Among the other 4 species of Belgian Shepherd Dogs, the Laekenois definitely stands out. She is not inferior to the rest either in physical strength or endurance, but has an amazing curly coat, which gives the dog an interesting, unusual look. It softens some of the harshness that is present in all Belgians, but does not affect the character – serious and alert. Laekenois is a shepherd dog, with all its inherent qualities, therefore, before you start such a pet, you should weigh all the pros and cons, yet we are not talking about a room, sofa dog.
The origin of the breed
On the territory of Belgium at the end of the 19th century, there were many dogs that did an excellent job as a shepherd. They were motley, differed in size and appearance, united by only one type of activity. This prompted dog breeders to get a single breed that would have improved working qualities and a uniform exterior.
In 1891, Mr Rel and a group of enthusiasts created the Belgian Shepherd Dog Club in Brussels. In the same year, an exhibition was held, in which more than a hundred individuals participated. Some of the participants were selected for further breeding work.
As a result, the breeders received not one, but four varieties of “Belgian” – tervuren, malinois, groenendael and Laekenois. Today, the International Cynological Association rates them according to a single standard, although in some countries they are still accepted as separate breeds.
Laekenoisis one of the rarest species of Belgian shepherd dogs, the breed was named after the Château de Laquin, a residence owned by Queen Henrietta of Belgium.
Description of the breed Belgian shepherd Laekenois
The purebred representative of the breed is a moderately large, strong dog, the body of which is covered with coarse hair. If we talk about a general description, then the Laekenois is a harmoniously proportional animal, intelligent, unpretentious, adapted to living in outdoor conditions, regardless of the climate.
The dog has an elegantly set head, proud posture, giving it an aristocratic appearance, but at the same time the Laekenois has excellent working qualities. Initially, representatives of this breed were herding dogs, but they were also used for watchdog service. Such a pet will furiously defend the home and family members from uninvited offenders.
The growth of Laekenois males varies from 62 to 66 cm, they weigh 26-31 kg, bitches are slightly lower – 58-60 cm with a body weight of 20-26 kg. The standard describes dogs as follows:
- The head is elegantly set, elongated, elongated, well-defined.
- The muzzle is rectangular, wedge-shaped, with an even bridge of the nose, a smooth stop and thin lips. The jaws open well, with a full row of strong teeth forming a scissor or pincer bite.
- The nose is well developed, pigmented in a black shade.
- The eyes are slanted, elongated, small in size, with dark, stretched eyelids and a black or brown iris.
- Ears – set high, they are rather small, in the form of triangles.
- The neck is moderately elongated, with a high fit, there is an extension to the shoulder blades. The withers are poorly expressed, there is no dewlap.
- Body – square format, strong, with a good, voluminous chest and oval ribs. The back is straight, shortened, passes into a strong loin and a slightly sloping croup. The belly line is tucked up, but not too tight.
- Tail – harmoniously placed, of medium length. In a calm state, it is lowered down, the tip is slightly bent.
- Legs – Powerful, long, with strong bones, lean muscles and rounded legs.
Wool quality and possible colors
All Belgian Shepherds are designed to live in harsh climates, so they have a well-developed undercoat, and the Laekenois is no exception. In this species, the guard hair is harsh, wiry, the dog looks disheveled, sloppy. On the muzzle and extremities, it is shorter than on other parts, on the body its length does not exceed 6 cm. The tail is moderately pubescent.
Until now, experts argue about exactly what color the coat should be pigmented in Laekenois, but the standard states that only individuals with a red, warm color and a coal-black coat in the area of the muzzle and tail are allowed. Gray dogs are also popular among lovers of this type of “Belgian”, but they are not allowed to the exhibitions.
Temper and character traits
Since the history of the Belgian Shepherd Dogs began not so long ago, the representatives of the breed still retain the working qualities of their ancestors. These dogs do an excellent shepherd job, and also cope with security and search activities. Of course, today they are rarely used as shepherds, but they have successfully shown themselves in other directions.
All Belgians are very sensitive pets, ready to communicate with their owner. Naturally, this requires certain conditions, the puppy must not only be trained, but socialized. The kid should be in crowded places, get acquainted with other animals and people, this will exclude the possibility that the dog will grow up timid, insecure, hysterical or overly aggressive.
Laekenois gets along well with children. The dog may not play with babies, but he tends to obey the younger members of the family. As for other pets, problems can arise here. It will be difficult for these dogs to get along with rodents, which will evoke hunting instincts in the dog and be considered a “victim”. This can also apply to cats, however, if only the shepherd is not properly raised.
Education and training of Laekenois
Belgian Shepherds are intelligent and well-trained dogs. However, they have an innate alertness and independence, which can complicate the educational process. The owner should show the puppy from the first days that it is he who is the leader and leader of the given family-“pack”, it is impossible to show the pet his confusion or uncertainty. As soon as this clever dog feels the weakness, he will not fail to turn it in his favor.
Laekenois usually choose one owner for themselves, more often he is a persistent and restrained person. Therefore, you should not even expect that the dog will follow the commands at the request of any family member. But he will treat everyone friendly and respectful, including children.
How to care for a ” Laekenois “
Laekenois is a wire-haired type of shepherd, but the Belgians do not recommend carrying out the traditional procedure for such dogs – trimming, that is, plucking out dead hairs. They have a different opinion on this matter – the dogs should fade naturally, after which their “fur coats” are renewed.
