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Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois



The Belgian Malinois is a well balanced,square dog, elegant in appearance with an exceedingly proud carriage of the head and neck.The dog is strong, agile, well muscled, alert, and full of life.He stands squarely on all fours and viewed from the side, the topline, forelegs, and hind legs closely approximate a square. The whole conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The male is usually somewhat more impressive and grand than his female counterpart, which has a distinctly feminine look. 
The Belgian Shepherd is a mediolineal dog, harmoniously proportioned, combining elegance and power, of medium size, with dry, strong muscle, fitting into a square, rustic, used to the open air life and built to resist the frequent atmospheric variations of the Belgian climate.
Through the harmony of its shape and its high head-carriage, the Belgian Shepherd should give the impression of that elegant strength which has become the heritage of the selected representatives of a working breed.The Belgian Shepherd is to be judged in its natural stance, without physical contact with the handler.




Males are 24 to 26 inches in height; females are 22 to 24 inches; measurement to be taken at the withers. Males under 23 inches or over 27 inches and females under 21 inches or over 25 inches are to be disqualified. The length, measured from the point of the breastbone to the point of the rump, should equal the height, but bitches may be slightly longer.A square dog is preferred. Bone structure is moderately heavy in proportion to height so that the dog is well balanced throughout and neither spindly or leggy nor cumbersome and bulky. 

Height at withers: 
The ideal weight at withers is on average:62 cm for males; 58 cm for females.
Limits: 2 cm less, 4 cm more.
Males about 25-30 kg.; Females about 20-25 kg.
Average normal measures for an adult male Belgian Shepherd of 62 cm at the withers:

  • Length of body (from point of shoulder to point of buttock): 62 cm.

  • Length of head: 25 cm.

  • Length of muzzle: 12,5 – 13 cm.




The head is clean-cut and strong without heaviness; overall size is in proportion to the body. The expression should indicate alertness, attention and readiness for activity, and the gaze is intelligent and questioning. 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 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 jaws are strong and powerful. The nose is black without discolored areas.The lips are tight and black with no pink showing on the outside.The Belgian Malinois has a full complement of strong,white teeth, that are evenly set and meet in a scissors or level bite.Overshot and undershot bites are a fault.An undershot bite in which two or more of the upper incisors lose contact with two or more of the lower incisors is a disqualification. One or more missing teeth is a serious fault. 

Carried high, long without exaggeration, rectilinear, well chiselled and dry. Skull and muzzle are roughly equal in length, with at the most a very slight bias in favour of the muzzle, which puts the finishing touch to the whole head. 
Of medium width, in proportion with the length of the head, with a forehead flat rather than round, frontal groove not very pronounced; in profile, parallel to imaginary line extending muzzle line; occipital crest little developed; brow ridges and zygomatic arches not prominent.

Stop: Moderate.


Nose: Black.
Muzzle: Medium length and well chiselled under the eyes; narrowing gradually toward the nose, like an elongated wedge; bridge of the nose straight and parallel to the continuation of the topline of the forehead; mouth well split, which means that when the mouth is open the commissures of the lips are pulled right back, the jaws being well apart. 
Lips: Thin, tight and strongly pigmented.
Jaws/teeth: Strong, white teeth, regularly and strongly set in well-developed jaws. Scissor bite; pincer bite, which is preferred by sheep and livestock herders, is tolerated. Complete dentition according to the dental formula; the absence of two premolars 1 (2 P1) is tolerated and the molars 3 (M3) are not taken into consideration. 
Cheeks: dry and quite flat, although muscled.
Eyes: Medium size, neither protruding nor sunken, slightly almond-shaped, obliquely set, brownish colour, preferably dark; black rimmed eyelids; direct, lively, intelligent and enquiring look.
Ears: Rather small, set high, distinctly triangular appearance, well-rounded outer ear, pointed tips, stiff, carried upright and vertical when dog is alert.




