Dogs used by international armed forces and to sniff out drugs and explosives have been raised in Kapiti by owners who discovered the breed through Google.
Malinois breeder Marie Hare said she found the breed, also known as the belgian shepherd, when she was looking online for a compact search and rescue dog.
''I went looking for a breed that I thought would be interesting, and I came across the malinois, but there was nobody breeding in New Zealand.''
Hare is a member of Central Search Dogs, a non-profit group that helps train dogs for search and rescue.
She said malinois were like a smaller, quicker version of the german shepherd, and used internationally by military and police forces, and for detecting drugs and explosives.
Hare found a woman breeding the dogs in Australia then booked a flight, travelling to the kennel where a three-month-old pup caught her eye.
''I flew over there, met the lady, that was at Toowoomba, and saw him, and I said 'I want him'.''
The puppy is now nine years old and is called Boz - ''because he's the boy from Oz'', Hare said.
Hare and husband Dave then brought a bitch, Xena, back to New Zealand from Australia and started Eiramwood Kennels.
Boz and Xena have had two litters, with the dogs heading off for a working life for government departments and private companies.
The puppies sold for $1200 each, with eight born in the first litter and seven in the second, she said.
''In New Zealand the cost is around $1200 to $1500 a dog.''
An insemination from Boz' sperm would cost $2500, she said.
''His line is the first line here [in New Zealand], and it's a good one, and if anybody wanted to go back to that line, I would charge them for it.''
''Mal, one of the puppies from the first litter, she's out there checking the boats that come into Tauranga for drugs,'' Marie Hare said.
A second Eiramwood dog has just gone into military service in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, she said the entire second litter were bred for company Wildlife Contracting Services, which trains them as working dogs.
''One went to Fiji for the services. Another is being looked at for Corrections, and if they don't want him he's already earmarked for the Australian army, they want him.''
Hare said she enjoys the breed because they are ''quick, bright, and super intelligent''.
''What I wanted to do is prove the breed ... and show New Zealand they can be a good working dog.''
Whistle stop: Marie Hare whistles up a line of malinois dogs, from left, Boz, Xena, and their son Gazza.
- Kapiti Observer
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