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Belgian Malinois

Hardworking, intelligent and fearless

About the Belgian Malinois

‘Intense’ is one way to describe the Belgian Malinois. These all-purpose working dogs are used as military and police dogs due to their extreme work ethic and athleticism. But they also have a place as loving and loyal family pets.

Belgian Malinois are high-energy, high-performance dogs who are game for any adventure their owner can come up with – they thrive when they’re constantly being challenged and given jobs to do.

At work, these dogs are calm and composed, and are neither shy nor aggressive. While they may be wary of strangers and reserved when meeting new people, they’re affectionate and gentle with their owners and family members.

belgian malinois in front of trees

Belgian Malinois Breed Characteristics

55 to 66 cm at the shoulder

40 to 80 pounds

Life Expectancy
12 to 14 years

Coat Colours
Fawn, mahogany

Here are some of the qualities you can expect from the Belgian Malinois, rated from one to five stars. However, all dogs are individuals, and your dog may not display exactly the same characteristics.

Family Life
Friendly with Kids
Friendly with Dogs
Ease of Grooming
Exercise Needs
Prey Drive
Tendency to Bark or Howl
Good for Novice Owners
Apartment Living

Belgian Malinois Breed History

The Belgian Malinois takes its name from the Belgian city of Malines. It was here that the Belgian Malinois was developed as a herding dog in the late 19th century.

The Malinois is related to the other shepherding dogs of Belgium: the Tervuren, Laekenois and Belgian Shepherd (or Groenendael). It was common practice to refer to all these dogs by the name Belgian Sheepdog.

Breeders in the city of Malines wanted to promote their own fawn short-haired Belgian Shepherd dogs. However, the dwindling number of actual sheep in Belgium posed a problem. Louis Huyghebaert, now known as ‘the Godfather of the Malinois’, suggested that breeders hold field trials to display their dogs’ loyalty and aptitude for herding.

The first of these trials was won, of course, by a Belgian Malinois named Cora van’t Optewel in the early 20th century. Ever since then, this breed has been considered one of the finest all-purpose working dogs in existence.

Caring For a Belgian Malinois

How to Choose a Responsible Belgian Malinois Breeder

With working breeds like the Belgian Malinois, it’s always best to look for a responsible breeder who knows how to get the most out of their breeding animals. Supporting ethical breeders will also help ensure that the health of the breed is always emphasised, and that future dogs will have desirable qualities and a sound temperament.

When looking for a Belgian Malinois puppy, ask your breeder whether they are part of a breeding organisation that has standards for the care of the animals. Also ask about any health issues and genetic problems their dogs may have, as responsible breeders will conduct health checks for their breeding animals.

Belgian Malinois FAQ

Yes, these dogs are smart and loyal, making them excellent service animals for almost any owner.

No, they are not naturally aggressive. However, since they’re a herding breed, they may chase after children or other dogs, which can be interpreted as hostile behaviour. Sufficient training and socialisation can help curb this behaviour.

Dog Breeds Similar to the Belgian Malinois

The information is for general use only. For any specific advice or queries, please consult with your veterinarian.

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