Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois)
The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) is a breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog rather than as a separate breed. The Malinois is recognized in the United States under the name Belgian Malinois. Its name is the French word for Mechlinian, which is in Dutch either 'Mechelse' (from Mechelen) or 'Mechelaar' (one from Mechelen).
Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Malinois is a medium-sized, hard-working, square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family. The Malinois is recognized by its short brownish yellow coat and its black ears that stick straight up, cheeks, and muzzle.
Coat and color
Due to their history as a working dog (i.e. being bred for function over form) Malinois can vary greatly in appearance. The acceptable colors of pure-bred Malinois are a base color of grey to fawn to mahogany with a black mask and ears, and with some degree of black tipping on the hairs, giving an overlay appearance. The color tends to be lighter with less black agouti or overlay on the dog's underside, breeching, and inside the legs.
The other varieties of Belgian Shepherd are distinguished by their coat & color: the Tervuren is the same color as the Malinois with long hair, the Laekenois is the same color, only it may lack the black mask & ears, and has wirehair, the Groenendael (registered as Belgian Sheepdog by the American Kennel Club) has long hair and is solid black. There are (occasionally and historically) solid black, black-and-tan (as in a Doberman or as in a German Shepherd Dog), or other colored short-haired Belgian Shepherds, but these are not technically Malinois.
If a dog represented as a Malinios is brindle (clear stripes of different colored hair) it is probably a Dutch Shepherd Dog or a mixed breed, although the possibility exists that it is a "throwback" to a common continental shepherd ancestor.
Male Malinois are about 24-26 in. (61-66 cm), while females are about 22-24 in. (56-61 cm) at the withers. Female Malinois are said to average 25-30 kg (55-65 lb), while males are heavier at 29-34 kg (65-75 lb). Malinois can range from stocky to slender, but are always squarely built.
In Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries, as well as in the US, the Malinois is bred primarily as a working dog for personal protection, detection, police work, search and rescue, and sport work (Belgian Ring, Schutzhund, French Ring, Mondio Ring). The United States Secret Service exclusively uses the breed
The dog is also used extensively by Unit Oketz of the Israel Defense Forces. Oketz favors the more slight build of the Malinois to the German Shepherd and Rottweiler, which were employed formerly.
Chien de Berger Belge
Mechelse Herder (Mechelse Scheper)
Pastor Belga Malinois
Group 1 Section 1 #015
Group 5 (Working Dogs)
Group 7 - Herding
Belgian Shepherd Dog
Belgian Shepherd Dog (also know as the Belgian Sheepdog or Chien de Berger Belge) can refer to any of four varieties of dog: the Groenendael, the Laekenois, the Tervuren, or the Malinois. In some regions, these are considered four different varieties of a single breed; in other regions, they are considered separate breeds.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes only the Groenendael under the name "Belgian Sheepdog", but also recognizes the Tervuren (with the alternative spelling "Tervueren") and the Malinois as individual breeds. The Laekenois can be registered as part of the AKC foundation stock service and should eventually be recognised fully by the AKC.
The Australian National Kennel Council and the New Zealand Kennel Club recognize all four as separate breeds. The Canadian Kennel Club, Kennel Union of South Africa and the Kennel Club (UK) follow the FCI classification scheme and recognises all four as varieties of the same breed.
All are hard-working, intelligent dogs of the same general size and temperament. They differ in their coats and superficially in appearance.
They are so closely related that, when breeding any two dogs of the same coat colour and length (eg Groenendael), it is possible for puppies of different "breeds" to be in the same litter. For example, a Groenendael litter could contain a brown-coated long-haired puppy; in countries that consider them the same breed with 4 coat varieties, this is fine and the puppy would be a valid Tervuren, but the AKC considers it to be an aberration of the all-black Belgian Shepherd and disqualifies it in the conformation ring. This dog can be bred with other Groenendaels (indeed the AKC allows this because the dog is after all registered as a Groenendael!) and worked in obedience, agility and other sports venues. Likewise, a Malinois could have a long-coated puppy; in some countries, this is merely the Tervueren coat variation but the AKC again considers it to be a disqualifiable fault in the conformation ring.
