Would you like to adopt a strong-willed breed, always up to hitting the gym and does not really care about the gossip? If yes, Belgian Laekenois might be “the one” for you!

Before you go crazy and adopt this magnificent yet rare breed, you better learn everything about it. In this article, we have covered everything from their temperament and personality to their everyday grooming and training needs!


Height22-26 inches
Weight45-65 lbs
Life span12-14 years
Exercise needs1-2 hours daily
TemperamentShy, Protective, Affectionate
GroomingLow maintenance
OriginLaeken, Belgium

Origin of the Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois dog breed is also known as one of the four Belgian Shepherds. The breed originated in a suburb of Brussels named Laeken, Belgium. As you can tell by now, they got their name from the place of origin itself. But also, it shares some relevance with having the name after the Royal Castle of Laeken. The Belgian farmers found a gem in the name of this working guard dog. And this is how the breed spent its life herding and protecting the livestock. 

In fact, these dogs breed charmed Queen Marie Henriette of Belgium. Today, it is a rare dog breed, but in its time, it was admired for so much more than herding locally. Even during the wars, Belgian Laekenois played a crucial role as messenger dogs. And the list of accomplishments does not end here! Belgian Laekenois has played all the roles of a working dog, including being rescue dogs, guard dogs, or accompanying the militants. 

Appearance of the Belgian Laekenois

This dog breed has certain characteristics and physical attributes that set it apart from other dog breeds. Here are details about the appearance of Belgian Laekenois:

1. Size and body

This medium-sized breed stands at a height of 22-26 inches, while its weight is around 45-65 pounds. This definitely is not a dog you can roam around holding in one hand! With their muscled and tough body, these dogs can intimidate anyone. Belgian Laekenois has a well-proportioned and well-defined body that gives them a “gentlemanly look.”

2. Coat

The distinctive feature of Belgian Laekenois dogs is their coat. It is a wiry, water-resistant coat that looks somewhat like beach wave curls. The curls, however, are not so defined or long. Instead, it is short and rough to touch. When it comes to their coat colors, there is a simple reddish-brown shade, fawn or mahogany. Most of them have a reddish-brown color with black features. 

3. Other features

With their short muzzle and a wide skull, Belgian Laekenois has a full-time “I am serious” look that might even be cute at times! They may look like they have no idea what’s happening around them, but believe us, they are highly alert beings. You can tell that by their eyes and agile walks. 

Personality and Temperament

If you want to adopt this dog breed, let’s see if you are a match! Here are the personality traits and temperament of Belgian Laekenois:

1. Loyal and protective

The Belgian Laekenois dog breed is known for its loyalty towards the owner. They never turn their back on their owners and always listen to the instructions. Such quality makes them a fun breed to train, as they are less likely to throw tantrums. Also, they are super protective of their family members and belongings. 

2. Shy and reserved

You’ll be surprised to know that these furry buddies are one of the most shy breeds. They are not the ones to be partying but more likely to be the ones standing in the corner. They are independent and enjoy their own company. However, this behavior can become problematic over time as these dogs may consider every stranger a threat. You should provide early socialization to Belgian Laekenois puppy so they can adjust well in the future. 

3. Independent thinkers

Another personality trait of the Belgian Laekenois dog breed is that they are independent thinkers. They can analyze the situation and make decisions themselves. This behavior may show up as dominating at times, but with proper training, it can be improved. You should be channeling their instincts in the right direction. 

4. Affectionate with family members

One of the most loved qualities of Belgian Laekenois is that they are highly emotional and affectionate. Although they are reserved with strangers, once these dogs are familiar with faces, they are the best ones to pet!

