The 2011 year promises to bring great things to Belgian Laekenois fanciers. The ABLA (American Belgian Laekenois Association) received notice that at the November meeting of the AKC Board, the Laekenois was moved into the Miscellaneous class. This is the next step towards full recognition of the Belgian Laekenois by AKC.
Sheila Walker is the ABLA Treasurer and also the liaison to AKC for Full Recognition of the breed. "The requirement for miscellaneous registration was dropped to 150 dogs with a three generation pedigree of Laeken parentage. The American Belgian Laekenois Association submitted records of AKC performance titles earned by Laekenois, any Specialty shows put on by the group, plus photographs of Laekens involved in various activities that AKC permitted them to do such as agility, obedience, rally, herding and tracking. In addition, the constitution, by laws and breed standard were all submitted for approval."
This represents a major undertaking by this small club with much time, work and effort being put forth by club members. The goal of course, is full recognition of the Laekens with eligibility to compete for championships in conformation. The move to the Miscellaneous Group takes place on June 30, 2011. Belgian Laekenois can then be judged in conformation at AKC shows but they will be in a separate division and not eligible for championship points from AKC yet.
Hopefully, the breed will move up to full recognition in 18 to 24 months. The move up will depend partly on the amount of activity by Laeken fanciers. The more Laeken that appear at AKC shows in the Miscellaneous Group, the faster the breed will be recognized.
Laeken lovers have been working towards these steps for a long time. The Laeken is recognized everywhere else in the world and by the United Kennel Club in the US as one of the varieties of the Belgian Shepherd. Laekens have been in existence right from the start of the Belgian herding breeds, even though they have not been as popular.
The ABLA deserves a huge cheer of thanks for the work they have done on behalf of the Laeken breed. I know I look forward to seeing Laekens at the shows!