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Belgian Malinois Breed

Sara Ochoa

By Dr. Sara Ochoa


Do you lead an active lifestyle?

Looking for a pooch to keep you company in your adventures?

Are you an experienced dog-owner in search of a challenge?

The Belgian Malinois might be just the dog for you!

A member of the herding group, this proud pup is a handsome companion to have!

This breed is not only loyal but intelligent and a hard worker.

He is often trained for rescue and police work.

No matter where you go or what you do, your Mal will want to be with you every step of the way.

What are the pros and cons of the Belgian Malinois breed?

As a prospective owner, what do you need to know about the Mal’s personality?

Is there a lot of grooming that goes into keeping your Malinois looking handsome?

How trainable is this breed?

Are there any potential health issues you need to be aware of?

How will this breed interact with other people and dogs?

We will explore the answers to all these questions and more below!

So, join me in learning more about the Belgian Malinois breed!

Appearance

dog jumps for a frisbee

At a glance, you can mistake the Belgian Malinois for a German Shepherd, but there are differences!

The Mal stands 22-26 inches tall.

A healthy weight for this breed is 40-60 pounds (female), and 60-80 pounds (male).

This powerful pup is incredibly muscular, but still manages to be elegant.

His ears are always perky, and his slightly bushy tail will signal your Mal’s happiness to see you!

Warm brown eyes are a hallmark of this breed.

Once you have gained a Malinois’ trust, he will always look to you for love and companionship.

Those eyes will shine his love back to you.

This breed’s coat is well-adapted to his background of herding.

Your pup’s coat is smooth and short, but double.

This double coat is weather resistant on top, and soft underneath.

A Mal’s coloring ranges from fawn to mahogany, featuring black tips that gives him a layered look.

This breed’s black mask and ears are what can give the mistaken impression of a German Shepherd at first glance.

His hair grows longer around your Mal’s neck, tail, and thighs.

No matter where he goes, this breed stands out as a noble and handsome member of the canine world!

Personality

The Malinois is, first and foremost, a working dog.

Originally bred for herding, this breed is also commonly trained for drug and bomb detection.

Other jobs include search and rescue, sledding, tracking, and assisting with therapy.

Historically, the Belgian Malinois was a huge help during WWI.

This brave pup helped carry messages, pull supplies and medical carts, and assisted with removing the injured from the battlefield.

He wants a job to do and wants to do it well.

A busy and challenged Mal is a happy Mal.

Owning a Belgian Malinois can be a challenge.

This is why this breed is recommended for experienced dog owners.

Your Mal is extremely intelligent and very sensitive.

He also has a naturally energetic personality.

This makes it imperative that you take the time to provide your pup with plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

The Mal loves to be active and doing things with you.

That is why any prospective owner needs to be fully prepared to spend a lot of time with your pup.

While the Malinois can make a good family dog, he is more inclined to take a protective stance in the household.

He can be suspicious of new people and dogs and isn’t always overly affectionate with children.

This often comes down to personality and the training you do with your puppy.

If you plan to have a Mal as a family pet, socialization training is a must.

He can be a family dog, but that requires commitment and effort from you.

Exercise

big dog loves to run

The Belgian Malinois is an incredibly active dog.

If you are considering this breed, you should expect to spend at least an hour every day providing your pup with physical and mental stimulation.

Bred for work, the Mal has seemingly endless reserves of energy to pull from.

He also has a quick and intelligent brain.

You will need to plan mental challenges for your pup as well as physical.

Taking him for runs and hikes will help burn off some of his energy.

Speed and agility training will also be good for your pup.

In addition, exercise alone is not enough for this breed.

The Malinois needs to do these activities with you.

Your pup is intensely loyal and devoted to you.

It isn’t enough to put him in the backyard to run around or take him on a short walk each day.

Your Mal craves quality time engaging in challenging pastimes with you.

So, if you plan to bring home a Belgian Malinois, plan to incorporate him into your daily schedule in a meaningful way.

Grooming

Thankfully, for how active he is, the coat of the Malinois is surprisingly easy to take care of.

Call it a byproduct of being bred for work, but the Mal’s coat is short and simple to care for.

Occasionally give your pup a thorough brushing.

This will help remove dirt and debris he picks up outside.

A regular brushing also helps remove dead hair and spread healthy oils from his skin to his coat.

This breed sheds significantly twice a year.

During these shedding periods, take the time to thoroughly brush your Mal daily.

Baths aren’t necessary often, since the harsh outer coat of the Malinois doesn’t pick up a lot of dirt.

Unless he’s been rolling in something smelly, your Mal only needs a bath once every few months!

When you are brushing your pup, take the time to check his nails and ears.

When you start to hear his nails clicking on the floor, that’s a sign your Mal needs them trimmed.

Any buildup in the ears should be gently cleaned away with a warm, damp cloth.

Not only will your Mal be handsome if you consistently groom him, but he will be happy as well!

Training

Training is utterly essential for this breed.

The Belgian Malinois needs not only structure and stimulation.

He also needs a job and a challenge.

If you are getting a Mal as a family or companion dog instead of a working dog, training becomes even more paramount.

And not only does he need training, but he needs it with you.

The Malinois is an incredibly loyal dog and needs to establish a strong relationship with you.

Do not underestimate the power of spending time with your dog!

This breed is very sensitive, so firm but kind training will render the best results.

Consistency and continuous training are the keys to maintaining the training you invest in.

