Belgian Sheepdog-Malinois.jpg
Breed Group Group 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds
Sub-group 10-B: Large Pastoral Dogs
Origin Country Belgium
Weight Males: 55-66 pounds. Females: 44-55 pounds.
Height Males: 23-27 inches. Females: 21-25 inches.
Other Name(s) Belgian Malinois, Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois), Belgian Shepherd Dog Malinois, Belgian Shepherd Dog, Malinois, Chien de Berger Belge, Malinois
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD
meet the...

Belgian Sheepdog-Malinois

Breed Group Group 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds
Sub-group 10-B: Large Pastoral Dogs
Origin Country Belgium
Weight Males: 55-66 pounds. Females: 44-55 pounds.
Height Males: 23-27 inches. Females: 21-25 inches.
Other Name(s) Belgian Malinois, Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois), Belgian Shepherd Dog Malinois, Belgian Shepherd Dog, Malinois, Chien de Berger Belge, Malinois
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

Dogs have been an integral part of Belgium’s history, with shepherd dogs appearing as far back as medieval times. Prior to the development of modern day dog breeds, dogs were bred for function over form, and dogs that performed a specific type of job could have a variety of appearances, ranging from large to small, and short-coated to long-coated, with everything in between, depending on the physical characteristics selected for to perform a certain job, the genetics available in a certain population, and regional style or preference. This was true for the shepherds’ dogs of Belgium.

It wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century when Professor Adolphe Reul of the Belgian School of Veterinary Science realized that, while the regional working dogs were different in some aspects such as coat type, color, and coat length, they were also similar in size, working style, and overall type. He categorized them into eight different varieties, which were then further condensed down to the four varieties that we see today. This includes the Groenendael, Laekenois, Malinois, and the Tervuren.

In Belgium, the breed’s country of origin, these are all considered four varieties of one breed, since all four varieties would appear in one litter up to the time they were sorted. However, some other organizations consider them four separate breeds. Continental Kennel Club considers them four varieties of the same breed: the Belgian Sheepdog.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat Mesaticephalic to almost dolichocephalic in skull-type. Strongly developed, moderate in size, rectilinear, shaped like an elongated wedge, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is moderately wide, with a flat plane. The median furrow is not well defined. The occiput, brow, and zygomatic arches are only slightly developed. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, obliquely set, and medium to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: Somewhat small in size, set high on the skull, and triangular in shape with pointed tips, carried firmly erect. When alert, tips point straight up. The ears are never overly long, overly large, or broken
Muzzle: The muzzle is of a moderately long length and strongly developed. It tapers gradually toward the tip of the nose, giving the head the appearance of an elongated wedge. The plane of the muzzle is straight or slightly convex. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, are strong, well developed, never appearing snipey or weak. Upper and lower jaws split wide apart at hinge, revealing back molars when the mouth is held opened.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage, strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Body: Powerful, solid, and with good substance without appearing heavy, coarse, or bulky. Capable of great endurance, agility, and performance, without appearing racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the topline. Thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, but never tucked or carried up over the back. Of a somewhat long length with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints, or below, when held down. Tail may be straight, gently curved, or with gently curved toward the tip.
Movement: Energetic, efficient, effortless, tireless, and agile. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: Belgian Sheepdogs are confident, active, energetic, watchful, and devoted dogs. They retain the characteristics that were honed and developed over centuries in Belgium to make them excellent working dogs and unmatched companions for the right owner or family. They are highly intelligent, highly agile, very powerful, and well aware of their capabilities. They can become very protective of their people, family, and property, making them excellent watchdogs. Training, socialization, and a regular “job” are necessities for these dogs, since they can prevent the intelligence, protective instincts, strength, and energy of the breed from leading into behavioral problems down the road. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
Click Here to View Full Standard

Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds

Proportions: Square to slightly off-square with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump being approximately equal to or just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio is between 5:4 and 10:9. Females may be slightly longer. The body is well-put together, with sturdy substance, and medium yet solid bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat Mesaticephalic to almost dolichocephalic in skull-type. Strongly developed, moderate in size, rectilinear, shaped like an elongated wedge, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is moderately wide, with a flat plane. The median furrow is not well defined. The occiput, brow, and zygomatic arches are only slightly developed. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Expression: Lively, alert, attentive, anticipatory, keen, and curious.
Stop: The stop is somewhat slight to just moderate.
Skull: Shorter than the topskull. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed. The bridge of the muzzle is straight, with slight taper horizontally and vertically, appearing almost conical. The muzzle should never appear dish-faced, roman-nosed, overly broad, snipey, or weak.
Muzzle: The muzzle is of a moderately long length and strongly developed. It tapers gradually toward the tip of the nose, giving the head the appearance of an elongated wedge. The plane of the muzzle is straight or slightly convex. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, are strong, well developed, never appearing snipey or weak. Upper and lower jaws split wide apart at hinge, revealing back molars when the mouth is held opened.
Lips or Flews: Lips are clean and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws, revealing the natural fullness and taper of the jaws.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: Cheeks may appear smooth, or with some slight padding to denote strength. Cheeks should not appear coarse or prominent.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, obliquely set, and medium to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: Somewhat small in size, set high on the skull, and triangular in shape with pointed tips, carried firmly erect. When alert, tips point straight up. The ears are never overly long, overly large, or broken

Body and Tail

General Description: Powerful, solid, and with good substance without appearing heavy, coarse, or bulky. Capable of great endurance, agility, and performance, without appearing racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage, strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Topline: Level from prominent withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, flat, and level. The topline is never swayed or roached.
Croup: Powerfully muscled, broad, and gently sloped.
Underline: Slight tuck up is present. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the topline. Thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, but never tucked or carried up over the back. Of a somewhat long length with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints, or below, when held down. Tail may be straight, gently curved, or with gently curved toward the tip.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle and bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of good bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: Dense, double-coats with a woolly undercoat and protective outer coat. The outer coat is short, straight, hard, dense, close-fitting throughout, shorter on the head, ears, and lower legs. Fuller on the tail, and neck, forming a light ruff and collar, backs of the thighs, and underside of the tail.
Coat Color or Pattern: Standard Coat Color Variety: Any shade of fawn to mahogany, all with black mask, with or without mask extension, sable or agouti overlay.
Non-Standard Coat Color Variety: Brindle, seal (dark sabled to almost black), black, black with tan points, blue or gray fawn, brindle, sable or agouti overlay. White that extends beyond the toes or beyond small patches on the chest.

Movement

Energetic, efficient, effortless, tireless, and agile. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

Belgian Sheepdogs are confident, active, energetic, watchful, and devoted dogs. They retain the characteristics that were honed and developed over centuries in Belgium to make them excellent working dogs and unmatched companions for the right owner or family. They are highly intelligent, highly agile, very powerful, and well aware of their capabilities. They can become very protective of their people, family, and property, making them excellent watchdogs. Training, socialization, and a regular “job” are necessities for these dogs, since they can prevent the intelligence, protective instincts, strength, and energy of the breed from leading into behavioral problems down the road. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.