The Belgian Shepherd
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE VALID ORIGINAL STANDARD : 16.10.1989.
FCI-CLASSIFICATION : Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)
Section 1 Sheepdogs
With working trial.
GENERAL APPEARANCE :
A balanced dog of medium proportions, harmoniously proportioned, intelligent, rustic, accustomed to open-air life, built to resist the bad weather of the seasons and the atmospheric variations so frequent to the Belgian climate.
By the harmony of his shape and the proud carriage of his head, the Belgian Shepherd Dog must give the impression of that robust elegance which has become the heritage of the selected representatives of a working breed.
In addition to his inborn aptitude for guarding flocks, he has the precious qualities to be the best guard dog for the property. When necessary he is, without hesitation, a tenacious and ardent defender of his master. He is vigilant and attentive, his look is alert and enquiring, denoting his intelligence.
The head is well chiselled, long without exaggeration, dry. The skull and the muzzle are of sensible equal length, with at most a very slight advantage for the muzzle, which gives an impression of perfect finish to the whole.
Nose : Black, well open nostrils.
Muzzle : Of medium length, tapering gradually towards the nose. The bridge of the nose is straight, in profile parallel to the imaginary line extending from the skull. Mouth well split.
Lips : Of thin tissue, closing tightly, strongly pigmented, not showing the red of the mucous membranes.
Cheeks : Dry, quite flat, although muscled.
Dentition : Strong, white, regular teeth firmly set in well-developed jaws. "Scissors bite", i.e. the incisors of the upper jaw fitting closely over those of the lower jaw, extending slightly beyond them without loosing contact with them. Super-position of the incisors is tolerated : in fact it is this bite, named "pincer bite", which is preferred by drivers of sheep and cattle.
Stop : Moderate, but marked.
Superciliary ridges : Not prominent, muzzle well chiselled below the eyes.
Skull : Of medium width, in proportion to the length of the head, with forehead rather flat than rounded, with median line little pronounced. Seen in profile its extension is parallel to the bridge of the nose.
Eyes : Of medium size, not prominent nor sunken, slightly almond shaped, of brownish colour- preferably dark; black rimmed eyelids. Direct look, lively, intelligent and inquisitive expression.
Ears : Of definite triangular appearance, stiff and erect; set high, proportioned in length, the lobe edges well rounded at the base.
Reachy, slightly elongated, well muscled, without dewlap, broadening gradually towards the shoulders.
Very slightly arched.
Solid bone structure all over, muscles dry and strong.
Shoulders : The shoulder-blades are long, sloping and flat, sufficiently angulated with the humerus to give the elbows easy play.
Upper arms : Should move in a direction strictly parallel to the longitudinal axis of the body.
Forearms : Long and well muscled.
Front pasterns : Strong and short. Pastern joints clean without traces of rickets.
Feet : Rather round. The toes arched and well closed. The pads thick and elastic. Nails dark and strong.
The body is powerful without heaviness. Length from point of shoulders to point of buttocks approximately equal to the height at withers in the dog. May be slightly longer in the bitch.
Forechest : Seen from the front not much broad, without being narrow.
Chest : Not much broad, but deep and well let down, as in all animals of great endurance. The rib cage is constructed of ribs arched in their upper parts.
Withers : Pronounced.
Topline : (Back and loin) : straight, broad and powerfully muscled.
Belly : Moderately developed, neither drooping nor tucked up, continuing the underline of the chest in a harmonious curve.
Croup : Very slightly sloping, broad without excess.
Powerful, without heaviness, moving in the same planes as the forequarters. In stance perpendicular to the ground.
Upper thighs : Broad and strongly muscled. The stifle nearly perpendicular to the pelvis.
Lower thighs : Long, broad, muscled and sufficiently bent at the hocks without excess. Hocks well let down, broad and muscled. Seen from behind they should be perfectly parallel.
Rear pasterns : Solid and short. Dew-claws not desirable.
Feet : Slightly oval. Toes arched and well closed. Pads thick and elastic. Nails dark and strong.
The tail is well set on, strong at the base and of medium length. At rest the dog carries it hanging down, the tip bent slightly backwards at the level of the hock. On the move he lifts it, accentuating the curve towards the tip, but at no time forming a hook or deviation.
Mask: The mask must tend to include the upper and lower lips, the corner of the mouth and the eyelids in a single black area.
For the Tervueren : The fawn colour with black overlay (fauve-charbonne) being the most natural, remains the preferred one. The fawn should be warm, neither light nor washed out. Any dog whose colour does not correspond to the desired intensity, cannot be awarded the qualification "excellent", and even less receive a proposal for CAC, CACIB or the 'reserves'.
For the Malinois : Only the fawn colour with black overlay (fauve-charbonne) with black mask.
For the Groenendael : Only solid black.
For the Laekenois : The fawn colour (fauve) with traces of black overlay (charbonne), mainly on the muzzle and the tail. In all varieties a little white is tolerated on the forechest and on the toes.
Coat : The fact that in the Belgian Shepherd Dogs the coat differs in length, direction and varies in appearance, these aspects have been adopted as the criterion to distinguish the different varieties. In all varieties the coat must always be abundant, close and of good texture, forming with the woolly undercoat an excellent protective covering.
