Belgian Malinois: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care (2022)

TheBelgian Malinoisis a medium to large herding dog breed with a short coat and a square, well-balanced build that's native to Belgium. One of the breed's trademarks is its high head carriage. These dogs are generally very intelligent, loyal, and diligent. They thrive when they have a job and are extremely well-suited to becoming a working dog, such as in police and military operations. They also can make an excellent companion for the right person, especially an active household.

Breed Overview

GROUP:Herding

HEIGHT: 22 to 24 inches (female), 24 to 26 inches (male)

WEIGHT: 40 to 60 pounds (female), 60 to 80 pounds (male)

COAT: Short, smooth double coat

COAT COLOR: Fawn, mahogany, red, red sable, or fawn sable with a black mask

LIFE SPAN: 14 to 16 years

TEMPERAMENT: Intelligent, active, loyal

HYPOALLERGENIC: No

ORIGIN: Belgium

1:46

(Video) BELGIAN MALINOIS 101! Everything You Need To Know About the Belgian Malinois!

Click Play to Learn More About the Hard-Working Belgian Malinois

Characteristics of the Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois' temperament is marked by its high energy level. It needs lots of mental stimulation and physical activity every day. These dogs generally have a moderately affectionate and friendly personality, but they do form strong bonds with their owners.

Affection LevelMedium
FriendlinessMedium
Kid-FriendlyMedium
Pet-FriendlyMedium
Exercise NeedsHigh
PlayfulnessMedium
Energy LevelHigh
TrainabilityHigh
IntelligenceHigh
Tendency to BarkMedium
Amount of SheddingMedium

History of theBelgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is a native of Belgium and one of the four related varieties of Belgian shepherd dogs. The other three varieties are the Tervuren, the Groenendael,and the Laekenois. These Belgian shepherds date back to the 1800s, and the Malinois gets its name from the city of Malines where it was developed. Breeders were looking to create a strong herding dog and protector with a steadfast work ethic.

The Malinois first arrived in the United States in the early 1900s. Some were used as military dogs during World War I. The Great Depression and importation restrictions during World War II caused the breed to diminish in the U.S. But its popularity rose again in the 1960s. The American Kennel Club first recognized the Malinois in 1959.

By the turn of the 21st century, Belgian Malinois were commonly seen working as police dogs, military dogs, drug-detection dogs, andsearch-and-rescue dogs. The Secret Service even employs them to patrol the White House grounds. Plus, Belgian Malinois are part of Navy SEAL teams and have been used in operations, including that which resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Belgian Malinois Care

The Belgian Malinois is not the right breed for everyone. These dogs generally aren’t well-suited to living in an apartment, as they need lots of space to run and play. They’re best for owners with an active lifestyle who can provide plenty of ways for the dogs to exercise their minds and bodies. These dogs also require proper training and socialization to ensure they are well-mannered. And their grooming is fairly simple.

Exercise

It is essential for a Belgian Malinois to receive vigorous daily exercise and mental stimulation. Otherwise, it might become anxious or develop behavior problems. Aim for at least one to two hours of exercise per day, including brisk walks, running, hiking, and playing fetch. This breed also is an excellent candidate fordog sportsor any activity that involves focus and endurance to challenge it mentally and physically.

Be aware that the Belgian Malinois’ herding instinct might create a tendency to chase cars, bikes, and other moving objects. So it must be kept on leash or in a secure fenced area.

Grooming

The Belgian Malinois has a short, straight, weather-resistant coat with a dense undercoat. In general, little more thanbasic groomingis necessary. Plan to brush at least weekly to remove loose fur and prevent mats. Shedding often increases as the weather changes in the spring and fall, necessitating more regular brushing.

Check whether your dog needs a nail trim roughly once a month. Some dogs can go longer between nail trims if they naturally wear down their nails through activity, such as walking on pavement. Also, aim to brush its teeth daily.

Training

In general, this breed is highly trainable, intelligent, and eager to please. It responds well to positive reinforcement and consistent instruction.

