The Belgian Shepherd dog is 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 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 medium sized, rough-haired dog that appears square in its outline. Their coat is weatherproof.


Size Large
Colour The Laekenois is reddish fawn in colour with black shading mainly on the muzzle and tail.
Coat Length Short Medium
Weight/Height Range Dogs should measure between 61-66cms at the withers and bitches should ideally measure between 56-61cms at the withers. They weigh between 27.5-28.5kgs.

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.

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.

Feeding & Ownership


The Laekenois is an undemanding dog to feed with no special dietary requirements; they generally have a good appetite.


Food Cost $15 to $20



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.


Intelligence 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.
Energy High
Suitability for Children High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Overall Exercise Requirement 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.
Suitability as a Guard Dog High
Ease of Transportation Medium
Level of Aggression Medium
Other Animal Compatibility Medium



The Laekenois is a rough-haired dog that needs little grooming.


Grooming Requirements Up to once a week
Amount of Hair Shed Little

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