My long-term vision on Malinois and Tervueren

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My long-term vision on Malinois and Tervueren



I grew up with different dogs, but from an early age I discovered my great love and passion for the Belgian Shepherd. I got this from my father, who has always had a soft spot for the Malinois in particular. When I was +/- 13 years old I bought my first Malinois. My first Malinois was bred with an unofficial St. Hubertus pedigree. Step by step I got to know the breed better, on the one hand by dealing with my own Malinois, on the other also by talking to people about the breed and hearing their opinions. What struck me at the time (I was about 14 years old), was that people had very different & diverse ideas about the Malinois. Some people called the breed aggressive, others false, still others inquisitive and loyal to their own people, but suspicious of strangers... Quite confusing to see and hear so many different ideas and views about one race! I then decided to do further research on what our Malinois really stands for! Soon I heard of two completely different worlds, on the one hand the 'show dogs' and on the other the 'working dogs'. My search led me to a lot of people from the Malinois environment, either at dog shows or at obedience and training clubs! What struck me most at the training clubs was that they were rather laconic about the typical Malinois (show dogs). According to them, these dogs were/are substandard in character, they have no working capacities, they are insecure, distrustful, low in drive, no capacities for quality bite work,… When I went to see the Malinois at dog shows, I couldn't help but agree. . There were indeed quite a lot of listless Malinois. Dogs without appearance and specific expression! They looked like sheep of expression! This really disappointed me! I decided to visit several training clubs, to get an even wider range and insight on the breed! The so-called 'working dogs' at the clubs, which were/are bred for working capacities, already seemed to me strongly phenotypically (outwardly) deviating from what I had in mind then! By then I had also studied a lot of literature about our Belgian Shepherd.

The dogs were not breed typical in my opinion. Types were totally different, heads more closely resembled certain other breeds (for example the German Shepherd). When I made this remark to certain individuals from these training clubs, I was immediately told that their dogs were not bred for beauty, but for working ability! This was quite short sighted for me. Why could/can one not select on working capacities and typical Belgian Shepherd appearance?? I soon concluded that it is/was not so much impossible to combine the typical with the right work capacities, but that the problem lies/was mainly with the people themselves. A combination of insufficient knowledge about the breed, wrong vision, and especially not the right attitude, to improve the breed in every area! I call it a mentality problem! People from the working environment and the show environment are usually so different, which certainly does not benefit the breed! Often people just start breeding, to breed, without following the correct image, what the breed really stands for! They then allow themselves to be manipulated by third parties and have no long-term vision! If one looks back at old photos between 1900 and 1970, one sees a completely different type of Malinois, from what one sees in the streets today! Very interesting is the description that Prof Reul gives of the sheepdogs that accompany the cattle at a cattle inspection in Oosterhout (Province Antwerp) in 1892. They are of a remarkable uniform type of Belgian Shepherd, they are short-haired, with a red coat, their ears are curiously straight, small, not broad at the base, set high and pointed forward. It is that type of dog that was taken as a model by Prof Reul, together with Louis van Der Snickt and Louis Huygebaert to set the breed standard and which has remained the specific characteristic of the four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd for decades.

From the end of the 1970s, another type of Malinois appeared in the streets, at competitions, training clubs. One sees a wrong evolution! Ears get longer and wider, types get bigger, proportions change in structure, head studies start to deviate from the typical Belgian Shepherd image, color, coat structure and texture change! It is an open secret that in this period crossings were often done with, among others, German Shepherds. If one knows that long ears are dominantly inherited, compared to small ears, it is a clear explanation of where the long ears suddenly come from! It can therefore be stated that so-called Malinois with long ears ARE NOT PUREBRED BELGIAN SHEPHERDS!!

