The Laekenois is one of four varieties of sheepdogs that originated in Belgium. The varieties (Tervuren, Groenendael, Laekenois and Malinois) are considered to be one breed in other parts of the world, including Belgium, but here in the United States, we recognize them each individually. Only the Groenendael, Tervuren and Malinois are allowed to show through the American Kennel Club, but the Laekenois is sure to follow suit soon. The Laekenois differs from the other varieties in that they are wire haired and originated in the town of Laeken, where they acted as guards for linen drying in the fields. Laekenois are rare here in the United States.
The Belgian sheepdogs originated in the 1800s and were developed to be true shepherds. They were found to be very versatile, so in addition to their shepherding duties, they also served with the police and border patrol, and worked as message carriers and machine gun pullers during the World Wars.
Their herding abilities make them a natural for agility, flyball and herding trials, though they are happy as plain old companion dogs if given the opportunity to exercise daily.
Despite their hardworking heritage, Laekenois are still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – and your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Laekenois are prone to include eye conditions such as pannus, cataracts, retinal dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy; and joint problems such as hip dysplasia.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Belgian Laekenois inherits his mom’s bad eyes or his dad’s bad hips, you’re covered.