Tag Archives: herding dogs

Belgian Malinois – Introducing an Excellent Working Dog

Hi Dog Folks!

Belgian_Malinois_portraitWhen it comes to the Belgian Shepherd dogs, people mostly think to the Tervueren only. Yet, that name is actually an umbrella term, since it covers four different versions. The short-haired Belgian Malinois is a member of this foursome team. The other tree versions are: the lush mane Tervueren, the midnight-black Groenendael and the curly-haired Lakenois. Today, we take a closer look at the Malinois version such as; history and appearance. Let’s start.

Developing History of the Belgian Malinois

As you would guess, the breed got its name after the town Mechelen (popularly says: Malines). This town is located between Brussel and Antwerp, in Belgium. It’s a clever, intelligent, and proud fellow in the Herding Group, having a background dates back to the early 1800s.

At that time in Belgium, there were a large number of similar-looking herding dogs, but people did not breed them consciously. These dogs have similar properties, but were mediocre, wild and sometimes aggressive canines.

People called the Belgian Sheepdog herding types lived then as Chiens de Berger Belge. Those were put to use as all-function service canines, primarily to protect livestock. Of course, people bred those dogs for working ability; appearance was negligible aspect.

Naming Complications

Meanwhile – because of existing various kinds of Belgian working dogs then – it was difficult to differentiate them within the group. It follows from that in-coordination, that a team of the Cureghem Veterinary Institute came on the scene.

They classified those canines into one class, which are most fit to the sheepdog category. Then, starting from this first sorting, and after a series of carefully crossing, they determined the Belgian Shepherd’s properties.

Professor Adolphe Reul researched those native canines in 1891 and announced the result. It showed that the particular, short-coated version is originated from Malines. These animals turned called as Belgian Malinois (pronunciation: Ma-Lin-Wah) and recognized as a breed.

In the Early 20th Century

In the early 1900s, the Groenendael and Malinois were the preferred types to export to different countries. Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Netherlands, Switzerland and USA were the main importers.

The First World War brought new tasks for Belgian Shepherd dogs in military applications. Armies used them as Red Cross canines, messenger dogs, cart dogs for ambulance and machine-gun.

Belgian_Malinois_puppy

After WW I, the AKC registrations of Belgian Shepherd dogs grew significantly. Namely, the soldiers returning home from Europe brought Malinois as well as other types along with them.

1924 was the year of shaping the primary Belgian Sheepdog Club of America. And, the American Kennel Club accepted that as their member shortly afterwards. This has led to that the Malinois and Groenendael became fifth in the popularity list by 1924.

Around the Great Depression

Throughout the Great Depression, the canine breeding was a privilege the majority lacked. Due to that, their popularity reduced dramatically. Even the primary Belgian Sheepdog Club of America discontinued its operations.

So, the American Kennel Club registered only a few Malinois – due to dripped import – in the nineteen thirties. And, on the dog shows held in the 1930s & ’40s, they appeared in the Miscellaneous Class only.

However, this downward trend began to break in 1949. Namely, the second Belgian Sheepdog Club of America came into live. Moreover, several people also started to breed Malinois, followed the Netherlair kennel based John Cowley’s import.

The Malinois Breed Today

The AKC officially acknowledged the Belgian Malinois in 1959. So, increasing number of individuals dealt with breeding and exhibiting Malinois by the nineteen sixties. Consequently, the breed obtained the parent club status of AKC in 1992.

Since then, this breed has obtained plenty of interest in the job they perform. Just name a few: drug detection tasks, military, police and search and rescue operations worldwide.

Did you know that at present, the breed is ranked 59th on the popularity list of the AKC from ca. 160 breeds?

Appearance

The Malinois stands in a state of readiness to protect and defend its family members and territory always. They have a square proportioned, harmonic physique to meet that task. You can see a muscular; however, stylish dog, showing slender energy.


The Belgian Malinois is equipped with sturdy forequarters and straight front legs. Their fore feet are round-shaped, well-padded; the black nails are strong. You also can observe their muscular thighs on the back legs which have similar feet than in front.

