Belgian Malinois. History of the breed.

In 18th century in Belgium people began to use dogs for city guard. Those animals weren’t taught, they just escorted guards, when patrolling city streets. In late 18th and until late 19th century the dogs were used for pasturage of sheep and for guard at small farms. The dogs differed in sizes. Some of them were as a wolf in size, others as a fox. But, all of them were very fast and clever.

By the end of 19th century thousands of dogs, similar in character and appearance, might be seen in Belgium, Holland and northern part of France. They were devoted to their owner and very cautious towards strangers. The dogs were very well adapted to the local climate, with constant wind and rain. But, the main thing is that the dogs were working dogs and their owners were mostly ordinary farmers, who neither paid attention to dogs’ appearance nor attended dogs’ exhibitions.

However, in late 1880es, some of the owners, who started to train their dogs, began to show their pets at the dog shows. For those farmers such shows were a way to make money. They tried to attract people to specially equipped ring and got money for the admission tickets. The dog at such shows had to get over obstacles (barriers, pendant bridges, hay bales, ditches with water) and other barriers, that were put by specially dressed in protection suit man. That’s how Belgian Ring was created.

Talented and enterprising Belgian Edmond Moecheron is considered to be “father” of the ring. Due to his talent as dog trainer and entrepreneur, he became famous very fast and his shows attracted a lot of people. Moecheron, his assistant and three dogs (Ducks, Nick and Miss) were welcomed guests at hippodromes, circuses and different trade fairs. Newspapers published many articles about them, other people began to imitate their numbers and shows with dogs became an important part of any public holiday.

Moecheron and his followers showed their “rings” in Belgium, France and Holland. The chief commissioner of Belgian city Ghent E. van Wezemael saw one of such shows. The commissioner faced the problem of increasing crime, due to the lack of personnel. Wezemael evaluated character of Belgian Malinois and understood, that he might be used for police work. It’s Wezemael, who offered to include specially trained dog to police patrol. The results were great, criminals started to leave the city in order to avoid meetings with policemen and their dogs.

In march 1899 Wezemael officially formed first police unit with dogs and called it Gent Hondenbrigade. In the same year he also opened first training school for patrol dogs and even wrote a book about dogs’ service in police. The book was very popular among experts in many countries. Specialists from Switzerland, Finland, Serbia, Russia, France, Monaco, Italy, Holland, England, USA and even Brazil corresponded with Wezemael and consulted as for dogs’ selection, training and work. They also sent people to him in order to study the methods of training and selection.

In 1891 Belgian Malinois breed was devided into several varieties (there were eight of them first, but today only 4 of them are officially recognized). Groenendael is a dog with long hair and black in color. Lakenua is a dog with curled hair. Tervueren is a name for all other long-haired dogs. Dog with short hair is called Malinois, after small town Malines in Belgium. There were many people in that town, who liked to train their dogs and first club of Malinoises' fanciers was organized there.