Belgian Mastiff

He is not recognized by the F.C.I.

Origin
Belgium
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
Origin SRSH-KMSH - Belgian Royal Canine Society
Authentic language FR
Group
Group 2 : Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs
Section
Section 2.1 : Molossoids, mastiff type
Working
Without working trial
En français, cette race se dit
Mâtin Belge
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Belgischer Mastiff
En español, esta raza se dice
Mastín Belga
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Belgische Mastiff
This breed is also known as
Chien de Trait
Old Belgian Watchdog

Usage

Originally a draft dog, today mainly a guard dog, but also a family dog.

Brief historical summary

The first driving dog competition was held on June 30, 1895, and already two weeks later a report was published by Professor Ad. Reul and Louis Van der Snickt on the state of harnessing, with a table showing the measurements of the dogs that had taken part.
On January 24, 1900 in Brussels, a club for the improvement and protection of the Belgian draught dog was formed, with Count Jean de T'Serclaes as president.
In 1902, the name was changed to 'Société Nationale pour l'Amélioration du Chien de trait belge', but this soon became the 'Fédération nationale des Syndicats d'élevage du Chien de trait belge'.
By 1911, the federation already had 1,500 members, more than 20 competitions were held annually, and 350 dogs had already been entered in the stud book. In 1899, the first standard was published by Prof. Reul in the magazine Chasse et Pêche.
In 1917, a special corps of Belgian draught dogs was chosen to be hitched (e.g. as machine-gun tractors) to army carriages.
It took part in the fighting of the Great War of 1914 - 1918.
For a hundred years, Mâtins were frequently used by small shopkeepers, craftsmen, farmers, market gardeners and horticulturists, especially for home delivery of bread and milk.
In Belgium, carriage dogs provided extremely valuable services to small businesses and industry, including agriculture, but in the period between the wars, modern means of transport began to reduce their use considerably. After the Second World War, by the 1960s, dog teams had completely disappeared.
It wasn't until around 1990 that a handful of enthusiastic breeders of Belgian Mastiffs set about producing dogs of the type described in the first Belgian Draft Dog standard.
While retaining the physical and mental aptitudes of a draught dog, today the Belgian Mastiff has become a watchdog and even a family dog.

General appearance

A large, mastiff-type dog, robust but not heavy, with strong bones and muscles. As close as possible to the type of the old draught dog from before 1900.

Important proportions

The length of the muzzle is less than half the length of the head, and the body is longer than it is high.

Behaviour / temperament

Very confident, balanced, sociable, approachable and docile.

Nowadays, the Belgian Mastiff is kept mainly as a guard and family dog, but it still retains the physical strength and mentality of a draught dog. Although it is forbidden by law to allow dogs to shoot, demonstrations are nevertheless permitted with the appropriate authorization. They are confident, well-balanced, social and easy to live with. He's the ideal companion who's very easy to approach.

Head

Cranial region

Head
Strong. Well-developed, broad skull, but without exaggeration.
Skull
Broad, with fairly flattened forehead, clearly visible but not too deep median furrow.
Stop
Marked but not abrupt.

Facial region

Nose
Black, large, nostrils wide open.
Muzzle
The muzzle is shorter than the skull. Broad and fairly short.
Lips
Thick, black, close-fitting.
Nasal bridge
Parallel to the extended upper line of the forehead.
Jaws and teeth
Strong, regularly set teeth, scissor bite, pincer bite tolerated, jaws well developed and of equal length.
Cheeks
Well-developed masseter muscle.
Eyes
Large, neither prominent nor deep-set, brownish in color, preferably dark, dark eyelid rims. The gaze is alert and confident, but friendly.
Ears
Medium-sized, set fairly high, drooping, set against the cheeks.

Neck

Powerful, fairly short, slightly arched, no dewlap.

Body

Body
Robust, but not heavy.
Topline
Straight topline over back and loins.
Withers
Broad and slightly marked.
Back
Firm and well muscled.
Loin
Strong, broad, well muscled.
Croup
Fairly long and broad, slightly sloping.
Chest
Broad and deep, reaching elbow level; broad, well-developed chest.
Ribs
Ribs well arched, but not barrel-shaped.
Underline and belly
Rises harmoniously and very slightly from the underside of the deep chest to the belly, which is only slightly tucked up.

