SHEPHERD DOG F.C.I.
Standard No 15 dated 16/10/1989 Adopted in
Australia 1/1/94 Translated by - Dr Pollet. Country
of Origin - Belgium.
GENERAL APPEARANCE - A
medium sized dog, harmoniously proportioned, intelligent,
hardy, accustomed to the open-air life, built to resist
the bad weather of the seasons and atmospheric variations
so frequent in the Belgian climate.
CHARACTERISTICS - 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. He
combines the valuable qualities of the best guard dog for
property with his inborn aptitude for guarding flocks.
TEMPERAMENT - When
necessary he is, without hesitation, an obstinate and
ardent protector of his master. He is vigilant and
attentive, his look alert and enquiring, denoting his
HEAD AND SKULL - The head
is well chiselled, long without exaggeration, dry.
The skull and the muzzle are of appreciably 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 flared nostrils.
Muzzle: Of medium length, tapering gradually towards the
nose. Top of the muzzle straight, in profile
parallel to the imaginary line extending 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.
Stop: Moderate, but marked.
Brow ridges: Not prominent, muzzle well chiselled below
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 it
is parallel to the imaginary line extending the muzzle.
EYES - Medium size, not
prominent nor sunken, slightly almond shaped, of brownish
colour, preferably dark, black rimmed eyelids.
Direct, lively, intelligent and enquiring look.
EARS - Of neat triangular
appearance, stiff and erect. Set high, of
proportioned length, the external ear well rounded at the
MOUTH - Dentition:
Strong, white, regular teeth firmly set in well-developed
jaws. "Scissor 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. Superposition of the incisors
tolerated. In fact it this bite, named "pincer
bite" which is preferred by drivers of sheep and
NECK - Very free,
slightly elongated, well muscled, without dewlap,
broadening gradually towards the shoulders.
Nape: very slightly arched.
FOREQUARTERS - Bone
structure solid everywhere, musculature dry and strong.
Shoulders: The shoulder blades are long and
sloping, flatly attached, forming a sufficient angle with
the humerus to give the elbows easy play.
Upperarms: Should move in a direction strictly parallel
to the longitudinal axis of the body.
Forearms: Long and well muscled.
Front pasterns: Strong and short. Wrists clean, without
traces of rickets.
BODY - The body is
powerful without heaviness. Length from point of
shoulders to point of buttocks approximately equal to
height at withers in the dog. May be slightly
longer in the bitch.
Forechest: Seen from the front slightly broad, without
Chest: Slightly broad, but on the other hand deep and
well let down, as in all animals of great endurance.
The thoracic cage is encircled by ribs arched in their
Topline: (Back and lumbar region): Straight, broad and
Belly: Moderately developed, neither drooping nor tucked
up, continuing underline of chest in a harmonious curve.
Croup: Very slightly inclined, broad without excess.
HINDQUARTERS - Powerful
without heaviness, moving in the same planes as
forequarters. Stance perpendicular to the ground.
Upper thighs: Broad and well muscled. The stifle to
be approximately perpendicular in relation to the hip.
Second thighs: Long, broad, muscled and sufficiently bent
at the hocks but without excess. The hocks to be
well let down, broad and muscled. Seen from behind,
they should be perfectly parallel.
Rear pasterns: Solid and short. Dewclaws not
Front feet: Rather round. The toes arched and well
closed. Pads thick and elastic. Nails dark
Hind feet: Slightly oval. Toes arched and well
closed. Pads thick and elastic. Nails dark
TAIL - Tail 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.
GAIT/MOVEMENT - The
movement is brisk and free, covering the maximum amount
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.
Mask: The mask must tend to comprise the upper and lower
lips, the corner of the lips and the eyelids in one black
Hair: As the hair differs in length, direction and
appearance in the Belgian Shepherd Dogs, this point has
been adopted as the criterion by which the varieties of
the breed are distinguished. In all the varieties
the hair must always be abundant, close and of good
texture, forming with the woolly undercoat an excellent
Skin: Elastic but really tight over the whole of the body.
External mucous membranes strongly pigmented.
A. Long Hair:
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 wrist,
with long hair called feathering. 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
collar and jabot (frill). 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 abundant hair forming the
"culottes" or "breeches". The
tail is furnished with long and abundant hair forming a
Note: In the long-haired
varieties we name:
1. The long-haired plain black, whole coloured -
2. The fawn colour with black overlay (fauve-charbonne)
being the most natural, stays the preferred one -
B. Short Hair:
Very short on the head, outside surface of the ears and
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 collarette which starts at the base of
the ear and stretches to the throat. In addition,
the buttocks are feathered with longer hair. The
tail is like an ear of wheat.
Note: The short haired
variety is called - Malinois.
