ARMOR K-9 predominately chooses Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds due to their desire to work, intelligence, and ability to be great companions with the right raising and handler. Here’s a bit of information about each breed largely taken from www.dogbreedinfo.com.
Belgian Malinois –
The Belgian Malinois, pronounced Belgian MAL-in-wah, was named after the Belgian city of Malines. It is one of the four varieties of Belgian sheepdogs, the Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Groenendael, and the less popular Belgian Laekenois, which all share a common foundation. In most countries and breed clubs all four dogs are considered the same breed with different varieties in coat types. All four dogs share a breed standard in all countries except for the AKC, which since 1959 recognizes them as separate breeds and does not recognize one of the four (the Laekenois), whereas the UKC, which is also a U.S. registry does recognize all four varieties as one breed. Versatile and highly intelligent, all four varieties of the Belgian sheepdog excel at a variety of talents, including but not limited to, police work such as, narcotics and bomb detection, protection and Schutzhund, search and rescue, obedience, agility, tracking, herding, sled and cart pulling and as a guide for the blind and assistant to the disabled. These high energy, extremely intelligent dogs need leadership, to be challenged, and well exercised daily and therefore are not for everyone, but can make an excellent family companion with the right owners.
The Belgian Malinois has a body that is often described as square, as that is the shape it appears to have when the legs and topline are viewed from the side. The chest is deep. The topline is level, sloping slightly at the withers. The overall size of the head is in proportion to the body. The skull is flat with the width and length being of the same distance. The muzzle is somewhat pointed and equal in length to the top of the skull with a moderate stop. The nose is black and so are the tight lips. The teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. The medium sized, almond-shaped eyes are brown. The erect ears are triangular in shape. The tail is strong at the base with the bone reaching to the hock. The feet are cat-like in shape. Dewclaws may be removed. The weather resistant, double-coat is short and straight. The coat color comes in rich fawn to red to mahogany to black, with black tips on the hairs. The mask and ears are black. Underneath the body, the tail and back end are a lighter fawn. The hair around the neck looks like a collar, as it is slightly longer.
A very bright and obedient dog, it is determined and observant with strong protective and territorial instincts. Socialize well to prevent it from becoming shy or sensitive. The Belgian Malinois needs an experienced master who is firm, but not heavy handed. If you are harsh or overbearing it will become uncooperative. Owners need to display a confident, natural authority over the dog. Consistent rules must be set and made clear. This breed is instinctively protective so it should be trained and socialized very well from an early age. Puppies should be socialized right from birth. Good for working and competition obedience, these dogs make excellent police and guard dogs. This type of work is currently their main occupation. They do however, make excellent pets if they have owners who can challenge their minds with an air of leadership. They are ever watchful, alert and loyal. The Belgian Malinois is good with children if socialized well with them. This breed needs to be part of the family and not locked up in a kennel. They need leadership, daily exercise along with training and companionship, for without it they may become destructive and hard to handle. The Belgian Malinois is high energy, with a high mental capacity, and is quick to comprehend. It needs a job to do, especially if you are dealing with working lines. Take care when introducing this dog with small non-canine pets. It can be rather dominant toward other dogs and need an owner who can communicate to the dog that dominance is an unwanted behavior. Provided it is correctly socialized with cats and other pets, it should not present any problems. The Belgian Malinois may instinctively display herding behavior such as chasing and circling, moving effortlessly for hours and nipping at people’s heels. They must be taught not to do this to people.
Height: Males 24-26 inches (61 – 66 cm)
Height: Females 22 – 24 inches (56 – 61 cm)
Weight: 55 – 65 pounds (24 – 29 kg)
This hardy, healthy breed has no major health concerns. Some minor concerns that have been seen are skin allergies, eye problems, and occasionally hip dysplasia.
