Belgian Malinois vs Dutch Shepherd: Top 10 Differences

belgian malinois vs dutch shepherd

The Belgian Malinois and the Dutch Shepherd are two different dog breeds that are very similar in appearance. The Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized dog with a square, muscular body and a smooth, shiny coat. The Dutch Shepherd is a large-sized dog with a well-proportioned, muscular body and a rough, shaggy coat. Both breeds are known for their intelligence, agility, and stamina.

Although there are many similarities between the Belgian Malinois and The Dutch Shepherd, they do have some key differences in terms of their origin, temperament, coat color, among others.

In this article, we will take a detailed look into “Belgian Malinois vs Dutch Shepherd”. So, keep reading to find the top 10 differences between the two breeds.

1. Their history

Belgian MalinoisDutch Shepherd
The Belgian Malinois comes from a city called Malines on the outskirts of the capital of Belgium, Brussels.The Dutch Shepherd comes from a country in Northwestern Europe, the Netherlands.

2. Their coat color differs from one another

Belgian MalinoisDutch Shepherd
The coat of the Belgian Malinois should be a highly distinct colored fawn and should have a black mask and black ears.


The coat of the Dutch Shepherd is brindle fur that is mostly black with some light brown fur on the back. You may sometimes see a lighter color elsewhere or spots that appear to be a “mask” around the face.

3. The coat texture of the Belgian Malinois is smoother

Belgian MalinoisDutch Shepherd
Belgian Malinois has only one type of coat which is a straight, weather-resistant coat that is smoother than Dutch Shepherds’.Dutch Shepherds have three types of coats: short, long, and rough all of which are coarse in texture.

4. Belgian Malinois are warier of strangers than Dutch Shepherds

Belgian MalinoisDutch Shepherd
Belgian Malinois are wary of strangers, therefore they shouldn’t be brought into very overbearing or busy environments, nor should they be around large crowds of strangers.Dutch Shepherds are more friendly creatures than Belgian Malinois who don’t shy out in family unions or gatherings.

5. Their grooming requirements vary

Belgian MalinoisDutch Shepherd
The water-proof double coat of Belgian Malinois sheds twice a year at the changing of seasons. So, it requires brushing twice a week and regular grooming during the shedding seasons.As mentioned earlier, Dutch Shepherds have three types of coats. Brushing and grooming the breed will vary depending on the type you have.


6. Their sensitivity levels

Belgian MalinoisDutch Shepherd
Although temperament varies between different dogs, on average, Belgian Malinois are a little bit more sensitive than Dutch Shepherds.


Dutch Shepherds have an average sensitivity level and they are not the most emotional dogs breeds.

7. Belgian Malinois are more vocal

Belgian MalinoisDutch Shepherd
Belgian Malinois are more vocal than Dutch Shepherds which is why they make a better choice for people who are looking for excellent watchdogs.Dutch Shepherds rarely bark although they are alert guard dogs.

8. Dutch Shepherds have a lower mouthiness tendency than Belgian Malinois

Belgian MalinoisDutch Shepherd
Belgian Malinois are more likely to nip, chew, or play-bite.


Dutch Shepherds, on the other hand, are less likely to nip, chew, or play-bite.

9. Belgian Malinois are not good for novice owners

Belgian MalinoisDutch Shepherd
Belgian Malinois does not make a good choice for first-time/novice owners because of their independence and stubborn personality.Dutch Shepherds make a good choice for novice owners because of their easy-going and amicable personalities.

10. Choosing the best fit between the two breeds

Belgian MalinoisDutch Shepherd
The Belgian Malinois is the best fit for you if you:

·         Have had an experience in training herding dogs who have a strong, independent personality

·         Don’t go out as much- Belgian Malinois have the tendency to avoid large crowds

·         Are looking for excellent guard dogs who also make great family pets

The Dutch Shepherd is the best fit for you if you:

·         Have an active family who loves going out to family gatherings and parties

·         Want exceptionally friendly dogs who aren’t shy of crowds or strangers

·         Can be with your furry friend all day and not leave them alone for a very long time

Similarities Between Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds

Apart from their differences, there are also many common traits between the two breeds. The similarities in terms of various factors between the Belgian Malinois and the Dutch Shepherd are discussed below:


Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds are both intelligent dogs that were bred as herding dogs in farms. Both breeds descend from European countries.


Both of these dogs are well-known for their speed and agility. Because they have a history of herding, these two dogs love to be independent and get creative with new skills. They are also experts at agility competitions.


Similarly, since World War II, there has been a common practice for European and American military and law enforcement to use both the Dutch Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois for their exceptional sense of smell and high work drive.


The Belgian Malinois and the Dutch Shepherd can look very similar to the untrained eyes- this is especially true when comparing short-haired Dutch Shepherds with Malinois. Both the breeds’ origins trace back to the same ancestors, giving them somewhat of a similar appearance. They both are strong, muscular dogs with heavy-built.


Although the two breeds have much in common, there are certain differences between the two, in terms of coat color,  personality, among others. When deciding on which type of dog to get, consider factors like your personality and how much you can commit to your new four-legged friend. That way, you’ll be able to identify the type of companion that would be right for you.

Thank you for reading the article.

To explore more about the two breeds, here are other articles on Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds that you might be interested in.

Were you aware of the differences that we have mentioned above? Which one of the differences did you already know about? We would love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below if we have missed anything.

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