Yet these dogs have a pedigree. It is also just that, which misleads many new fanciers and, in this way, receives wrong information from some clubs and from breeders,… This incorrect type of 'Malinois' has spread worldwide over the years, with major adverse consequences! This type of dog is also seen everywhere on other continents. As an outsider one can ask oneself the question, why decades ago people had chosen to crossbreed with, among others, the German Shepherd?? The explanation is not far to seek. They wanted to breed more bite force and heavier type dogs, for training, police work,… You can then ask yourself whether they did/do breed improvement in this way?? The breed has evolved into a training bite machine, but people have neglected the values ​​that the breed still had until the 1960s-1970s! A Malinois is a driver, who is also a family dog, who defends his property and loved ones to the utmost. In my view, many breeders have been blind to what the market wants! Many have started breeding, to the commercial and did not stand still, for what the breed really stands for! You often hear people in the street say that Malinois are unreliable, false, and nervous. None of these factors listed are typical characteristics for our Belgian Shepherd Malinois! I am also of the opinion that a Malinois should be able to deliver quality bite work, but this should not be accompanied by aggression or other deviant behaviors.

According to my studies and findings, a purebred Malinois can never have the bite force of, for example, a German Shepherd. Due to the contribution of the German Shepherd, they wanted to link the athletic ability to the power and bite force of a German Shepherd, but that was and still is at the expense of physical & physical qualities of our Belgian Shepherd Malinois/Tervueren. Many Malinois type dogs become too heavy, too tall, and unwieldy. While a typical Malinois has a square physique. Our Malinois combines strength with elegance and flexibility!

Because new generations of people keep coming, new enthusiasts for the breed don't see the problems that exist within our Belgian Shepherds! People are used to seeing the wrong type of 'Malinois', which is considered normal in the long run. I often hear people who were born around the war period say, 'what is wrong with the Malinois'?! That people no longer see the Malinois from many years ago! For these people/enthusiasts, the real Malinois are as good as extinct. Over the years, the training has also increasingly focused on the quality, dryness, and hardness of the bite. This ensured that almost no importance was/is attached to the appearance and original qualities and tasks of our Belgian Shepherd Malinois! Fortunately, there were still some breeders, in the post-war period (WWII), who continued to attach great importance to the total package, which our Belgian Shepherd Malinois stands for! Some of our kennels, which breed with great deliberation and insight, were kennels such as: de L'Assa, Du Maugré, van Bouwelhei, des Ardents Fauves, de la Belle Edita,… In the pre-war period, from the origin of our Belgian Shepherd Malinois, the following kennels were of great importance to our Belgian pride: De L'Enclus, Des Pimprenelles, de'Ecaillon, de la Brigade, Ter Heide, De Jolimont,… Unfortunately, during the war years ('40-' 45) many good and very typical Belgian Shepherds have been lost! Fortunately, there were some kennels in the post-war period, which were able to recover some dogs and bloodlines and thus rebuild the breed again! I am especially thinking of kennels such as: 'van Bouwelhei' & 'des Ardents Fauves'. Especially the kennel 'des Ardents Fauves' enjoys a lot of respect for me, because this breeder, Mr. 'Abel Renard', always followed his strict vision of character, type, and health for more than 40 years, without loading himself with interests and friend politics!


Coat texture and color


In general appearance, the breed standard states: used to living outdoors and built to withstand the frequent (sometimes harsh) weather conditions of the Belgian climate. The resistance to cold and rain is mainly dependent on the coat structure. The top hair must have a sufficiently large diameter, so not wool-like, but be straight, slightly shiny when exposed to light and yet feel soft when rubbed. In a healthy dog, 'sebum' is secreted by the tallow glands, which makes the hair water-repellent. The undercoat must be sufficiently present of a woolly structure, this is the insulation layer that offers protection against both cold and heat. In the streets, at clubs, one regularly sees Malinois with a very short coat and little undercoat. It is highly questionable whether these dogs can withstand the outdoors at low temperatures and in inclement weather, as stipulated in the breed standard. One can also ask, where do these very short furs come from??

