The Belgian Shepherd breed comes in four varieties: Malinois, Tervueren, Laekenois and Groendael. Belgians are dogs slightly above average size, extremely intelligent, with a well developed sense of observation, sensitive, sometimes slightly nervous. The Belgian Laekenois variety should only be distinguished by a rough coat – in practice, however, there are more of these differences. Laekenois learns extremely quickly and is ready to take on any challenge.
Like his cousins, the exemplary Belgian Laekenois should be a dog with a high temperament, quickly stimulating and responsive. High intelligence makes him learn very quickly.
These features – combined with guard and defense instincts – make him a dog not for everyone. It must be run with great sensitivity and needs socialization badly. Like any working sheepdog, it is also extremely human-oriented – it requires close contact and new challenges. It is not suitable as a sofa bed or to live in a playpen.
Belgian Shepherds work well as avalanche, rubble dogs and disabled helpers. They compete in defensive dog competitions. They are excellent athletes, they can practice agility, flyball, obedience, frisbee. Laekenois also work well in traditional style grazing.
Belgian Laekenois. Training and education
Laekenois learns extremely quickly and is ready to take on any challenge. He executes commands flawlessly, maintaining constant eye contact with the guide.
Exercises should be varied, because the dog of this breed does not like monotony. It requires a consistent and firm upbringing and socialization from the puppy.
Who is this race for?
Belgian Shepherd Dog Laekenois is not a dog for everyone. He is a very demanding friend who needs a lot of exercise and activities. The owner should lead an active lifestyle, be consistent, and at the same time patient and balanced.
Belgian Laekenois. Advantages and disadvantages
requires a very consistent owner
I need a lot of activities, both physical and mental
has a very sensitive psyche
energetic and exuberant
suitable for dog sports
attached to owner
Like his cousins, Belgian Laekenois tolerates various weather conditions well. However, it is more exposed to hip dysplasia and hemophilia. It rarely suffers from epilepsy, which is relatively common in long-haired varieties.
The Belgian is not picky, but because of the rapid metabolism, he eats quite a lot. His energy demand is high, so it is advisable to use foods with a higher content of protein and fat.
It is best to serve ready-made products (only high-quality), but you can also prepare meals yourself, without forgetting to add calcium and vitamin preparations.
Belgian Laekenois care is not complicated. It should be combed once in a while. As the only Belgian one requires trimming – two to four times a year. The frequency depends on the abundance of robes and the owner’s preferences.
Trimmed Laekenois do not molt, because dead hair is removed during the procedure. Some do not trim this variety, but such dogs are heavily overgrown, lose their hair, and in addition, their coat softens and its color loses its intensity.
Laekenois is the rarest of the four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd. They are all descendants of Central European shepherd dogs, related to German and Dutch shepherds.
Initially, different types of coat and color appeared in one litter. It was only at the end of the 19th century that dogs were divided into varieties – first depending on the type of coat. In 1892, the outline of the first pattern was created. In 1900, Groenendaela and Malinois were recognized in Belgium. It was not until 1963 that a division into four varieties was introduced today.
A sheepdog named Janssens is considered the “father” of the rough-haired variety. He included the dog Vos and the bitch Poets, who became the founders of the family. The name of the variety comes from Château de Laeken – the residence of Queen Maria Henrietta, who liked to watch rough-haired dogs helping shepherds at work.
In fact, they came from around Boom in northern Kempen, where Janssens was born and where his family bred them. They also had a rather unusual function there – they were guarded by canvases, which were laid out on the meadows so that the sun would whiten them.
Theoretically, all Belgian varieties should differ only in coat type and / or color. In practice, however, there are other differences as a genetic exchange between varieties is limited (requires authorization). Laekenois is often stronger and has a more elaborate head and chest than other Belgians. Unfortunately, among this variety, overly distrustful and fearful individuals are more common.
The narrow genetic pool does not leave breeders too much room for maneuver. For example, they try to improve the mental characteristics and health of the breed by crossing Belgian Laekenois with malinois, among which, especially in utility lines, there are plenty of animals with a very strong psyche.
Others manage by registering malinois offspring as laekenois, which has intermediate characteristics between varieties, such as slightly longer and more wire-like hair. In this way, they add an injection of fresh blood. This is a practice often used in Belgium, but not allowed, e.g. in the Netherlands.
Most laekenois can be found in the Netherlands, Belgium and France – but even in these countries are not very popular.
Belgian Shepherd Dog laekenois – group I FCI, section 1, reference number 15
Character: alert dog, active, full of energy; distrustful of strangers, excellent guardian and defender
Size: ideal dog height – 62 cm, bitches – 58 cm (tolerance 4 cm up and 2 cm down)
Weight: dogs and bitches 25-32 kg
Coat: rough, wavy or slightly twisted; medium length hair (approx. 6 cm) on the torso, shorter on the limbs and head, where it forms a short chin, mustache and eyebrows; dry coat, hard to touch, soft undercoat
Ointment: fawn or red with signs of a black coating, mainly on the mouth and tail; acceptable white markings on the forechest and fingers
D length of life: 13-15 years
P odatność training: very high
Activity: high; needs a daily dose of exercise and mental activity
Resistance / susceptibility to diseases: resistant, but more often than other varieties it has hip dysplasia and hemophilia