The Laekenois is intelligent, alert, attentive, watchful, serious and obedient. Female Laekenois tend to be more outgoing than the males. They appear wary, but are not timid or aggressive. The Laekenois responds best to gentle and calm training/handling. This breed generally gets along with children but are likely to be dominant towards other dogs. The Belgian Laekenois performs best as a sheepdog or watch/guard dog, but also makes a good family pet if well socialized from an early age.
The coat needs to be trimmed about twice a year, depending on it's condition. It is not recommended that the Laekenois is closely trimmed as this can ruin the coat for several years. A coarse-toothed combed is ideal for periodic grooming to remove the dead hairs.
The Laekenois does require plenty of exercise and most of these dogs love retrieving and playing with a ball. If they have adequate exercise then they will be calm when indoors. This breed makes excellent guard and defence dogs.
Belgian Sheepdogs were already established as an important part of farm life in the 1700s, in Belgium. It wasn't until the 1800s that a group of breeders in conjunction with a veterinary school in the Brussels area, studied the variations found in these local sheepherders. This resulted in the division of the breed into four varieties – the classification being dependent on their color and coat. The four varieties are named after their area of origin: Groenendael, Tervuren, Laekenois and Malinois. The breed standards are identical except for coat color, texture and length.
General Appearance: Well proportioned, elegant and hardy.
Color: Reddish fawn with black shading.
Coat: Harsh, wiry, dry and not curly. The length is about 6 cms (2.5 inches) all over the body.
Tail: Medium length, hanging when at rest with the tip curled slightly backwards. In action the tail is lifted.
Ears: Set high, triangular, rounded at base, stiff and straight.
Body: Long, oblique shoulders, deep and low chest but not too wide. Level, broad, muscular back and a curved stomach from the chest.
- The Laekenois is one of the four varieties of Belgium Sheepdogs that is recognized nationally. In many countries all these varieties are classified as a single breed (Belgian Shepherd). The varieties include the Groenendael, Laekenois, Malinois and the Tervuren. In the US the Groenendael is the Belgian Shepherd, with the Malinois and Tervuren recognized separately and the Laekenois is not recognized at all.
- Although the Laekenois is similar to it's three close relatives (Groenendael, Malinois, Tervuren), this breed is actually less inclined to snap. It is the rarest of the four Belgium Sheepdogs, despite it being just as fertile and capable as a working dog.
- The Belgian Groenendael and Tervuren are most often used as companion dogs while the Laekenois and Malinois are used as guard dogs.