Belgian Ring Sport

Origin, History and Distinctive Features of Belgium Ring

Demonstrations in ring style appeared in 1903 in Malines (Dutch name of Mechelen) despite their some informality in the beginning. More formal trials with rules were run by 1908. These early trials included exercises in water like today ones in KNPV. Trial prototype was run in June of 1903 that was finished by victory of female dog Cora, which played the most important role later in early breeding. She became a truly fundament of the breed. These trials are more correctly to view as demonstration, experiment, where was minimal amount of formalities and rules and dogs showed what they had been trained to do to a greater or lesser extent than did a certain program.

Belgian Malinois UK

Gorgeous Belgian Malinois

In spite of the fact that French and Belgian Rings are alike on the outside, and have common roots, and a helper works with full dog bite protection suit in every of them (despite of soft bite sleeve in Schutzhund), today their differences in philosophy, practice and even in selection are significant, though being unnoticeable at once.

It was "suiting" sport – ring in France and Belgium, KNPV in Netherlands that moved evolution of Belgian working dogs, such as Malinois and Bouvier a little later, until the Belgians and the Dutch started doing sports in 1960th in German style, which was oriented to use dog bite sleeve. The helper with special bite suit gave the dog ample opportunities for choosing where and how to bite on the whole. Thus, the priority of more natural and real work style then of bite sleeve using that appeared in Germany is evident. Belgian Ring was less known while French Ring had been wide-spread in the USA for several decades.

Belgian Malinois Training

Malinois Shepherd Is Trained for Ring

Though French Ring allows verify the order of some exercises, the judge in Belgian Ring has more opportunities of exercises modifying, that is why the helper never knows exactly what expects the dog in a certain day. In the mid-1980th it was a big sponge in a bucket with water that was intended for fetching on one trial in Liege. The helper had to put it out of the bucket without squeezing, to throw it away and to send the dog to fetch it. Later in the day, the helper held in hands a rope, the other end of which was tied to one of two plastic barrels that had been standing on the top of each other, to the lower one. The helper pulled the rope and these barrels fell down and jumped behind the dog distracting it when it tried to attack him.

Belgian Ring is less known European sport, in spite of this, it is one of the most interesting sports from viewpoint of most exacting audience. Trial fields are more compact and cozy and judging is oriented to the details of exercises performing beyond general attention.

Belgian Malinois Attack Training UK

Belgian Malinois Attack Training

Groenendael Jules du Moulin (LOB 2884), which handler and trainer was Charles Todesco, the owner of du Moulin Kennel in Auderghem (the village not far from Brussel), became widely known working dog. Jules and Tedesco became first titleholders at the championship of protection work in Paris. Championship details in Paris are unknown. Perhaps, it was the event of French origin, but it is also possible that the trial were run in Paris because of its cultural status. Jules also won at many other championships till 1914. There is one interesting nuance: Jules mother was without documents that was absolutely normal at that time. As was mentioned above, championships took place in Paris till 1913. Opening Belgian Ring that was organized by the Kennel Club Belge ran on 21-22 June, 1913 in Brussels. Jules du Moulin and Charles Tedesco won the lead, Groenendael Top de la Joliette, Tervuren Karl de la Mare and Malinois Tom des Crosnes were second and third. Jules was also the winner in 1914 before World War I (after the War Groenendaels disappeared). The distinction of those times was activity concentration of Groenendaels in the Kennel Club Belge, foremost in French region. But after the War, when dog breeding made a comeback, it was Malinois, who was at the center of attention. Groenendaels as serious working dogs were buried in oblivion.

Belgian Malinois Retrieve Training UK

Malinois Training with Retrieve Dumbbell

These were Malinois dogs, who won the next championships after World War I with the exception of Torry de l’Ombrelle LOB 11172, a wirehaired dog in 1927 and John LOB 76361, also a dog with wire hair in 1960-1961. The best result among the other breeds was the second place that was taken by Bouvier Sicky der Begijntjes LOB 56425 in 1950.

Though the Kennel Club Belge provided the main arena for dog ring trials, there were also many contesting organizations according to usual Belgian practice.

These were the main organizations with ring programs:

  • Kennel Club Belge (KCB) - 1913
  • Societe Royae Saint-Hubert (SRSH) - 1926
  • National Verbond der Belgische Kynologen (NVBK) – 1964

The year opposite every club means the first year of ring running. The first postwar championship that was organized by Club Belge, had taken place in September, 1924 in Brussels. There were 33 participants. Male Malinois dogs were in majority, however there were also 4 Bouvier des Flandres and 6 female dogs. Opening International Ring Championship of St Hubert Royal Society was on the 3rd of October, 1926. The quantity of participants was small – 9, 5 Malinois, 2 Groenendaels, 2 Bouvier des Flandres. National disunity and conflicts between trials providers in Belgium became the reasons of Belgian Ring wide popularity limitation in the world. Perhaps, it is not so bad if to speak about dog sport, where local citizens take part and train their dogs being without excessive commerciality.

Belgian Malinois Bite Training UK

Belgian Shepherd Bite Training

If to compare the most popular kinds of dog sport, the next conclusion could be done. Schutzhund is accurate, exacting and dramatic. KNPV is practical and powerful. French Ring is showy, athletic and impressive. But Belgian Ring is like a chess game between the handler and the dog from one side and the judge and the helper from the other. Rules and traditions are delicate and elusive and perhaps a newcomer doesn't see much of what happens. But the others, who are enlightened even a bit, see a sophisticated drama, almost morality play at the trial field.

Dogs of Belgian Ring become heavier and harder. Dogs of French Ring – quicker and more maneuverable. The Belgians prefer full bite, the French – accuracy of speedy and maneuverable rival. Trial field for Belgian Ring is noticeably less than for French Ring. The Belgians believe that their emphasis on full bite is the basis of dog test, while the French consider that dog's ability to master helper's tricks of more importance and that full bite is secondary. Belgian helpers can be more maneuverable in the ring then the French, using bulky equipment. French helpers avoid dogs while the Belgians use various trials, sudden hazards and distractions for dogs during testing. This is done not so much for scoring or due to requirements as due to diversities that were determined by rules and traditions.

Belgian Malinois Toys UK

Training Toys for Malinois Mental and Physical Development

There are 3 levels or categories of Belgian Ring competitions:

Category III: Young dogs that take part in trial in first year.

Category II: Dogs that got enough scores in their 1st year of trials (5 times per 300 scores).

Category I: Elite dogs that have enough results in Cat.II to pass into the highest category (3 times per 340 scores).

Trials, where dogs get a qualification for taking part in September championships are run every weekend from March to August. This means that every weekend trials in 3 categories are run in different cities. Sometimes only one or two trials are run, but there are about 20 trials, which a run in every category for a season in a whole.

20 dogs with the best qualifying scores compete for the title starting with dogs of Category II during 3 one after one Sundays of September.

IPO training also takes place in Belgium except Ring. Many Belgian IPO trainers became participants of international championships and their training system became innovative and very popular beyond national borders.

Useful equipment for Malinois training, click on the pictures!

Dog Bite Training Suit UK Dog Bite Tugs UK Dog Training Whip

Read also about other VPG, BH, IPO dog training.