Living Conditions / Exercise:
The Belgian Malinois will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is moderately active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized yard. This breed prefers cool climates, but adapts well to others. It can live outdoors but would much rather be with his people. This is a working dog that is accustomed to an active outdoor life. As such it needs a lot of exercise, including a long daily walk. In addition, it will greatly benefit being off the leash as much as possible in a safe area.
About 12-14 years.
Dutch Shepherds –
The Dutch Shepherds and the Belgian Shepherds share a very similar standard. Differences are slight in size and proportion requirements, as well as coat color. Like the Belgians, their origins lie in the same gene pool of continental herding dogs that also created the German Shepherd around the same time as the Belgian and Dutch Shepherd were created. The Dutch Shepherds and the Belgian Shepherds are judged by the same standard requirements except for color. Almost unknown outside Holland, the Dutch Shepherd is valued there for its ability as a herder and for its quick reflexes. Originally an all-purpose farm guard, herder, cart-puller, guard, police and security dog, this breed, in its various coat textures, evolved in the early 1800s in the southern part of the Netherlands, especially the province of Brabant, and in neighboring Belgium, which was then part of the Netherlands. Division by coat texture occurred when dog shows began 100 years ago. Rarely, non-brindle fawn dogs can be found in all coat varieties, and while they are Dutch Shepherds, they have an undesirable coat color and are marked as such on their pedigrees. Any departure from the ideal standard should be considered a fault, but the seriousness with which a fault should be regarded should be in proportion with its degree and its effect on the functional health and welfare of the dog.
The Dutch Shepherd comes in three varieties: longhaired (long, straight, flat and harsh), shorthaired (quite hard, not too short) and wire-haired (medium length—dense harsh and tousled—more curly-coated than wire-coated). Heavy white markings on chest and feet are not desirable in the show ring. Although the coat types vary, the color possibilities remain the same for each: various brindles in all shades of gold and silver and brindle with dark stripes. Blue brindle is also listed under the rough coated variety. The short hair is most common in Holland, while the long hair is less common and the wire haired variety currently has a dangerously low population. The body is firm, without being coarse. The muzzle is slightly longer than the flat forehead. The teeth are strong and have a scissor bite. The eyes are dark, almond shaped and slightly slanting and the medium-sized ears are carried high and erect. The tail is slightly curved. The chest is deep and the belly slightly tucked up. The feet are oval with well-knit arched toes, black nails and dark pads.
The Dutch Shepherds are among the most competent of all shepherd dogs at such tasks as agility, catch, obedience competitions, guard work, herding, field trailing and companionship. Attached to its territory, and an enthusiastic worker, this affectionate, happy-to-be-around dog is obedient, sober and very loyal to its handler and family. Friendly, loving, playful and highly energetic, this very happy dog is cunningly smart. Provided children are seen as pack leaders, they can also be good friends with them. Unwanted visitors will be stopped in their tracks, while known family friends will be greeted enthusiastically. Dutch Shepherds enjoy the company of their own kind and get along fine with other animals. Intelligent, easy to obedience train and eager to learn—they learn new commands quite easily. This breed makes an excellent watch and guard dog. They are active, lively and alert. The shorthaired variety is the most common sort for defense/police dog trials. It needs little care and can withstand fatigue and bad weather.
Height: Females 21.5 – 23.5 inches (55 – 60 cm)
Height: Males 22.5 – 24.5 inches (57 – 62 cm)
Weight: 50 – 70 pounds (23 – 32 kg)
The Dutch Shepherd boasts no serious physical or mental hereditary illnesses.There have been some reports of hip dysplasia, but these instances are quite low.
Living Conditions / Exercise:
The Dutch Shepherd will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. Its all-weather coat enables it to do well in cold climates. Dutch Shepherds need to be kept both physically and mentally exercised. They need to be walked or jogged daily. Because they want to work, run them through a regular drill at least twice per week. They make great jogging companions. Let your dog run beside a bicycle, or take it into the woods or open countryside where it can run to its heart’s content.
About 12-15 years