FCI-Standard No 15/ 19.04.2002 /GB

BELGIAN SHEPHERD DOG
(Chien de Berger Belge)

 
 
TRANSLATION: Mrs. Jeans-Brown, revised by Dr. R. Pollet
 
ORIGIN: Belgium
 
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD: 22.06.2001
 
UTILISATION: Originally a sheep dog, today a working dog (guarding, defence, tracking, etc.) and an all-purpose service dog, as well as a family dog
 
CLASSIFICATION F.C.I
Group   1  Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle dogs)
Section  1  Sheepdogs
 
With working trial
 
GENERAL APPEARANCE
The Belgian Shepherd is a mediolineal dog, harmoniously proportioned, combining elegance and power, of medium size, with dry, strong muscle, fitting into a square, rustic, used to the open air life and built to resist the frequent atmospheric variations of the Belgian climat. Through the harmony of its shape and its high head-carriage, the Belgian Shepherd should give the impression of that elegant strength which has become the heritage of the selected representatives of a working breed. The Belgian Shepherd is to be judged in its natural stance, without physical contact with the handler
 
:IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS
The Belgian Shepherd dog can be fitted into a square. The chest is let down to the level of the elbows. The length of the muzzle is equal to or slightly longer than half the length of the head
 
BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT
The Belgian Shepherd is a watchful and active dog, bursting with energy,  and always ready to leap into action
 
As well as its innate skill at guarding flocks, it also possesses the highly prized qualities of the best guard dog of property. Without any hesitation it is the stubborn and keen protector of its owner. It brings together all those qualities necessary for a shepherd, guard, defence and service dog. Its lively, alert temperament and its confident nature, showing no fear or aggressiveness, should be obvious in its body stance and the proud attentive expression in its sparkling eyes. When judging this breed, one should take into consideration its calm and fearless temperament
 
HEAD
Carried high, long without exaggeration, rectilinear, well chiselled and dry. Skull and muzzle are roughly equal in length, with at the most a very slight bias in favour of the muzzle which puts the finishing touch to the whole head
 
CRANIAL REGION
Of medium width, in proportion with the length of the head, with a forehead flat rather than round, frontal groove not very pronounced; in profile, parallel to imaginary line extending muzzle line; occipital crest little developed; brow ridges and zygomatic arches not prominent
 
Stop: Moderate
 
FACIAL REGION
 
Nose: Black
 
Muzzle
Medium length and well chiselled under the eyes; narrowing gradually toward the nose, like an elongated wedge; bridge of the nose straight and parallel to the continuation of the topline of the forehead; mouth well split, which means that when the mouth is open the commissures of the lips are pulled right back, the jaws being well apart
 
Lips: Thin, tight and strongly pigmented
 
Jaws/teeth
Strong, white teeth, regularly and strongly set in well-developed jaws. Scissor bite; pincer bite, which is preferred by sheep and livestock herders, is tolerated. Complete dentition according to the dental formula; the absence of two premolars 1 (2 P1) is tolerated and the molars 3 (M3) are not taken into consideration
 
Cheeks: dry and quite flat, although muscled
 
Eyes
Medium size, neither protruding nor sunken, slightly almond-shaped, obliquely set, brownish colour, preferably dark; black rimmed eyelids; direct, lively, intelligent and enquiring look
 
Ears
Rather small, set high, distinctly triangular appearance, well-rounded outer ear, pointed tips, stiff, carried upright and vertical when dog is alert
 
NECK
Well standing out, slightly elongated, rather upright, well-muscled, broadening gradually towards the shoulders, without dewlap, nape slightly arched.
 
