Belgian Malinois Dog Breed Information: A Complete Guide

Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is a type of dog breed that was initially bred to be a working and herding dog around the city of Malines, Belgium. Also known as the Belgian Sheepdog or the Chien de Berger Belge in France, the Belgian Malinois is one of four Belgian Sheepherding dogs. They are intelligent, agile, and athletic dogs that can be easily trained to do many different tasks.

Given their exceptionally strong sense of smell, endurance, agility, and alert personality, the Belgian Malinois has been used as K-9s in the military, law enforcement, police work, search and rescue operations for many years. They can also serve as service dogs for people who have disabilities.

Read on to find out everything about this Belgian breed.

Overview of the Breed

Breed TypeHeight WeightLifespanPrice
Herding Dogs

24-26 inches (male)

22-24 inches (female)

55-66 pounds (male)

45-55 pounds (female)

12-16 years

$$2,000 to $3,500 (pet store)

$300- $350 (rescue center)

History

The Belgian Malinois is a type of herding dog originating from Northwestern Europe. Their name is derived from the city of Malines in Belgium where they were originally bred by farmers who wanted a dog that could hunt and protect their flock while they were away from home.

The Belgian Malinois descends from a common type of shepherd dog found throughout Western Europe that includes such breeds as the Bouvier des Ardennes, Dutch Shepherd, and Swiss Schutzhund. The breed is one of four Belgian Sheepherding dogs. While mostly considered a single breed, the Belgian Malinois is bred in four distinct varieties based on coat type and color. These four varieties are the rough-haired fawn Laekenois, the long-haired black Groenendael, the short-haired fawn Belgian Malinois, and the long-haired fawn Tervuren. However, the AKC considers these four varieties to be separate breeds in the United States. The Belgian Malinois has been registered as a separate breed in the US since 1959.

In 1911, Mals were first brought to America and thrived here until WWII put an end to bringing in European breeding stock. The number of the Belgian Malinois breed started to deteriorate in the postwar years until the early 1960s when Mal lovers began to find and maintain new kennels.

Appearance

The Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized, muscular dog with a square head, dark brown eyes, erect ears, a short muzzle, and pronounced cheekbones. They have a square build, which makes them well-balanced and appear strong and rugged. They are dogs with a round, curved neck, deep chest, level topline, and long legs. They walk with a smooth, easy, never tiring gait.

With their long, strong, and muscular legs, Belgian Malinois are excellent creatures for tracking. These hardworking dogs can also be loyal family members that not only can watch over your home but also work side by side with your children in their activities.

The Belgian Malinois has a short, straight coat that is hard enough to be resistant to weather conditions and doesn’t fold over or stand out. Some of the furs stay longer on the back of their thighs, elbows, and jaw. Anywhere else, it is relatively shorter. The coat comes in a variety of colors including black, brown, gray, fawn, sable, mahogany, red, and red sable.

One of the interesting facts is that in some countries, the Belgian Malinois, the Laekenois, the Tervuren, and the Sheepdog are all considered the same breed. The main factor that differentiates these four breeds is the coat type. The Malinois is a shorthaired dog, the Laekenois is wirehaired, the Tervurens is longhaired with blackish fawn or red coloring and the Sheepdog is longhaired with black coloring.

Personality

Also known as Mals in short, Belgian Malinois are often seen as gentle, loyal companions and family pets. Although Belgian Malinois are friendly and loyal dogs, they can be territorial and may not get along with other breeds. They can get overly excited when they see other dogs and bark at them. But they can get along if they are raised together with other breeds from a young age and trained to be good friends.

When it comes to other pets like cats, hamsters, and birds, your Belgian Malinois may not get along well with these small animals. Given the breed’s high prey drive, they can chase and attack the animals. But if you socialize them early, it shouldn’t be much of a problem to raise both your Belgian Malinois and another small pet.

When raised together or socialized properly, Belgian Malinois can be great with kids. If you’re looking for a Belgian Malinois to join your family, a puppy may be a better option than an adult one. Dogs who are introduced at an early age tend to do well in households and tend to be friendly and docile as they grow up. It’s also equally important to teach children how they should act around a Belgian Malinois as they can provoke the dogs.

Although the breed is usually quite docile around their family, there have been incidents where they have attacked strangers. Belgian Malinois dogs are known to be aggressive because they were bred to protect their owners and property. They were originally used as herding dogs, guarding livestock against predators and thieves. To this day, they still have this instinct to protect their owners and property but they can also be trained not to be aggressive towards their owners or people that they know well.