C. Rough Hair:
What characterises this variety is, above all, the
roughness and dryness of the hair which is also tousled.
The length is noticeably the same all over the body,
about 6 cm (2½ ins). 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.
The presence of furnishings on the muzzle is however,
obligatory. The tail must not form a plume.
Note: The rough haired variety is called - Laekenois.
Groenendael: Only solid black.
Tervueren: The fawn colour with
black overlay (fauve-charbonne) being the most natural,
stays the preferred one. The fawn should be warm,
neither light nor washed-out. A dog in which the
colour is not in accord with the desired intensity,
cannot be awarded the qualification "Excellent"
and definitely not C.A.C. or C.A.C.I.B. For the
mask, it is defined as a strict minimum of eight points
of pigmentation of the "phaners": both ears,
the two top eye-lids, the two top lips and the two bottom
lips which must be black.
Malinois: Only the fawn with
black overlay (fauve-charbonne) and with black mask.
The same minimum points of pigmentation of the "phaners"
as defined for the Tervueren apply. Short hair
other than fawn with black overlay is not recognised.
Laekenois: Fawn with traces of
black overlay (charbonne) mainly on the muzzle and tail.
In all the varieties a little
white is tolerated on the forechest and on the toes.
"Fauve" means fawn or tawny; a yellow tending
to reddish; sandy or yellowish-red; the colour as found
in lions and tigers. "Fauve-charbonne"
literally means fawn, (as above) blackened or bespattered
The desired height (at the withers) is on average:62 cm (24½
ins) for dogs
58 cm (23 ins) for bitches.
Tolerances: minus 2cm (¾in), and plus 4cm (1½ ins).
normal average proportions in a Belgian Shepherd male
measuring 62 cm at the withers:
Height at the withers - 62 cm (24½ ins)
Length of body from point of shoulders to point of
buttocks: 62 cm (24½ ins)
Length of back from the withers to the crest of the
pelvis: 41 cm (16 ins)
Circumference of chest behind the elbows: minimum 75 cm (29½
Depth of chest: 31 cm (12 ins)
From ground to chest: 31 cm (12 ins)
Length of head: 25 cm (10 ins)
Length of muzzle 12.5 - 13 cm (5 - 5½ins)
(Measurements in brackets are approximate only)
Character: Aggressive or timid.
Nose, lips, eyelids: Traces of depigmentation.
Dentition: Slight superior prognathism (overshot).
Shoulders: Too straight.
Hindquarters: Weak; straight hocks.
Tail: Carried too high; forming a hook; deviating from
the central line of the body.
Coat: Absence of undercoat.
In the Groenendael and the Tervueren: Coat woolly,
curly or wavy; not long enough.
In the Malinois: Semi-long hair where it should be
short, rough hair among the short hair, wavy hair.
In the Laekenois: Hair too long, silky, curly, wavy
or short; the coat full of fine hairs scattered in tufts
among the rough hair. Excess of length of hair
surrounding the eyes or on the bottom extremity of the
head. Bushy tail.
Colour: Grey, tints not warm enough or washed-out;
In the Groenendael: Reddish reflections in the
coat; grey culottes (breeching).
In the Tervueren: Grey tints not warm enough or
washed-out, absence of black overlay or its disposition
in patches over the body; insufficient mask or reversed
mask are not desirable. Excess of black overlay (charbonne)
on the body is not desirable.
In the Malinois: Total absence of black overlay (charbonne),
or, instead, its presence in patches. Insufficient
mask or reversed mask. An excess of black overlay
on the body is not desirable.
FAULTS LEADING TO
Dentition: Pronounced overshot; undershot.
Lack of certain premolars: Absence of one small
premolar (P1) situated just behind the canines is
tolerated without penalisation. On the other hand,
the absence of two P1's or of another premolar, whatever
its rank, makes it necessary that the dog should regress
by one qualification.
Lastly, absence of three premolars whatever their rank or
of two big teeth means disqualification.
Ears: Drooping or having been manipulated.
Tail: Absent or shortened, from birth or by surgery.
Colour: White patches elsewhere than on forechest
and toes. Absence of mask in the Tervueren and
Character: Dogs that are unapproachable and
exaggeratedly aggressive, and also that are hyper-nervous
and cowardly, are disqualified. "Calm and bold"
character is to be taken into account when judging.
Sex: Monorchid or cryptorchid dogs. Male animals
should have two apparently normal testicles fully
descended into the scrotum.
BREEDING -- Mixed (inter-variety) matings are
forbidden, except in special cases, when derogations are
accorded by the appropriate national commissions (Text
1974, Paris). (A.N.K.C. in Australia) Working Dog Group
A.N.K.C. © January 2000