Skin : Elastic but well tight over the whole body. External mucous membranes strongly pigmented.
The desired height at the withers is on average :
62 centimetres for dogs,
58 centimetres for bitches.
Tolerance : minus 2 centimetres, plus 4 centimetres.
The movement is brisk and free, covering a maximum of ground. Always on the move, the Belgian Shepherd Dog seems tireless. Because of his exuberant temperament, he has a marked tendency to move in circles rather than in a straight line.
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.
Character : Aggressive or timid.
Nose, lips, eyelids : Traces of depigmentation.
Dentition : Slight superior prognathism (overshot).
Eyes : Light.
Shoulders : Too straight.
Hindquarters : Weak, straight hocks.
Feet : Open.
Tail : Carried too high, forming a hook, deviating from the central line of the body.
Coat : Absence of undercoat. Colour : Grey, tints not warm enough or washed-out. Reversed mask.
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS :
Dentition : Pronounced overshot, undershot. Lack of certain premolars: the absence of one small premolar (P1) situated just behind the canines should not be penalized. However, the absence of two P1's, or of one other premolar, whatever its rank, requires a lower grading. Finally, the absence of three premolars, whatever their rank, or of two molars implicates disqualification.
Ears : Drooping or having been manipulated.
Tail : Absent or shortened, from birth or through docking.
Colour : White patches elsewhere than on forechest and toes. Absence of mask in the Tervueren and Malinois.
Character : Dogs which are unapproachable and exaggeratedly aggressive, and also the hyper-nervous and cowardly subjects must be disqualified. The judge should take a "calm and bold" character into consideration.
The normal average proportions in a Belgian Shepherd male measuring 62 cm at the withers are:
Height at the withers: 62 cm
Length of body (from the point of the shoulder to the point of buttock): 62 cm
Length of back (from the withers to the crest of the pelvis): 41 cm
Circumference of the chest just behind the elbows: minimum 75 cm
Depth of chest: 31 cm
From ground to chest: 31 cm
Length of head: 25 cm
Length of muzzle: 12,5 to 13 cm
LONG COAT : Short on the head, the outer surface of the ears and the lower part of the legs, except on the back edge of the forearm, which is covered from the elbow to the pastern joint with long hair called "fringes". Long and smooth hair on the rest of the body, longer and more abundant around the neck and on the forechest where it forms a ruff (colorette) and an apron (jabot). The ear opening is protected by dense hair. The hair from the base of the ear is raised and frames the head. The buttocks are covered with very long and very abundant hair forming the "culottes" or "breeches". The tail is furnished with long and abundant hair forming a plume.
Note : In the long-haired variety we name :
Groenendael : The solid black.
Tervueren : The fawn colour with black overlay (fauve-charbonne) being the most natural, remains the preferred one. The fawn should be warm, neither light nor washed out. Any dog whose colour does not correspond to the desired intensity, cannot be awarded the qualification "excellent", and even less receive a proposal for CAC, CACIB or the 'reserves'. As far as the mask is concerned, it is defined by a strict minimum of eight visible matching points of pigmentation (phaneres) : the two ears, the two upper eyelids, the two upper and two lower lips, which must be black. Long hair other than fawn with black overlay : see "Coat" and "Faults".
FAULTS : Coat woolly, curly or wavy; coat insufficiently long.
In the Groenendael : Reddish reflections in the coat, grey "culottes".
In the Tervueren : Are not desirable : grey; not warm enough or washed out tints; absence of black overlay (charbonne) or its unevenly distribution in patches; insufficient mask or reversed mask. An excess of black overlay (charbonne) on the body is not desirable.
SHORT COAT : Very short on the head, outer surface of the ears and on the lower parts of the legs. Short on the rest of the body, more abundant on the tail and around the neck where it forms a ruff
which starts at the base of the ears and stretches to the throat. In addition the buttocks are feathered with longer hair. The tail is well furnished with hair, spicate (epiee).
Note : In the short coated variety we name :
Malinois : Short coated, fawn with black overlay (fauve-charbonne) with black mask. The same eight visible matching points of pigmentation as applicable for the Tervueren are required. Any short coat other than fawn with black overlay is not recognized.
Faults : Semi-long coat where it should be short, harsh hair among the short coat, wavy coat. Total absence of black overlay (charbonne) or its uneven distribution in patches. Insufficient mask or reversed mask. An excess of black overlay on the body is not desirable.
HARSH COAT : What characterizes this variety is, above all, the wiry appearance and dryness of the coat which is also tousled. The length is noticeably the same all over the body, about six centimetres. Neither the hair around the eyes, nor that on the muzzle should be so developed as to give the head the appearance of a Barbet or a Briard. However, furnishings on the muzzle are obligatory. The tail must not form a plume.
Note : In the harsh coated variety we name :
Laekenois : The wiry coated fawn with traces of black overlay (charbonne) mainly on the muzzle and on the tail.
Faults : Coat too long, silky, curly, wavy or short; the coat full of fine hairs scattered in tufts among the wiry hair. Hair too long around the eyes and on the chin. Bushy tail.
Mixed (inter-variety) mating is forbidden, except in particular cases, when derogations are accorded by the competent national breeding commissions. (Text agreed upon in Paris, 1974).
Note : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.