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Belgian Shepherd Dog Laekenois Dog Breed Profile

Belgian Shepherd Dog Laekenois

Other Names
Laekense, Chien de Berger Belge, Belgian Shepherd, Belgian Sheepdog 
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
The Laekenois is a member of the pastoral group. They were originally used for herding livestock and guarding, today they are used as watchdogs and as companions.  
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
£4-7.50 per week
Feeding Requirements
The Laekenois is an undemanding dog to feed with no special dietary requirements; they generally have a good appetite. 
Other Expenses
The average purchase price of a puppy is £500 -£650. 
9 - 15 years
The average lifespan is 12 to 14 years.  
Average Litter Size
The average litter size is 6-8 puppies. 
General Physical Description
The Laekenois is a medium sized, rough-haired dog that appears square in its outline. Their coat is weatherproof.
Height Min Max
Bitch 56cm (22") 61cm (24")
Dog 61cm (24") 66cm (26")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 20kg (44lbs) 23kg (51lbs)
Dog 27.5kg (61lbs) 28.5kg (63lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
Dogs should measure between 61-66cms at the withers and bitches should ideally measure between 56-61cms at the withers. Dogs should weigh between 27.5-28.5kgs, bitches between 20-23kgs. 
Anyone looking for a puppy should make sure that both parents are hip-scored and eyes are tested. Hip status in the breed is generally excellent but that’s not to say that there haven’t been the odd high scores. Epilepsy has occurred (and still does occur) in the breed but breeders have worked hard to reduce the incidence to a minimum.  
Common Ailments

React to Immunisations and Anaesthetics  
Susceptibility To Illness
The Belgian Shepherd dog the only breed in the world that comes in 4 varieties: the rare rough-coated reddish fawn ‘Laekenois’, the long-haired fawn, red or grey ‘Tervueren’, the long-haired black ‘Groenendael’ and the short-coated red, fawn or grey ‘Malinois’ and. Originating from Belgium, they are named after the areas in Belgium from which they came: Laeken, Tervuren, Groenendael and Malines. Hard working sheepdogs from Belgium have been recognised since the Middle Ages. At this time the type varied greatly and breeding was based on working ability. As they were bred from locally certain common characteristics began to appear. In the 1890’s a Professor of the Belgian School of Veterinary Sciences recorded standards for the various types of Belgian sheepdogs. It was noted that they were all similar in type with the main difference being the coat. The Professor then divided them into varieties and advised breeding them as separate breeds. Once there were as many as eight varieties now there are only four. The Laekenois is the rarest of the four varieties. They were originally used for herding and to guard the linen fields where valuable cloths were laid in the sun and rain. As their coats were harsh and wiry they were ideal for outdoor work in all weathers. They are the least numerous of the four varieties, possibly because of its curious appearance. Today the Belgian army and the police use them. 
The Laekenois is a very intelligent dog that learns very quickly. A gentle but consistent approach is the best way to train this dog. They can be dominant and as adolescents will question authority so they have to know who the boss is. They should be socialised from a very early age with both children and other dogs. < 
Show Characteristics
The head should be long and finely chiselled, with the skull being roughly equal to the length of the tapering muzzle. The nose should be black. The jaw should have a complete scissor bite. The eyes should be dark brown, of medium size and almondish shaped. Their ears should be of small to medium size, triangular and set high. The neck should be well muscled and slightly arched. The body should consist of a deep chest, graceful curved underline with a slightly sloping rump. The front legs should be long and well muscled with accentuated withers, and the back legs should be powerful and well muscled. The front feet should be round and tight with well-arched toes and the back feet slightly oval in shape. Their movement should be light and brisk. The tail should be of medium length with the tip carried slightly above the level of the topline. They should have a harsh, wiry coat. The preferred colour for the show ring is reddish fawn with black shading on the muzzle and tail.  
Country Of Origin
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
60 - 80 minutes per day.
They need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation and to this end they excel at agility and obedience. They are very active dogs and should not be considered as pets if they are to be left alone all day. 
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
As pets they are devoted companions and do not make ideal kennel dogs, as they become bored and destructive. The Laekenois is very affectionate and totally devoted to their families. Not a breed for those wanting ‘just a dog’. They will protect their home and family but it is not advisable to encourage their guarding instincts when young, as they can get confused and start guarding you in inappropriate situations. Their natural guarding instincts will kick in, if and when necessary. The Laekenois can be dominant with other dogs so they must be socialised from an early age. 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
< Once a week 
Requires Professional Groomer
The Laekenois is a rough-haired dog that needs little grooming. 
The Laekenois is reddish fawn in colour with black shading mainly on the muzzle and tail. 
Suffers From Allergies
Tendency to Cause Allergies