Trim the nails using dog-specific nail clippers, taking care not to cut the quick, which is the blood vessel and nerve that runs through the nail. If you're not comfortable trimming your Laekenois' nails yourself, ask your veterinarian or a professional groomer for help.

Regular grooming not only helps to keep your Belgian Laekenois healthy and looking good, but it's also an important opportunity for you to bond with your pet. With a little bit of patience and a lot of love, grooming your Belgian Laekenois can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Health Considerations for Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois is generally a healthy breed with a life expectancy of 10-12 years. However, like all dogs, they can be susceptible to certain health issues.

Health ConditionDescription
Hip DysplasiaA genetic condition where the hip joint doesn't develop correctly, causing pain and mobility issues.
EpilepsyA neurological disorder that can cause seizures.
CataractsA clouding of the eye's lens, which can result in vision issues.
AllergiesSome Belgian Laekenois may be prone to food or environmental allergies, which can cause skin irritation, itching, and other symptoms.
Thyroid IssuesThe thyroid gland can malfunction, leading to issues with metabolism, energy levels, and weight management.

Regular veterinary check-ups and preventative care can help manage or prevent these conditions. It's also essential to ensure that your Belgian Laekenois maintains a healthy weight and receives proper nutrition and exercise.

If you are considering buying a Belgian Laekenois puppy, make sure to research breeders thoroughly and ask for health clearances for the parents. This can help ensure that you are getting a healthy puppy that's less likely to develop genetic health issues.

group of Belgian Laekenois dogs

Exercise Needs of the Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois is an active breed that requires plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. Regular exercise not only helps them maintain their physical health, but it also stimulates their minds and relieves boredom, which can prevent destructive behavior in the home.

As a high-energy breed, Belgian Laekenois require at least an hour of exercise a day, but ideally, they should receive more. This exercise can come in the form of brisk walks, runs, jogs, or hikes. Additionally, playing fetch, tug-of-war, and other interactive games can also provide great mental and physical stimulation for your Belgian Laekenois.

However, it is important to keep in mind that this breed also needs mental stimulation alongside physical exercise. Training sessions, agility courses, and puzzle toys can provide the mental challenge they need to stay sharp and prevent boredom.

Remember to adjust your dog's exercise routine to fit their needs and abilities. Puppies and senior dogs may require shorter or less intense exercise sessions compared to adult dogs.

Keep in mind that exercise should always be done in a safe and controlled environment. Avoid exercising your dog in extreme weather conditions, and be sure to supervise them around other dogs and people to ensure their safety.

Overall, the Belgian Laekenois is a breed that requires a good amount of daily exercise to keep them healthy, happy, and well-behaved. With plenty of physical and mental stimulation, your Belgian Laekenois is sure to be a happy and fulfilled companion.

Finding a Belgian Laekenois

If you have decided that the Belgian Laekenois is the right breed for you, the next step is to find a reputable breeder. It's important to do your research and ensure that you are getting a healthy and well-bred puppy.

One way to find a breeder is through the AKC Marketplace, which lists breeders who have agreed to follow AKC standards. It's also a good idea to attend dog shows or events to meet breeders in person and observe their dogs.

Adoption can also be an option. The American Belgian Laekenois Association has a rescue network that may have adult dogs or puppies available. Additionally, local shelters and rescue organizations may have Belgian Laekenois or Belgian Laekenois mixes available for adoption.

Regardless of whether you choose to purchase from a breeder or adopt, be sure to ask questions about health testing, socialization, and any guarantees or contracts associated with the purchase or adoption of the dog.

Belgian Laekenois: A Unique and Loving Companion

Belgian Laekenois is a breed that stands out from the rest, known for its unique and friendly nature. This breed is highly adaptable and is suitable for various purposes, making it an excellent addition to the right family.

Their loyalty and intelligence make them a perfect companion for those willing to invest time and effort into training, grooming, and providing ample exercise.

Belgian Laekenois is highly adaptable, making them ideal family pets. They have a remarkable ability to interact with children and other pets, and their loyalty and protective instincts make them a perfect guard dog.

Their unique characteristics, combined with their loving nature, make them an excellent companion for the right family.


The Belgian Laekenois is a unique and fascinating breed with a friendly, intelligent, and loyal nature. They make excellent working dogs and family pets for the right owner who is willing to provide the necessary exercise, training, and socialization.

Throughout this article, we have explored the history and characteristics of the Belgian Laekenois, their suitability as family pets and working companions, as well as tips and guidance on caring for them. We have also discussed the importance of finding a reputable breeder or adoption options to ensure a healthy and happy puppy.

If you are considering adding a Belgian Laekenois to your family, it's essential to research and understand their unique needs to provide them with the best possible care. With proper training, exercise, and plenty of love, the Belgian Laekenois can make a unique and loving companion for years to come.


Q: What is the history of the Belgian Laekenois breed?

A: The Belgian Laekenois breed has a rich history that dates back several centuries. They originated in Belgium and were initially bred for herding livestock. Over time, they have also been utilized for various purposes such as police work and search and rescue operations.

Q: What are the physical and temperamental characteristics of the Belgian Laekenois?

A: Belgian Laekenois are medium-sized dogs with a distinctive wiry coat. They have a strong and agile build, making them well-suited for various activities. In terms of temperament, they are known for being intelligent, alert, and protective. They are also highly trainable and loyal to their families.

Q: Are Belgian Laekenois suitable as family pets?

A: Yes, Belgian Laekenois can make great family pets. They are generally good with children when properly socialized and trained. Their protective nature also makes them excellent watchdogs. However, it's important to ensure that they receive proper exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Q: Can Belgian Laekenois be trained for specific tasks?

A: Absolutely! Belgian Laekenois are highly trainable and excel in various working roles such as herding, tracking, and search and rescue. They have a natural inclination towards learning and thrive in jobs that require mental and physical stimulation.

Q: How should I take care of a Belgian Laekenois puppy?

A: Caring for a Belgian Laekenois puppy involves regular grooming, training, and socialization. They have a dense, wiry coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting. Early training and socialization are crucial to ensure they grow into well-behaved and well-adjusted dogs.

Q: What are some important tips for training a Belgian Laekenois?

A: When training a Belgian Laekenois, consistency and positive reinforcement are key. They respond well to reward-based training methods and enjoy mental challenges. Establishing a routine and providing them with plenty of opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation will help channel their intelligence and energy effectively.

Q: How often does a Belgian Laekenois need grooming?

A: Belgian Laekenois require regular grooming to maintain the health and appearance of their coat. Brushing them at least once or twice a week, along with occasional bathing, will help keep their coat in good condition. It's also important to regularly check their ears, nails, and teeth for any signs of issues.

Q: Are there any health considerations specific to Belgian Laekenois?

A: Like all breeds, Belgian Laekenois can be prone to certain health conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet are essential for their overall well-being. It's important to be aware of conditions such as hip dysplasia and certain genetic disorders that may affect the breed.

Q: How much exercise do Belgian Laekenois need?

A: Belgian Laekenois are an active breed and require regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. They benefit from daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation activities such as puzzle toys. Providing them with outlets for their energy and intelligence helps prevent behavioral issues.

Q: Where can I find a Belgian Laekenois puppy?

A: If you're interested in getting a Belgian Laekenois puppy, it's important to find a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs. You can also consider adoption options or reach out to breed-specific rescue organizations that may have Belgian Laekenois available for adoption.

Q: What makes the Belgian Laekenois a unique and loving companion?

A: Belgian Laekenois are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and adaptability. They form strong bonds with their families and are always eager to please. Their versatility as both working dogs and family pets makes them a truly unique and loving companion for the right household.

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