Belgian Shepherd dogs were widely used in Belgium as sheepherders. There is 4 known variety of this breed.
One such type is the Laekenois, pronounced as /LAK-in-wah/ or /’lækɨnwa:/. It is one of the rarest and oldest of the Belgian Shepherd.
Like all the other varieties of Belgian Shepherd dogs, Laekenois are herding dogs. This breed, however, originated from the Royal Castle of Laeken in Belgium in the early 1700s.
Aside from being herding dogs, they are also used as guard dogs for linens that are placed in the vast fields of Laeken. During the first and second wars, they were utilized as messenger dogs.
In the earlier centuries, all four varieties of Belgian Shepherd dogs were considered one breed only.
But in 1958, the Board of Directors of the American Kennel Club voted to separate the breed into 4 different categories. The Belgian Laekenois got its name from its place of origin, Laeken.
Traits and Behavior
Belgian Laekenois share the temperament of its cousins. They are extremely loyal, affectionate, and protective of their family. They easily make connections with their masters, especially children.
They love to please and aren’t shy in showing their affections to their loved ones. But owners should bear in mind that this dog is sociable.
They can easily suffer from separation anxiety. It is not best for Belgian Shepherds of any variety to be left alone most of the time.
As friendly and welcoming as they are with their family, they are, however, very suspicious and distrustful of strangers. If not socialized properly, they can be vocal and aggressive.
This trait of them makes them good watch and guard dogs. Born to the herd, they have an innate instinct to chase and herd animals. Owners should train their pets to control this urge, especially with other non-canine pets.
Overall, these smart dogs are easy to train. They need a firm and consistent leader at all times. If their owners lack these traits, they often take charge and dominate.
Aside from being consistent and firm, trainers should bear in mind that this breed doesn’t take kindly to any harsh punishment. When training a Belgian Shepherd, positive reinforcement should be utilized.
Pet Care and Diseases
Like the other Belgian Shepherds, Laekenois are a high-energy breed. They need activities that stimulate both their minds and body. This breed excels in obedience, agility, and retrieval training. Obstacle courses can also be used.
If the daily exercise requirement is not needed, this breed tends to be bored and destructive.
When grooming Laekenois, owners should remember that their hair is slow-growing.
It would take years before their hair grows back, therefore, shaving should be avoided. A technique used in grooming wiry-haired coats is called plucking or stripping.
Because of the curliness, the hair of Laekenois doesn’t blow off during shedding. They must be picked off to be completely removed.
They also need regular brushing to remove tangles and dirt. Bathing them should only be done when necessary as to not wash off the natural protective oils on their coats.
Belgian Shepherds are a generally healthy breed with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. However, they can still suffer from various health problems that involve the eyes, thyroids, and skin.
Belgian Laekenois is a medium-sized dog that stands at 24 to 26 inches and weighs 55 to 65 pounds. The females are generally smaller than males. Like other variety of Belgian Shepherds, they also have well-proportioned, muscular, and graceful bodies.
Their heads are narrow and chiselled with a softly flattened forehead. The eyes are generally black and are almond-shaped. And the ears, which are set high up in the skull, are pointed, erect, and triangular.
The defining characteristic of a Belgian Laekenois is their coat. Unlike its cousins, this breed has a wiry coat that is often rough and wavy. This gives them a disorderly and tousled look.
The coat length is approximately 2.5 inches all over the body, and no silky hair is allowed. An ideal Laekenois must have a beard on its muzzle and the hair around its eyes should be short enough to not block their vision.
The tail must also be free of any plumbings.
This breed comes in fawn, red, or different shades of gray. But, black markings around the tail, muzzle and ears are allowed, as well as white patches on the chest or tips of the toes.
The breed is expected to live for 12-14 years. A litter may consist of 6-10 puppies. Laekense, Chien de Berger Belge, Belgian Shepherd and Belgian Sheepdog are among its few other names.
Visit this dog club website dedicated to Belgian Laekenois. Click this link: http://www.belgianlaekenoisclub.us/