Training and socialization should begin early in a Belgian Malinois’ puppyhood. Enroll in a puppy obedience class as soon as your dog meets the age requirement, and expose your dog to different people, other animals, and situations. Belgian Malinois don’t always get along with other dogs, but having positive exposure to other dogs from a young age can help.

Likewise, this breed isn’t always appropriate for families with children. Its high herding instinct can cause it to try to nip at kids’ heels. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s important to train your dog to be well-mannered around children, so you’re always able to safely control situations.

Belgian Malinois: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care (1)

Belgian Malinois: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care (2)

(Video) Belgian Malinois Dogs 101: Everything You Need To Know - Is It the Right Dog for You?

Belgian Malinois: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care (3)

Common Health Problems

Some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy

Belgian Malinois: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care (4)

Diet and Nutrition

Always make sure your dog has access to fresh water. Feed a high-quality, nutritionally balanced canine diet; most owners feed two meals per day. Discuss the variety and quantity with your veterinarian, as this can vary based on age, size, activity level, and other factors.And be sure to account for treats in your dog's daily caloric intake to prevent overeating.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Belgian Malinois

Check local animal shelters and breed-specific rescue groups for a Belgian Malinois in need of a home. If you're looking for a breeder puppy, expect to pay around $2,000, though this can vary widely depending on bloodline and other factors.For further information to help connect you with a Belgian Malinois, check out:

Belgian Malinois Overview

Pros

  • Highly intelligent and trainable

  • Excellent working dog

  • Requires little more than basic grooming

Cons

(Video) 5 Things You Must Never Do to Your Belgian Malinois

  • Might not be appropriate for families with small children

  • Can have a high prey drive

  • Requires lots of activity and mental stimulation

10 Best Energetic Dog Breeds for Active People

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

As with any breed, if you think the BelgianMalinoisis right for you, be sure to do your research before you get one. Talk to your veterinarian, otherBelgian Malinois owners, reputable breeders, dog trainers, and rescue groups to learn more.

If you're interested in similar breeds, check out:

  • German shepherd
  • Dutch shepherd
  • King shepherd

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

FAQ

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FAQs

Are Belgian Malinois easy to take care of? ›

In many ways, the Belgian Malinois is like the German Shepherd, but she's her own breed! She could be your best four-legged friend if these features appeal to you: Highly intelligent, playful, and energetic. Has a short, easy-to-care-for coat.

Are Belgian Malinois high maintenance? ›

One of four Belgian herding breeds, the Belgian Malinois—affectionately called the Mal—is a medium-to-large dog with a strong, elegant body. This high-energy breed needs plenty of daily strenuous exercise and mental stimulation, but is otherwise low-maintenance.

Is a Belgian Malinois a good family dog? ›

Belgian Malinois as a Family Pet

They are fantastic family dogs for the right family. If you have an active life and want a dog that is eager to join in, then this breed would be ideal for you. He will be the one to hike, run, and play with you. He will help you get your work done and then rest by your side.

How do you take care of a Belgian Malinois? ›

They will become obese. And overweight. Give them proper diet and limit the intake of treats. And

Can Malinois be left alone? ›

If Belgian Malinois are left home alone with nothing to do for hours on end, they'll find something to occupy themselves and chances are you won't like it. They are tolerant of an hour or two alone, but beyond that will need exercise scheduled into their day to get rid of excess energy and avoid destructive behaviors.

What should I know before buying a Belgian Malinois? ›

The Belgian Malinois is a very smart and obedient dog. He has strong protective and territorial instincts. This breed needs extensive socialization from an early age, and firm, but not harsh, training. Belgians are instinctively protective so they should be trained and socialized very well from an early age.

Do Belgian Malinois attach to one person? ›

Without proper socialization, they will attach to one or two people in the family or team and remain wary of anyone else. You must “work” the Malinois breed. They require a lot of activity, running, training, and more. They have active minds and are always looking for a way to expend energy and serve their human.

Do Belgian Malinois bark a lot? ›

Like German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois is considered a very vocal dog breed. In other words, they bark a LOT.

