On July 1, 2020, the American Kennel Club announced that a new dog breed has joined their ranks – the Belgian Laekenois. In honor of the new addition, we’ve gathered some fun facts about this unique European herding dog. Enjoy!

The Belgian Laekenois (pronounced lak-in-wah) is the fourth dog from Belgium to join the AKC’s ranks. The Laekenois gets its name from the town of Laeken in Belgium, where the breed originated. It joins the Belgian Sheepdog, the Belgian Malinois and the Belgian Tervuren, all herding breeds.

The Laekenois stands out among these other Belgian breeds due to its coat, which is coarse and woolly and comes in a variety of colors, with black shading around the muzzle, ears and tail. It is a medium-sized dog, and ranges between 55-65 pounds when full grown.

Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of the Laekenois – it’s a rare breed. There are only about 200 Laekenois in the USA, and only around 1,000 worldwide. But those who do know the breed love them for their loyalty, intelligence and athleticism.

Belgian Laekenois portrait

Historically, the breed served as herding dogs at the Royal Castle of Laeken, and guarded linen as it dried in the fields. The Laekenois also served as messenger dogs during both World War I and World War II. Today, Laekenois continue to excel at a variety of tasks, including herding, guarding, therapy, obedience and agility.

Belgian Laekenois require early socialization and a commitment to training. This is a dog that needs plenty of exercise and thrives when given a task or activity to participate in with his owner. They can be aloof around strangers, but are known to be very loyal and affectionate with their family. If you’re looking for a smart, active canine companion and are willing to devote time and effort to training, then the Belgian Laekenois can be a good fit.

To learn more about the Belgian Laekenois, or any other dog breed, visit the American Kennel Club’s website.