Belgian Malinois can become uncomfortable towards someone unfamiliar so they tend to act in an unfriendly way thus explaining their unusual or aggressive behavior. Belgian Malinois are bred to be protective, and their strong sense of smell makes them excellent guard dogs. But if you’re not careful, they can be more than just a handful for your family. They don’t always recognize the line between acceptable behavior and dangerous behavior.

Bite Force

Belgian Malinois are also known for their strong jaws and sharp teeth that make them excellent guard dogs. They have a strong jaw structure that allows them to exert tremendous pressure on prey when they bite down on it, which gives them great hunting skills. The Belgian Malinois bite force is impressively strong measuring up to 195 PSI (Pounds of pressure per square inch).

Trainability

Belgian Malinois are trainable, but not as easy to train as other dogs. These European dogs are quite intelligent and determined so they will need a lot of patience and time from the owner to train them.

But their smartness comes in handy when you have to teach them new tricks and commands. Belgian Malinois are quick to learn and eager to please their owners who practice positive reinforcements regularly. You can start with foundational training which means exposing your pup to new people and public places such as dog parks or market places. It will help your dog to get used to being around people and feel less threatened.

Then eventually you can teach them basic commands, establish a routine, and only use positive reinforcements. Remember, the Belgian Malinois have a mind of their own, so they can become destructive and frustrated when you use negative reinforcements.

Belgian Malinois are energetic dogs and need plenty of exercises to keep them happy and healthy. Exercise will help tire your puppy out and provide mental stimulation. Walks are a great way to exercise your puppy, but you can also play fetch, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek in the house to give your puppy a mental workout. The Belgian Malinois excels at tracking, herding, obedience, and agility. They can be your partner in hiking, jogging, and biking activities.

Grooming

Grooming your Belgian Malinois is important to keep them healthy and happy. Belgian Malinois’ should be groomed at least once a week to prevent matting and keep their coat healthy. Healthy grooming habits for your Belgian Malinois includes:

  1. Trimming the dog’s nails with clippers or nail scissors. It will prevent the nails from splitting and cracking, which can lead to infection.
  2. Brushing the dog’s coat with a slicker brush to remove dirt and tangles. After brushing the coat, comb it with a metal comb to smoothen the mats and knots.
  3. Brushing your Belgian Malinois teeth with vet-approved toothpaste. Brushing the teeth should be done at least three times a week.
  4. Trimming their hair around the eyes and ears with scissors and the hair on the back of the neck and the feet with electric shears.
  5. Bathing the dog occasionally using good-quality shampoo and conditioner. After bathing, gently dry your puppy with a towel or blow dryer.
  6. Checking and cleaning the ears using an ear cleaning solution or ear wipes. Check for any ear infection.
  7. Cleaning the paws with cotton balls dipped in vinegar or peroxide solution followed by drying them off for about 10 minutes before applying paw balm.

Adaptability

To ensure that you have the best possible experience with your new pup, be sure to know their adaptability in different environments.

Weather

The Belgian Malinois can reside in hot or warm weather with ease. This makes them a great option for people who want to raise a dog in a warm climate.

While the breed is also usually able to live in colder areas, you might need to protect or cover them up during harsh climatic conditions.

Living Condition

Belgian Malinois dogs are NOT suitable for apartment living. These high endurance dogs need an open space where they can run around and burn off their energy.

The breed will only be fine to live in an apartment if two significant conditions are met: Exercise and making sure that they aren’t left alone. When living with one, make sure you get their daily walks and jogs in and take your dog to a nearby dog park so they can burn off some steam.

As much as training and exercise are vital for Belgian Malinois dogs to be healthy, giving them constant love and support is also equally important. These dogs do not tolerate being alone and will resort to destructive behavior if they’re left unaccompanied in the apartment for far too long. You might as well come home to a total wreck of your furniture and pillowcases.

Type of owners

Given their high energy, endurance, and speed, The Belgian Malinois is not suitable for novice/first-time owners. They also have a high prey drive, which means they can be difficult to control.

Cost

The price of the Belgian Malinois can vary depending on the breeder and the country. The breed is one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the United States. They are also one of the most expensive breeds, costing anywhere from $2,000 to $3,500. In Canada, the price ranges from $1,500 to $2,500. In Europe, it ranges from €1,200 to €2,000.

