The Laekenois (pronounced as “Lak-in-wah”) variety of the Belgian Shepherd dog is not fully recognized in the United States. The American Kennel Club recognizes the Leakenois in its Miscellaneous Class where it is assigned the Herding Group. They can; however, be shown in Britain, Canada, Australia, and throughout Europe, along with the other three types of Belgian Shepherd Dog: the Tervuren, the Malinois, and the Groenendael, the last of which is shown in the U.S. as the Belgian Sheepdog.
The Belgian Lakenois is considered by many to be both the oldest and rarest of the Belgian Shepherd Dog varieties. Its roots are believed to trace back to the 1700’s where the Laekenois was used for herding sheep at the Royal Castle of Laeken. Besides, its role as a herding dog, this breed was also used to guard linen that are placed in the field to dry, and later as a messenger dog in the First and Second World War. Please see the main Belgian Shepherd Dog page for information on the history of the breed.
The rarest and most unique looking of all the Belgian Sheepdog varieties, the Laekenois is the only type with a wiry coat. Described as “disorderly” and “tousled”, the coat of the Laekenois is rough and wavy. No silky hair is permitted. The length of the coat is approximately 2 ½ inches all over the body. The Laekenois also must sport a beard on the muzzle with the hair around the eyes short enough not to impede the dog’s vision. There should be no pluming around the tail. The color of the Laekenois is fawn, red, or varying tones of gray. There may be some blackening around the muzzle, ears, or tail; and a white patch on the chest or tips of the toes is permitted.
See the Grooming section of Belgian Shepherd Dog article for more information.