Posts Tagged ‘Belgian Malinois’

I’ve long admired Joseph Carter’s work training mink as hunting animals. He’s now getting a Dutch shepherd or Belgian Malinois as a versatile hunting dog and mink tracker.

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I’ve posted this video before. It’s from a really interesting show on the National Geographic Channel about the dire wolf (Canis dirus).

Now, the sizes are all wrong on this video.  I’ve seen only one Dutch shepherd in my life, and it was bulkier than a Malinois, as this video says.. It was not 30 inches at the shoulder. (Yes, and I’m aware that all of these dogs are “shepherds, ” not “shepards.”)

The breeds are the Malinois, the Dutch shepherd, either a Tosa Inu or a Fila Brasileiro, and an American bulldog (of some sort). The first two are police dogs. In fact, in my part of the world, the Malinois is the police dog. I like them, but they are definitely not for me or anyone else used to a lower octane dog.

This video is really good at pointing out the diversity that exists in dogs, which is also matched in the wild.  The Arabian wolf and the extinct Shamanu or Honshu wolf  are examples of smaller wolves that specialized in hunting smaller and less robust game. They have or had smaller heads and less powerful jaws than other wolve subspecies. Conversely,  the Northern Rockies wolf, which includes the Mackenzie Valley wolf, and the Arctic wolf are larger subspecies that specialize in killing large ungulates. Their heads are very large, as are their bodies, and they possess more powerful jaws.

The dire wolf was even more robust than these subspecies. It was not significantly larger than most modern wolves. In fact, some Arctic wolves and Northern Rockies wolves are larger than the dire wolf, as are many giant breeds of domestic dog. However, it had a heavier boned body and a much larger head (but a smaller brain).  It was probably rather like the mastiff-type dog in this video in its attack style. In those days, it had lots of megafauna on which to prey, and a big dog could bring down big game. When the megafauna became extinct, it couldn’t survive well on relatively smaller prey species, which the modern wolves were experts at hunting. It probably couldn’t get enough nutrition out of those smaller species to really maintain its bulky frame.

Now, my own comparison with my own dogs definitly proved that head size and jaw strength were correlated.  My golden boxer could chew heavy bones with much more speed than my goldens ever could. Goldens haven’t been selected for very strong jaws, but boxers, which descend from bull and bear baiters and catch dogs, were selected for more powerful jaws.

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