It’s probably safe to say that the Belgian Laekenois hasn’t received nearly all of the “credit” and “praise” that it should have over the years. After all, because he looks so similar to other breeds such as the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois, the Belgian Laekenois is often mistaken for one of these more “popular” dog breeds.
Even though, he is one of four unique herding breeds originally from the town of Laeken in Belgium, he is the only one not “officially” recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
The good news…
Is that we here at IndulgeYourPet aren’t really that that concerned about “which” dogs the AKC officially recognizes and which ones it doesn’t. For us, it’s simple, is the Belgian Laekenois a good dog or not?
And by all accounts…
This rather “obscure” breed is actually a GREAT dog and one that you should definitely consider if given the opportunity to own one.
Now will a Beligian Laekenois be right for you?
That’s just something that we here at IndulgeYourPet can say, only you’ll be able to make that decision for yourself. But what we can do is provide you with some of the pros and cons of owning a Beligian Laekenois so that you’ll be able to better make that determination on your own which is why we’ve written the following article.
Belgian Laekenois Facts
Country of Origin: Belgium
Original Purpose: Herding Dog and Watch Dog
Height: 22 to 26 inches tall
Weight: 45 to 65 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 12 years
Dog Breed Classification: Herding Dogs
Origins of the Belgian Laekenois
The Belgian Laekenois hails from the town of Laeken in Belgium, where they are one of 4 native shepherd dogs that include the:
- Beligian Shepherd,
- And the Belgian Malinois.
And is where, the Belgian Laekenois earned his reputation for being a very strong and faithful companion which is why this breed is has been valued over the years.
It was only in 1891 that the Laekenois was recognized as a separate dog breed within Belgium itself which may be due to the fact that traditionally, Belgians haven’t always choosen to recognize the difference between the different Belgian Shepherd dogs throughout the years.
That said however…
There are certain things that can be said about the BelgianLaekenois which certainly separates him from a crowd.
First and foremost…
The Belgian Laekenois is brave. So brave that this dog breed has earned a reputation outside the Belgium border, for being a dog one can count on. In fact, the Belgian Laekenois did marvelous work during the World War II as a messenger dog for the allies, often under the most brutal circumstances.
The Laekenois continues to do a lot of “heavy lifting” in its role as rescue dogs or police dogs, saving lives, helping out law enforcement officials, and doing spectacular work throughout the world.
Despite all of this…
The Belgian Laekenois is still to be recognized by the American Kennel Club! But perhaps this will change as they continue to do invaluable work all over the world!
Physical characteristics of the Belgian Laekenois
Belgian Laekenois is a medium sized dog that weighs between 45 and 65 pounds. He has dark brown, almond-shaped eyes, black overlay, curly hair, rough, wiry coat and a short tail.
You’ll find that…
He’ll typically have a square-shaped body and has a proud, soldierly look about him, befitting a police dog. He has a unique gait – he moves in circles and very rarely in a straight line. And while this might appear a bit “strange” at first, this is actually what you would expect from a herding dog, one that has to keep his flock together.
Belgian Laekenois Temperament
Not surprisingly, the Belgian Laekenois is calm under pressure, incredibly brave and displays great courage under fire. He is a fearless Belge dog, very protective of his human family.
He does make…
For an excellent watchdog. Ideally, the Laekenois should be trained and socialized right from the time he is just a puppy. This will ensure that he is relaxed in the company of other people and does not get nervous when surrounded by strangers.
That’s why you need…
We generally recommend that if you do decide to adopt a Belgian Laekenois puppy you’ll definitely want to enroll your Belgian Laekenois in dog training classes as soon as possible. These dogs will generally respond well to companion dog training. Which will prevent excessive shyness and unnecessary aggression.
Did we mention that he is smart?
Smart enough to know who to protect and who not to. Mind you, he is still a herding breed by nature, and so if you do have small children running around, you’ll definitely want to make sure he or she is taught not to chase or “nip” at them.
There is a risk. But in generally it’s safe to say that most Belgian Laekenois’ will be well behaved with children, especially when he grows up with them.
Like most herding dogs…
The Laekenois is not too comfortable around cats. He has a habit of chasing small animals, including cats – that’s his nature. But there again, if your Laekenois is raised as a pup with cats around, there is a “decent” chance that he won’t find the “need” to constantly chase them around the house 24/7!
Laekenois’ also very energetic…
This means you have no choice but to take him on long walks every day. Otherwise he will get bored; he has all of this pent up energy inside, which he will use on your sofa cushions, shoes, toys….
As the say…
“the devil will find work for ideal paws!”
So… if you want your Laekenois to behave well, make sure that he remains active. His training should include activities such as agility, obedience, rally, mental stimulation, Flyball, herding, tracking and search and rescue.
IF you have a yard, be sure that it has a secure fence in place. You see, your Laekenois will have a tendency to wander off now and then, especially when a small animal arouses his curiosity. Also, he doesn’t like it too much when other dogs enter your property, and if this happens, it could lead to aggressive behavior.
So, for your peace of mind, fence the yard!
What about the health problems concerning the Laekenois?
The Belgian Laekenois is a healthy dog breed, but like humans, he can have health problems too. Most of these health issues are hereditary by nature.
You can make sure that your dog does not suffer from any of these defects by asking the breeders for proof of DNA testing. Ask the breeder for the following certifications:
- CHIC certification
- PennHIP or OFA certification for hips
- OFA clearance for elbows
- An eye clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.
Also be sure to watch out for…
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Eye diseases such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy
Which Belgian Laekenois can be prone to developing.
Since you’re taking the time to determine what dog might be right for you, we would also encourage you to take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy.
If your Laekenois does develop some type of illness or does suffer from some type of injury later on in life, you won’t be on the “hook” for the full cost of treatment.
Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?
Probably not, but until you know what they will and own’t cover, and how much one would cost in your area how will you know for sure? For more information about pet insurance, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article where we discuss some of the pros and cons of owning such a policy on your pet.