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Belgian Laekenois

Stoic protectors with a stylish coat

Belgian Laekenois

Toni Grzunov - Last updated on June 22nd, 2021

All you need to know about the Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois is the rarest of the four Belgian herder breeds. The other three are the Belgian Sheepdog, Tervuren, and Malinois, and all four share similar bodies and temperaments.

However, the Laekenois differs from its relatives by having a unique coat. It is rough, tousled, and wiry, giving them a look that is easily distinguishable among other dogs. These pups are strong and sturdy and always have a watchful look in their eyes.

They will protect their master and property from any strangers, but at the same time, they will be gentle and affectionate with people they know. 

The Belgian Laekenois is a working dog that requires daily exercise so it is best suited for people that lead active lives and go out in nature often. They don’t like being left alone, and still have their herding instincts so be careful with them around young children!

Fast Facts 

Group - Herding

Weight - 60-63 Pounds (male)  Pounds (female)

Height - 22-23 Inches (male) Inches (female)

Hair Length - Short

Shedding - Moderate

Lifespan - 10-12 Years

The Appearance of the Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois resembles the other Belgian herder breeds in almost everything but the coat. Since the coat is so distinct and will probably be the first thing most people notice, it actually makes quite the difference.

But let’s start with the basics. The build of these dogs is incredibly well-balanced. They have an elegant appearance and carry themselves proudly. Their bodies are powerful and agile, with well-defined muscles. The Laekenois always seems full of life.

Despite being quite muscular, these pups are not bulky, but always seem solid and athletic. The head is long and lean but without any exaggeration. The skull is the same length as the muzzle, and the head is generally proportionate to the body.

These dogs have a constant intelligent and curious look on their face, with wise alertness to it. They always seem ready for action! Their brown eyes are medium-sized and almond-shaped. The ears of a Lekenois are erect and triangular, with a size proportionate to the head.

The nose of a Laekenois is all-black, and they have extremely powerful jaws.

Lastly, the coat, their most distinguishable feature. It has a fairly unique-looking texture that gives these dogs a messy, chaotic look. It is rough and coarse and approximately 2.5 inches long. It comes in several colors.

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What colors does a Belgian Laekenois come in?

According to the breed standard, the coat of a Belgian Laekenois can come in tones of three different colors. These colors are:

  • Red
  • Fawn
  • Gray

The standard states that all shades of these three colors are acceptable. There can also be traces of black that appear on the tail and muzzle. These black traces can vary depending on the dog.

Another thing allowed by the standard is a small white patch that often appears on the chest and the tips of the toes, as well as the chin and muzzle. White patches on any other body parts are not allowed, but this shouldn’t bother you unless you want your pup to compete.

All about the Belgian Laekenois personality

The Belgian Laekenois is a working dog, so you know it will absolutely love to please its owner. These dogs are highly intelligent, alert, and extremely loyal. They have tons of energy and will form a powerful bond with you.

Many people say that these pups can develop such a strong bond with their owners that they can start understanding your feelings in a way similar to telepathy. They are just that smart!

With that level of intelligence, you can also expect these dogs to be a bit nervy and hyperactive, so expect to spend a lot of time on exercise and walks. With adequate training, the Belgian Laekenois will definitely learn how to behave properly easily and should make for a wonderful pet.

These dogs absolutely love spending time with you and your family and make sure to include them in as many activities as possible. This way their personality will develop nicely and they will be able to reach their potential.

Belgian Laekenois dogs have a calm disposition. They were originally created for herding duties, as well as to protect other animals from predators and thieves. They still show some of these instincts even as pets.

Their herding instincts can show up around small children as they might nip at their heels and become a bit too playful. Be careful and never leave small children alone with a Laekenois. Things will never get really dangerous, but better safe than sorry.

These pups also still have powerful protective instincts that they will exhibit around strangers that enter your home. With good socialization, this won’t be a problem, and once they are used to someone they become incredibly friendly.

Also, these dogs don’t really enjoy being around other pups, so if you already have a pet dog, you might want to hold off on getting a Belgian Laekenois.

Is a Belgian Laekenois easy to train?

Belgian Laekenois dogs are incredibly easy to train which is a result of their working dog heritage. They have high intelligence and are eager to please. They absolutely love making their owner happy.

However, make sure to provide your Laekenois with calm and consistent training. Never be too harsh or yell, these dogs don’t respond well to that. Use positive reinforcement and try your best to always be kind and calm.

Obedience training comes almost naturally with these pups, as long as you follow this simple instruction. Besides being kind, make sure to show enthusiasm when training a Belgian Laekenois, and break up the training sessions into smaller chunks.

Of course, socialization is another important aspect of training, and it is best to start it as early as possible. Make sure your pet dog meets other people and pets while it is still young to avoid any problems later on.

How much Grooming does a Belgian Laekenois need?

When it comes to grooming, these pups are not that high-maintenance. They will require a weekly brush and an occasional bath and that’s about it. If you follow that your pet will look its best constantly!

The brushing will prevent any mats from forming. As these can be quite painful with the unique coat of this breed, make sure not to skip the brushing sessions.

Unfortunately, the Belgian Laekenois does shed quite frequently. This means that they are not hypoallergenic dogs and people suffering from allergies should avoid them.

Other than that, it’s pretty much the standard fare. The nails of the Laekenois grow really fast, so you should make sure to trim them regularly. This will make sure you avoid cracking, splitting, and overgrowth, which can cause enormous pain to your pet.

Make sure to check the ears of your Laekenois regularly, to avoid a buildup of debris, and lastly don’t forget dental hygiene. Brush their teeth regularly using a vet-approved doggy-toothpaste.

The Living Environment of the Belgian Laekenois

Belgian Laekenois dogs absolutely crave human attention and company at all times. They also have tons of energy that they can’t wait to use up. This means that they do best in large families that will include them in all of their activities.

They can manage to live in an apartment, but make sure to take them out twice a day so they can run freely and play with you, which is something these pups will enjoy tremendously.

The Health and Nutrition of the Belgian Laekenois

The lifespan of a Belgian Laekenois is between 10 to 12 years. They are quite healthy in general, but there are certain conditions you need to watch out for.

  • We can start with hip dysplasia, which is an extremely common condition in a lot of dog breeds. This is a skeletal condition that affects the hip joint and makes the ball and socket grind against each other instead of sliding. This results in pain and the deterioration of the joint.
  • Another issue that is quite common is Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a genetic condition that makes the retina in the eye deteriorate. It can lead to sight loss.
  • Some other common conditions include epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, and hypothyroidism.

When it comes to nutrition, always make sure to feel your Belgian Laekenois the highest quality dog food. The amount will depend on the age, size, and activity level of your pet. It is always best to consult with the vet about these things as they can develop the perfect meal plan for your pup.

Where does the Belgian Laekenois come from?

The Belgian Shepherd Dog Club (Club du Chien de Berger Beige) was formed in 1891 to discover and investigate all the native dog breeds in Belgium. They managed to define a native dog breed which was identical in its build and temperament but differed in the coat.

Since these varieties were eventually accepted, the fawn, rough-haired one was named the Belgian Laekenois, since it was first bred in the town of Laeken. These dogs quickly became popular as workers all over the world.

They were originally working as herders and were guarding linen drying in the field. Since they were enthusiastic workers this made them an excellent pick for these assignments. Later on, these dogs were working as messengers during World War I and II.

Their numbers decreased during that time, and breeders worked to restore the breed during the second half of the 20th century. The breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 2020.

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