Their ears held erect and are triangular-shaped, proportional with the head. The muzzle is somewhat pointed, it features a black nose and supplemented by robust jaws. The teeth are closing scissor or level bite.

The sharply-outlined head has almond-shaped, brown-colored eyes. You may discover their alert, curious and intelligent facial expression as well. The Malinois holds its head proudly on the rounded neck, it also tapers properly to their body.

Gait and Coat

Their tail is powerful, and usually held vertical with a curve while the dog is moving. Apropos, the movement is also part of any dog’s appearance. Their gait may describe most appropriately as free, straightforward and smooth.

Their short coat contains two layers; the outer is straight and water resistant. The under-layer is tick. On the head, the outside part of ears and lower part of limbs the hair is very short.

Across the neck, behind the thighs, plus on the tail, the hair is longer. On the top of the thighs, the coat is lightly flagged. The coat is slightly longer on the neck portion and the tail.

The Belgian Malinois is reddish brown (from fawn to mahogany) in color and wears a black mask on his head.

Dimensions

Males are 24 to 26 inches (62 – 66 centimeters) tall at the shoulder and weigh 60 to 80 pounds (27 – 36 kilograms). Females are 22 to 24 inches high (56 – 62 centimeters) and weigh 40 to 60 pounds (18 – 27 kilograms).

Care

The short fur of the Belgian Shepherd of Mechelen requires little care, if you don’t take it into show ring. You’ll bathe it when necessary.

And you only brush it with a solid bristle brush weekly, to remove dead hair. Please, remember, the Malinois is a molting type dog, s/he shed more heavily in fall and spring.

It’s recommended to keep the nails short, so, if it not wore down naturally, then you should trim them. That’s beneficial partly for the health of the legs of your canine, on the other hand, your clothing remains free from scratching.

Trimming time has arrived when you hear the nails of your Belgian Malinois clicking on the flooring.

Temperament, training, upkeep and health aspects are coming next time,

Alex Sparrow

* Sources: dog shows, breeders, experience, forums, owners.

Should You Exercise Your Dog Daily?

Hello Dog Friends!

As we all know, our dogs are pack animals; they require certain activity and a company to be happy. These needs can be solved easily if you exercise your dog daily. And, in contrast to your mates, who could omit a workout session due to appointments, unpleasant weather or additional tasks, canines by no means offer you a justification to avoid exercising.

Why exercise your dog make sense?

When your dog doesn’t receive enough activity, chances are he will get bored, annoyed and unhealthy. The workout tones the muscular tissues, helps the physique and metabolic system to operate correctly, and impounds the mind. 

Everyone who keeps a dog that forced to endure the shortage of physical activity and mental input can tell you that their animal shows destructive conduct frequently. Although, this behavior will cease magically when the canine is starting to get out everyday. 

Therefore, exercising is not only important because it keeps your dog happy. It’s vital for your dog’s physical well-being, as well as his mental healthnot to mention yours.Exercise

you-get-fun-when-exercise-your-dog

Exercising Your Pet Is Fun

Keeping your dog in good condition is also an excellent approach for you to bond and spend some quality time with your beloved pal. Additionally, when you exercise your dog that’s a great benefit for you personally to stay fit, active, and get your heart pumping. So, all in all, exercise is an activity that can benefit both, you and your dog. And that is part of the joy of being a dog owner.

All Dogs Need Exercise

Studies as well as experience showed that dogs who are getting adequate exercise are healthier and happier. They are also more social when they are in public places. When dogs are given regular exercise, they are calmer at home and are less restless when left alone.

However, just like feeding, choosing the right amount of exercise for your dog is depending on several factors. These factors are the age, size, and type of breed.

Age: Puppies require a daily exercise for proper muscle development. Their high energy levels need to be released in some form of constructive activity. Consequently, giving them their daily exercise is the best way to do it.

Not being able to release their pent-up energy can lead to destructive behavior such as chewing or digging. On the other hand, a mature, aging dog needs less exercise because of their lower energy levels.

