The color of the Laekenois can vary from Mahogany to Fawn and often they come in brown and white too.
24-26 inches (61-66cm.)
55-65 pounds (24-29kg).
22-24 inches (56-61cm.)
55-65 pounds (24-29kg).
Prefers to live indoors as part of the family but does need regular exercise. They can also live outside if necessary, but generally the breed will not be happy with this. Due to its thick coat, it would be better to keep the Laekenois in places where there is a cool climate but if that is not possible then it will adapt easily to whatever climate you live with.
The Laekenois has a unique appearance with a wire coat and a really long tail. It is the rarest of the four different Belgian Sheepdog breeds and it is extremely intelligent too. It is the only Belgian Shepherd dog which is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Groenendael, the Malinois and the Tervuren are closely related and they are all recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club but the Laekenois is not. It can be shown in Great Britain however as well as some other countries too.
Bred to herd, their bodies are very well proportioned and they have really muscular hind legs which surprisingly do not look too heavy. Color wise they tend to be either a fawn or a mahogany colour and they all have a black underlay. The muzzle is fairly pointy but not excessively so and its ears are small and they do tend to look a little out of place. This is the one physical fault which many people do not like about the appearance of the Laekenois.
Appearance wise the Laekenois closely resembles the other Belgian Shepherd dogs. Well known for their shaggy and unruly fur, these dogs are watchful of everything and they try extremely hard to please their owners. The nose should always be black and when looking at the mouth you should notice that the teeth form a level bite and they meet like scissors. The skull of this breed is flat and it meets parallel to the muzzle. Excellent with sheep and with strong guarding instincts, the Laekenois is an excellent sheepdog and they are best suited as working dogs. These days they are used both as working dogs and as pets.
The Laekenois has a really thick, woolly type coat. Usually brown and white in color, it is really coarse and will require a coarse brush to detangle it.
It also has a waterproof layer and you have to be careful not the bath the breed too frequently as otherwise it can potentially get rid of the waterproof layer.
The Laekenois was originally bred in Belgium, hence the reason it is otherwise known as a Belgian Sheepdog. It comes in a variety of colors and as they tend to look different in most parts of the world they are known as the same type of dog. However in America they are all known as different breeds of dog, only the Laekenois is not recognized at all.
When Queen Henriette reigned, the Laekenois was the favourite type of Sheep herder available. However today it is considered to be the least popular Sheepdog. These days the Laekenois is used more as a guarding or police dog than anything else, though it can also make an excellent pet if properly socialized.
With particularly strong guarding instincts, the Laekenois can make an excellent watchdog. However, if socialized properly from an early age they can also make good, family pets. Unlike many other breeds, the Laekenois does require a lot of socialisation and they need to be handled quite firmly. However they will not react well to harsh training, they will simply ignore you or react in a really negative way.
The one thing you will need to watch mainly is when introducing the dog to other non canine type pets. This is because of their natural instinct to chase and herd other animals. So if you have a cat for example, you could end up with potentially a lot of hassle as the Laekenois may try to herd it and chase it around the home.
Needing to be part of the family the Laekenois will not cope well in a kennel. If you have children then as long as the Laekenois has been properly socialized throughout its early years, it should be perfectly happy to share its environment with the children. Just be watchful in the beginning as they do have strong territorial instincts and if they have not properly been socialized then they could easily snap and lash out at a curious child.
Usually they tend to bond with only one or two people so they are not as much of a family dog as some other breeds. They prefer to have a really close bond with just one person and they will constantly seek them out whenever they are out of sight.
As the breed was bred to be constantly active, they do need a certain level of exercise and attention. They need to be tested and regular training can really bring out the best of them. If they are not given the adequate amount of exercise and attention needed then they will tend to get rid of their excess energy in other ways such as chewing or barking and whinging. They always have to be doing something and they are not usually content with just lying down all day.
Overall the Laekenois is an active dog and its main occupation these days is to work with the police or as a guard dog.
Excessive Aggressiveness-This is mainly a problem in dogs which have not been properly trained early on in life.
Hip Dysplasia-Officially known as Canine hip dysplasia, it can cause the dog to have mild-severe lameness.
They can also suffer form skin Allergies, elbow dysplasia and eye problems. Overall though they are a healthy breed and you should not have to spend thousands of dollars at the vets.
Generally the Laekenois does not need an overly large amount of grooming. As its coat is wiry and dense it will need to be detangled when necessary and it should be trimmed roughly twice yearly. However never close trim the coat as this will ruin it and it will take years to grow back to normal.
When you do groom them, ensure that you use a coarse toothed comb in order to deal with the tangles. As a rule this breed does not usually shed their hair very often. However when they do shed ensure that you brush them regularly to remove the excess fur and to keep the coat looking as tidy as possible. The coat should always look rough and you should only ever bath them when it is absolutely needed. Washing the Laekenois too often can result in it losing its waterproof coat. So the fact that you do not have to wash the breed regularly is great news for owners who prefer not to go through the hassle of washing their dog!
So just watch out for tangles and use a coarse toothed comb every week or so and that is all that is needed with this breed. If you would prefer to keep the coat looking good however then you could always go over it every other day and that could help to keep the coat shiny.
Other grooming tips include trimming the nails when they become too long, though always ensure that you know what you are doing first. Also to prevent tartar build up it would be a good idea to brush your dogs teeth with specialized dog toothpaste at least once a month.
As the Laekenois is a working breed, it does need sufficient exercise in order to keep it happy and healthy. If you have a medium to a large sized garden then you can always get away with just playing with the dog in the garden on some days. However they will need as much exercise off the lead in wide open spaces as much as possible.
Without regular exercise behaviour problems can occur, so be sure to give the dog at least one hours exercise per day. A game of fetch could be fun and the Laekenois will love chasing after a ball. Also activities such as agility would be excellent exercise for the breed and as they have to think too it can really help them to get rid of any excess energy which they may have. You could even purchase a Frisbee and play Frisbee with the dog. Having them jump up for the Frisbee will really help to give them added exercise, though be careful not to throw it too high into the air as if the dog jumps too high it could end up with an injury.
You may even like to consider joining a herding type group where the Laekenois can really get a chance to do the job which it was bred for. You could also teach the breed to find things such as their favourite toy. By spending a few hours a day teaching them new tricks that will exercise them mentally which is often a lot more important than giving them physical exercise.
So do not even think about taking the Laekenois on if you do not have the time to spend exercising and training them. You will end up having to pay a lot of money towards potential damages if you do not give them the exercise that they crave and it is simply not fair on the dog either to have them locked away indoors. All herding breeds are best suited to a working life but if you do insist on having one as a pet then you do need to make the time for them.
As a rule the Laekenois loves to work and be challenged mentally and so they are open to any training that you can give them. They are highly intelligent and if you can, agility would be a good thing to teach the breed.
Your training methods should be firm but never harsh. If you do attempt to train the Laekenois in a harsh manner then you will simply end up with a dog which reacts overly negative. This means that it would be a lot easier to train them using rewards rather than punishments. Clicker training in particular could be useful.
If you are not overly confident about training the Laekenois yourself then it would be a good idea to enrol with a training school. If you could find a training school which is specific to the Laekenois then that would be highly recommended as they will know exactly how to train the breed and the particular problems which may come with it.
Sometimes they can become a little too shy; especially when they are puppies and so that is why it is really important to socialize them as much as possible. The main thing to remember is to persevere and allow them to mix with children and other animals and eventually they will increase in confidence.
Generally metal stimulation is more important than physical exercise. The Laekenois loves nothing more than to work things out and be pushed to the limit. So it may be a good idea to train them at herding or in advanced obedience classes.