The neck is round and of sufficient length to permit the proud carriage of the head. It should taper from the body to the head.The topline is generally level.The withers are slightly higher and slope into the back which must be level, straight and firm from withers to hip joint.The croup is medium long, sloping gradually.The body should give the impression of power without bulkiness. The chest is not broad but is deep with the lowest point reaching the elbow. The underline forms a smooth ascendant curve from the lowest point of the chest to the abdomen.The abdomen is moderately developed,neither tucked up nor paunchy. The loin section, viewed from above, is relatively short, broad and strong, and blends smoothly into the back. The tail is strong at the base, the bone reaching to the hock. In action it is raised with a curve, which is strongest towards the tip, without forming a hook. A cropped or stumped tail is a disqualification. 

NECK: Well standing out, slightly elongated, rather upright, well-muscled, broadening gradually towards the shoulders, without dewlap, nape slightly arched. 
BODY: Powerful without being heavy; length from point of shoulder to point of buttock approximately equal to height at withers.
Topline: upper line of back and loins is straight.
Withers: Pronounced.
Back: firm, short and well-muscled. 
Loins: Solid, short, sufficiently broad, well-muscled.
Croup: well-muscled ; only very slightly sloping ; sufficiently broad but not excessively so.
Chest: little broad, but well let down; upper part of ribs arched; seen from the front forechest little broad, but without being narrow.
Underline: Begins below the chest and rises gently in a harmonious curve towards the belly, which is neither drooping nor tucked up, but slightly raised and moderately developed.
TAIL: Well set on, strong at the base, of medium length, reaching at least to hock, but preferably further; at rest carried down, with tip curved backwards at level of hock; more raised when moving,although without passing the horizontal,the curve towards the tip becoming more accentuated, without ever at
any time forming a hook or deviation.
SKIN: Elastic but taut over all the body; edges of lips and eyelids strongly pigmented.




The forequarters are muscular without excessive bulkiness. The shoulder is long and oblique, laid flat against the body, forming a sharp angle with the upper arm. The legs are straight, strong, and parallel to each other. The bone is oval rather than round. Length and substance are well in proportion to the size of the dog. The pastern is of medium length, strong, and very slightly sloped. Dewclaws may be removed. The feet are round (cat footed) and well padded with the toes curved close together. The nails are strong and black except that they may be white to match white toe tips. 

General view: Bone solid but not heavy; muscle dry and strong; front legs upright from all sides and perfectly parallel when seen from the front.
Shoulder: Shoulder blade long and oblique, well attached, forming a sufficient angle with the humerus,ideally measuring 110-115 degrees.
Upper arm: Long and sufficiently oblique.
Elbow: Firm, neither turning out nor tied in.
Forearm: Long and straight.
Wrist (carpus): very firm and clean.
Front pastern (metacarpus): Strong and short, as perpendicular to the ground as possible or only very slightly sloping forward.
Feet: Round, cat feet; toes arched and well closed; pads thick and springy; nails dark and strong.




Angulation of the hindquarters is in balance with the forequarters; the angle at the hock is relatively sharp, although the Belgian Malinois should not have extreme angulation.The upper and lower thigh bones should approximately parallel the shoulder blade and upper arm respectively. The legs are in proportion to the size of the dog; oval bone rather than round. Legs are parallel to each other. The thighs should be well muscled. Dewclaws, if any, should be removed.Metatarsi are of medium length, strong, and slightly sloped. The hind feet may be slightly elongated, with toes curved close together and well padded. Nails are strong and black except that they may be white to match white toe tips. 

General view: Powerful, but not heavy; in profile hindlegs are upright and seen from behind perfectly parallel.
Upper thigh: Medium length, broad and strongly muscled.
Stifle: approximately on the plumb line from the hip; normal stifle angulation.
Lower thigh: Medium length, broad and muscled.
Hock: Close to the ground, broad and muscled, moderate angulation.
Back pastern (metatarsus): Solid and short; dewclaws not desirable.
Feet: may be light oval; toes arched and well closed; pads thick and springy; nails dark and strong.




The coat should be comparatively short, straight, hard enough to be weather resistant, with dense undercoat. It should be very short on the head, ears, and lower legs. The hair is somewhat longer around the neck where it forms a collarette, and on the tail and backs of the thighs. The coat should conform to the body without standing out or hanging down. 