In years gone past, the Groenendael and Tervuren were one breed with coat variations until the Club decided to petition the AKC to make the separation into two separate breeds.
Belgian Shepherds are bred to be highly intelligent, alert and sensitive to everything going on around them, and to develop extremely strong relationship bonds. This means that they need significant socializing as puppies, lifelong activity outlets, and will seek to be with "their human" all the time, preferably doing something rather than waiting around. They can find it very difficult to be left alone. During their juvenile years, they can go through irrational fears (similar to the child who believes there is a monster in the closet), and can suddenly develop anxiety over some object or place which has never been a problem before, although these fade over time with a good positive lead. They tend strongly to be a "one person dog."
Belgian shepherds can over-react badly to "negative" (punishment or deterrence based) training, so as a rule their training should be based on reward. Overly permissive training can also cause problems, however, so it is important for the owner to know how to train dogs or to enroll in training classes. Professional training is highly recommended by trainers/academies specific to this type of dog, as well as continued training or development beyond the basics, such as obedience, agility and herding and other sports. This is because Belgian Shepherds as a rule require mental stimulation as much or more so then physical. Most Belgian owners know that rote or pattern-based training is not the ideal for Belgians. Nor is drilling a particular activity going to prove successful. If a Belgian does something right 3 times in a row, he does not see the sense in doing it the fourth time.
All the Belgian Shepherd breeds need a lot of activity and close interaction with people. Like most herding breeds, they need a job to do (be it herding, learning tricks, dog agility). Throwing a toy endlessly for the dog to fetch works for some breeds, but the Belgian breeds are intelligent and sociable dogs who can easily become bored with such simple and undemanding repetition. Many Belgians make superb assistance dogs who thrive on knowing that their jobs are indeed necessary for their chosen person.
They are widely considered to be a fine looking dog, loyal, intelligent, fun, and well suited to family life. However because of their high sensitivity to criticism or to being ignored, their careful handling and socialising needs, their need for ongoing stimulation and purposeful activity, and their potential (in common with other high energy dogs such as Siberian Huskies) to become destructive if bored, they are not usually considered suitable for a first-time or inexperienced owner, or one who cannot meet their needs.
There have been few health surveys of the individual Belgian Shepherd varieties. The UK Kennel Club conducted a 2004 health survey of all Belgian Shepherd varieties combined. The Belgian Sheepdog (=Groenendael) Club of America Health Committee has a health registry questionnaire, but it is not clear whether or when results will be reported. The American Belgian Tervuren Club conducted health surveys in 1998 and 2003. Only the 2003 report included longevity information.
Median longevity of Belgian Shepherds (all varieties combined) in the 2004 UK survey, was 12.5 years, which is on the high side, both for purebred dogs in general and for breeds similar in size. The longest-lived of 113 deceased Belgians in the UK survey was 18.2 years. Leading causes of death were cancer (23%), cerebral vascular, i.e., stroke (13%), and old age (13%).
Average longevity of Belgian Tervurens in the 2003 American Belgian Tervuren Club survey was lower, at 10.6 years, than in the UK survey. The difference in surveys does not necessarily mean Belgian Tervurens live shorter lives than other varieties of Belgian Shepherds. Breed longevities in USA/Canada surveys are usually shorter than those in UK surveys. Leading causes of death in the 2003 American Belgian Tervuren Club survey were cancer (35%), old age (23%), and organ failure (heart, kidney, liver) (13%).
Belgian Shepherds are afflicted with the most common dog health issues (reproductive, musculoskeletal, and dermatological) at rates similar to breeds in general. They differ most notably from other breeds in the high incidence of seizures and/or epilepsy. In the UK survey of Belgian Shepherds and both the 1998 and 2003 ABTC survey of Belgian Tervurens, about 9% of dogs had seizures or epilepsy. Other studies have reported rates of epilepsy in Belgian Tervurens as high as 17%, or about one in six dogs. For comparison, the incidence of epilepsy/seizures in the general dog population is estimated at between 0.5% and 5.7%. See Epilepsy in animals for more information on symptoms and treatments.
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