Belgian Malinois Breed Magazine - Showsight


Correct movement in the Malinois is free and easy, seemingly e ff ortless. Th ey should single track at a fast pace, with full extension of the front and rear. Th ey should not be raced around the ring, nor move with any excessive action (no paddling, hackneying, weaving, crabbing—nothing that interferes with the dog’s ability to work in an e ffi cient manner). Th e topline should remain fi rm and level. Since the Malinois is usually owner-handled, it is not uncommon to see a novice dog that is too intent on watching his/her owner—looking upward at them and causing them to throw their front. You must judge what you see, but oftentimes a judge may point this out and ask them to move the dog again. Correct coat texture is also very important in a herding dog—they should have a harsh straight outer coat with a thick dense undercoat. It is a natural dog and they should not be trimmed or groomed to give the appearance of an open coat. Many exhibitors now blow dry their dogs; they should allow the coat to fall back naturally lying fl at—it should repel moisture if the dog was working in adverse weather conditions. Th e coat should conform to the body, without standing out or hanging down. Th ere is naturally a range of coat length and density of undercoat. Th e hairs are shortest on the head and legs, longest on the neck collar, breeches, and tail. A lack of undercoat may be seen seasonally or in bitches’ hormonal cycle, but should never be completely absent. Th ere should not be any appearance of feathering (as in the Tervuren or Sheepdog) on the legs or ears, or a curl to the coat (as in the Laekenois). While color is truly a fi nishing point in a herding dog, the rich fawn to rus- set mahogany color of our breed is a point of pride for many Malinois owners. Th e standard describes the ideal color of the Belgian Malinois as “rich fawn to mahogany, with black tips on the hairs giving an overlay appearance.” If in a judge’s opinion the black tipping is so pronounced that it gives the appear- ance of a dog that looks more black than fawn to mahogany as described in the standard then it should be faulted to the extent of the deviation. If in your opinion the dog so deviates by its color that it is not worthy of a ribbon, that is your decision. While the standard also states that “color should be considered a fi nishing point, not to take precedence over structure or temperament,” it was never the intent of the parent club that colors other than the ideal and

preferred described would be exhibited. Colors other than those identi fi ed in the standard or those with a distinct pattern in their coat color would be consid- ered an unacceptable color in accordance to the AKC approved breed standard. Th e underparts of the body, tail and breeches are a lighter fawn, but a washed-out fawn color on the body is a fault. White is allowed on the tips of the toes and a small spot on the prosternum is permitted, but it should not extend to the neck. In review, please remember that the Belgian Mali- nois is a square and elegant breed, their head clean, chiseled and in balance with an expression that speaks of intelligence and readiness. Th ey should exhibit bal- anced, e ffi cient movement. Th ey have a straight double coat of warm rich hues and a black mask. Th ey are watchful, con fi dent, alert and devoted to their own- ers. A judge should consider the entire dog determin- ing which faults deviate from the standard and how they would a ff ect the dog’s ability to work as a herd- ing dog. We all wish our chosen breed to be judged positively and with respect, a little humor doesn’t hurt either. Enjoy! For additional information visit the American Belgian Malinois Club’s website at malinoisclub. com or contact a member of the ABMC’s Judges Education committee. WHILE COLOR IS TRULY A FINISHING POINT IN A HERDING DOG, THE RICH FAWN TO RUSSET MAHOGANY COLOR OF OUR BREED IS A POINT OF PRIDE FOR MANY MALINOIS OWNERS.”


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