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Police ditching the German Shepherd for Belgian breed

The Local · 22 Aug 2011, 14:47

Published: 22 Aug 2011 14:47 GMT+02:00

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Günther Bonke, a dog expert for the police in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), said on Monday the trusty German Shepherd, or Alsatian, was slowly being replaced by the Belgian Shepherd. The breed, also known as the Malinois, is considered more dependable and robust than its German rival.

Bonke said NRW had only 26 German Shepherds still working alongside the police compared to 281 Malinois. He explained that not all German states bred their own dogs, making the often cheaper Belgian Shepherd even more attractive when bought in bulk.

NRW, which borders Belgium, has been breeding the Malinois since 1988. Over the years, the police discovered the dogs were healthier and more courageous than their German counterparts. Belgian Shepherds can also be used as sniffer dogs, unlike German Shepherds, which are largely limited to security details.

The trend to Malinois has also spread to Germany’s federal police, however, they haven’t entirely given up on other breeds like the Alsatian.

“We are not planning exclusively with these dogs for the future,” said a federal police spokesman.

Story continues below…

Officials in North Rhine-Westphalia aren’t only betting on the Belgian dogs either. The state's police pack of 350 canines includes Dutch Shepherds, Giant Schnauzers, several mutts, as well as one Boxer and one Rottweiler.

DPA/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:27 August 22, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
"making the often cheaper Belgian Shepherd even more attractive when bought in bulk"

Yes, at LIDL there are several choices for buying dogs in bulk - but I never know what to do with the palate or all that plastic wrap left over.
18:48 August 22, 2011 by dchristoffer
Max is spinning in his grave...
20:29 August 22, 2011 by finanzdoktor
Belgian shepherds are more courageous than their German counterparts? Wonder how that conclusion was arrived at? Could it also mean that the German shepherds are more intelligent, than their Belgian counterparts, by not rushing into everything?
20:40 August 22, 2011 by catjones
The german shepherds started forming committees instead of packs. That plus the paperwork (forms, threatening letters) made the dogs lazy and ineffective. The only drawback with the Belgians is that they demand bi-lingual commands.
21:51 August 22, 2011 by dchristoffer
I compete in Schutzhund on a regular basis. Most of the Malies that I've seen are quite high strung and have the attention span of a gnat. This makes it very difficult for them to perform in the tracking phase. I'm not saying there aren't Malies out there that can do it, but they are difficult to find, here in the U.S. anyway. GSDs on the other hand do quite well at scentwork which makes me wonder why the article states that GSDs can't be used as "sniffer" dogs...
22:58 August 22, 2011 by finanzdoktor
I once got in trouble for saying that one of my dreams in life is to own an old jeep with a German shepherd in the passenger seat. No, I did not get in trouble because that would be unsafe for the dog, but because my wife asked where she was in the dream. Quickly, I said in the backseat, versus mentioning she was not in the dream. OOOPPPSSS!!!!!
07:04 August 23, 2011 by lordkorner
My wife always maintained that she fell in love with me when one day she was driving behind my SAAB 900 aero with my German shepherd sitting in the back ,it must have been the combination of three beautiful things in transit !!!
09:29 August 25, 2011 by heyheyhey

Always the smartass, right? I get tired of your pathetic attempts to be funny. If you were meant to be a comedian, well then, I would say you would be lousy at the job. A smartass is typically an angryass in disguise.
14:43 August 25, 2011 by finanzdoktor
@catjones: I actually got a chuckle from your comment. It was one of your better ones. Too bad others cannot sit back and enjoy the occassional humorous side of things.
02:01 August 26, 2011 by MonkeyMania
@catjones: Actually, I thought your comment was bang on 100% accurate as well as quite funny.
19:59 August 26, 2011 by aslanleon
The Border Patrol here in Arizona uses Malinois almost exclusively. I have one myself, and they are an excellent pet. I recommend them highly as pets or working dogs. It tracks beautifully and is very strong on long treks.
20:04 August 26, 2011 by HAW
I have a female Malinois,They are being used by many police departments here in the US,the only dog used by the US Government and it was a Malinois that was sent in for Bin Laden, They out jump all other dogs and can be more intimidating then the German Shepherd.They love to play and are great with kids.Our sheriff Dept use Malinois .They are his "alligators"
23:25 August 26, 2011 by Englishted
Both Jack Kerouac and catjones made me smile thank you for that.

N.R.W. 's dogs must be integrated at the moment they are searching for a Turkish and a Russian breed .
00:17 August 27, 2011 by hawburn
I think it has more to do with price .I cannot and will not belittle either breed. I love animals period.don't know much at all about Belgian shepherds.we have just become the proud owners of a white German shepherd and I find the snobbery of the German Shepherd Council of Australia in not recognising the white as a true colour and not as a deformity goes against why we owned the breed in the first place.instead of picking the breed to pieces,try to remember why we fell in love with them in the first place,irrespective of colour or other.my real concern is how they are trained in these professions.too much heavy handed training.
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