If you are someone with a strong work ethic and discipline, then there is no better dog for you than Belgian Laekenois!
a Belgian Laekenois dog near a forest lake

Grooming Needs of the Belgian Laekenois

Every dog breed has certain grooming requirements which need to be followed. This not only should be followed by proper training, but also an adequate nutritional diet. With a lifespan of 12-14 years, this dog is a low-maintenance breed. Their wirey curly fur makes them look clean and “in place.” Here is the guide for you on the grooming needs of the Belgian Laekenois dog breed:

1. Brushing

The beach wave curls of the Belgian Laekenois dog breed do not require much care. All you need to do is brush them once or twice a week. This will help to get rid of tangles or loose hair, if any. As this breed is not hypoallergenic, it would be best to brush out the loose fur so they don’t spread it all over your couch. Also, please use suitable dog supplies and brushes, as human products can be harsh on your dog’s skin. 

2. Bathing

Another grooming essential is bathing! This is where things get a bit easy, as you only need to bathe these dogs on a need-to basis. If your dog has started smelling bad due to sweat and dirt, you can give them a warm bath session. 

However, please do not bathe them too often, as it can lead to skin infections, which is one of the common health concerns in dogs. How? Too much bathing can remove the natural oils and harm the skin. You should use dog-friendly shampoo and conditioner to maintain Belgian Laekenois’s skin health

3. Cleaning

Lastly, it would be best if you cleaned these areas of Belgian Laekenois with a clean and damp cloth:

  • Ears for ear wax build-up
  • Neck and folded skin areas for debris and dirt build up
  • Eyes for eye boogers
  • Paws and nails for dirt build-up

Exercise and Training Needs

The Belgian Laekenois requires at least 1 hour of exercise every day. This can be extended up to 2 hours as well, depending on the time and energy. When it comes to training, Belgian Laekenois can be a bit challenging breed. Here are the activities you can include in this guard dog’s training sessions: 

  1. One of the first things to teach this breed is basic obedience. You should train them to follow instructions and commands. This can be with the help of leash training, as you can help them navigate for commands like “sit,” “walk,” or “stay.” During this, you can also use positive reinforcement techniques such as tossing them their favorite human food treats like blueberries. This will motivate them to follow the rules. 
  1. Early socialization is essential as the Belgian Laekenois is reserved with strangers and may even be aggressive with other dogs. With proper training, they will adjust well to other pets and react in a not-so-violent way. 
  1. One of the most important things is to be super patient with these strong guard dogs. You will need to give them proper attention and energy. Not only this, but every dog requires a consistent routine. This will keep them disciplined and respectful towards their work ethic.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, Belgian Laekenois is a beautiful dog breed for experienced dog owners. The reason why this breed may not work for first-time dog owners is because of the extensive training needs. However, their grooming need won’t be too hard to handle! We do not recommend this dog breed for first-time owners because of their training needs. Hence, even though their grooming needs are basic, their strong-willed nature needs an experienced and dominant owner to train these canine buddies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Belgian Laekenois the same as a Belgian Malinois?

No. The Belgian Laekenois is not the same as the Belgian Malinois. These two are technically the cousins, as they are one of the four Belgian Shepherds. Their personalities may have some similarities, but they are considered different breeds. The other three Belgian shepherds are Groenendael, Belgian Malinois, and the Belgian Tervuren

Are Belgian Laekenois hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately, the Belgian Laekenois dog breed is not hypoallergenic. If you or anyone in your family is sensitive to allergens, this dog breed might not suit you. However, with proper grooming and brushing, you can lessen the fur shed. 

Are Belgian Laekenois good with other dogs?

It depends on the training they have received. The Belgian Laekenois dog breed is very shy and reserved, which makes it difficult to live under the same roof as other dogs. But if you teach them early socialization for the first 2-3 years consistently, they can adjust and be nice to other dogs.

Are Belgian Laekenois good family dogs?

Yes. Once Belgian Laekenois is familiar with the faces around the house, these dogs can be very affectionate. They are super gentle with kids and love to spend time with family members. Their personality makes them more admirable for dog enthusiasts.

Is the Belgian Laekenois rare?

Yes. Out of the four Belgian Shepherds, the Belgian Laekenois dog breed is the rarest one. Not many people know about them, even though they were pretty famous during their early days.

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