German Shepherd Dog > Military dogs: GSD vs. Belg Mal vs. Dutch Shep (85 replies)

by UschiRun on 25 July 2013 - 16:07

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.  

by Q Man on 25 July 2013 - 22:07

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

by Chaz Reinhold on 26 July 2013 - 00:07

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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

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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

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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.

by gsdstudent on 26 July 2013 - 13:07

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very confused, what is an elitest breeder? I understand what a back yard breeder is.

by Gustav on 26 July 2013 - 16:07

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What you are constantly defending!

by gsdstudent on 26 July 2013 - 17:07

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 I defend very specifically , The ideals set forth by the SV breeding program. I guess that could be elitist. The other catagory is not so clear either, A back yard breeder might be slang for a hobbyist. A  hobbyist could breed, train, trial, cert, and show all his own dogs. This hobbyist might do 2 litters every year or only one litter every other year but follow very strict rules. A back yard breeder could also be a loving home owner with a cherished pet that they want to breed so the kids can see pups born and raised. Or this home owner might think it is best for the female to have one litter in her life time because they feel ''it is the right thing to do'' for their beloved dog. A back yard breeder might be a mini-pup-mill with the worst condition possible for the upbringing of pups. So my confusion is not cleared up

by Haz on 26 July 2013 - 18:07

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You just have to read the threads on here to understand why the GSD has lost its place as the worlds premier working dog.  Pigment, angulation and other such bs is considered more important then working ability.  Just look at the thread on the Bad Boll b*tch the type of work that is considered acceptable for a Stud dog that has numerous progeny.  The un educated owner telling us all that he is "top in working". 
Look no farther then someone who thinks the SV represents what Stephanitz intended for the breed and that they place importance on actual workability.  There you will find your answer.
Lets not forget the watering down of Schutzhund to make it more politically correct and enabled garbage dogs to be titled and bred.

Fyi Mals and Dutchies are often registered FCI or BRN.  However, here is the reason they are the working dog of choice.  IF THEY CANT WORK THEY ARENT WORTH SH*T.  They are bred exclusively for work or sport, looks are secondary working ability then health is the ONLY consideration.  So the bottom line is you are much more likely to get one that can work. 
Of course some people are showing Mals so I'm sure its only a matter of time before we get two separate breeds there too.

by ronin on 26 July 2013 - 18:07

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Yes the military don't need papers they only care if can work....... the Malinios is cheap and available. The standard of Military Dogs is pretty low,weather its bitework, obedience or tracking. Unlike Police Dept's that have to dual train to be cost effective and their performance is measured and scrutinised by public & police, as well as having to do the dual purpose training for some dogs. 

Its a big issue if a K9 dies in the line of duty, but not a military dog. The Military don't care if its hips are shot are 5yrs of age, or it burn't out they will put it too sleep. Its common practice to put dogs to sleep on deployments to save the trouble of bringing them back.

The top Mals (Navy Seals/SAS) are raised and trained by the private sector, and they are mentally and physically quality, but they are in the handful. The Dutch Shepherd is stilling living on myth, a lot of in consistency and have yet to take off, never really materialised.

The Mal is the best thing to happen to the GSD, just look at the emerging GSDs in KNPV. It gives us a base line to work to, and avoid in some areas.

Navy Seal GSD!



by Gustav on 26 July 2013 - 18:07

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Haz, they can argue all they want, but they ain't consistently producing working dogs anymore. SO, the breed is in decline in real working areas....regardless of how it's defined or under who's rules. It's hard to argue with realityWondering.

by Haz on 26 July 2013 - 18:07

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Yet they do...  Even though its obvious to anyone who has been looking for a decent GSD lately.

by Jim Engel on 26 July 2013 - 19:07

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I basically agree with what Gustav is saying here.

When you look at the big picture, the primary cause of
the decline of the German Shepherd is the SV.

The man most responsible for this today would be Wolfgang
Henke. He did not cause all of this, but he is the current
in a series of SV presidents emasculating the German
Shepherd for show ring prominence.

by bebo on 26 July 2013 - 20:07

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what SV breeding program? the sanctioned separation of the breed into show and work? the hochleistungszucht crap and money grab? the watering down of tests so showline dogs can attain ipo cred's so important for pink papers and big (export) bucks? if an association's leading experts and breeders see resignation and splitting from the SV as the only option to preserve and better the breed, one ought to step back, reflect, and re-evaluate the party line. if not for the influx of czech and ddr blood as well as the continued 'support' from belgian, danish, and dutch gsd breeders, the state of the working gsd would be a lot worse. and we can't really credit the SV for bringing down the wall, can we?

todays' leading gsd working line breeders are predominantly sportdog breeders. i wouldn't necessarily call it elitist but in the end, that's splitting hairs as far as gustav's point is concerned. he is right, very few, if any, breeders of excellence are solely dedicated to breed the best possible 'real work' gsd's, at affordable costs, for LE and military. however, a lot of the 'left-overs' from these breeders seem to not only find their way into the hands of LE but also excel. every time i check the kreativekennels for sale section, for example, i am amazed how many gsd's are going to various branches of LE and how quickly. ditto for leistungshundeforum. what's even more interesting, though, is that a lot of these gsd's are imported.

given the global rise in 'real working dog' demand over the past couple of decades, i'm actually surprised that the gsd has been able to hold a relatively strong and, in terms of actual numbers, growing position. from a sheer numbers perspective, the gsd is doing surprisingly well. it's sorta, kinda, somewhat like the iphone versus the rest of the smartphone market share. an increasingly smaller percentage of an even larger increasing volume still allows for growth. having said that, there is plenty of work to be done to rectify defects in the breed. and i, for one, am rather interested to see where the rsv2000 breeding and trial program ends up, especially with respect to the production of gsd's suitable to and affordable by LE and military, and how it's very existence impacts SV decision making.

but even if today's gsd was perfect and affordable, there'd still be plenty of situations where a mali, for example, might be more suitable. when working in afrika, for example, it tuned out that mali's adapted better and faster to the daily high/lo temperature swings than gsd's. guys doing tours in some parts of the middle east had similar experiences. today's use cases for 'real' working dogs are so much more varied than twenty, thirty years ago and breeds other than the gsd may simply fit certain requirements much better. look at how much more varied the bundeswehr and nato activities are today than, say, in the 60s and 70s.

by jemi on 26 July 2013 - 20:07

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Malis and Dutchies can easily do what GSD's are capable of doing.  But GSD's can not do what the Malis and dutchies are capable of.  Law enforcement and military needs quick response to any situations, a fraction of a second could mean life or death.  Just like this one, effortless.....


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