Since the coat varies in length, direction, appearance and colour among Belgian Shepherds, this particular point has been adopted as the criterion for distinguishing between the four varieties of the breed: the Groenendael, the Tervueren, the Malinois and the Laekenois.
These four varieties are judged separately and can each be awarded a C.A.C., a C.A.C.A.B. or a reserve title.
In all the varieties the hair must always be dense, close-fitting and of good texture,with the woolly undercoat forming an excellent protective covering.
A. LONG HAIR: The hair is short on the head, the outer side of the ears and the lower part of the legs, except on the rear side of the forearm which is covered from elbow to wrist by long hairs called fringes. The hair is long and smooth on the rest of the body and longer and more abundant around the neck and on the forechest, where it forms a collarette or ruff and a jabot or apron. The opening of the air is protected by thick tufts of hair. From the base of the air the hair is upright and frames the head. The back of the thighs is covered with very long abundant hair forming the culottes or breeches.The tail is furnished with long, abundant hair forming a plume.
The Groenendael and the Tervueren are the long-haired.
B. SHORT HAIR: The hair is very short on the head, the outer sides of the ears and the lower part of the legs. It is short over the rest of the body and fuller at the tail and around the neck, where it forms a collarette or ruff which begins at the base of the ear, stretching as far as the throat. As well, the back of the thighs is fringed with longer hair. The tail is ear of corn shaped, but does not form a plume. 
The Malinois is the short-haired.
C. ROUGH HAIR: What especially characterises the rough hair variety is the roughness and dryness of the hair, which, moreover, is rasping and tousled. About 6 cm long over the whole body, the hair is shorter on the top of the muzzle, the forehead and the legs. The hair around the eyes and those furnishing the muzzle should not be so long as to disguise the shape of the head. However, it is essential to have furnishings on the muzzle. The tail should not form a plume.
The Laekenois is the rough-haired.




The basic coloring is a rich fawn to mahogany, with black tips on the hairs giving an overlay appearance. The mask and ears are black. The underparts of the body, tail and breeches are lighter fawn, but washed-out fawn color on the body is a fault. Color should be considered a finishing point, not to take precedence over structure or temperament. The tips of the toes may be white, and a small white spot on the breastbone/prosternum is permitted, not to extend to the neck. White markings, except as noted, are faulted. 

Mask: For Tervueren and Malinois the mask must be very pronounced and tend to encompass the top and bottom lip,the corners of the lips and the eyelids in one single black zone. A strict minimum of six points of skin pigmentation is called for: the two ears, the two upper eyelids and the two lips, upper and two lower, which must be black.
Black overlay: In Tervueren and Malinois, the black overlay means that the hairs have a black tip which shades the base colour. This blackening is in any case “flamed” and must not be present in great patches nor in real stripes (brindled). In the Laekenois the black shading is more discreetly expressed.
Groenendael: Only uniform black.
Tervueren: Only fawn with black overlay or grey with black overlay, with black mask; however, the fawn with black overlay is still preferred. The fawn must be rich, neither light nor washed-out. Any dog whose coat colour is anything but fawn with black overlay or does not match the desired intensity of colour cannot be considered an elite specimen.
Malinois: Only fawn with black overlay and with black mask.
Laekenois: Only fawn with traces of black overlay, mainly on the muzzle and the tail.
For all varieties: a small amount of white is tolerated on forechest and toes.




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. 

Lively and free movement at all gaits; the Belgian Shepherd is a good galloper, but its normal gaits are the walk and especially the trot; limbs move parallel to the median plane of the body.At high speed the feet come nearer to the median plane; at the trot the reach is medium, the movement even and easy, with good rear drive, and the topline remains tight while the front legs are not lifted too high. Always on the move, the Belgian Shepherd seems tireless;its gait is fast,springy and lively. It is capable of suddenly changing direction at full speed.Due to its exuberant character and its desire to guard and protect, it has a definite tendency to move in circles.




Correct temperament is essential to the working character of the Belgian Malinois.The breed is confident,exhibiting neither shyness nor aggressiveness in new situations. The dog may be reserved with strangers but is affectionate with his own people.He is naturally protective of his owner's person and property without being overly aggressive.The Belgian Malinois possesses a strong desire to work and is quick and responsive to commands from his owner. Faulty temperament is strongly penalized. 

