The Malinois /ˈmælɨnwɑː/ or Belgian Shepherd Dog is a breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog classification, rather than as a separate breed. The Malinois is recognized in the United States under the name Belgian Malinois. Its name is the French word for Mechlinian, which is in Dutch either Mechelse herdershond or Mechelse scheper (both meaning: shepherd dog from Mechelen) or Mechelaar (one from Mechelen). It is used as a working dog for tasks including detection of odors such as explosives, accelerants (for arson investigation), and narcotics; tracking of humans for suspect apprehension in police work; and search and rescue.
Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Malinois is a medium-sized and square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family. The Malinois has a short mahogany coat with black markings. It has black erect ears and a black muzzle. It has a square build in comparison to the German Shepherd.
Due to its history as a working dog (i.e., being bred for function over form), the Malinois can vary greatly in appearance. The acceptable colors of pure-bred Malinois are a base color fawn to mahogany and tan with a black mask and black ears with some degree of black tipping on the hairs, giving an overlay appearance. The color tends to be lighter with less black agouti or overlay on the dog's underside, breeching, and inner leg. White markings are also allowed on the tips of the toes and the chest, as long as the white on the chest does not extend up to the neck.
The other varieties of Belgian Shepherd are distinguished by their coats and colors: the Tervuren is the same color as the Malinois but has long hair, the wire-coated Laekenois is fawn and lacks the black mask and ears, and the Groenendael (registered as Belgian Sheepdog by the American Kennel Club) has long hair and is solid black.
Male dogs are about 61–66 cm (24–26 in), while females are about 56–61 cm (22–24 in) at the withers. Female Malinois are said to average 25–30 kg (55–66 lb), while males are heavier at 29–34 kg (64–75 lb). Dogs under 23 inches or over 27 inches are to be disqualified, as are females under 21 inches or over 25 inches.
Source of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_Shepherd_Dog_(Groenendael)
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