Are Malinois difficult to train? ›

I find them to be very trainable breed. While they can be stubborn, they crave a “job” to do and take well to training. They are incredibly smart dogs.

Can Belgian Malinois be house pets? ›

If you can take care of your dog's physical needs, the Belgian Malinois can be a great pet for our family. In fact, they can be loyal, smart, and the best companion for you and your family. But if you neglect them, the Belgian Malinois can be very aggressive and destructive.

Are Malinois good with strangers? ›

The breed is confident, exhibiting neither shyness nor aggressiveness in new situations. The dog may be reserved with strangers but is affectionate with his own people. He is naturally protective of his owner's person and property without being overly aggressive.

Can Belgian Malinois live with other dogs? ›

How Friendly Are They? Malis are intelligent, determined and hardworking. The American Belgian Malinois Club (ABMC) says, “Malinois are good with children and other animals when properly introduced or raised with them.

How do you keep a Belgian Malinois happy? ›

Agility Training

The Belgian Malinois is a hyperactive dog that needs plenty of physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis. One of the best ways to keep your dog physically and mentally active is through agility training.

How often should you walk a Belgian Malinois? ›

Their energy levels are among the highest in the dog world; they tend to have puppy-like energy until the age of 3, or even 5 years old. To burn off their surplus of energy, a Belgian Malinois will need regular exercise – three walks a day consisting of high-level activity should do the trick.

Do Malinois need baths? ›

This highly intelligent and athletic dog can be bathed as frequently as every week up to no longer than every 6 weeks. Routine baths and blowouts, as well as frequent brushing, lay the groundwork for maintaining healthy skin and coat.

Will my Belgian Malinois protect me without training? ›

Belgian Malinois have a natural-born instinct to protect their human companion. The American Kennel Club outline in their breed standard for Belgian Malinois that these dogs should be naturally protective of his owner's person and property without being overly aggressive.

Is Malinois good for first time owners? ›

A Quick Overview. Before diving into an overview, a Belgian Malinois is not recommended for the first-time dog owner. They are “a lot” of dog, which means they have a strong work ethic, active, protective, and powerful.

Do Malinois like water? ›

Belgian Malinois are solid swimmers, and many of them even enjoy swimming. They are an intelligent breed. And they will learn commands quickly. Thus it will be relatively easier to train Belgian Malinois to swim with the proper process and precautions.

Will Belgian Malinois protect you? ›

The Belgian Malinois are brilliant dogs, highly capable, and love to work. They can be trained to do nearly anything and are the up and coming favorites for trained executive protection dogs. These dogs are fiercely loyal to their pack – your family – and will defend you at all costs.

Are female or male Malinois better? ›

Female Malinois mature more rapidly than males, making them more amenable and easier to train. Furthermore, they are more wary and focused than males. Due to their gentle character and smaller sizes, female Malinois are a perfect choice for first-time owners of the breed.

How do you tell if your Malinois loves you? ›

Dogs will show their affection by leaning against you, curling up in your lap, or resting a nose or paw on you. They also often like to sleep with you. Tail-wagging. A happy, relaxed dog will show you how they feel by wagging their tail in a friendly way and often with a smile on their face.

How long does a Malinois live? ›

Is Malinois smartest dog breed? ›

The Belgian Malinois is an exceptionally smart. In fact, they are the 26th smartest dog breed when it comes to “obedience and working intelligence.” However, it's their adaptive intelligence that makes them highly intelligent.

How much exercise does Malinois need per day? ›

How much exercise does a Belgian Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren need. All these varieties of Belgian Shepherds are an extremely active high energy dog and require at least 60 to 90 minutes a day of energy-burning activity, but more is preferred. They were bred to work hard and all day long.

Do Belgian Malinois get along with kids? ›

The answer is yes! Belgian Malinois are pretty good with children when appropriately introduced. These dogs have high protection instincts and prey drive; therefore, it is necessary to properly train malinois dogs from puppyhood to make them tolerant and patient towards children.

