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Belgian Laekenois
Of the four Belgian Shepherd breeds, the Laekenois is the least recognized, perhaps it is due to its somewhat scruffy appearance or to the fact that the breed contributed its life readily in virtually every war to date.  Regardless, this breed is easily as deserving of attention as its more popular cousins.  Because it has remained closer to its working roots and not been taken into as many homes as a companion, it's work ethic may even be greater and more sharply honed than the other breeds of its type.  In any case, it's charm is undeniable with the same conformation as other Belgian Shepherd breeds (in fact, in all countries but the US the group of four is considered one breed with several coat variations, much like the Collie is a variety in smooth or rough coat) and its tousled coat only delivers an additional comic charm.  But no one is laughing when these dogs get to work!
By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): Herding Height: 22-26 inches
Weight: 45-70 pounds Longevity: mid teens
Colors: red to fawn to gray with black or darker masking acceptable, minimal white acceptable Coat type: rough and harsh coat of 2-4 inches giving a tousled appearance over the entire body and head including beard
Recognized Registries: FCI, seeking AKC recognition
Overall Appearance: The elegant, athletic outline of the other Belgian breeds is covered with a much coarser coat. This scruffy appearance no doubt contributes to the lesser popularity of the breed which considering its serious working nature may be to its benefit.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate to high
General Nature: genial, confident, powerful and intelligent
  with Children: good if reared properly and with well behaved children
  with other pets: generally good
  with dogs: generally good
Socialization requirements: moderate
Ideal home characteristics: One that appreciates the responsibilities inherent in owning a dog with strong work ethic.
Temperament Notes: Exceptional training partner, will outthink the average trainer
Training requirement: moderate to high; heavy socializing is required as well as manners and some further training for a
Trainer notes: Quick to learn.  Too quick for the inexperienced or novice trainer that is imperiled by their ignorance and nerves.  Mistakes are exaggerated as this dog will see them and build their behavior around them.  If you aren't a pretty experienced trainer or AT LEAST with easy access to someone who is, look for another dog that won't be such a challenge and a potential problem as a result of your mistakes.  If you are confident of your abilities (with a few titles and other indications of your ability to your resume') buckle up for the ride of your life the sensitive, intent, clever and athletic Laekenois will be seeming to read your mind very soon.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: 1885 (birth of the sire of the breed)
Country of Origin: Belgium
Original Function: Herding/Protection
History: The Laekenois, Malinois, Groenedael and Tervuren as well as Dutch Shepherd and Bouvier trace their descent from Vos I de Laeken of 1885. Their exceptional service during the war (and thus their mortality at its battlegrounds) are part of its scarcity.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard:
Health Notes: hip dysplasia, epilepsy, bloat, eye issues, thyroid problems
Health Testing: OFA, CERF, Thyroid panel
Questions to ask Breeder:

http://www.digitaldog.com/breeder_questions.html  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Belgian Laekenois?
  • Why do you have Beagles (show, performance, hunting, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of a Belgian Laekenois?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you sent your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Belgian Laekenois?
  • How would you describe the ideal Belgian Laekenois home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training a Belgian Laekenois?
  • Web Sites:

    http://www.laekenois.org/rescue.htm- Rescue for the Laekenois Association

    Other Resources
    Breed standard:

    http://www.laekenois.org/standard.htm- Standard of the Laekenois Association

    Breeder Ethics:

    http://www.laekenois.org/forms/coe.pdf- Laekenois Association Code of Ethics

    Other: Currently the Laekenois Association seeks recognition by the AKC.  This may be a misstep, so many breeds of exceptional working ability have seen their overall quality suffer while the quantity explodes in the hands of puppy mills and irresponsible breeders who wish to capitalize on the relative "rarity" of the newly recognized breed.  DigitalDog hopes that should the organization achieve recognition by the AKC that it does not result in multiple "strains" of the Laekenois (working, pet, show) as it has for so many others.
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