By definition, the Malinois is a dog with a pale red coat (fauve charbonné) with a black mask, which corresponds to the breed standard of the Belgian Shepherd to the highest possible extent in both physique and character. At the creation/building of the breed and after the first selection, the population of Belgian Shepherds consisted of all kinds of coat colors and structures. There were long-haired, short-haired, and wire-haired. Coat colors in all kinds of patterns, including the following colors: full black, pale rosy (with or without mask), rosy striped (bringé), gray and rosy with black flanks. In April 1892, the first breed standard was drawn up. Its authors were Prof. Reul, Louis Van Der Snickt and Louis Hyugebaert. The result was that all existing coat colors and structures would be given a right to exist. To make some distinction, three varieties have been created: long-haired, short-haired, and wire-haired. That breed standard did not last long. Under pressure, particularly from Louis Van Der Snickt, board member of the KMSH and editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine of the KMSH '' Chasse et Peche'', the veterinarian Hertsen and Victor Du Pré chairman of the KMSH, all three of whom were strongly convinced that a breed or variety had to be recognizable in uniformity of build and coat color.


A new breed standard was published on September 24, 1899:


The long haired must be unicolored black

The wire-haired ones are ashen (Gris Cendré Foncé)

The shorthairs are red flamed with a black mask (Fauve charbonné)


This decision meant a true amputation both phenotypic and genotypic. Were excluded: the Tervuerens rosy or gray, the Laekenois (red fur), the black shorthairs, shorthairs with striped fur (Bringé), all shorthairs without a mask. The standard lasted until 1907. In this year, the Berger Belge club wants to join the KMSH on condition that the Laekenois and the Tervueren are recognized again, no recognition of the black shorthair! In 1920 there was yet another change in the breed standard, on the one hand under pressure from enthusiasts and breeders who had Belgian Shepherds who were not recognized in the previous breed standard and on the other hand to give the population a chance to recover from the loss of breeding stock during the war years.


A total of 8 varieties were recognized:


Long haired black – the Groenendael

Long haired red - flamed with mask - the Tervueren

Long-haired gray – gray charbonne with mask – the gray Tervueren

Short haired red - flamed with mask – the Malinois

Short-haired other colors – mainly black – the black shorthair

Rough hairy rosy, rust brown – the Laekenois

Rough hairy ashen – the Laekenois

Rough hairy other colors, mainly pale and straw yellow 


In fact, they have returned to the very first breed standard, but with more precision.


For the gray and the other colored wirehairs, the acceptance did not help, they completely disappeared as a variety because they were carriers of the lethal M gene (Collie), which was introduced via the gray wirehaired Lise (of unknown origin). It is under pressure from Prof. Reul and his friend Reumon (kennel 'du Rixansart'), that this variety was accepted. For the black shorthairs, the acceptance did not help, to be able to conquer its place under the banner of the Belgian Shepherd. They were not accepted in the first breed standard, so they were not specifically bred either, because of the recessive character of the inheritance, their number in the population of Shorthairs was already very small, even negligible, they have never had the popularity of the Malinois , they were never seen on shows because of not being accepted and it was an oddity to see them at competitions. At a general meeting on June 22, 1974, at which the presidents and board members of the breed clubs of the Belgian Shepherds of Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria were present, the following decision was taken: The black shorthairs are no longer wanted. This decision was also accepted by the FCI.


Tervueren born from Malinois



After the second world war, there were only a handful Tervueren Shepherds left and just a few kennels in Belgium that still bred Tervueren Shepherds. The following kennels were still active at the time: de la Ferme Termunt, de la Citè de Gilles & de la Brigade. The reconstruction of the variety is based on +/- 100 Belgian Shepherds from the three varieties (Malinois-Tervueren-Groenendael). The rebuilding of the variety started in France with the kennels: du Clos Saint-Clair, du Clos Saint-Jacques & du Sang Bleu. The basis, however, lies mainly with the kennels: de la Brigade, de L' Assa & des Bonmoss, three kennels that exclusively bred Malinois, but where Tervueren occasionally appeared in the litters. It is worth mentioning that Phillippe Van Den Eynde of the kennel de la Brigade in Merelbeke, as a gendarmerie, made a very strict selection based on character, but he also did it in terms of beauty, proof that breeding for character and beauty is indeed possible! Several dogs from his breeding have served as police dogs in Ghent, among others with a colleague of his, owner of Jhonny de la Brigade, he was also champion of Belgium.