Will my Belgian Malinois protect me without training? ›

Belgian Malinois have a natural-born instinct to protect their human companion. The American Kennel Club outline in their breed standard for Belgian Malinois that these dogs should be naturally protective of his owner's person and property without being overly aggressive.

Are Malinois difficult dogs? ›

The Belgian Malinois can have aggressive tendencies if you fail to socialize them at a young age. Lack of physical activity and boredom can also result in separation anxiety, barking, and chewing.

Are Malinois difficult to train? ›

I find them to be very trainable breed. While they can be stubborn, they crave a “job” to do and take well to training. They are incredibly smart dogs.

Are Malinois one person dogs? ›

Owners describe their Belgian Malinois Dog as loyal and devoted, excellent family pets, and fun to be around. They are alert, quick learners, and have a need to be busy all the time. Most tend to bond very strongly with one person.

Do Belgian Malinois attach to one person? ›

Without proper socialization, they will attach to one or two people in the family or team and remain wary of anyone else. You must “work” the Malinois breed. They require a lot of activity, running, training, and more. They have active minds and are always looking for a way to expend energy and serve their human.

Do Belgian Malinois bark a lot? ›

Like German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois is considered a very vocal dog breed. In other words, they bark a LOT.

How often should I bathe my Belgian Malinois? ›

This highly intelligent and athletic dog can be bathed as frequently as every week up to no longer than every 6 weeks. Routine baths and blowouts, as well as frequent brushing, lay the groundwork for maintaining healthy skin and coat.

What is special about Malinois? ›

Belgian Malinois dogs are a smart and easily trainable breed. Belgian Malinois are smart, confident, versatile dogs. They're solid and well-built dogs who were bred to work hard and obey commands. They form strong bonds with their owners and work to make you happy.

Can Belgian Malinois live with other dogs? ›

How Friendly Are They? Malis are intelligent, determined and hardworking. The American Belgian Malinois Club (ABMC) says, “Malinois are good with children and other animals when properly introduced or raised with them.

Are Malinois good with strangers? ›

The breed is confident, exhibiting neither shyness nor aggressiveness in new situations. The dog may be reserved with strangers but is affectionate with his own people. He is naturally protective of his owner's person and property without being overly aggressive.

Will Belgian Malinois protect you? ›

The Belgian Malinois are brilliant dogs, highly capable, and love to work. They can be trained to do nearly anything and are the up and coming favorites for trained executive protection dogs. These dogs are fiercely loyal to their pack – your family – and will defend you at all costs.

What kind of job can I give my Belgian Malinois? ›

Search and Rescue

In fact, the Belgian Malinois is a top choice for several training-related canine activities. One of the best trainings that your Malinois can go through is a search and rescue training. During crises and other trying times, SAR dogs provide a crucial service that most humans cannot.

Are Malinois the smartest dog? ›

The Belgian Malinois is an exceptionally smart. In fact, they are the 26th smartest dog breed when it comes to “obedience and working intelligence.” However, it's their adaptive intelligence that makes them highly intelligent.

Is it better to get male or female Malinois? ›

Female Malinois mature more rapidly than males, making them more amenable and easier to train. Furthermore, they are more wary and focused than males. Due to their gentle character and smaller sizes, female Malinois are a perfect choice for first-time owners of the breed.

Do Malinois like water? ›

Belgian Malinois are solid swimmers, and many of them even enjoy swimming. They are an intelligent breed. And they will learn commands quickly. Thus it will be relatively easier to train Belgian Malinois to swim with the proper process and precautions.

How do you tell if your Malinois loves you? ›

Dogs will show their affection by leaning against you, curling up in your lap, or resting a nose or paw on you. They also often like to sleep with you. Tail-wagging. A happy, relaxed dog will show you how they feel by wagging their tail in a friendly way and often with a smile on their face.

Videos

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3. Vlog 16: TIPS BAGO KA MAG ALAGA NG BELGIAN MALINOIS | Based on my own experience | Tagalog
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5. Belgian Malinois: The Pros & Cons of Owning One
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