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Belgian Laekenois
Characteristics, History, and Health

Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois (pronounced "Lak-in-wah") is one of four varieties of Belgian herding dogs, which include the Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Malinois, and Belgian Groenendael. Each breed was named for the area in Belgium where they were developed. The Laekenois was established in the area of Laeken, and was traditionally used as a herding dog and guard dog. These dogs were also used during both World Wars as messenger dogs and to pull ambulance carts and even machine guns.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Laekense, Chien de Berger Belge
Life Expectancy
10-12 years
Average Male Height
24-26 inches
Average Female Height
22-24 inches
Average Male Weight
55-66 pounds
Average Female Weight
44-60 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Wiry, Rough
Coat Colors
Black & Tan, Cream, Fawn, Mahogany, Red, Red Sable, Fawn Sable, Cream Sable
Coat Pattern
Black Mask

Genetic Predispositions and Health

The Belgian Laekenois can suffer from cardiomyopathy (dilated), cataracts, cerebellar ataxia (spongy degeneration), degenerative myelopathy, elbow dysplasia, elbow dysplasia (fragmented coronoid process), epilepsy, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, mucopolysaccharidosis VII, and progressive retinal atrophy. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following additional conditions: hyperuricosuria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.

Personality and Behavior

The Belgian Laekenois is known for being intelligent, alert, and protective. As herding dogs, they have a strong work ethic and need plenty of physical and mental stimulation. They are loyal and form strong bonds with their families, but they can be wary of strangers. While they can get along well with children and other pets if properly socialized, they have a natural instinct to herd and may do so with children or smaller pets. Due to their protective nature, they can make excellent watchdogs.

Like all breeds, individual temperaments can vary, and early socialization and training are important to help ensure that they grow up to be well-rounded dogs. Given their high energy levels and intelligence, they thrive in homes where they can have plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Fun Facts

According to the AKC, the original duty tasked to the Laekenois was to guard linen drying in the fields.

Belgian Laekenois dogs were used during World Wars I and II as messangers. Unfortunately, the dangers associated with wartime caused their numbers to severely decrease.