Why is 'v.d. Vaardekenshoeve' breeding Tervueren out of Malinois?!


First and foremost, I started breeding Tervueren from Malinois, because in my opinion the Tervueren remains primarily a working dog! He should have the same character and appearance as the Malinois. In the world of the Tervueren, one often sees two very big differences. The Tervueren that are bred for character and the show Tervueren. Unfortunately, these worlds are also miles apart, which means that the character bred dogs lack the correct coat length and structure, have too heavy a head, too long and too wide ears, wrong types, ... Also, these dogs show the influence of the German Shepherd. On the other hand, the Tervueren have been mainly bred for beauty in recent decades. Often these dogs are insecure and no longer have the qualities for heavier work, such as ring work. For me, especially the lack of drift is a big problem with the show Tervueren.

Personally, I also find the Tervueren from my Malinois bloodlines, often more beautiful than many show lines. But that's my opinion of course. My vision and purpose are to breed very typical Tervueren, which are suitable for exhibition, but also for e.g., security, ring work, tracking, family dog, ... One can understand that my vision and image of the breed, ensures that many bloodlines/dogs are not suitable for what I want to breed myself. Furthermore, I attach great importance to appearance, charisma, and health in my Malinois and Tervueren. The breed standard clearly states that the head study of our Belgian Shepherd should be stretched and chiseled, but without exaggeration! Tervueren are often seen, which are more reminiscent of Collies than our Belgian Shepherds! A lack of stop & skull will eventually lead to physical problems, which can affect normal daily life, health, and work!


Because problems often cropped up at Tervueren in the past and present in terms of health and character, I work very selectively! I want to keep the hereditary load as low as possible within my breeding program!


Cost of a Malinois or Tervueren puppy


In general, we can conclude that the cost price of a Belgian Shepherd with pedigree is significantly lower than with many other breeds. Especially the prices in Belgium & the Netherlands are often abnormally low! One may wonder whether this is not suspiciously little??!! I often hear prices of $400-$500 for a puppy. These prices are totally impossible with many other quality breeders of other breeds. First, you must estimate what you get for your money?! Breeding dogs is not difficult, breeding quality and always confirming it is quite another! Due to my way of breeding it is impossible to sell my puppies for example for +/- €400! Everything depends on the human attitude. Over the years, I have met a lot of people, and I am no longer surprised by the widely divergent attitudes of people. Because it is not possible to buy a puppy from my kennel for ridiculously suspiciously low prices, it means that I usually attract enthusiasts who, with a great passion for the breed, are happy to pay a proportional price, in proportion to the quality that one gets! Furthermore, one should be aware that as an enthusiast, one gets a puppy at my kennel, which has been preceded by years of vision, hard work and strict selection! In short, a Belgian Shepherd that will satisfy you in every way! This means: The pheno- & genotypic ideal image, linked to the correct character traits, for which the breed was created! I also want to make it clear to people that I am always willing to do everything possible to help people with advice & deed,..., to raise their young Malinois or Tervueren as optimally as possible and to give them a loyal friend for many years!


I would also like to thank all enthusiasts/owners for the years of support and trust! Without them it is impossible to further develop my kennel and thus help the breed further! They ensure that history continues to exist and that it is spread all over the world! Together we work on preserving the real typical Malinois & Tervueren!


Finally, I would like to mention that I do not breed show dogs, as some people believe, but breed standard dogs! With breed standard dogs, I want to say that I breed working dogs, but the typical external qualities, to also shine at exhibitions! The Belgian Shepherd is an all-round breed and as an enthusiast and breeder I want to do everything to maintain this!


I would like to thank all the people who have taken the patience and time to go through my vision and policy!


With best regards,


Owner kennel 'v.d. Vaardekenshoeve' 

Van Hamme Stijn.



The photos and texts should not be used or copied without the knowledge/permission of the owner of the kennel. In the event this still happens, the owner will be forced to take legal action.