The Belgian Laekenois breed is the rarest of the four Belgian Sheepdog breeds. Pronounced as "Lak-in-wah", this rare breed is a very bright and obedient dog. These dogs are robust, agile and very active. They are also known to be called Chien de Berger Belge and Belgian Shepherd Laekenois.
They make wonderful family dogs if they were properly socialized. They are territorial and affectionate to their dog owners. These dogs thrive on work that they are very suitable as farm dogs, herding dogs and watchdogs. Training should be done in a firm, patient and consistent way without being harsh. Keep these dogs happy and content with proper leadership and sufficient exercise.
The dog's coat color can come in all shades of Red or Fawn to Grayish tones. Some traces of black can be seen appearing on the muzzle and tail.
This dog's coat should have a rough and coarse texture making a tousled, unmanageable look. Shows will take it as a fault if it is silky, soft or lacking the double coat. The hair length should be at least around 2 1/2 inches over the body. Their muzzle should show a beard and the head should show hair without blocking the dog's vision.
The Laekenois are very intelligent herding dogs who have serious watchful demeanor with passionate protective and territorial instincts. Early proper socialization should be provided to these dogs to prevent them from developing excessive shyness which can lead to unwanted behavior in the future. They need a firm, patient and consistent training from an experienced dog owner. They make great family pets and they thrive on human companionship. These dogs love to work. They are very suitable as farm dogs, herding dogs and watchdogs.
The dog's rough, wiry coat only requires to be trimmed twice a year depending on the coat's quality. Excessive and dead hair should be removed through regular brushing. Cutting it short should be avoided as it ruins the coat for several years. Use a coarse toothed comb to comb their hair. Bathe the dog only when it is certainly needed as water and soap removes the natural waterproofing of the coat.
The Belgian Laekenois are generally healthy except for a few major health concerns. This includes eye problems, skin allergies and behavior fluctuations like aggression or extreme shyness. Like most large dog breed, they also have bone health issues like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. If given proper nutrition, sufficient exercise and regular visits to the vet for checkups and complete shots, this breed can live up to 12-14 years on the average.
Socialization and training should be done at an early age. They earlier they are exposed to children, dogs and other house pets, the better they will get along with them although they should still not be left unsupervised.
These dogs can compete in several dog events. This includes agility trials, showmanship, flyball, obedience, tracking and herding events. Their herding instincts and trainability can be measured from noncompetitive herding tests. The dog can be trained to compete in herding trials when they exhibit basic herding instincts.
These working dogs are used to the highly active outdoor life. They require plenty of activities which include daily long walks or jogs. They would enjoy running off leash in a secured safe area. The Laekenois also thrive on having a job to perform. If given enough exercise, these dogs can be fine to live in an apartment. They can be fine to a variety of climates but they like the cool climate more.