These beautiful dogs are virtually unknown, but they and a handful of breeders and enthusiasts have been quietly working behind the scenes to get this breed the attention and recognition it deserves.
Although the Laekenois (say lak-in-wah) was just admitted to the AKC’s full breed status on July 1, 2020, these working and herding dogs have been competing in the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class since 2011.
The breed is the rarest of four Belgian herding breeds, the Belgian Sheepdog, the Belgian Tervuren, and the Belgian Malinois which are all considered a single breed in Belgium but are split into four different breeds by the AKC.
These brave dogs served as messenger dogs in World Wars I and II, and were specifically targeted by Hitler, which contributed to their declining numbers. Today the worldwide population of the dog is around 1000 with only a few hundred here in the United States.
The Laekenois breed was bred to work, guarding flocks in the field and herding. Today the breed is known for its adaptability and is as much at home on a farm as he is in the city. But this breed is not for everyone. They require a lot of exercise, purposeful interaction and play, plus obedience training.
Owners who do not have the time needed to pour into this breed over their lifetimes should consider a different dog. These dogs need an experienced trainer and a frim hand at times and should not be taken on by a novice owner,
But for the right person, the Belgian Laekenois can be a true joy, excelling at the dog sports of obedience, herding, and scent work. Now that they have come into the public eye with their entrance into the AKC’s full breed standings, these intelligent, loyal, affectionate and protective canines are about to make their mark!
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