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  • Temperament: Affectionate, Alert, Intelligent
  • Height: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
  • Weight: 55-65 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Group: Miscellaneous Class

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Breed Standard
Belgian Laekenois sitting in three-quarter view
Angie Kerins / American Kennel Club
Belgian Laekenois head facing left
Angie Kerins / American Kennel Club
Belgian Laekenois lying in three-quarter view.
cynoclub/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
Belgian Laekenois standing facing left.
Cynoclub/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
Belgian Laekenois standing in three-quarter view.
Angie Kerins / American Kennel Club
Belgian Laekenois coat detail
Angie Kerins / American Kennel Club
Belgian Laekenois jumping over a pole in an agility course.
s5iztok/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

About the Belgian Laekenois

Of the four closely-related Belgian herders—the Belgian Sheepdog, Malinois, Tervuren, and Laekenois—the Laekenois is the rarest. This strong and sturdy dog is distinguished from his brethren by a rough, tousled coat that comes in shades of red or fawn or in grayish tones. The blackening around the muzzle points up the expression of keen watchfulness shining from the dark almond-shaped eyes.

The Belgian Laekenois is protective of his master and property. Although observant with strangers, the breed is affectionate and friendly with those he knows well. The Laekenois coat requires regular brushing and occasional bathing, and as a working dog, it needs daily exercise.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country. The American Belgian Laekenois Association has served as the AKC Parent Club to represent the Belgian Laekenois since February 2011. Inquiries about adopting a rescue can be directed to Lana Teresi at the ABLA.
Belgian Laekenois puppy sitting facing forward.

Find a Puppy: Belgian Laekenois

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.



The Belgian Laekenois should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.


Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep your Belgian Laekenois clean and looking his best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your dog. The Laekenois’ strong, fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris, which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Weekly Brushing




The ideal owner will understand that the Belgian Laekenois is not going to be happy sitting around nor can he be expected to live alone in the yard. Eager to please, Laekenois want to be with their humans, and need an active lifestyle and plenty of employment to be happy. When the new puppy arrives, it’s important to get him socialized early, with frequent and positive meet-and-greet sessions, as these working dogs are typically reserved with strangers.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity


Socialization and puppy-training classes are especially important. They promote good behavior, nip bad habits in the bud, and strengthen the bond between puppy and owner. Fortunately, Belgian Laekenois are very intelligent and want nothing more than to make their owners happy, so they take to training quickly.


May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Easy Training


Reserved with Strangers


The Belgian Laekenois is a robust, healthy breed. Responsible breeders will screen their breeding stock for various health conditions. As with all breeds, a Belgian Laekenois’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed regularly.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Dentition Exam

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Belgian Laekenois standing in three-quarter view.
"Turcodos" red-brown, rough-haired. Born August 15th, 1908 out of "Quick" by "Min". Owned by Mr. Carl Farenthold.
"Boes Sus after Earl Henri de Bylandt, 1094.
Canine Brigade of Schaeerbeek. (Brussels) in 1902.
Two Laekens from Holland from the v.d. Middachten kennel. Cynthia Holland, Sieger 1973 and Bart Holland, Sieger 1974.
"Sapho de l'orchidée Noire". Owned by Mrs. Lambert.


In September of 1891, the Belgian Shepherd Dog Club (Club du Chien de Berger Beige) was organized to investigate the characteristics of the native dogs in Belgium. They defined the consistent type of this native dog that was identical in body and temperament but differing in coat (color, texture and length).

During the early part of the twentieth century, the owners and breeders in Belgium urged the acceptance of additional varieties based on the color and regions of origin. The fawn, rough-haired varieties were given the name Laekenois (derived from the town of Laeken). The abilities of these dogs as intelligent and versatile workers soon gained popularity in other countries.

The Laekenois’ original duty, in addition to guarding and tending the flock, was to guard linen drying in the fields. He was an enthusiast worker and a quick learner that made him a desirable choice for the task at hand. He was later called on to serve as a messenger dog during World War I and II. At this time, as with many other dog breeds, his numbers were severely decreased. Many breeders worked very hard to restore this variety, while retaining the typical Belgian Shepherd Dog intelligence, type, and structure. He is admired today for these attributes and is still able to herd and guard his flock and protect his people and their property. His ability to adapt to new situations and to respond to his master’s commands makes him an alert, intelligent, and inquisitive animal, yet, he is typically reserved with strangers.

Did You Know?

The Belgian Laekenois has been assigned to the Herding Group designation.
The Belgian Laekenois is also known as Laekense and Chien de Berger Belge.
The Belgian Laekenois has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since 1998.
The Belgian Laekenois has been approved to compete in AKC Herding Events for Suffix Titles since January 1, 2008.
The Belgian Laekenois has been eligible to compete in Companion Events since January 1, 2008.
The Belgian Laekenois has been eligible to compete in the Miscellaneous Class since June 30, 2011.
At the October 2019 Board Meeting the American Belgian Laekenois Association is the official parent club for the Belgian Laekenois and to accept the Belgian Laekenois into the AKC Stud Book on July 1, 2020. The breed will be eligible to compete in the Herding Group beginning July 1, 2020.

The Breed Standard

Colors & Markings


Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Fawn Check Mark For Standard Color 082
Fawn Sable Check Mark For Standard Color 338
Mahogany Check Mark For Standard Color 128
Red Check Mark For Standard Color 140
Red Sable Check Mark For Standard Color 155
Black & Tan 018
Cream 076
Cream Sable 348


Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Black Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 004
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