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rec.pets.dogs: Malinois Breed-FAQ


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Archive-name: dogs-faq/breeds/malinois
Posting-frequency: 30 days
URL: http://home.navisoft.com/dogs/malfaq.htm
Last-modified: 23 Sep 1996

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  FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS) ABOUT BELGIAN MALINOIS
  
   
   
   
     _________________________________________________________________
   
   
   
   What is a Malinois?
   
   The Malinois is the short-coated variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog.
    They are fawn colored with a black mask.  In the United States they
   have been shown as a separate breed since 1959. Dogs are 24 to 26
   inches at the shoulder and weigh 60 to 80 pounds. Bitches are 22 to
   24 inches and weigh 40 to 60 pounds. This is a "high energy" dog that
   does best when it has a definite purpose in life. It is generally not
   a dog for the novice dog owner, for, while it is extremely trainable,
   it does not do well with poor or insufficient training.
   
   How is a Malinois different from a German Shepherd Dog (GSD)?
   
   They are significantly different both in body structure and
   temperament. The Malinois is a somewhat smaller dog with lighter
   bone. The Malinois stands square, well up on its toes, while the GSD
   has a long, sloping back and walks flatter on the foot. The Malinois
   head is more refined and chiseled, with smaller, more triangular
   ears. The Malinois is a fawn dog, with black overlay (the tips of the
   hair are black), while the GSD is typically tan, with a black saddle.
   The Malinois is considered to be more alert and faster to respond
   than the GSD, but also more sensitive, which can make its training
   more difficult.
   
   What kind of home is suitable for a Malinois?
   
   An owner who gets the most out of his or her Malinois is usually one
   who has had some previous experience of dog ownership and dog
   training. Even so, many new owners are not prepared for the high
   degree of "intensity" in this dog's personality. Whatever they do,
   they do to the maximum: whether that be work, play, or just adoring
   you, their master. The Malinois likes to be included in all your
   activities, so if you like jogging, hiking, running, biking,
   obedience, out-of-door activities, or just spending a lot of time
   with your dog, then the Malinois may be a good choice for you.
   However, if you often work extended hours, must travel frequently, or
   have other activities that often keep you away from your dog, then
   this is definitely not the breed for you.
   
   What kind of training does the Malinois need?
   
   The Malinois is an active, intelligent dog that requires early
   exposure to different people and dogs so that he will be accepting of
   them when he grows up. The Malinois also requires training to control
   his high energy and exuberance and channel them into useful
   activities. A puppy socialization or puppy kindergarten class is
   recommended for Malinois puppies. First-time Malinois owners are
   often amazed and delighted at how quickly these dogs learn and how
   sensitive they are to corrections, but these same traits can get them
   into trouble if their owner fails to take the time to train them
   properly, or combines harsh corrections with poor training
   techniques.
   
   What activities do Malinois excel at?
   
   Just about anything their master asks them to do! There is almost
   nothing a Malinois won't try if encouraged by his master. These dogs
   excel at obedience, tracking, agility, flyball, herding, showing,
   Schutzhund and other protection sports, search and rescue, police
   work, and just about anything else a dog can do. There are even
   Malinois who lure course! These dogs are described by professional
   trainers as having high "play drive" which means that everything is a
   game to them, and they love games!
   
   Are Malinois aggressive?
   
   The Malinois is a "protection" breed -- it will defend its master and
   its master's home. However, a well-bred, well-socialized, and
   well-trained dog will calmly evaluate every situation and use good
   judgment in responding. It should not be aggressive or nervous in its
   attitude towards strange people or situations. Dogs with poor
   temperaments or who have been poorly socialized or trained, however,
   may be "shy-sharp" -- snapping or growling out of fear or aggression.
   For this reason, it is important to buy your Malinois from a breeder
   who produces dogs with good temperament and to get your puppy used to
   meeting new people and dogs early in life, so that he will have a
   relaxed and accepting attitude towards them when he grows up.
   
   Are Malinois good with children?
   
   Yes, particularly if they are raised with them. If they are not raised
   with children, they should be given ample opportunity when young to
   meet and interact with children. Remember, however, that this is a
   relatively large, very active, very quick-to-respond dog. As with any
   such dog, they should never be left unsupervised with very small, or
   unruly children.
   
   What kinds of health problems do Malinois have?
   
   Malinois are generally healthy dogs, living an average of 10 to 12
   years.  They are susceptible to hip dysplasia, however, which is a
   crippling inherited disorder, so it is important when getting a puppy
   to make sure that both its parents have had their hips checked and
   been certified by the OFA (a canine orthopedic organization) as good
   or excellent.  Breeders will generally tell you that a sire or dam is
   "OFA excellent" or "OFA good."  If a sire or dam is not OFA
   certified, be sure to ask why.
   
   How can I learn more about Malinois?
   
   The American Belgian Malinois Club can provide you with a packet of
   information about the breed and about the club. Contact Susan Morse,
   ABMC Corresponding Secretary, 7 Sunset West Circle, Ithaca, NY 14850.
    Please enclose a self-addressed envelope stamped with 55 cents in
   postage along with a check in the amount of $3 made out to the
   American Belgian Malinois Club to cover costs of preparing the
   package. 
   
   An excellent  place to see Malinois is at a local dog show.  Don't
   approach handlers waiting to go into the ring, however, since they
   are usually very preoccupied at this time. Instead, wait until the
   class is over and then introduce yourself. Most owners and handlers
   will be more than happy to talk with you once the "main event" is
   over.
   

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