Belgian Malinois Breed Magazine - Showsight

ity, Dr. Yves Surget, who said, “With an impulsive character, the Belgian Shepherd is a dog who puts much vivacity in its responses to di ff erent stimuli.” If you are getting the picture of an ath- letic, hugely devoted, highly responsive dog, you are getting close to the heart of the Belgian Malinois. Th e Malinois loves its family, but is intensely bonded to its favorite person. When I move from room to room, my Malinois almost always follow. When an injury kept me immobile for a short period of time, all three of my dogs stayed close by. My 14-year old was snug in her bed on the floor, my 6-year old pressed up against me on the bed, and my 3-year old was always nearby in case I needed her and sometimes I did! She willingly retrieved my cell phone when it slipped to the floor, or brought me the remote control from the other side of the room, or (yes, she really does this!) brought me my slippers when asked. Socialization is important for any dog, and even more so for herding breeds that instinctually notice everything in their environment. It is important for a young Malinois to be exposed to all the sights and sounds you expect her to cope with as an adult. For instance, Malinois raised with children are usually wonderful fam- ily members. While Malinois are natu- rally inclined to be reserved with strang- ers, the well-socialized dog is at ease in public spaces. While the Belgian Malinois has a short- er coat than the Tervuren and Groenen- dael, its coat is of identical structure. It has a hard topcoat, along with a dense, wooly undercoat. Th e Malinois coat is simply

shorter. While regular brushing is not needed to ward o ff coat tangles, it is need- ed on occasion to manage a shedding coat. In other words, we have dust-bunnies, too! And the vacuum sees regular activity in our home. If you have a Malinois, you’ll need to plan activities for both of you! Fortunately, the Malinois continues to excel in a wide variety of sports. Most of our dogs are owner-handled in the conformation ring, and it is not at all unusual to find an own- er-handler racing from the conformation ring to the obedience or rally ring at the same show. Malinois also shine in agility and tracking. We are blessed to have a breed that is still proficient in herding. Because herd- ing skills became unnecessary, many gen- erations passed without being able to select for herding aptitude. And yet, even today, Malinois excel in herding. Over one doz- en Malinois have achieved AKC Herding Championships. It speaks to the strength of our foundation gene pool, our breed’s heritage, our dedicated owners, as well as the ongoing selection for intelligence and working qualities. Of course, you will also find Belgian Malinois at the highest levels in Ring Sport and IPO competitions. In addition, Malinois and their owners enjoy flyball, dock-diving, lure-coursing, freestyle, and disc-dog sports, just to name a few! Life with a Belgian Malinois can be many things, but it is rarely boring. As my friend said, the Belgian Malinois can be likened to an exotic sports car. If you are prepared, you may be in for the ride of your life!


Ann MacKay has owned Bel- gian Malinois for over 25 years, and occasionally breeds under the prefix “Avonlea”. She has owned and/or bred five National Spe- cialty BISS winners, and Avonlea Mali-

Photo by Salina J. Photography

nois have earned AKC Championships in Conformation, Herding, Agility, Obedi- ence and Tracking. Th ey’ve also competed successfully in France. Most recently, her Malinois earned the AKC Champion Tracker title when she passed her VST test in October 2012. Ann travels regularly to Europe for specialty shows. She is pas- sionate about the “Chien de Berger Belge”, especially the shorthaired variety, the Bel- gian Malinois. She has been an o ffi cer and active member of the American Belgian Malinois Club, and is the show chair and past President of the North Star Herding Group Club in Minnesota.


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