Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois)


The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois) is a breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog rather than as a separate breed. The Laekenois is not fully recognized in the United States. However, they can be shown in Britain, Canada, Australia, and throughout Europe, along with all three of the closely related breeds which share a heritage with the Laekenois: the Tervuren, the Malinois, and the Groenendael, the last being shown in the U.S. as the Belgian Sheepdog.


Appearance
Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Laekenois is a medium-sized, hard-working, square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family with sharply triangular ears. The Laekenois is recognized by its woolly brown and white coat, intermixed so as to give a tweedy appearance. Most kennel clubs' standards allow for black shading, principally in muzzle and tail, indicating the presence of the melanistic mask gene.




History
The Belgian Laekenois originated as a sheep herding dog at the Royal Castle of Laeken. It is considered both the oldest and the most rare of the Belgian Shepherd Dogs. Until the advent of dog shows in the early 1900's, the four varieties were freely intermixed, in fact, there are only three genes (short/long coat, smooth/wire coat, fawn/black coat) that separate the varieties genetically. Purebred Laekenois occasionally give birth to smooth-coated puppies, which, depending on the pure-bred registry, can be registered as Malinois.

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