The Laekenois dog is a medium-sized/large, rough-haired breed that appears square in outline. The weatherproof coat comes in reddish with black shading mainly on the muzzle and tail. Adult dogs should measure between 61-66cm and females between 56-61cm. They weigh between 27.5-28.5kg.
The Belgian Shepherd Dog breed comes in four varieties: the Laekenois, Tervueren, Groenendael and Malinois, named after the areas in Belgium from which they came. The Laekenois is the rarest of the four varieties. They were originally used for herding and guarding the linen fields where valuable cloths were laid in the sun and rain. As their coats were harsh and wiry, they were ideal for outdoor work in all weathers. Today the Belgian army and the police use them.
As a pet, he is a devoted companion; he does not like to be separated from his family, preferring to join in with all activities. Affectionate with his loved ones, he is naturally protective of his home and family – an instinct that appears naturally and does not need to be encouraged. Early socialisation is vital with all dogs with guarding tendencies, including the Laekenois, especially as he can be problematic with other dogs if lacking positive early experiences.
As with many breeds, all varieties of the Belgian can suffer from hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
The Laekenois needs two hours-plus of daily exercise and mental stimulation. Highly trainable, he can excel at agility, obedience and other canine 'sports'. They are very active dogs and should not be considered as pets if they are to be left alone all day.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs.
The Laekenois has a harsh, wiry coat that should not be curly. The coat length is about 6cm. Fairly low-maintenance, the coat will need grooming about once a week.