Military dogs: GSD vs. Belg Mal vs. Dutch Shep - Page 1

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by UschiRun on 25 July 2013 - 16:07

The other day I was watching a program on military dogs and what their trainers and handlers have to go through. An interviewee was discussing the different dogs used by the U.S. military: the German Shepherd Dog, the Belgian Malinois, and the Dutch Shepherd.

He stated that one of the reasons that the GSD is not being used quite as much (even though it is still heavily used) is because the soldiers/handlers need to be able to lift the dog up onto their shoulders. This is especially important for deployments of Afghanistan where the dogs are at a high risk of injury. 

I was wondering if anyone knows about those other 2 breeds and how they compare to the GSD when it comes to military work.


by Hired Dog on 25 July 2013 - 16:07

The biggest reason is availability. There are simply more and cheaper Malinois/Dutch shepherds, same breed
really, then there are GSDs. Price pays a huge role when you buy dogs by the hundreds. Some Malinois are indeed smaller then the GSD, but, that is not the real reason.
The US Secret service uses Malinois exclusively, the IDF in Israel does too, there are reasons for this. When I look at some of the threads here that deal with the GSD breed, I am always amazed by the amount of pedigrees and paper work and such that follows these dogs. The Armed forces do not care about any of that...non papered dogs, so long as they can work, thats all that matters.

by UschiRun on 25 July 2013 - 17:07

Hired Dog,
You're definitely right about all of the paperwork that is talked about on this forum; however, most of the GSD's on this website aren't military. Also, while most of them are probably phenomenal dogs, that doesn't mean they'd be cut out for the military dog lifestyle. Not all dogs have such an intense drive that they'll search for a hidden object/bomb/drugs stash for more than 5 minutes in a large area, AND not become distracted. While police dogs are similar and would easily adapt to the military lifestyle, I still firmly believe that not all would. So you're right- the paperwork is pointless for the job the dog is required to do. If you're breeding, showing, and/or competing dogs, then the paperwork is necessary; if you're not, then it's unnecessary.

Could you sure more reasons? Other than the price, for what reasons are the Malinois more valued by the Secret Service and the IDF? If price wasn't an issue and dogs would be selected solely for their abilities (in terms of the breed in general), what areas would the GSD surpass the Malinois? Or rather, is the Malinois arguably a superior military dog? I'm not that familiar with the breed.

by Hired Dog on 25 July 2013 - 17:07

The Malinois has been my breed for 35 years now. That makes me very unsuitable to answer this question, but, in terms of intensity and drives, I believe that the Malinois is a better dog. Having said that, I will also add that its those same drives that can be detrimental to the breed as well.
This can be a long subject to properly get into and explain in detail and like I said earlier, I am a Malinois man , that breed will always be closer to my heart then any other, but, I am also not blind to ANY good working dog of any breed either.
As far as the working ability and stability of the MWD...lets just say that with the huge numbers they get, they have some serious problems with them too.


by jemi on 25 July 2013 - 20:07

IMO...generally malinois are more energetic, a lot more quicker, more alert and responsive, more heat tolerant, lighter to carry in case of injury, lesser health issues, and economical to maintain in terms of feeds and vets.  Above all these, their drives are over the top, an all around athlete both physically, and mentally.

by Slamdunc on 25 July 2013 - 21:07

IMO...generally malinois are more energetic, a lot more quicker, more alert and responsive, more heat tolerant, lighter to carry in case of injury, lesser health issues, and economical to maintain in terms of feeds and vets.  Above all these, their drives are over the top, an all around athlete both physically, and mentally.

That is somewhat true.  There are many more suitable Malinois and Dutch Shepherds for Police and Military needs then there are GSD's.  Especially, when you factor in cost.  For $7,000 US dollars it is hard to find a GSD that is comparable for Police work to the Malinois and Dutch Shepherds that are available at the same price.   Many PD's in my area have gone exclusively to Dutch Shepherds and Malinois.  These are Dept's with 20 or more Patrol dogs and will only use Malinois or Dutch Shepherds.  
Q Man

by Q Man on 25 July 2013 - 22:07

It's actually very simple...PRICE and AVAILABILITY....
Chaz Reinhold

by Chaz Reinhold on 26 July 2013 - 00:07

Wait, Bob, so what are you saying? The price of available dogs, or the available dog's price? I'm confused. Does health, drive, size, etc factor in? If it doesnt, I'd just get pound dog.

by Gustav on 26 July 2013 - 07:07

I find the same thing is happening in NJ that Slam and Hired dog are stating as far as police work availability. There still is nothing finer than a very good GS, but what makes the price element daunting is the limited supply of GS available that can meet requirements. 90 % of the reputable breeders today by the European or American standard are not producing dogs that can compete anymore in this field. This makes the few, so much more costly or even unavailable. Whereas with Mals, there are currently a much likely chance that the dogs have drive, health, courage, and structure to do the work. It's supply and demand, and most breeders no longer really are breeding working dogs for the real world, been sayin it for years and reality supports this, the breed is not in structure or health sound for strenuous work, and it's temperament is often no longer adaptable to the rigors of these type functions. Back yard breeders didnt do this...elitest did. Very sad!

by Hired Dog on 26 July 2013 - 09:07

An excellent post Gustav and sadly very true. I know of no agency in my area that still uses GSD, they are either not available or they cost too much.
Chaz, BOTH factors you mentioned play a role. The availability of GSD sound enough to do police work and the price being asked for the few that can as well as the availability of the Malinois. It has become THE premier working dog in the last 10-15 years for reasons mentioned above.

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