Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Shepherd Dog, Chien de Berger Belge, Mechelse Shepherd
The Malinois is named for the area of Malines, located in northwest Belgium. It is one of four types of dogs known as Belgian Shepherd Dogs, the other three being the Groenendael, Tervuren, and Laekenois. In some countries, each type is recognized as its own breed, while in others they are all simply a different variety of the same standard. Originally employed as sheepherders, they are now more commonly found working as police or military dogs.
- 61-63 lbs
- large shepherd
- triangular, erect ears
- tail reaches the hock
- short, straight, hard coat
- rich fawn to mahogany with black hair tips and mask
History of the Malinois
As with all the Belgian Shepherd Dogs, the original history of the Malinois has been lost in time. It is believed that these types of dogs have existed throughout Belgium, and much of Europe since the Middle Ages. Bred for their working abilities instead of appearance these dogs were of a type rather than breed and at one point each region would have had its own distinct variety. True selective breeding did not begin until the late 1800s when individual breeds were being listed into a group of dogs known as the Continental Shepherds. This grouping consists of other modern breeds such as the German Shepherd Dog, Beauceron, Briard, and Dutch Shepherd.
In the 1890s Professor Adolph Reul identified that the Belgian Shepherd was unique from the other Continental Shepherds. It was during his study of the breed that individual names for each variety were given, based on the location where they were most commonly found. Long black coated dogs became the Groenendael, long coated fawns the Tervuren, short coated fawns the Malinois, and the rough coated the Laekenois.
In the United States, the Malinois was originally seen as a short coated variety of the Groenendael (under the name Belgian Sheepdog). In 1958 the American Kennel Club (AKC) Board of Directors separated the varieties into their own breeds, the Groenendael remained the Belgian Sheepdog, while “Belgian” was added to the title of the Malinois and Tervuren. Today the Laekenois is listed by the AKC in their Miscellaneous Class and still has not gained full recognition.