Belgian Malinois

Act Like A Puppy Well Into Adulthood!

Belgian Malinois

Often Mistaken for A German Shepherd This Dog Will Act Like A Puppy Well Into Adulthood!

Named after the city of Malines in Belgium, the Belgian Malinois is often mistaken for a German Shepherd but has a more slender and elegant build. Despite its smaller size, however, it has the strength, agility, and herding ability of the German Shepherd with a similar black mask and ears. Very trainable and intelligent, the Malinois wants to work and has the desire for a regular "job" to do. Naturally protective, this nonetheless isn't a particularly aggressive dog and will make an equally excellent pet for a single owner or a family.


One of four types of Belgian sheep-herding dogs registered in France and Belgium, it shares its foundation with the Belgian Tervuren and Belgian Sheepdog. With shorthaired, generally fawn-colored coats and black masks, the Malinois originally had many different coat colors and lengths. It was ultimately bred to its current standard by a dedicated group of working competitors and trainers. It has become the favorite type of Belgian Shepherd in Belgium.

The Malinois began to be popular in the United States in 1911, when the first of the shorthaired Belgian Shepherds were registered with the American Kennel Club. This period lasted until World War II, after which there was some decline – although during this period many of the best Belgian bloodlines were imported and bred to maintain stock. After the war, the breed's popularity dropped off. Before 1959, the American Kennel Club listed the Belgian Malinois in the Miscellaneous Class, because there weren't enough Malinois in the US to provide competition for show.

Beginning in 1963, however, support began to reemerge. Despite a slow pace of popularity, with only 107 registrations of the Malinois in the first 10 years, the Malinois was able to be moved into the Working Group by 1965, so that it was eligible for competition once again. Today, it is classified in the AKC Herding Group. Subsequent breeding activity and importations of the breed have increased the number of Malinois once again.


Looking somewhat like a "small, elegant" German Shepherd, the Malinois has a square body as is true of all Belgian Shepherd types, with what is generally a fawn-colored body and a black mask. The ears are triangular, the eyes have an almond shape and are brown. Coat colors in addition to fawn are red, mahogany, and black. The tail and hind end are lighter in color than the rest of the body, and there is generally a slightly long "collar" of hair around the neck. In adulthood, the Malinois is 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 55 to 65 pounds.


Bright, obedient, observant, determined, and exceedingly protective, the Malinois is an excellent family pet, although it can become shy or sensitive if not well socialized. Be firm and in charge but not overbearing with discipline, as this dog can react stubbornly with intimidation. Consistency is key, as is the provision of firm boundaries so that your dog does not become overprotective. These are good guard dogs and police dogs, and the Malinois is popular for this type of work.

However, one of the best "occupations" for the Malinois is as family pet. As long as you are in charge as the “alpha dog,” this intelligent dog will respect your wishes. Highly energetic with the friskiness of a puppy which can last as long its first five years of life, the Malinois needs to be given plenty of physical and mental stimulation. It will be happiest if it has a job to do. Without a meaningful focus, this dog may unwittingly exhibit herding behavior by instinct, chasing, circling, nipping at people's heels, etc. This is something that should be nipped in the bud.

Your pet will get along well with and truly bond with children and other family members, including other pets, as long as this introduction takes place in puppyhood and your puppy is well socialized. A combination of how you handle your pet along with its genetic makeup, will greatly determine its behavior in life, a fact that applies to just about any breed. If you are firm, gentle and consistent, you will be your pet's true compass.

Because this dog loves to be praised and enjoys treats, which are motivations to please you, it will be easy to train. Providing plenty of daily stimulation and exercise will ensure best behavior. Obedience training for this dog as a puppy is a very good idea, which should be started as soon as you adopt it.

Proper Environment

This dog can tolerate living in an apartment if sufficiently exercised, although a larger environment with plenty of space to run off leash would be preferable. A ranch or other "working" environment is perfect for this type of dog, although simply making sure you provide physical and mental challenge on a consistent basis is sufficient as well. It can’t be stressed enough that a dog of this energy level and intellectual ability needs to channel its drive into a positive outlet to thwart the display of undesirable instinctive traits.


The Belgian Malinois has no particular health risks and is generally a very healthy breed. Eye problems, skin allergies, and shyness or aggressiveness when not properly socialized can be problems, as can elbow or hip dysplasia. Most health problems have been greatly reduced in the Malinois because of carefully selective breeding. Life expectancy is 12 to 14 years.


The Malinois is easy to groom because of its smooth, shorthaired coat. Brushing daily with a firm bristle brush and bathing only occasionally if necessary is all that is needed. Bathing should be done sparingly because the Malinois has a naturally waterproof protective coat and bathing will remove that protection.


Adopt a Belgian Malinois.

Retrieved September 29, 2013.

AKC Meet the Breeds®:

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Belgian Malinois (Belgian Shepherd Malinois) (Malinois) (Chien de Berger Belge) (Mechelse Shepherd).

Retrieved September 29, 2013.

Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois). 29

Retrieved September 29, 2013.

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