BODY
Powerful without being heavy; length from point of shoulder to point of buttock approximately equal to height at withers


Topline: upper line of back and loins is straight
 
Withers: Pronounced
 
Back: firm, short and well-muscled
 
Loins: Solid, short, sufficiently broad, well-muscled
 
Croup
well-muscled ; only very slightly sloping ; sufficiently broad but not excessively so
 
Chest
little broad, but well let down; upper part of ribs arched; seen from the front forechest little broad, but without being narrow


:Underline
Begins below the chest and rised gently in a harmonious curve towards the belly, which is neither drooping nor tucked up, but slightly raised and moderately developed

:Tail
Well set on, strong at the base, of medium length, reaching at least to hock, but preferably further; at rest carried down, with tip curved backwards at level of hock; more raised when moving, although without passing the horizontal, the curve towards the tip becoming more accentuated, without ever at any time forming a hook or deviation

:LIMBS


:FOREQUARTERS

General view
Bone solid but not heavy; muscle dry and strong; front legs upright from all sides and perfectly parallel when seen from the front
 
Shoulder
Shoulder blade long and oblique, well attached, forming a sufficient angle with the humerus, ideally measuring 110-115 degrees
 
Upper arm: Long and sufficiently oblique
 
Elbow: Firm, neither turning out nor tied in
 
Forearm: Long and straight
 
Wrist (carpus): very firm and clean
 
Front pastern (metacarpus): Strong and short, as perpendicular to the ground as possible or only very slightly sloping forward
 
Feet: Round, cat feet; toes arched and well closed; pads thick and springy; nails dark and strong
 
HINDQUARTERS
 
General view: Powerful, but not heavy; in profile hindlegs are upright and seen from behind perfectly parallel
 
Upper thigh: Medium length, broad and strongly muscled
 
Stifle: approximately on the plumb line from the hip; normal stifle angulation
 
Lower thigh: Medium length, broad and muscled
 
Hock: Close to the ground, broad and muscled, moderate angulation
Back pastern (metatarsus): Solid and short; dewclaws not desirable
 
Feet: may be light oval; toes arched and well closed; pads thick and springy; nails dark and strong
 
GAIT / MOVEMENT
Lively and free movement at all gaits; the Belgian Shepherd is a good galloper but its normal gaits are the walk and especially the trot; limbs move parallel to the median plane of the body. At high speed the feet come nearer to the median plane; at the trot the reach is medium, the movement even and easy, with good rear drive, and the topline remains tight while the front legs are not lifted too high. Always on the move, the Belgian Shepherd seems tireless; its gait is fast, springy and lively. It is capable of suddenly changing direction at full speed. Due to its exuberant character and its desire to guard and protect, it has a definite tendency to move in circles
 
SKINElastic but taut over all the body; edges of lips and eyelids strongly pigmented
 
COATS AND VARIETIES
Since the coat varies in length, direction, appearance and colour among Belgian Shepherds, this particular point has been adopted as the criterion for distinguishing between the four varieties of the breed: the Groenendael, the Tervueren, the Malinois and the Laekenois. These four varieties are judged separately and can each be awarded a C.A.C., a C.A.C.A.B. or a reserve title
 
HAIR: In all the varieties the hair must always be dense, close-fitting and of good texture, with the woolly undercoat forming an excellent protective covering
 
SHORT HAIR
The hair is very short on the head, the outer sides of the ears and the lower part of the legs. It is short over the rest of the body and fuller at the tail and around the neck where it forms a collarette or ruff which begins at the base of the ear, stretching as far as the throat. As well, the back of the thighs is fringed with longer hair. The tail is ear of corn shaped, but does not form a plume. The Malinois is the short-haired
 
COLOUR
 
Mask
For Tervueren and Malinois the mask must be very pronounced and tend to encompass the top and bottom lip, the corners of the lips and the eyelids in one single black zone. A strict minimum of six points of skin pigmentation is called for: the two ears, the two upper eyelids and the two lips, upper and lower, which must be black
 
Black overlay
In Tervueren and Malinois, the black overlay means that the hairs have a black tip which shades the base colour. This blackening is in any case “flamed” and must not be present in great patches nor in real stripes (brindled)
 