But if such a pet lives in apartment conditions, then abundantly falling wool will be a big nuisance. In this case, you can periodically treat your pet with a special brush or furminator, helping the dog to get rid of old hairs. Such care will give the dog a neat appearance, and the number of house cleaning will be significantly reduced.
The coat of Laekenois can be perfectly self-cleaning, therefore it does not require frequent washing. Even when the dog gets very dirty, after drying it is enough for him to shake off the dirt to disappear. But still, once a month and a half, the pet should be washed using a specialized product.
Additionally, it is recommended to moisten the dog’s coat with conditioner or conditioner. After the procedure, the shepherd must be wrapped in a large towel and wait for the excess moisture to be absorbed into the fabric.
Pet teeth require special attention. It is recommended to clean them 1-2 times a week, which will reduce the risks of various diseases of the oral cavity. As a preventive measure, it is worth giving the dog a pressed bone and other dental treats and toys. It is necessary to teach your pet to brush your teeth from puppyhood, then he will endure a not too pleasant hygienic procedure calmly and patiently.
Ears should be cleaned as needed using herbal products. They are buried in the auricles, and after 2-3 minutes they are wiped off. Removing hair from the inside of the ear helps to prevent the accumulation of dirt and wax, as well as the development of inflammation.
It is enough to inspect the eyes regularly, but you can wipe them only if they have acidified or dirt has got into them. Laekenois claws are usually abraded naturally, but if they grow back more than they should, then they are removed with a nail clipper.
The ancestors of the Belgian shepherd dogs had surprisingly good health, but the breeding work has made its own adjustments, and the Belgians still have diseases that are transmitted from generation to generation. Among the most common pathologies, the following can be noted:
- Large joint dysplasia is an inherited disorder in which the hip bone does not fit properly to the joint. Pathology disrupts the gait of the animal; the dog feels pain and begins to limp. Large dogs are more likely to suffer from this disease.
- Eye conditions – usually cataracts or glaucoma, are sometimes genetic abnormalities that affect older dogs.
- Volvulus of the stomach can be either hereditary or acquired. In the latter form, the development of pathology is associated with malnutrition. This disease can lead to the death of the dog. To avoid this, it is important to give your pet a rest after a meal, without burdening it with work.
- Infertility – occurs in individuals of both sexes.
- Rapid physiological aging – dogs are already aging quite intensively, but with this phenomenon this does not happen by 9-10 years, but earlier – 5-7 years, the dog develops diseases inherent in older animals.
Feeding and diet
It is not recommended to feed the Belgian Shepherd monotonously. A variety of foods should be present in her diet. The basis of the menu is meat, but it also needs to be supplemented with other food:
- Proteins. The dog must get the right amount of protein, not only animal, but also plant protein. The main sources of this component are meat, by-products, fish, dairy products. Eggs should be given to your pet a couple of times a week.
- Carbohydrates. Provide the animal with the energy it needs. You can cook porridge for your dog from rice, buckwheat, wheat, pearl barley in meat or vegetable broth, it is better to season it with a small amount of vegetable oil. You can treat the dog with a slice of black bread.
- Fats. Contained in fish, meat, vegetable and butter. But with the last component, you shouldn’t be too zealous.
For natural feeding, it is recommended to give your pet vitamin and mineral supplements. You can consult a veterinarian who can prescribe a suitable complex.
The owner has a choice – he can purchase a suitable industrial ration for his four-legged friend. But the selection should be taken seriously, as a poor-quality product can cause cramps and bloating.
It is worth asking the breeder what kind of food the baby ate in order to save new owners from searches and mistakes. In any case, the food must be of high quality and suitable for large, active dogs.
Features of the content of Laekenois
Experts strongly recommend keeping any type of Belgian Shepherd in a country house. It is best if your pet has a spacious aviary. Today there are more and more “Belgians” living in apartments. But the owners are at risk, because if the puppy is not provided with attention, games, physical activity, toys, then housing can be significantly damaged.
Regardless of the conditions of detention, you should walk with your pet regularly, 2 times a day, the minimum duration of the walk should be an hour and a half. 2-3 times a week, and if possible and more often, you should visit the training ground with the dog and actively engage in it. All Belgians are excellent athletes, so the owner of a “non-working” dog should consider this option.
Buying a Laekenois puppy
Before buying a Belgian Shepherd puppy, a person should evaluate their strengths. Such a pet requires a lot of attention, free time, needs work and serious training. This is a guard, a watchman, not a sofa decoration. Before buying, it is worth consulting with an experienced breeder or dog handler who knows the specifics of this breed.
Yes, future Laekenois owners will face certain difficulties – in comparison with other varieties, this type of Belgian Shepherd is quite rare. Usually, puppies of this breed are ready to go to a new home in 2.5-3.5 months. At this age, they are moderately independent and able to take upbringing lessons.
It is better to get a baby in a nursery or from a breeder with an excellent reputation. In this case, the seller can 100% guarantee not only the purebredness of the offspring, but also health and the absence of serious genetic abnormalities. In addition, if the owner wants his four-legged friend to participate in exhibitions in the future, then it is unlikely that it will be possible to buy a suitable puppy from random sellers – with excellent data and pedigree.
Laekenois- may not be the most spectacular of the “Belgians”, but to someone it may seem simple and simple. But his slightly disheveled appearance should not be misleading – this is a real incorruptible watchdog, which may well serve in the police. Naturally, he needs a master with a strong hand, capable of giving a lot of time to his curly friend.