on the great dogs of belgium: the malinois

Everywhere else in the world, the Kennel Clubs recognize four breeds or varieties of Belgian shepherd dogs.  They are more or less identical except for coat color and texture.  The four are the Groenendael with a long black coat, the Tervuren, with a long coat in mahogany brown with a black overlay, the Malinois, with a short tan or brown coat with a black overlay, and the Laekenois, with a wire coat of mixed brown and white, sometimes with some black overlay.  (If you see a dog that looks like one of these but has a short brindle coat with a black overlay, that’s a Dutch Shepherd.)

The AKC, being rather out of step with the rest of the dog world, recognizes the Belgian Tervuren and the Belgian Malinois as separate breeds, calls the Groenendael the Belgian Shepherd, and doesn’t recognize the Laekenois at all.  Go figure.

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But all over the world and whatever its name, the Belgian Shepherd (Malinois) is one of the truly great dogs: energetic, powerful, extremely intelligent and highly loyal, with a working drive that just will not quit.  That’s why so many of them serve in police and military K-9 units.  This is Fury, a new recruit at our local police department.  She’s only been with them a few days, and she already seems to have her first priorities in hand:  adoring the young officer who is her new partner and being extremely well behaved in public.

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Her partner assured me that she is so lean because she was kept at “kennel weight” while in transition from basic training to entering service, and she will quickly gain 10 to 15 pounds as her training continues.  I also attribute some of it to the fact that she never stops moving.  Good dog, Fury!

(And yes, fans of TV’s Person of Interest, the dog Bear on that program is played by a Malinois.)


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