Belgian Sheepdog (Laekenois)

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belgian sheepdog facts

The Belgian Sheepdog History

The Belgian Laekenois Sheepdog is the rarest of the four Belgian Sheepdog breeds.  The Laekenois is a very bright and intelligent dog.  This breed was originally used to guard the fine linens which were hung in the fields in Antwerp.   The Laekenois originated as the dog for herding sheep at the Royal Castle at Laeken.   This breed is also considered the oldest of the sheepdog breeds.  During World War I and II, the Laekenois was used as messenger dogs.  Today, there are few breeders of the Laekenois Sheepdog to be found.

Breed Description

The Laekenois Sheepdog can weigh between 55 and 65 pounds.  Its height is usually between 22 and 26 inches.  They have medium, almond-shaped eyes that are dark.  The head and muzzle are fringed which gives the dog a shaggy look.  Their coat is of medium length which is rough and wiry and can reach over two inches in length.  Colors range from fawn to mahogany with a black overlay.  This coloring gives the Laekenois a “tweed” appearance.  They have rounded cat-like paws.  Their noses are black and their triangle shaped ears point straight up.  The average life span of a Laekenois is about 13 years.  Litter size ranges from six to ten puppies.

Personality of Breed

The Laekenois is a very bright and obedient dog.    It has strong protective and territorial instincts.  The sheepdog needs a guardian who is experienced.  They are good with children if socialized with them from an early age.  Owners need to be confident and consistent so the dog does not become shy or sensitive.  The Belgian Laekenois is protective of its “family” and is dependable and hardworking.

This sheepdog’s ideal companion can be farmers and ranchers, families, active sporty types and experienced dog handlers.  They prefer cooler climates, but does well in others.   The Laekenois can do well in an apartment as long as plenty of exercise is provided –  they like to stay active.  It is ideal if they can be off leash in a safe area as much as possible.

Photo:  Courtesy of Wikipedia

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