Belgian Malinois Breed Standards & Information
The Belgian Malinois is a medium size, athletically built dog with a proud carriage and a 'high drive' personality. This breed is used for many purposes including: tracking, police K9, herding, agility, obedience and protection sports.
Other names - Malinois, Chien de Berger Belge, Mechelaars
The Belgian Malinois is the official dog for the United States Secret Service and are used in great numbers in the US Military and Police forces.
In 1911 the first shorthaired Belgian Shepherds were registered with the AKC. Before 1959, the Belgian Malinois was placed in the Miscellaneous Class ( though it had individual AKC Stud Book registration) due to low numbers for competition.
By 1965 sufficient numbers had been registered by the AKC so the Belgian Malinois was moved into the Working Group and was eligible to compete for championships. Today the Beligan Malinois is in the AKC's Herding Group, formed in January 1983.
The disposition of the Belgian Malinois can range from bold and confident to reserved and aloof. It is important to recognize, however, that displaying confidence is not the same as acting aggressive and that being reserved is not the same as acting fearful or shying. Good breeding and proper handling from birth should produce a suitable temperament for a working dog.
The Belgian Malinois is active and responsive. This breed benefits from an owner that provides an outlet for that drive in the form of regular physical and intellectual activities. This is why the breed as a whole excells in sport dog activities such as Schutzhund and other competitive protection based sports, and why many 'professionals' pick the Belgian Malinois as the dog of choice. They can, however, make good pets in the right house hold with owners capable of being highly active and dedicated to their dog.
The following chart is from the current (approved 1990) American Kennel Club (AKC) standards for the Belgian Malinois.
Coat & Color
The coat of the Belgian Malinois is short with dense undercoat; slightly shorter around the head and feet, and longer around the neck and tail. The muzzle and ears are to be black. Excessive white markings beyond toe tips or chest area are to be penalized.
"The movement is smooth, free and easy, seemingly never tiring, exhibiting facility of movement rather than a hard driving action. The Belgian Malinois single tracks at a fast gait, the legs, both front and rear, converging toward the center line of gravity, while the topline remains firm and level, parallel to the line of motion with no crabbing. The breed shows a marked tendency to move in a circle rather than a straight line."
The Belgian Malinois is balanced and athletically built dog. With in this breed males should appear robust and masculaine compared to the females who can be slightly 'lighter' in form.
As a whole, the Belgian Malinois should give a picture of having enough bone mass to support their athletically muscled, tone body. While the dog should not appear 'soft' or 'fine' nor should it look to be 'muscle bound' or have more mass above in ratio to his legs below.
The facial expression of the Belgian Malinois should be inquisitive and alert. The head should be in proportion to the body and should reflect the sex of the dog.
"The top of the skull is flattened rather than rounded with the width approximately the same as the length but no wider. The stop is moderate. The muzzle is moderately pointed, avoiding any tendency to snipiness, and approximately equal in length to the topskull. The planes of the muzzle and topskull are parallel."
"The eyes are brown, preferably dark brown, medium size, slightly almond shaped, not protruding. Eye rims are black. The ears approach the shape of an equilateral triangle and are stiff, erect, and in proportion to the head in size. The outer corner of the ear should not come below the center of the eye. Ears hanging as on a hound, or semi-prick ears are disqualifications."
The breed standard goes on to describe a functional bite conformation with healthy teeth. Strong jaws. The lips should not be loose.
Neck & Body
The neck is thicker at it's base, narrowing into the skull, with sufficient length. The Malinois should be built level to slightly 'uphill' from the hip to it's high point at the wither. The flanks should not be overly tucked up or distended. The croup-stifle-hock angles are sharp, with out being overly extreme.
This breed is not overly in the hips or chest, however it has adequate depth in the heart girth for athletic work. Like the hindquarters, the angle of the scapula-humerus (shoulder) is fairly sharp. The pastern length is moderate with slight angle. The foot is small with close toes, with ample padding.
The tail is widest at it's base, very slight curve with out being 'hooky'.
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Belgian Malinois Breed Information