Size: Large dogs do not necessarily need more exercise than small dogs. In fact, many huge breeds like the Mastiff or Great Dane would rather relax and sit on the porch all day. But, if the option is given, then they go out for a 2-mile run.  On the other hand, many types of small breeds such as the Jack Russell Terrier or Chihuahua still keep on going even after a three-mile walk.

Type Of Breed: Your dog’s breed is also a big factor on the amount of exercise required. For instance, dogs that were originally bred to herd such as the Australian Shepherd Dog, Border Collie, and German Shepherd need to be exercised every day.

Another example of dog types that requires a daily exercise are those that were genuinely bred to hunt (hunting dogs). Examples of these dogs are the English Beagle, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and German Hunt Terrier.

And finally, sled dogs such as the Siberian Husky, Samoyed, and Alaskan malamute share the same high level of energy as the herding dogs and hunting dogs and therefore, need to be exercised regularly.

Walking as an Exercise

The slow, gentle movement of walking helps you and your dog in several ways. It tones your muscles, provides oxygen to your heart, and is beneficial to your lungs. If your dog isn’t used to walking, or if he is a little overweight, start him off with a short 15-minute walk. Slowly built up the pace as you see he get more accustomed to it.

Your canine may be the type which loves just to go out for a walk and feel the breath of fresh air. Then a 1-2 mile of a daily walk is all it’s necessary to keep your dog fit. And maybe even more if you take the challenge. Your dog will certainly love it, especially if you have one type with a high level of energy.

However, it may happen you don’t have time for long walks. On the other hand, maybe the idea of strolling for 2 miles is simply not your idea of fun. In that situation, your dog will be just as happy if you can only take him for a quick walk around the block twice daily. Obviously, it is better if you can add a little playing, too.

Exercising Your Elderly Dog

man-exercises-elderly-labrador

Man Exercises Elderly Labrador

When our dog has reached his senior years – about 7 years old for large breeds and 13 – 14 years old for small breeds – his level of energy may be lower. If so, I continue with their normal exercise on a daily basis, maybe just at a slower pace. I keep going until I feel that s/he is ready to retire and slow down.

To keep my dog happy and in good physical and mental condition is my duty. Once my canine pal reaches his or her elder age, I use to decrease the amount of exercise I give them. But, I never stop. I may feel that s/he is getting a little slow and requires less activity. Then a stroll through the park or going to bathing in water may be a better alternative for him or her.

A few example exercises that I use to do with our senior dog are: a short or long walk, slow runs in the park, going to the beach, going for a short hike on a trail, or a simple game of fetch. These are activities that our dog can enjoy doing well into his or her old age.

If your senior dog is suffering from a joint or bone trouble, you will need to slow him down. He will still need to move and stay active, but the amount and length of exercise should be kept to a minimum. If I were you, instead of doing a 3-mile  walk, I’d modify it to a 1-mile  walk and do it twice a day. Swimming is another alternative exercise for dogs suffering with a hip dysplasia or other bones disorder.

Supervising His Exercise

I recommend you to keep your eye on your dog during his exercise and make sure that he is not pushing himself too hard.  Dogs love to please their owners, and they will push themselves to the limit if they think that doing so will make you happy.  Watch out for any signs that he needs to slow down. Such signs are: limping, panting, slow in pace, or sleeping for a long period of time after the exercise, which is a sign of severe exhaustion.

WARNING! Keep in mind when exercise your dog that older dogs as well as some puppies can develop joint injuries or foot pad injuries from running on hard concrete. If at all possible, let your dog run or walk on dirt, sand, or grass. If you have no choice but to walk him on concrete, avoid running and slow the pace.

The Hungarian Mudi Dog Breed

Would you like to live together with a dog that’s a great hiking companion? Possibly, you want a canine which gets along well with children? Alternately, you’d require that your pooch live in peace with other pets (Guinea pig, cat, etc.)? What if I tell you about the Mudi dog breed that covers these requirements?