The cost of buying a Belgian Malinois depends on many factors such as the lineage of the dog, breeder’s reputation, AKC certified breeders, training, among others.

You can find a Belgian Malinois to buy online on sites like Petfinder or Adoptapet, but if you’re looking for them locally then you should contact local animal shelters and rescues in your area.

If you’d rather adopt the puppy instead of buying them from a pet store, then there are many adoptions and rescue shelters where you can get one. Every rescue center charges different rates based on your dog’s age, but on average you’re looking at around $300- $350 for an adult Belgian Malinois.

Adopting a Belgian Malinois is a great option for those who do not want to go through the hassle of buying a puppy. Adoption also works for people who are not keen on energetic, untrained puppies that may require a lot of work and time.

Health

The Belgian Malinois is a healthy breed that has a lifespan of 12-16 years. But like any other breed, they do have some health issues regardless of their physical endurance and cognitive abilities. The breed is susceptible to general health problems like hip dysplasia, cataracts, hypothyroidism, and hemangiosarcoma (a type of cancer in dogs that affects the blood vessels).

The breed can also be prone to overweight. These energetic Belgian dogs have a high metabolism and need more food than other breeds of dogs. Therefore, there’s a high chance that they can gain weight if their food intake isn’t monitored regularly and if they aren’t exercised frequently to burn off their fat. This can eventually lead to obesity in the breed.

Obesity in Belgian Malinois is also associated with a host of other health problems including arthritis, breathing difficulties, digestive disorders, heart disease, and diabetes.

If you decide to adopt a Belgian Malinois as a pet, you must be aware of the health concerns that are specific to your dog. In some cases, it is not possible to prevent the appearance of certain diseases caused by genetic or hereditary factors. However, your pup’s health can be greatly impacted if you pay attention to their care. With a clear understanding of the health issues, you will be sure to have an amazing time raising one of these hard-working, loyal, and loving dogs into your family.

Belgian Malinois Mix Breeds

Thanks to the breed’s stamina, agility, and exceptional guarding ability, Belgian Malinois crossbreeds are becoming popular among dog enthusiasts recently. Breeders all around the world have been breeding the Belgian Malinois with other dogs, including German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies. Let’s get to know more about these mixed breeds, shall we?

German Malinois

The German Malinois is a crossbreed of the Belgian Malinois Dog and the German Shepherd Dog. They also go by the names such as the Shepinois, the Belgian Shepherd, the Belgian German Shepherd, and the Malinois X. This breed has been used for decades in military and law enforcement operations because of their intelligence, energy, endurance, agility, and trainability. Whether you are looking for a hunting companion, a loyal guarding dog, or a loving family pet who has the best of both parents, this Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix breed might be your ideal dog.

Like any other mixed breed, the German Malinois takes much after both of their parents. But they do not have a standard appearance as there is a high chance that the breed will look like the combinations of both of their parents. These workaholic dogs have an uncanny ability to work with humans. If you have the time and experience needed to care for the breed, then the German Malinois can be your life-long companion.

Belusky

The Belgian Malinois Husky Mix Breed, also known as the Belusky, is one of the most popular mixed breeds in the United States. It’s like having the best of both worlds – a husky and a Belgian Malinois. The combination creates an intelligent and energetic dog, with good endurance and stamina. With their highly intelligent, strong-willed, and protective nature, the Belusky is best suited for working in law enforcement as well as military applications.

Belgian Malinois Huskies are medium-sized dogs with strong build. These dogs have a sleek coat and long ears which make them very appealing to look at. Most of these dogs are smaller than the average size of a Belgian Malinois but they have an impressive height.

Each one of these dogs can have different traits and appearances depending on the dominant gene of either of their parents. Regardless, Beluskies will give all their love, warmth, and protection to their family members who make sure their dog is receiving equal love and care.

Conclusion

The Belgian Malinois is one of the most intelligent and powerful breeds in the world. Their agility, intelligence, and endurance have made them high-profile police dogs. With a lot of care, training, and patience, these dogs can make great family pets.

Belgian Malinois VS Other Breeds

Here are some comparisons of the Belgian Malinois with similar other breeds.

Belgian Malinois Vs German Shepherd

Belgian Malinois Vs Dutch Shepherd

Thank you for reading the article.

To explore more about the breed, here are the Top 10 Belgian Malinois Facts That You Didn’t Know.

Do you have a Belgian Malinois? What are they like? How do you care for them? What is their training routine? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!

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