BELGIAN MALINOIS THE
1. Where do you live? What is your occupation? How many years in dogs? 2. Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? 3. What first interested you in the Belgian Malinois? 4. How is the breed different from its Belgian cousins? The Ger- man Shepherd? The Dutch Shepherd? 5. Why does the FCI classify the Malinois as one of four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd? 6. Is the breed a good partner for Performance Events? Herding? Schutzhund? 7. What about the Malinois’ role as a detection, police, and search & rescue dog? 8. Is the breed suitable only for the experienced owner? 9. Has the Malinois’ appearance in films and television helped or harmed the breed? 10. Despite the breed’s serious reputation, does the Malinois have a silly side? 11. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. LINDA FRIEDOW I live in North Central Iowa. I am a library director. I have “always” had dogs—Terriers and Spaniels as a child. My first show dog (an Afghan Hound ) in 1974, my first Belgian in 1979, my first Malinois in 1989. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and show- ing dogs? Sharing a life with family and dogs is a lifestyle. I enjoy showing, training and playing with them. I am an avid reader, love to travel, and time with my grandchildren is always time well spent. What first interested me in the Belgian Malinois? My husband and I first had Belgian Tervuren (he met them while traveling in Europe). Our first Malinois was a young rescue that came into my husband’s veterinary practice right before Christmas—he found his forever home with us. When we lost him due to serious health conditions, we missed having a Malinois even though we still had Tervuren. How is the breed different from its Belgian cousins? While all Belgians are intelligent, inquisitive, active and attentive—Malinois are just a bit “more” of it all. They are incredibly smart, impressively athletic, yet a cuddly clown when they choose to be. Compared to a German Shepherd, they are smaller, lighter, more agile and faster, and wicked smart. Why does the FCI classify the Malinois as one of four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd? Science shows us that the Belgian “breeds” are one breed, so the FCI has this correct. The division of Belgians into four separate breeds in the US has more to do with people, per- sonalities and a desire to win than what is best for the dogs. While inter-variety breeding is rare, the ability to register puppies as the breed they are (based on coat/color) could enhance the small gene pool and offer additional choices to breeders. Is the breed a good partner for performance events, herding or Schutzhund? What is so outstanding about the breed is its devo- tion to its owners and the strong desire to work together. Belgian Malinois can truly excel in any venue. They can be found in the top ranking of all performance venues. Their only limit is their owner’s time and ability.
What about the Malinois’ role as a detection, police, and search and rescue dog? The same work ethic translates to the roles of police, military, and security. While some of the dogs may not look like my Malinois—due to breeding for characteristics outside of the breed standard—I will always greatly respect the work these dogs do and the incredible bond they share with their handlers. Is the breed suitable only for the experienced owner? I do believe that the breed is best with an experienced owner. Too many indi- viduals see the dogs in their professional working role and assume that just happens. Belgian Malinois deserve a home that under- stands them for the incredible dogs they are. They deserve a home that will devote the time to training and companionship. Obviously all homes cannot be experienced, which is where a good breeder or mentor is so important. If all homes understood their needs we would see a huge reduction in the work ABMR (American Belgian Malinois Rescue) does. Has the Malinois’ appearance in films and television helped or harmed the breed? I would like to say it has helped, but only so far as in recognition that these are not German Shepherds. Movie and TV roles use highly trained dogs, but the general public doesn’t see that. Popularity has never been a friend to breeds. Despite the breed’s serious reputation, does the Malinois have a silly side? I mentioned they can be a cuddly clown. Belgian Malinois have a great sense of humor. Mine have all been a part of our fam- ily—with children, grandchildren, friends. They love to play games with the kids—frisbee, hide-and-seek, ball, swimming—but they also enjoy being read to and belly rubs. LISA KNOCK I live in Fairfax Station, Virginia. I am a senior manager for the Navy. I grew up in dogs, showing and training my family’s dogs since I was seven. Needless to say I have many decades in the sport of dogs. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Besides my husband, I enjoy outdoor adventures, cooking, entertaining for my friends and family, and gardening. What first interested me in the Belgian Malinois? We had many breeds of dogs when I was growing up. My mother was smitten with the intelligent look and elegance of the Malinois and its versatility and work ethic; and our first Malinois, CH Diadem Gemma de Charleroi, sealed our love affair with the breed! How is the breed different from its Belgian cousins, German Shepherd, and Dutch Shepherd? It is smaller in size and weight than the GSD and more agile. Unlike the other two breeds, the Malinois is a square dog. Malinois shed twice a year (a lot) versus all the time as does the GSD and tend to be more a constant companion (think “canine Velcro”) to their person. They are impervious to pain and have an all-consuming work ethic. Why does the FCI classify the Malinois as one of four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd? In Europe there is the Belgian Shepherd breed with four varieties identified by coat type. Otherwise they are considered the same breed in type, form and function. Is the breed a good partner for performance events, herding, and schutzhund? They are excellent for performance. A more suitable question: Is the owner a good fit for the breed for these activities? What about the Malinois’ role as a detection, police, and search & rescue dog? The breed has more than proven and validated its effectiveness as evidenced by their use by the US Marine Corps, Airforce, various security forces, border patrol, municipalities, >
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2020 | 215
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