The Origin of the Mudi Dog Breed

Hungarian-Mudi-dogThe Mudi (pronounced “moodie”) dog breed has an attention-grabbing historical past, blended with some guess. Because I had Ficusa rescued male Mudi for years – I felt like to look after some things from the history of this breed. Here’s what I found.

The Mudi’s development as a breed related back to the European history of XVIII – XIX centuries. According to historians, the trade of slaughter and breeding animals experienced its golden era between Hungary and other European countries at that time.

People herded these animals on foot to the destination country – namely rail or truck didn’t exist. And the people accompanying the cattle were using dogs as their assistants. Evidently, these herding dogs had chance to mixing each other a spontaneous way.

So it happened that the erect-eared Spitz type German shepherd canines herded Merino sheep to Hungary. (The Racka was the original Hungarian sheep with a coarse wool, but that wasn’t suitable for all purpose. Thus, they imported the Merino sheep, because that had finer wool.)

It’s quite natural that these foreign dogs – while herded the sheep – felt in love with a Magyar herding dog, the Puli. These blending resulted in the Mudi dog bred’s evolution – roughly 300 years ago.

Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon was a French naturalist, and the leader of the Royal Botanic Garden. He discussed the kingdoms of animals and minerals in his ‘Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière’ work in 1773. And he primarily mentioned and depicted the Mudi as a sheepdog – in his work.

Furthermore, Ferenc Pethe (1763-1832), a journalist and economic writer was the next person who mentioned the Mudi dog breed within his “Természethistória és mesterségtudomány” (in English: History of Nature and Craft Science) book in 1815.

The breed documentation continued by Lajos Méhely (1862-1953) in 1902 as well as by Otto Herman (1835-1914) in 1912. Regardless of these, his organized breeding began later than the other herding types of Hungary. And presumably, this fact led to that people wasn’t distinguished Mudi species from the breeds of Puli and Pumi for a long time.

I’ve to mention Dr. Dezső Fényes – the museum director of Balassagyarmat, Hungary. Dr. Fényes took the bulk part of spreading this dog breed. He purposefully bred them in the first half of the twentieth century. Then he launched a few Mudi in a breeding animal fair in 1936.

At the same time, Dr. Fényes also submitted the primary standard of this breed – co-operating with Dr. Csaba Anghy. The Evaluation Committee agreed on the description, along with the ‘Mudi’ breed title. The Second World War thinned the Mudi breed largely – like other Hungarian species – so it was close to extinction.

The Mudi is a real working dog, almost relentless and the herding is in his blood. It would have been a shame to let this dog breed disappear. Fortunately, there were people who devoted enough to value the Mudi’s abilities and prevented them from that fate.

The seeking out the remaining species and involve them in breeding is due to several Mudi enthusiastic fans. Mr. Zoltán Balássy was that person who indited the new standard in 1963 and the FCI accepted that.

Appearance of the Mudi Dog

Speaking about the Mudi, I’m saying I like the music. The Mudi dog actually doesn’t possess a specific look. And its appearance is most similar to the soft flute music. Why am I thinking so? On my opinion, the beauty of the flute music lies just in its simplicity and purity.

It is known that the flute – besides the bands – also was the instrument of shepherds. They are often uttered it while guarding the flock. I was lucky enough to hear my grandpa’s flute play while the sheep glazing, in my childhood. And the Mudi is just like that flute sound.

The compact, harmonic structure, impish face, wavy coat, curly tail lends an unspoiled, natural appearance to him. Moreover, besides the traditional black bold color variations, he exists in white, cream-colored, bluish and flashy (marbled) variations. These colors deservedly take up to compete in diversity and spectacular of other similar species.

It has a well-defined withers and a short, straight back. This pooch comes with a cleat-shaped head, upright ears, mediocre bones. The concise corpus develops a top line which goes through slope. He has short, smooth hair on its face and the legs’ front side. The remaining coat is longer in certain extent.

Temperament

It is important to all living creatures to see themselves and their own role in the world properly. A dog should know what’s expected from it in different situations, what is right and wrong behavior. Furthermore, it should be aware of whom to belong and whom to obey. It has to learn the proper behavior with people, other animals, and other dogs.

