Pronounced lak-in-wah, it is named for the town of Laeken where it originated and is the rarest of the four Belgian herding breeds, which in their home country is considered a single breed.
NOTE: The Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) describes the Malinois, together with the Groenendael, the Laekenois, and the Tervueren, as varieties of the Belgian Shepherd dog breed. The American Kennel Club, however, officially recognizes the Belgian Malinois, the Belgian Sheepdog (FCI: Groenendael), the Belgian Laekenois (FCI: Laekenois), and the Belgian Tervuren (FCI: Tervueren) as four distinct breeds.
Links to Breed Descriptions
US club: Judges Education Webinar (2020)
Judges Education Breed Resources: https://laeken.club/akc-judges-education/
Meet the Newest AKC-Recognized Breed: Belgian Laekenois
Country of Origin and Parent Breed Club
This article on Belgian Shepherds is part of a series to highlight the Big Picture of health, welfare and breeding and to help develop Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles (GRIHPs) for many breeds. See IPFD's Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative
This article is an overview of the Belgian Shepherd Dog varieties. A variety-specific analysis for the Laekenois is available as a PDF.
GRIHP_Laekenois J Uski(1).pdf
There are numerous breed standards. The basis of breed/conformation shows is the judging of pedigree dogs against the 'Breed Standard', which is a picture in words that describes the range of features that are deemed appropriate for the breed. Three of the major international standards are:
The American Kennel Club
The Kennel Club, UK
FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale)
1. Finland: Koiranet: https://jalostus.kennelliitto.fi/frmEtusivu.aspx?R=15.2
Breeding/Health Strategy Documents
The Kennel Club, UK: Breed Watch (Category 1)
Sweden: Breed-specific Breeding Strategies: (in Swedish) and/ or English summary
Finland: Jalostuksen tavoiteohjelma Belgianpaimenkoira, laekenois 1.1.2022 – 31.12.2026
American Belgian Laekenois Association - Official Club statement: http://cdn.akc.org/Marketplace/Health-Statement/Belgian-Laekenois.pdf
Breed-Specific DNA Tests:
Other Breed-Specific Webpages
Meet the Belgian Laekenois: Canine Chronicle (2015)
We are listing sites for breed clubs with health or other information that might be helpful. Follow links below.
Belgium: Royal Union of Belgian Sheepdogs Clubs vzw: https://kucbh.be/
Finland: Suomen Belgianpaimenkoirayhdistys ry: http://www.finbelge.fi/
Sweden: Rasklubben för Belgiska Vallhundar: https://afbv.se/
US: American Belgian Laekenois Association: https://laeken.club/
UK: Belgian Shepherd Dog Association of Great Britain: https://www.bsdaofgb.co.uk/
Working Belgian Shepherd Dog Society: https://www.wbsds.org.uk/