AKC Group: Miscellaneous
Belgian Laekenois dogs have originated from the sheep herding dogs from the Royal Castle of Laeken. Today, the breed is considered to be the oldest and most rare of the Belgian Shepherd dogs.
The Laekenois is the only Belgian Shepherd breed not recognized by the American Kennel Club. The three other breeds (Groenendael, Malinois and Tervuren) are all recognized. This makes the Laekenois rare; which is probably the reason it isn’t recognized, it’s too rare.
Size: 22 to 25 inches; 55 to 65 pounds.
Color: Mahogany to fawn, rarely seen in brown or pure white.
Life span: 12 to 14 years.
Health problems: No major health problems have been noted. Hip dysplasia, skin allergies and eye problems have been occasionally noted.
The Laekenois has a wiry coat and really long tail. The hind legs are muscular to aid herding. The muzzle looks fairly pointed and the ears seem out of place; they’re excessively small. (This drives enthusiasts crazy; they hate it!) Their coat appears to have an underlying black appearance. Laekenois have black noses and their teeth should meet like scissors.
If you’re looking for your first ever dog, a Laekenois probably won’t be for you. They are extremely loyal and protective. They crave human companionship and will become destructive without it. They tend to bond to only one person. A Laekenois will do well with children when raised together.
The key here is to never engage in chasing games, tug of war or rough housing. A Laekenois can only get along with other dogs if they’re raised together from puppyhood. They are forever suspicious of strangers and will protect their home and family fiercely.
Grooming-wise, a Laekenois needs a trim twice a year. Don’t let him get a close trim, his coat will be ruined for numerous ensuing years. Use a coarse-toothed comb to keep the coat rough-looking (not tangled), nor curled. Bathe only when it’s absolutely necessary (it removes the waterproofing of the coat).
Harsh training will result in an overly aggressive Laekenois. They love to be challenged mentally. Agility is a great undertaking for a Laekenois. Socialization as a puppy is essential to turn him into a well-behaved, confident adult.