Table of Contents
Belgian Malinois Appearance
The confident and hardworking Belgian Malinois is a breed with a squared build and sturdy proportions. They have muscular bodies without any bulkiness and a deep, strong chest. Malinois have elegantly long necks and carry their well-structured heads high and proud. Their almond shaped eyes convey their high levels of intelligence and are usually alert and inquisitive. They have a thick double-coat which ranges in color from fawn to mahogany, with black mask markings on the face as well as black ears. Tips of the fur may also be black, and some of the lighter colored dogs may have small spots of white coloring on the chest or toes. Malinois are typically between 24-26 inches tall and weigh in around 45-60 lbs. They have an intense amount of energy and stamina, which is easily observed in their fast gait and daily exuberance. A healthy and well taken care of Malinois will usually live to be 10-13 years old.
Belgian Malinois Grooming
Due to their dense double-coats, Belgian Malinois stay relatively protected from the elements and usually don’t carry strong odors. The outer layer is short, straight, and feels hard to the touch. Their thick undercoat helps block out moisture and provides extra weather resistance. While their coats are short, Malinois shed regularly throughout the year and shed profusely when transitioning between seasons. A quick brush each day will help cut down on excess hair. A firm bristle brush or slicker brush are both great tools that will easily pass through the Malinois’ thick coat. Trimming their nails is also a good idea, but Malinois often grind their nails down neatly during their daily activities. Regularly checking the length will help prevent any painful ingrown nails or breakage.
Belgian Malinois Temperament
Belgian Malinois are quick learners and are eager to please. They are also extremely high energy and require lots of daily exercise. They are a very people-oriented breed, thriving on human companionship. Mals develop strong bonds of loyalty with their owners and are protective of their family and territory. They make excellent watch dogs as they have both an imposing presence and are standoffish with strangers until properly introduced. Due to the boisterous behavior and high play drive of the Belgian Malinois, it’s best to start obedience training early to establish ground rules. They have strong prey drives and herding instincts and need to be taught not to hunt smaller animals such as cats and other dogs. Proper socialization early on in puppyhood is essential in teaching acceptable behavior. Mals also have a tendency to nip at their owners’ heels and herd them while playing; this can be problematic for small children and it is necessary to pay close attention during play. They are very intense dogs who are sensitive and require special guidance as well as added care. This breed is best for an experienced dog owner who has plenty of patience and experience with effective dog training. Malinois are very social animals who want to be included in family activities; they will not do well with an owner who works long hours or is away from home often. A bored pup will wreak havoc on their environment so it is important to keep a Malinois mentally and physically challenged.
Belgian Malinois Training
As a dog breed with intense energy levels and an almost limitless love for play, Mals make great training companions. They are intelligent and curious, which makes any task seem appealing to them. They have sensitive personalities and will respond best to positive, stimulating training. Consistence is key to ensuring that obedience training and other tasks are being retained. The Malinois also requires socialization training in order for them to learn appropriate behaviors toward strangers and smaller animals. Their capacity for learning and strong desire to please make them excellent work dogs and Mals are often seen working in the police force, as search and rescue dogs, and many other positions. They also excel in agility, obedience, and athletic competitions when properly trained.
Belgian Malinois History
The Belgian Malinois is one of the four breeds who derived from the Belgian Sheepdogs, who date back to 19th century Belgium. These dogs were bred as working dogs and were split into four distinct categories: the Tervuren, the Laekenois, the Groenendael, and finally, the Malinois. The Belgian Malinois descend from ancestors who were bred in the city of Malines. When the need for sheep herding began dwindling, breeders started testing the intelligence and obedience of the shepherd dogs in agility trials. Their amazing traits of loyalty and deference to their owner’s commands have made Malinois excellent assets as messenger, Red Cross, and police dogs. This breed has been actively involved in many different countries in positions of public service. They also continue to make excellent companions for capable families who can keep up with the lively and high-spirited Belgian Malinois. In 2015 a movie called Max was released and it was about a Belgian Malinois dog that had helped US Marines in Afghanistan return to the U.S. and then was adopted by his owners family after suffering a traumatic experience.
Chien de Berger Belge, Mechelaar, Mechelse Herder, Mechelse Scheper, Pastor Belga Malinois