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Belgian Laekenois Sheepdog Temperament: Devoted but Demanding

The Laekenois temperament is loyal and friendly with its family, but it can be very demanding. This is not a dog for everyone.

The Laekenois pronounced “lack-en-wah”) is a versatile dog that’s done a lot of different jobs. It still retains a lot of its instinctive behaviors from the work that it has been bred to do.

With the right kind of training, though, the Laekenois temperament can make her a great family pet.

Let’s explore the Laekenois temperament to see if she is the right dog for you.

The Laekenois Sheepdog Temperament and Personality


The Laekenois is a smart breed that is easy to train.

Eager to Please

The Laekenois temperament is obedient. She enjoys the interactive work of training and takes commands very well.


She is very loyal and loving to her family members and she is good with children.

She is a faithful friend and loyal protector.


The Laekenois is very friendly to her family and people she knows but reserved with strangers.

The Laekenois can get along well with other dogs. Often, though, they can be combative, especially with same-sex dogs. They need to be socialized young to other dogs to prevent this.


She is very affectionate with her family and people she knows.


This is a sheepherding breed, so it’s no surprise that she is very protective of her flock, including her human one.


She will alert you if there is stranger near. She’s very protective of her family and her home. This is another reason why she needs good socialization from puppyhood.

A guard dog is good, but her territorial nature could turn into stranger aggression.


The Laekenois still have instinctive Laekenois traits. Expect to see herding behaviors, for example. She will likely chase and circle people and nip at their heels.

She can do this for hours and needs to be taught at a young age that it’s not acceptable.


She needs to be with her people and is not a dog who would do well living in the yard. She will do best in a family where there is someone at home most of the time.

The Laekenois temperament needs a lot of attention.


As a shepherd, the Laekenois is always attentive to its environment. As a guard dog, she watches over her “flock.”

She has earned the nickname “shadow” to some Laekenois owners. She stays very close to her owner or family and is always watchful over them.


This breed will not be content to lie around the house. She has an active mind and likes to be busy exploring and learning.


She is good at dog sports such as rally, agility, etc., and loves physical activity.


The Laekenois temperament is outgoing and energetic. She loves to play and to participate in activities with her family.


The Laekenois temperament is ideal for a number of types of work. They are excellent herders and guard dogs.

They are also used for narcotics detection, bomb work, search and rescue, tracking, sled pulling, and seeing-eye dogs.

Laekenois are adaptable to weather conditions as well but they prefer cool climates but can adapt to warmer weather. She can live outdoors but much prefers to live inside with her people.


The Laekenois temperament is active. She needs to be busy. If she doesn’t have a job to do, she needs lots of outings or interactive playtime.

Otherwise, she will get bored and may be destructive. Click here to see how exercise can benefit dogs with behavior issues.


The Laekenois temperament is courageous and bold. She makes a great guard dog.

Aggressive Tendencies

This breed can be aggressive toward same-sex dogs. They need early socialization and a firm “alpha” leader to prevent this.

Reserved with Strangers

This could easily turn into excessive shyness or excessive aggression. She needs early and intense socialization with people to prevent this.


The Laekenois’s temperament can be dominant. She needs a strong human leader who will make it clear that she is not in charge.

Laekenois History

The Belgian Laekenois originated in Belgium as a sheepherder for the Royal Castle in the city of Laeken.

The Laekenois is the rarest of four native Belgian shepherd breeds. The other three are the Groenendael (often called simply Belgian Shepherd), the Malinois, and the Tervuren.

The Belgian Shepherd Dog Club (Club du Chien de Berger Beige) was created in September 1891. At that time, the four breeds were grouped together. The only difference among them was the color and texture of their coats.

In the early 1900s, the four types were separated. They were named for the regions they came from. The fawn-colored type with the coarsely textured hair was called the Laekenois after the town of Laeken.

Like the others, the Laekenois was primarily a sheepdog. She was also used to guard flax crops and linen as it dried in the fields.

During World Wars I and II, the Laekenois was used as a messenger dog.

After the war, the number of Laekenois had decreased. Now it is a rare breed, but breeders are working to restore it.

Laekenois Training

Training the Laekenois properly is a delicate balancing act. She retains her instinctive working-dog Laekenois temperament and likes to be in charge.

She can become aggressive toward strangers and other dogs.

The Laekenois needs a strong leader who can control her dominant tendencies but with a gentle hand. Heavy-handed training measures are likely to make her more aggressive.

She needs to be trained with gentle positive reinforcement methods. She also needs early and thorough socialization with children, other dogs, other pets, and strangers.

If properly trained and socialized, she can be a wonderful family dog. If not, the instinctive Laekenois behaviors can become very difficult to handle.

The Laekenois is not an appropriate breed for an inexperienced dog owner.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Laekonois dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Laekenois Appearance

General Appearance

The Laekenois is a medium-sized dog with a square build and long legs.

She has a distinctive rough, tousled coat that can be described as woolly or tweedy.

The Laekenois also has a woolly undercoat.

She has triangular ears that sit high on her head and dark eyes. She has fringe on her head and muzzle.

Her muzzle