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Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois)

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Group Pastoral Dogs (KC)

Origin / History One of the four varieties of Belgian Sheepdogs, the Laekenois is the rarest and the least popular. In many countries, the four varieties, which are the Groenendael, Laekenois, Tervuren, and Malinois, are considered as just one breed. The American Kennel Club has not even given the Laekenois breed recognition.

The Laekenois was developed for the purpose of watching and guarding the fields in Antwerp, since fine linens are bleached in the rain and sun in that area. At the time when Queen Marie Henriette reigned, this breed was considered as a must-have dog. Today, dogs of this breed are very rare but are still being used as guard dogs. In fact, these dogs are very useful for search and rescue missions, herding, law enforcement, bomb/gas/drug detection, sledding, and even for assisting the ill, disabled, and elderly.

Appearance This breed, like all the other varieties of Belgian Shepherd Dogs, is a hard-working, medium-sized, and square-proportioned dog. Its ears are sharply triangular and it sports a woolly coat. These dogs also have tight lips and black noses.

Colours These dogs come in colors of fawn, and mahogany along with an overlay of black. There are also dogs of this breed that have woolly brown and white coats that give them a tweedy appearance.

Temperament Like other Belgian Shepherd Dogs, the Laekenois is smart and obedient. Temperaments may vary from one dog to another, which is why prospective owners must be careful when making their choice of which dog to get. Dogs of this breed may become aggressive and novice dog owners may not be able to handle this. These dogs may also exhibit herding tendencies such as circling, chasing, and nipping at people's heels. These are demanding dogs and may not be for everyone.

Height and Weight They are 56 - 66 cm in height and 25 - 32 Kg in weight.

Common Health Problems Although this breed does not have major health problems, it does have minor health issues. These include eye problems, excessive aggressiveness, excessive shyness, and skin allergies. They may also be afflicted with elbow dysplasia as well as hip dysplasia.

Living Conditions These dogs will do well inside an apartment provided that their owners make certain that they are given enough exercise. They are moderately active when kept indoors and will be happy with a yard that is average-sized. These dogs are happiest in places where the climate is cool, but they can adapt to other climates as well. They also prefer living with their families, although they will be okay when left to sleep outdoors.

Exercise Requirements Due to the fact that dogs of this breed are used to leading active outdoor lives, they need to be given much exercise. Owners must make certain that they take their dogs out for long walks on a daily basis. These dogs will also benefit greatly from being off the leash, just as long as they are kept in a safe area.

Training Requirements Extensive socialization of these dogs should be done at an early age. Breeders should make sure that these dogs are already being socialized right from birth, otherwise, they may become too shy and sensitive, or too aggressive. Owners should train their dogs gently but firmly. Harsh methods will not work on these dogs because they will become uncooperative when dealt with in that way.

Life Expectancy These dogs have life spans that range from 12 to 14 years.

Grooming Trimming of these dogs' coats should be done twice a year, but this would have to depend upon the quality of the coat. Owners must make sure that excessive and dead hair will be removed. When trimming the dogs' coats, light trimming must be done as opposed to close trimming, as the latter will ruin the coat for a couple of years. Coarse-toothed combs must be used for grooming their coats. These dogs should be bathed only when necessary, as doing so will interfere with the coat's waterproofing.

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