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Training of Belgian Malinois as Working Dogs

 

Introduction

This breed does not do well as a pet or family dog for inexperienced owners!

In appear race this breed has erect ears, a square body, and a consistently erect tail in stature. The body is longer than the height of the Belgian Malinois.

The double-colour belt, which covers the body, is short. Coat care is not difficult because the hairs are very close to each other. Weekly brushes with a hard wire brush are enough to maintain a shiny coat. With this care, the excessive artirlation of the hair is also prevented.

This breed is not very happy when left alone.

Belgian Malinois is one of four Belgian sheepdogs. The breed takes its name from the Belgian city of Malines where it was developed in the late 19th century, primarily for herding, guarding, and other police tasks. It was introduced into police service during the 1890s.

Due to its dark face and ears, it is also sometimes referred to as Belgian Blackface. It is considered a super breed in its breed standard. The breed is similar in appearance to the German Shepherd, although it is more slender of bone and body. The length of the forehand, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttocks, should not exceed the height at the withers by more than 10%. It has a deep chest and a standard size.

History

Though the dogs that would later become identified for the tasks completed by the Belgian Malinois are depicted in monastic writings and literature as a part of medieval life in Belgium, no known reference was made to a specific dog that became known as a herding dog. In the 1860s, Professor A. Reul assembled the best dogs in Henrietta Artois.

His idea was to create a breed that would be suitable for use in rural police work, defence, and herding. The dogs owned by various shepherds from the town of Laeken were brought together by Reul. The result was three different coat varieties: one that was short and smooth, one that was long and rough, and also a middle coat recognized as a double coat sheepdog. These dogs were named after provinces unique to Belgium.

Ancient engravings and carvings have confirmed the presence of dogs, similar in appearance to the contemporary Belgian Malinois, as far back as the first century. This breed has always been an agile and intelligent herder and as a result has been used for centuries in Belgium to move livestock.

These shepherds lived as villagers and owned both small farms and flocks of sheep. As a mixed breed dog, these were considered to be of little value. The dependency of St. Bernard’s Monastery on the shepherds and sheep town could be considered a part of the need for dogs, as well as the trained dogs, for this area of the Belgian countryside.

Dogs brought to the region by traders or monks became an important feature of the landscape. These dogs were used to perform tasks that they were bred to do and required no human intervention to prompt the dogs.

Physical Characteristics

The Belgian Malinois evolved in the part of Belgium called Malines. As with other breeds, the public was the crucible for determining the suitability of the breed for a specific task. From the gathering of information provided by parents, the behaviour and drive as well as anatomical features like the athleticism, agility, and good health of the Belgian Malinois, people were able to decide which Belgian Malinois is suitable for the next generation.

Breeders were then in the position and had the responsibility to create breeding combinations that would optimize and ideally improve the desired performance features of the Belgian Malinois. However, breeding in any breed can expose undesirable physical attributes.

For this reason, the Flemish breed club and the American Belgian Malinois Club have defined a breed standard that can be used as a guideline for professional breeders. These breed standards are taken into account during the judging of every dog show but also during specialized breeding selection. Breed standards are controlled by the breed club and in Belgium, this is the breed club of the Belgian Shepherd Dog.

A Belgian Malinois should look athletic and agile. He should be well muscled and spirited, but not bulky or heavy. He stands squarely on all fours and viewed from the side, the topline should form a straight line from the withers to the croup.

The withers should be slightly higher and sloping gently to the uniform croup. The croup should be of good length and slightly sloping. Legs should be straight, sturdy and parallel. The elbows should be held close to the body and lie flat against the chest. Viewed from the side, the pasterns should be slightly sloping, straight, strong and flexible.

Dewclaws may be removed. The feet should be round, compact with well-arched toes, and turn neither in nor out. Pads should be hard, tough and well cushioned. Toes should be close. The not too long tail is strong at the base and then tapering. When the dog is in action, the tail may be carried up and with a slight curve. The coat is a short-coated, double coat. The exterior fur is short, hard, and lies close. The undercoat is dense; it is a lighter color.

The head is clean, but some males may feature well-developed cheek muscles. The skull is flat and parallel. In some dogs, the foreface and the skull are equal in length. While the Belgian Malinois should be athletic and agile, it should not look like a Greyhound.

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