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Belgian Laekenois Dog… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

It’s probably safe to say that the Belgian Laekenois hasn’t received nearly all of the “credit” and “praise” it should have over the years. After all, just because he looks so similar to other breeds, such as the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois, the Belgian Laekenois is often mistaken for one of these more “popular” dog breeds. Plus, even though he is one of four unique herding breeds originally from Laeken in Belgium, he is the only one not “officially” recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The good news…

We here at IndulgeYourPet aren’t concerned about “which” dogs the AKC officially recognizes and which ones it doesn’t. For us, it’s simple: is the Belgian Laekenois a good dog? And by all accounts, this relatively “obscure” breed is a GREAT dog that you should consider if allowed to own one.

Now, will a Belgian Laekenois be right for you?

That’s something we here at IndulgeYourPet can’t say; only you can make that decision for yourself. But we can provide you with some pros and cons of owning a Belgian Laekenois so that you can better make that determination, which is why we’ve written the following article.

Belgian Laekenois Facts

Country of Origin:  Belgium

Original Purpose: Herding Dog and Watch Dog

Height:  22 to 26 inches tall

Weight:  45 to 65 pounds

Life Span: 10 to 12 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Herding Dogs

Origins of the Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois hails from the town of Laeken in Belgium, where they are one of 4 native shepherd dogs that include the following:

The Belgian Laekenois earned his reputation for being a firm and faithful companion, which is why this breed has been valued over the years. Surprisingly, it was only in 1891 that the Laekenois was recognized as a separate dog breed within Belgium. This may be because, traditionally, Belgians haven’t always chosen to recognize the difference between the different Belgian Shepherd dogs. , However, certain things can be said about the Belgian Laekenois, which separates him from the crowd.

First and foremost…

The Belgian Laekenois is brave. It is so courageous that this dog breed has earned a reputation outside the Belgium border for being a dog one can count on. The Belgian Laekenois did marvelous work as a messenger dog for the Allies during World War II, often under the most brutal circumstances.

These days…

The Laekenois continue to do a lot of “heavy lifting” as rescue or police dogs, saving lives, helping law enforcement officials, and doing spectacular work worldwide. Despite all of this, the Belgian Laekenois is still to be recognized by the American Kennel Club! But perhaps this will change as they continue to do invaluable work worldwide!

Physical Characteristics

Belgian Laekenois is a medium-sized dog that weighs between 45 and 65 pounds. He has dark brown, almond-shaped eyes, black overlay, curly hair, a rough, wiry coat, and a short tail. He’ll typically have a square-shaped body and a proud, soldierly look befitting a police dog. He has a unique gait – he moves in circles and rarely in a straight line. And while this might appear a bit “strange” at first, this is what you would expect from a herding dog, one that has to keep his flock together.

Personality and Temperament

Not surprisingly, the Belgian Laekenois is calm under pressure, incredibly brave, and displays great courage under fire. He is a fearless Belge dog, very protective of his human family. He does make for an excellent watchdog. The Laekenois should be trained and socialized right from when he is just a puppy. This will ensure that he is relaxed in the company of other people and does not get nervous when surrounded by strangers.

That’s why you need…

We recommend that if you adopt a Belgian Laekenois puppy, you’ll want to enroll your Belgian Laekenois in dog training classes as soon as possible. These dogs will generally respond well to companion dog training, which will prevent excessive shyness and unnecessary aggression.

Did we mention that he is wise?

Smart enough to know who to protect and who not to. He is still a herding breed by nature, so if you have small children running around, you’ll want to ensure they are taught not to chase or “nip” at them. Still, there is a risk. But in general, it’s safe to say that most Belgian Laekenois’ will be well-behaved with children, especially when they grow up with them.

Like most herding dogs…

The Laekenois is not too comfortable around cats. He has a habit of chasing small animals, including cats – that’s his nature. But there again, if your Laekenois is raised as a pup with cats around, there is a “decent” chance that he won’t find the “need” to chase them around the house 24/7 constantly! Laekenois is also very energetic, so you have no choice but to take him on long walks daily. Otherwise, he will get bored; he has all of this pent-up energy inside, which he will use on your sofa cushions, shoes, and toys….

As they say…

“the devil will find work for ideal paws!”

So… if you want your Laekenois to behave well, ensure he remains active. His training should include agility, obedience, rally, mental stimulation, Flyball, herding, tracking, and search and rescue.


If you have a yard, ensure it has a secure fence. You see, your Laekenois will wander off now and then, especially when a small animal arouses his curiosity. Also, he doesn’t like it when other dogs enter your property; if this happens, it could lead to aggressive behavior. So, for your peace of mind, fence the yard!

Potential Health Concerns

The Belgian Laekenois is a healthy dog, but he can also have health problems like humans. Most of these health issues are hereditary by nature. You can ensure your dog does not suffer from these defects by asking the breeders for proof of DNA testing. Ask the breeder for the following certifications:

  • CHIC certification
  • PennHIP or OFA certification for hips
  • OFA clearance for elbows
  • An eye clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.

Also, be sure to watch out for…

Which Belgian Laekenois can be prone to developing? Lastly, since you’re taking the time to determine what dog might be right for you, we would also encourage you to take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy.

This way…

If your Laekenois does develop some illness or does suffer from some injury later on in life, you won’t be on the “hook” for the total cost of treatment.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone? 

Probably not, but how will you learn until you know what they will and won’t cover and how much one would cost in your area? For more information about pet insurance, we encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article, discussing some pros and cons of owning such a policy on your pet.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Allen C. April 10, 2021, 9:56 pm

    We are interested in this type of dog

  • William B April 10, 2024, 1:57 pm

    I own one, she is about 13 years old, now. The cat chasing part is very true. She has been very playful, but with strangers she can get aggressive. She has took on our local Cougar twice, she bears the scares. But she never backs down from a fight. Small at 55 lbs she can handle herself. We have to give her Meloxicam now for her hips, we had a person stop to ask for directions once and she tried to go through her window on car to get at her, so be prepared and have them well trained. Been good with kids, introduce them to them so they know they are suppose to protect them. They will do don’t punish a child around them. Been a loving companion over the years. I know her time is short.

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