The Mudi is a rare dog, belongs to the herding group. This is an exceptionally intelligent dog breed, even its owner is often surprised by his behavior. There are other types of working dogs, which pick up a thing at 10 – 15 sessions in dog schools.

But, the most Mudi is perfectly able to do it without fail after only 1-2 occasions. He learns incredible quickly, because he watches its owner with its one eye and half-ear always. So you quasi cannot mess up him. Unless if you are too lenient, because Mudi soon realizes where the limit is.

The Mudi is so versatile dog that people used them for many purposes; hunting beasts as well as weasels and mice, guarding flocks, herding cow and sheep, and alert dog equally. He’s able to herd his flock of 500 or 1000 sheep on his own by co-operating with the shepherd.

Of course, if he accustomed to dealing with the rough Hungarian Grey Cattle and a cow want to combat, one Mudi isn’t enough to do the tasks. This is even truer in the case of the bull, where at least three dogs are necessary to reimburse that animal to common sense, so to speak.

He always likes to stay close to you, his owner. But, even in your apartment, he isn’t in your way, he hides not to interfere you. For example, my Mudi hid under chairs, table, etc. and watched my moves from there. He was almost unstoppable hanging on me, but wasn’t intrusive.

If it was necessary, my Ficus could lie in one place for hours. However, a low snap was enough for him to jump up to sit in front of me. He was waiting for a command with glowing cheeks and shining eyes. He did all activities with such enthusiasm that was incredible.

The breed takes a lot of movement needs. This dog can still keep fit not only our minds, but our bodies as well. It  loves kids, mostly reconcilable with other animals, cats too. But, if you’ve a male canine with dominant character, he might look for conflicts with other male dogs easily.

To avoid problems, it’s advisable to socialize your doggie as early as possible.

Keeping Requirements

The Mudi feels himself well outdoors where there is enough space to running around as he wishes. He isn’t very demanding type of canine; you can keep it outside without problem. The shepherds in Hungary are using it as their herding assistant these days, too.

This dog is a very loyal companion to his master, and prone to adhere to someone in your family. It is a kid loving animal, and you can experience the protective behavior towards your children in their relationship.

These working dogs are extraordinarily obedient in direction to their owners. They’re reserved; however, touchable by strangers if their master is present. The shepherds like and by some means respect their canines, but additionally give them as a tough life as themselves are alive.

This dog has a relatively short-haired coat and his shedding isn’t significant. The Mudi does not bark for any reason. Of course, there are exceptions, but, with proper teaching most of them decrease that.

This dog breed is smart and willing to learn. The shepherds train them one by one, and they don’t train a puppy or an adolescent or adult dog together at the same time. Because they all have to learn different things.

Nowadays, the so-called ‘agility’ and ‘dog dancing’ competitions spread, and many Mudi are the partaker in these, with great success.

About the Breed’s Health

When you want to buy a working dog – besides excellent internal properties – it’s increasingly important the health characteristics’ knowledge of it. In this aspect, the Mudi is between the luckiest. This dog breed is practically free from hereditary diseases in his homeland Hungary.

My Opinion

Who I would NOT recommend this breed for? The Mudi isn’t suitable to a person

– who doesn’t like to move,

– who isn’t lucky to have enough time and commitment to dealing with it,

– who seeks a real guard dog (but the Mudi is excellent in alert).

If you’re seeking a lively, agile companion and family dog, but don’t want to be a ball throwing servant for a hyper active canine, the Mudi can be your best choice. He is indefatigable in sports, games, work, but if you’re looking forward to relaxing, your Mudi is laze beside you happily.

Nevertheless, you need to keep in mind that this dog breed wants to be there always where the owner resides. That’s the reason the Mudi expressly suffers if you don’t care about him, you only toss him to the rear of your garden.

Of course, we mustn’t forget that the herding is the original occupation of Mudi, and he has independent decision-making ability. He isn’t a servant spirit rather self-willed.

So depends on you how you control him and are able to live with that trait. If you are able to find the balance with this great and intelligent dog, you will be happy for long years.