Begin your pup in socialization training as early as possible.

The Mal is naturally suspicious of new people and dogs.

Continuing socialization training will help to mitigate any issues he has with meeting new people and animals.

Other options such as speed and agility training are wonderful for this breed.

A wide variety of trainings will keep your pup engaged both mentally and physically.

And when your Mal is receiving enough mental and physical stimulation, he will be happy and content.

Health

The Malinois is generally a very healthy breed.

There are no major health concerns that your pup is prone to.

There are some minor issues that can pop up.

But with proper care, these issues won’t affect your Mal’s happiness or quality of life.

Like many dogs, the Mal can develop hip and elbow dysplasia and eye issues.

Dysplasia occurs when the joint is formed improperly.

As the dog gets older, the joint can slip out of place and cause discomfort.

A responsible breeder will be able to provide paperwork detailing your pup’s medical history.

Experts recommend not breeding any dogs that develop dysplasia.

But again, this is not a guarantee that your Mal will not eventually develop this condition.

Other potential health issues include ear infections and excessive weight.

Check and clean your dog’s ears on a regular basis.

Any buildup may result in irritation and infection.

This is an active breed, so maintaining a regular diet is important.

Ask your veterinarian what food and portions are best for your pup.

Remember, this can vary as your Mal gets older.

Taking care of your pup’s health will keep him, and you, happy!

History

handsome dog tired after a walk

As you might have guessed, the Belgian Malinois originated in Belgium.

It is one of four herding breeds developed in Belgium during the 19th century.

The four breeds became distinct from each other when standards were written for each in the late 1880’s.

The Malinois is named after the town of Malines, which is the area where he originally came from.

Originally intended to help herd livestock, the Malinois is a medium, stocky dog with lots of energy.

When World War I started, this breed was heavily utilized as a working dog.

He was used as a messenger dog, assisted with the Red Cross, and pulled medical carts.

Occasionally these hard-working pups even pulled machine guns across battlefields.

The 1960’s saw a resurgence of this breed in the western hemisphere.

They aren’t often used for herding any more.

But that doesn’t mean the Malinois doesn’t work.

Now the breed is frequently seen working with law enforcement and military teams.

One Malinois, Cairo by name, has become famous in recent years.

In 2011, Cairo assisted with the raid that led to the death of notorious terrorist, Osama Bin Laden.

Loyal and hardworking, the Belgian Malinois lives up to his reputation whether working or playing with his family.

Where Can I Find Belgian Malinois puppies?

Malinois puppies are a treat, and there are plenty of breeders around the U.S.

The key is finding a reputable breeder.

You want to avoid the puppy mills and internet scams that will try to attract your attention.

A reputable breeder will be an open book regarding their business practices.

Don’t hesitate to ask any question you can think of.

A breeder will prove his reliability by answering all your questions.

If you ask for paperwork, the breeder should be able to provide whatever you ask for.

An ethical breeder takes care to breed only the best stock for his puppies.

If there are breed-wide health concerns for your puppy the breeder should provide documentation of any necessary testing.

You want to make sure your pup was raised in a safe and loving environment.

Ask to come visit the breeder to interact with your puppy in person.

If possible, visit at least twice before taking your puppy home.

This will help your puppy acclimate to you and your family before you take him to a new location.

Once you have a Malinois, you won’t look back!

FAQ

Q: Is the Belgian Malinois a good breed for first-time puppy parents?
A: Not generally. This breed is extremely energetic, intelligent, and needs a lot of dedication and consistency. Mal’s are generally recommended for experienced dog owners.

Q: Does this breed do well in an apartment?
A: Only if you have the time to take your pup outside for extended periods of time daily to work off his energy. Otherwise, a house with a fenced-in yard is recommended.

Q: Is the Malinois good with other animals?
A: He can be, but that requires continuing socialization training. This breed is a protective and herding breed, so he can be suspicious of other animals.

In Closing

Have you fallen in love with the Belgian Malinois?

This wonderful pup may be a challenge, but his love is definitely worth it!

Not only will he adore you and want to do everything for you, but he will protect you with everything he’s got.

Is this hardworking and intelligent breed the one for you?

If so, don’t hesitate to check out these Belgian Malinois puppies for sale here!

Thank you for learning about this beautiful breed with me!

Until next time!

References

American Kennel Club. (2022, 3 13). Belgian Malinois. Retrieved from American Kennel Club: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/belgian-malinois/

Daily Paws. (2022, 3 13). Belgian Malinois. Retrieved from Daily Paws: https://www.dailypaws.com/dogs-puppies/dog-breeds/belgian-malinois

Dogtime. (2022, 3 13). Belgian Malinois. Retrieved from Dogtime: https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/belgian-malinois#/slide/1

Hillspet. (2022, 3 13). Belgian Malinois. Retrieved from Hillspet: https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/dog-breeds/belgian-malinois

Petfinder. (2022, 3 13). Belgian Malinois. Retrieved from Petfinder: https://www.petfinder.com/dog-breeds/belgian-malinois/

Picture of author Dr. Sara Ochoa in her scrubs with a cute dogSara Ochoa, DVM is an expert veterinarian ready to help you give your dog an amazing life. Stationed in East Texas, Dr. Ochoa specializes in small and/or exotic animals. She’s currently loving life alongside her husband Greg and their three fur babies: Ruby the Schnoodle, Monkey the tortoise, and Oliver James (affectionately dubbed “OJ”) the cat.

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