Tail

Set at medium height, strong at the base, reaching to the hock; at rest carried hanging, but can be raised in action, preferably not above the horizontal; neither hooked nor deviated.

Limbs

Forequarters

Generality
Powerful, muscular forelegs, level when viewed from all sides and sufficiently apart.
Shoulders
Well muscled, oblique.
Upper arm
Powerfully muscled, forming a good angulation with the shoulder.
Elbows
Firm, neither loose nor tight; no calluses.
Forearm
Vertical, strong, not crooked.
Carpal
Firm.
Pastern
Solid, straight when viewed from the front, slightly sloping when viewed from the side.
Forefeet
Neither turned in nor out; compact, catlike, pads hard and thick, toes tight; nails short, strong and as dark as possible.

Hindquarters

Generality
The hindquarters are strong and powerfully muscled, seen from behind perfectly parallel, neither tight nor open.
Upper thigh
Broad and strongly muscled.
Lower thigh
Long and muscular.
Stifle
Well angulated; neither turned in nor out.
Metatarsus
Strong, fairly short, without dewclaws.
Hock
Strong, well angulated.
Hind feet
Like the front foot, but may be very slightly oval.

Gait and movement

Regular, unobstructed movement with good amplitude. The usual gaits are walk and trot. Limbs move parallel. The Belgian Mastiff should be able to cover a long distance without showing signs of fatigue.

Skin

Thick and somewhat loose, especially on the neck; a few wrinkles on the head, especially when the dog is attentive, are permissible. Well pigmented outer mucous membranes.

Coat

Hair
Short or half-breasted, dense, close-lying, weather-resistant. With undercoat.
Colour
Preferably fawn (all shades) and shaded; with mask. In principle, all colors, including black, are permitted, but not white. Less desirable are tricolored and piebald coats. White patches (e.g. white chest markings or white toes) are tolerated, especially when symmetrical and not too intrusive.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Males : 70 - 76 cm, females : 64 - 70 cm.
Weight
Males : 50 - 60 kg, females : 40 - 50 kg.

Faults

• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

General faults

 Character : apathetic, indolent.
 General appearance : too light, too massive or heavy; removed or close to the ground; rather square or too elongated.
 Head : skull too narrow, muzzle too long or too light, stop too pronounced or effaced.
 Nose, lips, eyelids : loss of pigment.
 Teeth : lack of teeth.
 Eyes : very light, lower lid drooping.
 Ears : pink, too high at base.
 Neck : frail, exaggerated laxity of skin forming a dewlap.
 Body : too long; ribcage too wide (cylindrical).
 Withers : flat, low.
 Topline : back and/or loins weak, drooping or arched.
 Croup : swollen or desk-like; raised.
 Underline : too much or too little lowered; belly too tucked up or swallowed.
 Chest : narrow.
 Tail : carried too high, tucked in between limbs, hooked or broken, deviated.
 Limbs : too light or too heavy in bone structure; poor balance from front or side; too little or too much angulation.
 Feet : open.
 Gaits : too heavy, irregular, with too much roll, indolent, lacking ease; tight or open movement; dog crossing, crossing himself, shortened gaits; little impulsion; poor transmission through back.
 Coat : longer than shorthair; slight crimp; very short shorthair.
 Color : 'less desirable' colors, excessive white; absence of mask.
 Size : clearly outside limits.