The Belgian Shepherd is a watchful and active dog, bursting with energy,  and always ready to leap into action.As well as its innate skill at guarding flocks, it also possesses the highly prized qualities of the best guard dog of property. Without any hesitation it is the stubborn and keen protector of its owner. It brings together all those qualities necessary for a shepherd, guard, defence and service dog.
Its lively, alert temperament and its confident nature, showing no fear or aggressiveness, should be obvious in its body stance and the proud attentive expression in its sparkling eyes.
When judging this breed, one should take into consideration its calm and fearless temperament.




The degree to which a dog is penalized should depend upon the extent to which the dog deviates from the standard and the extent to which the particular fault would actually affect the working ability of the dog.

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
General appearance: Cloddy, lacking elegance; too light or too slender; longer than high; fitting into a rectangle.
Head: heavy, too strong, lacking parallelism,not sufficiently chiselled or dry; forehead too rounded; stop too accentuated or too flat; muzzle too short or pinched; Roman nose; brow ridges or zygomatic arches too prominent.
Nose, lips and eyelids: traces of depigmentation.
Dentition: badly aligned incisors.Serious fault: lack of one incisor (1 I), one premolar 2 (1 P2), one premolar 3 (1 P3) or three premolars 1 (3 P3).
Eyes: light, round.
Ears: large, long, too broad at the base, set low, carried outward or inward.
Neck: slender; short or deep set.
Body: too long; thoracic cage too broad (cylindrical).
Withers: flat, low.
Topline: back and/or loins long, weak, sagging or arched.
Croup: too sloping, overbuilt.
Underline: too much or too little let down; too much belly.
Tail: set too low; carried too high, forming a hook, deviated.
Limbs: bone too light or too heavy; bad upright stance in profile (e.g. front pasterns too sloping or weak wrists), from the front (feet turning in or out, out at elbow, etc.), or from behind (hindlegs too close, too wide apart or barrel shaped, hocks close or open, etc.); too little or exaggeratedly angulated.
Feet: spreading.
Gait: moving close, too short a stride, too little drive, poor back transmission, high stepping action.
Coat: all four varieties: insufficient undercoat.
Groenendael and Tervueren: woolly, wavy, curly hair; hair not long enough.
Malinois: hair half-long where it should be short; smooth-haired; harsh hairs scattered in the short coat; wavy coat.
Laekenois: hair too long, silky, wavy, crisp-haired or short; filled with fine hairs scattered in tufts in the rough hair; hairs too long around the eye or the lower end of the head (the chin); bushy tail.
Colour: for all four varieties: white marking on chest forming tie; white on the feet going beyond toes.         
Groenendael: reddish tinges in the coat; grey breeches.
Tervueren: grey.
Tervuren and Malinois: brindle; tints not warm enough; not enough or too much black overlay or set in patches over the body; not enough mask.
Tervueren, Malinois and Laekenois: too light a fawn; a base colour which is very diluted,named washed-out,is considered a serious fault.
Temperament: specimens lacking in self-confidence or overly nervous.




Males under 23 inches or over 27 inches and females under 21 inches or over 25 inches. Ears hanging as on a hound, or semi-prick ears.An undershot bite in which two or more of the upper incisors lose contact with two or more of the lower incisors. A cropped or stumped tail. 

Temperament: aggressive or timid specimens.
General appearance: lack of breed type.
Dentition: overshot; undershot, even if contact is not lost (reverse scissor bite); crossbite; absence of one canine (1 C), one upper carnassial (1 P4) or lower carnassial (1 M1), one molar (1 M1 -upper jaw- or 1 M2; M3 are not taken into consideration), one premolar 3 (1 P3) plus one other tooth or a total of three teeth (excluding the premolars 1) or more.
Nose, lips, eyelids: strong depigmentation.
Ears: drooping or artificially kept erect.
Tail: missing or shortened, at birth or by docking; carried too high and ringed or curled.
Coat: lack of undercoat.
Colour: any colours which do not correspond with those of the described varieties; too widespread white markings on forechest, especially if they reach as far as the neck; white on feet going more than halfway up the front or the back pasterns and forming socks; white markings anywhere other than forechest and toes; lack of mask,including a muzzle of lighter colour than the rest of the coat in Tervueren and Malinois.
Size: outside the limits laid down.
N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum

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