The Laekenois is well known for being an alert and vigilant breed. It is also widely known that observant behavior and attentiveness is a distinct sign of intelligence. Without these traits, the breed would have never earned their highly regarded reputation in herding circles. Sensing changes in an environment and moving to meet them requires that dogs apply their most critical skills and instincts. The Laekenois was able to develop and exercise these skills by reading the movements of animals in a herd. The Laekenois also has the tenacity and courage to accept almost any challenge that comes along. This is a common trait in dogs that have a good sense of self.
Nearly everyone wants a breed of dog that is intelligent and gifted in some way. However, dogs such as the Laekenois who take on jobs such as guarding and herding are also taking on its dangerous aspects as well. To stay safe, the breed simply does not have time to wait for commands from its owner. The Laekenois must think on its paws, so to speak, and because of this has developed a good sense of self and caution. This can sometimes cause a problem if the dog does not immediately trust what his or her owner is trying to communicate. It is often mistaken for disobedience when really it is a defense mechanism that comes standard in the Laekenois breed.
In the early days, there was no such thing as canned or bagged dog food and, aside from scraps, working breeds were mostly left to fend for themselves. Finding that they could be sufficient for themselves without much help from their owners, the Laekenois now displays a temperament that is less willing to offer blind obedience. Though most dogs depend on their owners for food nowadays, the Laekenois will still expect their independence on a regular basis. Owners will need to be able to work with and compromise with this need in order to keep a healthy relationship with their Laekenois.
The Laekenois is an ideal breed of dog for individuals that want a partnership with a dog they do not have to worry much about. Though independent and self reliant, the Laekenois still desires to be included and loves nothing more than being with its owner. Though they can seem somewhat aloof to strangers, it is simply the cautious nature of the breed coming through. Once the Laekenois considers an individual part of the pack, that individual will have a friend for life. Their strong intelligence, stamina and focus make them the perfect candidate for such things as agility course trials. They are also right at home when taking part in herding trials as well.