Belgian Laekenois


Other Names

  • Belgian Laekenois
  • Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laeken)
  • Chien de Berger Belge

Country of Origin – Belgium

Coat – Woolly


  • Brown & White
  • Black Shading

Weight – 60 lbs. (Average)

Height – 22 to 26 Inches Tall at the Shoulders

Group: Miscellaneous (per AKC) … Relative to the Herding Group


Strong, agile and full of life, the Belgian Laekenois (pronounced “Lak-in-wah”) is one of four native dogs of Belgium. Although similar in body and temperament to the Malinois, Shepherd and Tervuren, the Laekenois differs in coat color, texture and length, as well as region of origin. The fawn rough haired varieties were given the name Laekenois (derived from the town of Laeken). The breed’s coat texture is rough and coarse, creating a disorderly, tousled look. All shades of red or fawn to grayish tones are acceptable with traces of black appearing principally on the muzzle and tail.

The Laekenois’ original duty, in addition to guarding and tending the flock, was to guard linen drying in the fields. The breed also served as a messenger dog during World War I and II, which decreased the breed’s numbers. Many breeders worked very hard to restore this variety, while retaining the typical Belgian Shepherd Dog intelligence, type and structure. Today, the breed is still able to herd and guard its flock, and protect its people and property.


Right Breed for You?

Intelligent and alert, 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.

If you are considering purchasing a Belgian Laekenois puppy, learn more here.

  • Miscellaneous class; Herding group designation.
  • Ranging in size from 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Livestock herder/guardian.


The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois) is a breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog rather than as a separate breed. “Laekenois” is pronounced /?læk?nw??/ LAK-in-wah. This breed is not fully recognized in the United States. However, they can be shown in Britain, Canada, Australia, and throughout Europe, along with all three of the closely related breeds which share a heritage with the Laekenois: the Tervuren, the Malinois, and the Groenendael, the last being shown in the U.S. as the Belgian Sheepdog.



Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Laekenois is a medium-sized, hard-working, square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family with sharply triangular ears. The Laekenois is recognized by its woolly brown and white coat, intermixed so as to give a tweedy appearance. Most kennel clubs’ standards allow for black shading, principally in muzzle and tail, indicating the presence of the melanistic mask gene.



The Belgian Laekenois originated as a dog for herding sheep at the Royal Castle of Laeken. Besides its role as a herding dog, this breed is also used to guard linen that is placed in fields to dry. In the First and Second World War, the Laekenois was used a messenger dog.

The Laekenois is considered both the oldest and the most rare of the Belgian Shepherd Dogs. Until the advent of dog shows in the early 1900s, the four varieties were freely intermixed, in fact, there are only three genes (short/long coat, smooth/wire coat, fawn/black coat) that separate the varieties genetically. Purebred Laekenois occasionally give birth to smooth-coated puppies, which, depending on the pure-bred registry, can be registered as Malinois.

The Laekenois is currently in the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous Class and is assigned the Herding Group.



Laekenois can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Belgian Shepherds exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.