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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Belgian Shepherd Laekenois Dog Breed Guide: Pictures, Info, Care & More!

Belgian Shepherd Laekenois Dog Breed Guide: Pictures, Info, Care & More!

belgian shepherd laekenois_Marry Kolesnik_Shutterstock

Strong, intelligent, friendly, and full of life, the Belgian Shepherd Laekenois, or simply Belgian Shepherd, is one of four native dogs to Belgium. If you’re looking for a beautiful, loyal, and fun dog to own that has a distinct look, you should consider a Belgian Shepherd Laekenois. This wiry-coated dog is friendly, full of energy, and highly trainable. The Belgian Shepherd can live happily in both the city and countryside, although it would prefer having its own large space to run free as it’s an energetic breed that loves exercise.

Breed Overview


22-24 inches


55-65 pounds


10-12 years


Fawn, black and tan, mahogany, fawn sable, red, red sable

Suitable for

Active families, those looking for a loyal and protective dog


Intelligent, affectionate, energetic, strong-willed, watchful, protective, active, alert, lively, loyal

Four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd exist and they all share the same physical attributes except for coat and color. The Groenendael has a black long coat; the Tervueren has a long coat that’s red, fawn, or grey and often with a black mask and overlay; the Malinois has a short, dense coat colored the same as the Tervueren, and the Laekenois that we’re covering here, has a harsh wiry coat that’s red or fawn with black shadings.

Belgian Shepherd Laekenois Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Belgian Shepherd Laekenois

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Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

Belgium has always been well-known for producing some of the world’s best milk chocolate, and chocolate has driven that nation’s economy for centuries. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Belgian farmers have always been focused on cattle herding, which included the breeding of herding dogs.

The Belgian Shepherd not only helped farmers keep their livestock in check but these dogs were also used as messengers, ambulance dogs, border patrol dogs, and police dogs. The Belgian Shepherd is a noble breed that has seemingly done it all.  It was revered as a show dog in its native land, a herder, police officer, soldier, service dog, and best friend for playing fetch in the backyard.


Temperament & Intelligence of the Belgian Shepherd Laekenois

The Belgian Shepherd is an astute herding dog that was originally bred to tend to sheep. This medium-sized dog is very sweet-tempered except when it detects a predator around its family. This dog will quickly alert its family to any perceived threat.

The Belgian Shepherd Laekenois is smart, brave, and devoted to its owners. This dog seems to be always in motion when it’s not asleep as it’s a highly active and energetic dog.  If it’s not provided with plenty of exercise to burn off its built-up energy, the Belgian Shepherd will become bored and frustrated. This frustration could lead to destructive behavior like excessively chewing on objects in the home and even furniture.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Belgian Shepherd is a playful dog that makes a wonderful family pet. Anyone interested in getting this breed should be fully prepared to provide the dog with lots of daily exercise including long walks, challenging hikes, and agility and obedience training. This medium-sized breed thrives on physical activity and it’s a dog that’s eager to please its owners. The Belgian Shepherd loves running and romping with kids.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

A Belgian Shepherd Laekenois can get along very well with other pets if they’re raised together. However, when this dog meets a strange dog, it can become aggressive due to its high prey drive. It’s not a good idea to let a Belgian Shepherd loose around small animals like rabbits or cats as it will see them as prey. Any small pet should be slowly introduced to a Belgian Shepherd to ensure the dog does not harm the smaller animal.


Things to Know When Owning a Belgian Shepherd Laekenois:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Belgium Shepherd Laekenois doesn’t require any special diet. Like all breeds, this dog needs to be fed high-quality dog food, whether it’s homemade or commercially purchased. This medium-sized dog should be fed about three cups of dry dog food twice a day. The quality of the food you choose is important. The better the dog food, the healthier your Belgian Shepherd will be, and the less you’ll need to refill the bowl because good dog food is satisfying and filling.

Exercise 🐕

If you’re on the hunt for a soft and cuddly “couch potato” type of dog, the Belgian Shepherd Laekenois probably isn’t for you. This is an energetic dog that thrives on exercise.  Because this is a herding dog that likes to chase, it’s best kept secure inside a fenced yard. This dog needs to run, romp, and play as often as possible.

The Belgian Shepherd loves playing games like Frisbee and ball toss. This is a dog that’s more than happy to join you on a hike in the woods or a jogging tour around town.

Training 🎾

While the Belgian Shepherd is very attentive and responsive, this dog needs to be trained by a confident, experienced owner.  An inexperienced owner may find this strong-willed dog too challenging to train due to its high energy levels.

The Belgian Shepherd is eager to please and enjoys the mental stimulation training provides. It’s a breed that’s exceedingly intelligent and versatile when well-trained and it can learn and do almost anything. The Belgian Shepherd can excel at challenging canine sports as long as the owner/handler is confident and can take charge.

Grooming ✂️

The Belgian Shepherd Laekenois is a medium shedder which means the dog must be brushed daily unless you’re OK with finding dog hair everywhere. The dog’s rough, wiry coat needs regular trimming and clipping so it doesn’t become matted.

This dog doesn’t need to be bathed often unless it gets visibly dirty. However, you should clean the dog’s ears out a couple of times a month to keep them free of dirt and debris. It’s also a good idea to brush this dog’s teeth to keep those chompers in tip-top shape.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Belgian Shepherd is a generally healthy dog that can live up to 12 years. However, like all breeds, this dog is susceptible to some health conditions.

<strong>Serious Conditions:</strong>
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Cancer
  • Minor Conditions:
  • Cataracts
  • Epilepsy
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Hypothyroidism

Male vs Female

If you’ve decided that you want to get a Belgian Shepherd Laekenois but aren’t sure if you want a male or female, you should know that both sexes make great pets. There’s no big difference in personality between a male and female Belgian Shepherd but there is a size difference.

The males are generally bigger and heavier than their female counterparts. A full-grown male can be two inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than a female as it’s common for a male to be 24 inches tall and around 65 pounds in weight.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Belgian Shepherd Laekenois

1. This Breed Has an Instinctual Ability to Control the Movement of Other Animals

Classified as a herding dog, the Belgian Shepherd Laekenois was developed to gather, herd, and protect livestock. The herding instinct is so strong in this dog that it’s been known to gently herd their owners and especially the youngest members of the family. This makes the Belgian Shepherd a great companion dog that responds very well to training exercises.

2. It’s One of the Newest Breeds Recognized by the AKC

Even though the Belgian Shepherd is an old breed originating in Belgium, it wasn’t until 2020 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the breed. It took so long for the AKC to recognize this breed because it’s a fairly uncommon breed in the United States.

3. It’s a Dog That Likes to Chase

The Belgian Shepherd has a strong chase instinct due to it being a herding dog. This dog will eagerly chase joggers, bicyclists, and even cars if given the opportunity. It will also chase any animal that runs away from it.  This dog can also chase and nip at the feet of small children so adult supervision is required anytime there are little humans around this active dog.


Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for an active, loyal, intelligent, and protective dog, the wiry-coated Belgian Shepherd may be the ideal pet for you. This dog will be happiest living in a home with a large fenced yard. It’s a dog with loads of energy which means you’ll need to provide it with plenty of exercise opportunities. This is a friendly breed that loves watching over its family and it will never refuse to join you on adventures.

When well-socialized, the Belgian Shepherd Laekenois is good around children, and especially if they’re raised with them. Just remember that this is a herding dog that may try to herd children when playing with them. This dog can be aggressive toward other animals that aren’t a part of the family. To get your Belgian Shepherd used to being around other animals, start early and use lots of positive reinforcement.

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Featured Image Credit: Marry Kolesnik, Shutterstock

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