The American Kennel Club is the oldest purebred dog registry in the United States. It sanctions various dog breed shows, including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the National Dog Show, and the AKC National Championship. The AKC also puts on other types of competitions, such as for agility.

Many dog lovers watch just to see the animals themselves, regardless of the breed. But supports of particular breeds greatly value AKC membership and recognition. Enthusiasts of another breed have just reached their goal.

Belgian Laekenois now officially recognized

Belgian Laekenois dogs can now compete and win American Kennel Club events, reports MSN. The breed is being sorted in the herding group. As the name might suggest, the group consists of dogs that have historically done well herding livestock.

The Laekenois was bred to herd sheep at the Palace of Laeken. Located in the Brussels region, the palace is the official residence for the king of Belgium. Often times, they have a coat of shaggy fur. But they can occasionally sport a smooth coat. Their coloring is usually a mix of brown and white, described as 'tweedy'.

As USA Today notes, the breed has been used as a military dog. Including in both World Wars.

During the second one, the breed drew a particular ire from Adolf Hitler.

Laekenois lovers will apparently have to wait a while longer to see their breed compete in an AKC event. Because of COVID-19, many if not all of the AKC's events have been canceled for 2020. This means that the Belgian Laekenois will in all likelihood make its formal American Kennel Club debut in 2021.

Closely related to other Belgian breeds

The lineage of the Laekenois can be traced back to three other Belgian herding breeds of dog. At one point, the now four separate breeds were all considered to be one single breed.

These include the Belgian Malinois. Often confused with the German Shepherd, the breed is popular with law enforcement and the military.

A number of them have prominently participated in U.S. Special Forces missions. They also guard with White House alongside human U.S. Secret Service members.

Another is the Belgian Tervuren. The name comes from the municipality in central Belgium. It was the home of M.F. Corbeel, who created the breed in the early 20th Century. The Tervuren has the best AKC dog show result of the breeds. It happened as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1983. A Tervuren officially called CH Corsairs Beaujangles won the Herding Group, making it to the Best in Show round.

The other breed is known in the AKC as the Belgian Sheepdog. In many other circles, it's called the Groenendael. This name comes from a restaurant that was owned by a prominent breeder in the 1800s. It's also referred to as the Chien de Berger Belge, roughly the French translation for Belgian Sheepdog.