Malinois: Only fawn with black overlay and with black mask
 
For all varieties: a small amount of white is tolerated on forechest and toes
 
SIZE, WEIGHT AND MEASUREMENTS
 
Height at withers
The ideal weight at withers is on average
 62 cm for males
 58 cm for females
 
Limits: 2 cm less, 4 cm more
 
Weight
Males    about 25-30 kg
Females about 20-25 kg
 
Measurements
Average normal measures for an adult male Belgian Shepherd of 62 cm at the withers

Length of body (from point of shoulder to point of buttock): 62 cm

Length of head: 25 cm

Length of muzzle: 12,5 – 13 cm

 
FAULTS
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog

General appearance: Cloddy, lacking elegance; too light or too slender; longer than high; fitting into a rectangle

Head: heavy, too strong, lacking parallelism, not sufficiently chiselled or dry; forehead too rounded; stop too accentuated or too flat; muzzle too short or pinched; Roman nose; brow ridges or zygomatic arches too prominent.

Nose, lips and eyelids: traces of depigmentation.

Dentition: badly aligned incisors. Serious fault: lack of one incisor (1 I), one premolar 2 (1 P2), one premolar 3 (1 P3) or three premolars 1 (3 P1

Eyes: light, round

Ears: large, long, too broad at the base, set low, carried outward or inward

Neck: slender; short or deep set

Body: too long; thoracic cage too broad (cylindrical)

Withers: flat, low

Topline: back and/or loins long, weak, sagging or arched

Croup: too sloping, overbuilt

Underline: too much or too little let down; too much belly

Tail: set too low; carried too high, forming a hook, deviated

Limbs: bone too light or too heavy; bad upright stance in profile (e.g. front pasterns too sloping or weak wrists), from the front (feet turning in or out, out at elbow, etc.), or from behind (hindlegs too close, too wide apart or barrel shaped, hocks close or open, etc.); too little or exaggeratedly angulated

Feet: spreading

Gait: moving close, too short a stride, too little drive, poor back transmission, high stepping action

Coat: all four varieties: insufficient undercoat

Malinois: hair half-long where it should be short; smooth-haired; harsh hairs scattered in the short coat; wavy coat

Colour: for all four varieties: white marking on chest forming tie; white on the feet going beyond toes

Tervuren and Malinois
Brindle; tints not warm enough; not enough or too much black overlay or set in patches over the body; not enough mask

Tervueren, Malinois and Laekenois: Too light a fawn; a base colour which is very diluted, named wased-out, is considered a serious fault

Temperament: specimens lacking in self-confidence or overly nervou 

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS

Temperament: aggressive or timid specimens

General appearance: lack of breed type

Dentition: overshot; undershot, even if contact is not lost (reverse scissor bite); crossbite; absence of one canine (1 C), one upper carnassial (1 P4) or lower carnassial (1 M1), one molar (1 M1 -upper jaw- or 1 M2; M3 are not taken into account), one premolar 3 (1 P3) plus one other tooth or a total of three teeth (excluding the premolars 1) or more

Nose, lips, eyelids: strong depigmentation

Ears: drooping or artificially kept erect

Tail: missing or shortened, at birth or by docking; carried too high and ringed or curled

Coat: lack of undercoat

Colour
any colours which do not correspond with those of the described varieties; too widespread white markings on forechest, especially if they reach as far as the neck; white on feet going more than halfway up the front or the back pasterns and forming socks; white markings anywhere other than forechest and toes; lack of mask, including a muzzle of lighter colour than the rest of the coat in Tervueren and Malinois

Size: outside the limits laid down

 Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualifie
 
 N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum
 
CROSSBREEDING – MATINGS BETWEEN VARIETIES
Any matings between varieties are forbidden, except in exceptional circumstances, when this ban can be lifted by the appropriate and official breed councils (Text 1974, drawn up in Paris)