Disqualifying faults

 Character : aggressive or fearful subjects.
 General appearance : absence of racial type; too elegant, too stocky or too massive.
 Dentition : overshot or undershot bite; crossbite; lack of too many teeth.
 Pigmentation : other than black nose; heavy depigmentation of external mucous membranes.
 Tail : absent or shortened; carried in a ring or curled.
 Coat : too long.
 Color : completely white coat, too much white (white head, too much white body, completely white limbs).
 Gait : obviously faulty.
 Height at withers : clearly out of bounds.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

 

Detailed history

The Belgian Kennel Club declares that the original Belgian Mastiff may be extinct. The FCI has placed the breed on the suspended list. However, there is a working group in Belgium that is recreating the breed from its standard. There is a breeder in Belgium who has successfully recreated the breed, and his "master" dog named Bacon has already been shown at several dog shows and received excellent marks. Once all the various committees have passed, this will enter a 10-year FCI "probationary" period. The Belgian Mastiff was used for guarding and tracking, search and rescue. It is said to have probably originated in France because of its resemblance to French dogs. Later, its characteristics were modified when it was exported to Belgium. The breed was used for karting in Belgium, but the original dogs had died out as carts were no longer needed with the development of the automobile.

It is believed that the original Belgian Draught Dog of the Middle Ages has now disappeared. A large, muscular breed, it was once a popular rural Molosser, descended from European molossers, breeders and dogs, mainly a working dog, used to pull carts and protect farms. Rather aggressive towards people and strange dogs, the Belgian Mastiff was a formidable guard and watchdog, with many examples used for cart-pulling being muzzled most of the time. This breed would have been affectionate with children and devoted to its owner, making it suitable for family life. A trademark characteristic of the original Chien de Trait was the lack of tail, puppies being born bobtailed. Due to some influence from other working breeds, there were a variety of types to be found in the 19th century, but the Matin Belge was finally standardized in 1895 and the breed club was formed in 1911. It was used as an army dog during the First World War, used to pull carts with weapons and ammunition, as well as to carry wounded soldiers. The Belgian government supported the "Caserne Prince Baudoin" military kennel, which took in dogs from Belgian farms and bred them for service work. Few specimens survived the war, and by the time enthusiasts began their revival efforts, World War II had begun, ensuring the breed's demise. It has been considered extinct ever since.

In the late 1980s, G. Glineue de Boussu and Alfons Bertels launched a rebuilding program using rural dogs believed to be descendants of the original Matin Belge and crossing them with English mastiffs, bullmastiffs, briards and Belgians. After a decade of establishing the type and following the original standard, these efforts have been crowned with success in recreating the powerful Belgian Mastiff breed. The future may hold hopes of recognition and popularity in Belgium, but for the moment the Belgian Mastiff remains fairly unknown, even in its homeland. The modern incarnation is not naturally "bobtailed" and is said to be less aggressive than its ancestors, making it more likely to win acceptance. More massive than the original Hound, today's Belgian Mastiff has a broad head, a strong neck and a well-boned body, with broad shoulders and a broad chest. While the original incarnation had a thicker coat and a wider variety of colorings, including black-and-tan, black, gray and piebald, the modern Belgian Mastiff has a short, smooth coat that comes in shades of yellow, fawn, red and brindle, with or without white markings.

It is said that the original Belgian Mastiff has been extinguished, however this has not been proven as some say there are still a few specimens of this breed around. We do know, however, that there is a group recreating the breed. The original Belgian Mastiff was a hard-working bobtail of the butcher dog type. The Belgian Mastiff's main job was as a draught dog. He pulled carts for the poorer Belgians who couldn't afford horses. The Belgian army also used this breed to pull its heavy equipment. He wasn't known as a really friendly dog, but he was very loving, loyal and protective of his family. He was sometimes said to be mean to strangers, which would have been the case if the dog saw himself above humans in the alpha order, but on the whole he was not a very aggressive dog. He was intelligent, courageous and powerful. He was an active dog who wasn't nervous and was quite standoffish with strangers. This breed needed some kind of work out to get rid of its high energy and dynamism. He was a calm, obedient dog.

The coat was red, brown, fawn or black with a dark mask and/or infrequent white markings. He had a black nose. He was a very strong dog with an athletic build and imposing muscular strength. His coat was short and elegant. The forehead was broad and the skull well developed. The ears were fairly large and pendulous. The dog's back was higher than the front for the task of pulling a cart.

This breed needs a certain kind of work to do, with a long daily walk.

Belgian Mastiffs require very little grooming.

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