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FCI  Standard  No. 15  -  19.04.2002



The Standard currently used in AustraliaBelow is the one below


BELGIAN 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 intelligence.

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 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 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 base.

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 cattle.

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 being narrow.
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 upper parts.
Withers: Distinct.
Topline: (Back and lumbar region): Straight, broad and powerfully muscled.
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 desirable.

Front feet: Rather round.  The toes arched and well closed.  Pads thick and elastic.  Nails dark and strong.
Hind feet: Slightly oval.  Toes arched and well closed.  Pads thick and elastic.  Nails dark and strong.

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 area.
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 protective covering.
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 plume.

Note: In the long-haired varieties we name:
1. The long-haired plain black, whole coloured - Groenendael
2. The fawn colour with black overlay (fauve-charbonne) being the most natural, stays the preferred one - Tervueren
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 with coal.

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).

Measurements: The 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 ins)
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).
Eyes: Light.
Shoulders: Too straight.
Hindquarters: Weak; straight hocks.
Feet: Splayed.
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; reversed mask.
 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. 

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 Malinois.
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.

INTER VARIETY 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


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