10 Belgian Malinois Facts That You Didn’t Know!

10 Belgian Malinois Facts That You Didn’t Know!

Respected for their intelligence and strong work ethic, Belgian Malinois are medium-to-large-sized dogs with strong, elegant bodies. These smart, confident, and versatile dogs have an unbreakable bond with their human partner which makes them excellent workers.

Originally intended to be a herding breed, today, these dogs also work as police and military dogs, protection dogs, and loving family members. They are some of the most intelligent and energetic companions a human can have. They are more likely to be seen at work than at the park, but their gentle and playful demeanor makes them great pets for families. However, these dogs are energy-intensive and require large amounts of space. This means they may not be suited for apartments or small living spaces. If you’re searching for an energetic and loyal companion, then the Belgian Malinois may be the perfect fit for you.

Here are 10 Belgian Malinois facts that you didn’t know.

1. Belgian Malinois Were Historically Bred to Be Herding Dogs

Belgian Malinois is a very powerful breed. They have incredible physical strength and determination which makes them excel at everything they do! Apparently, they can guard, fetch, carry out military operations and so much more!

But, did you know that they were bred for herding? Just like the German Shepherd, these dogs were some of the most ferocious athletes on the sheep fields. Moreover, they are one of the four Belgian breeds developed to herd. Their resilient and keen eyesight made them well suited to herding. These dogs guarded the herd with the fortitude to confront the wolves and any other predators. Belgian Malinois were also aggressive enough to scare them off.

Their several favorable working traits and good qualities eventually led to their transition from premier herding dogs to the ultimate multi-purpose working dog.

2. Belgian Malinois Served in Both World Wars

Belgian Malinois have been bred to be intelligent and capable of working since their beginnings. This led them to a great role in both World Wars. When war-dog breeds are mentioned, none is as prevalent as the Belgian Malinois.

Belgian Malinois were messenger dogs in World War I. They helped pull carts with medicine and the wounded soldiers. After that, they even evolved into assistants for the Red Cross.

Moreover, in World War II, these dogs were used on both sides as messengers, military attacks, and often patrolled army camps and borders.  They were also used as defense dogs, ammunition dogs, and versatile working dogs. Not to forget, today, they still serve as the breed of preference for the Navy SEALS.

3. Belgian Malinois Make Great Guard Dogs

Belgian Malinois are naturally guarded if they have a strong bond with their family. They are naturally quite reserved with strangers yet are brave enough to protect their loved ones from aggression. All dogs who are going to be asked to do protection work should have specific training, but Malinois are natural guard dogs. You must, however, provide conscientious socialization, guidance, and support to them.

Without proper training, Malinois dogs may try to protect their owners and friends against strangers or show a preference for one family member only and protect them against other family members. Your Malinois needs to know when a situation is safe or dangerous. They need to know how to react in each situation, so proper socialization is a must.

4. Belgian Malinois’ Are the Most Active Dogs Acc to Tracking Data

If you happen to have a Malinois then it must be clear how active these canines are. But are you aware that there is confirmed data that the Malinois is the most rapidly active dog breed in America?

A specialist company in GPS and activity tracking dog collars; Whistle confirmed that the Malinois beat out nearly 100 breeds to win the title as the most active of them all. This company studied the data from 150 thousand “smart collars” and found that walking a dog 3 times per day only takes 34 minutes out of your day. Alternatively, a regular Belgian Malinois stays active for 103 minutes per day. To make this more interesting, one Belgian Malinois with a Whistle smart collar averaged over 323 minutes per day. To simplify, that is over five and a half hours of unceasing movement! So fascinating!

5. Belgian Malinois’ Has Been a Huge Part of The Popular Culture

There have been many films that had dogs in leading roles. So many breeds, from golden retrievers to St. Bernards have appeared on the screen and Belgian Malinois are no new to the limelight. The most notable one was a feature in the third installment of John Wick.

Halle Berry’s character, Sofia, had two Belgian Malinois dogs that became fan favorites with film buffs around the world. The fascinating part is that Halle Berry trained these dogs herself.

Also, Eva Mendes is famously known for owning a Belgian Malinois named Hugo, who acts as her companion and guard dog.  She brought home one of the best guard dogs to feel safe and secure. Mendes helped her feel safe and secure when she had to file a restraining order against a stalker in 2011. Since then, this actress has mentioned feeling much safer with her pup around.

6. Belgian Malinois Are Often Compared to German Shepherds

People who are not familiar with the Belgian Malinois may assume them as German Shepherds. Their similar coloring and heritage as herding breeds might lead some people to confuse the two breeds. However, these dogs are different in terms of personalities and body formation. Belgian Malinois are comparably smaller and have lighter bones. They maintain their posture by balancing on their toes, resulting in a slender figure. German Shepherds, on the other hand, lift their weight more leveled on their feet and have a sloped back.

7. Belgian Malinois Have Insatiable Energy So They Are Often Re-Homed

Belgian Malinois are a high-energy breed that often ends up being abandoned by owners who don’t have enough time for them. Malinois dogs are often found in shelters. Breed rescues have plenty of Malinois dogs to offer. This is one of the breeds that many people acquire with unrealistic expectations, and without having knowledge about the breed.

Some people imagine themselves as athletic and want a dog that can keep up. They don’t realize most people are nowhere near as energetic as a Malinois.  Belgian Malinois are dogs with stubborn personalities. Without proper training and handling, they may be too much to handle. So, if you’re planning on getting one, make sure to do your research and consider adopting first! If you can’t commit to these dogs, we would recommend looking at other breeds.

8. Belgian Malinois Are Excellent Learners

Athletic and muscular, Belgian Malinois are also highly intelligent. This dog breed learns fast and keenly performs whatever task is given by their guardians. They need to be actively engaged with their owner, both mentally and physically. This is not a dog that can be left in the backyard, and daily walks are not enough, either.

With proper socialization and training, they can be top competitors in obedience, herding, and other protection sports. They are often demonstrated as dogs with excessive exuberance yet can learn very fast.

9. A Belgian Malinois Helped Take Down Osama Bin Laden

Belgian Malinois are fast and agile enough to do some work even more effectively than a trained soldier. They have been one of the most widely used working dogs for hundreds of years. However, they received the spotlight when Seal Team Six used a Malinois to hunt and capture Osama Bin Laden. This spotlight is both beneficial and detrimental. In one way, the dogs show their true excellence and dependability. Yet these outstanding traits suggest that they aren’t recommended for casual adoption.

10. Belgian Malinois Are Healthy Dogs

The Belgian Malinois is a healthy and long-lived breed. Unlike most large dog breeds, they can live as much as 14-16 years old. They’ll likely stay quite active for the duration of their life.

While this breed does suffer from typical issues like hip and elbow dysplasia, they are less likely to suffer from the condition than other dogs.  They have pricked ears which makes them less susceptible to ear infections.  Also, allergies or other skin issues are fairly uncommon. Overall, they are a generally healthy breed.


Overall, it’s clear that a Belgian Malinois has a lot to offer. If you particularly want a diligent, active dog that can rightfully give you and the rest of the family protection, then this breed is a perfect choice. However, you should take the time to research the facts about a dog breed before you adopt one. This could be one way of determining whether you are ready to adopt that one.

Thank you for reading the article.

To explore more about the breed, here are other articles that you might be interested in.

Are you thinking of adopting a Belgian Malinois? Did you already know about the facts that we have mentioned above? Which one of the facts about these workaholic dogs is your favorite? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!

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