WHAT MAKES A BELGIAN SHEPHERD A LAEKENOIS?

In each of the four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd, it is the Coat ALONE which differentiates the varieties

Groenendael – Black long coat
Tervueren – Red long coat with Black mask and tipping (Grey is also an acceptable colour)
Malinois – Red short coat with black mask and tipping
Laekenois – Fawn rough coat with minimal tipping

Breeding Laekenois of correct type and with good character is probably the most challenging of any of the four varieties. Belgenbeau committed to this variety almost 10 years ago and have owned and exhibited this variety longer than any other Qld Belgian Shepherd breeder. Our experience is comprehensive and as with all varieties, we have carefully and fully researched not only the lines we use, but the genetics behind producing correct Laekenois coats. As with our Malinois, our imported Laekenois lines and home bred dogs can be found behind most successful Laekenois in this country today.

Coat

Too much curl and excessive furnishings is incorrect and makes the dog look more like a Bouvier. Not enough and the dog is more like a Malinois. However both types of coats should not be discounted when breeding the Laekenois variety.

A puppy of eight weeks that already displays a lot of facial hair is probably going to develop into an adult with excessive furnishings and this will need to be 'plucked' to create the correct expression. (When looking at the Laekenois, you should be able to identify that the dogs has correct head type and expression without searching through masses of furnishings.)

 

Excellent Laekenois Heads

I would prefer less furnishings


The best time to recognise if a puppy will have a curly coat is when they are first born. Waves are noticable at the back of the head and down the neck and whithers. Facial furnishings are harder to pick, however by 8 weeks, even if a puppy looks as though it has no facial hair, an experienced breeder will have a good idea of how a puppies head and furnishings will turn out.  A puppy with full furnishings at 8 weeks should be avoided if you are not prepared to pluck to create the correct look.

Two laekenois puppies with different coats

Sassy on the left - Shirley on the right           

Sassy - Belgenbeau Twisted Sista  Shirley - Belgenbeau Curly Shirly

                    Sassy                                                   Shirley

In this photo are two puppies from one litter. Although to the inexperienced eye they may look the same – we knew by eight weeks that one would have correct coat and furnishings, while the other would be more Malinois in appearance. However BOTH females are of immense value to this variety as both can go on to produce Laekenois of correct type.

To maintain the correct courseness in the Laekenois coat, the Malinois variety must from time to time be utilised. This is also important due to the very limited gene pool in the Laekenois and excessive line breeding has and can produce serious health issues.

The standard states: What especially characterizes the rough hair variety is the roughness and dryness of the hair, which is rasping and tousled. About 6cm long over the whole body, the hair is shorter on top of the muzzle, and the forehead and the legs. The hair around the eyes and those furnishing the muzzle should not be so long as to disguise the shape of the head. However it is essential to have furnishings on the muzzle. The tails should not form a plume.

If you have any questions about the Laekenois variety, please do not hesitate to contact us.