Belgian Malinois dogs are very demanding high-energy canines which require the guidance of an experienced trainer.
Their large muscular bodies, and pointed ears, are often confused for a German Shepherd; however, they are a very different breed.
They are extremely loving towards their owners and want nothing more than their attention.
This breed is best suited for active families, who have experience training high energy dogs, as they need lots of room for exercise!
If you are drawn to this incredibly loyal and hardworking dog, then read on to find out more about their: appearance, puppies, temperament and care guide.
Belgian Malinois Breed Guide
The Belgian Malinois is a great dog for those looking for a lifelong partner with plenty of energy.
Two Kennel Clubs, the American Kennel Club as well as the United Kennel Club, place this breed in the herding group.
This means that this dog excels at gathering and moving other animals and can assist farmers with their livestock.
They were originally bred to be sheep herders, and their high trainability and endurance made them ideal for the job.
Nowadays this canine is more commonly used for security and protection, though they can be great companion dogs for the right family.
This breed originated in the city of Malines (located in the northern part of Belgium).
Local cattle farmers were looking for an especially robust and hardworking dog that would be able to withstand herding for long hours.
Thus, Belgian Shepherd Malinois breeders began to breed for these traits and their superior performance made them highly sought after by cattlemen across the world.
In 1911 this dog was brought to America and were then recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1959.
Now they are prized members of both families and K-9 units all over the country.
Kennel Club Recognition
The Belgian Malinois is currently recognized by several kennel clubs:
- Kennel Club
- American Kennel Club
- United Kennel Club
They rank 43, out of of the 191 dog breeds, which makes them a fairly popular and desired canine.
However, unfortunately some people purchase this dog without fully researching what it takes to keep them as pets and end up surrendering them to animal shelters.
If you are interested in adopting a Belgian Malinois rescue, then you can contact rescue organizations to give a home to a dog in need.
There are also breed clubs which can be a great resource to find reputable breeders, information about the breed, and specific events.
|Belgian Malinois Dog Info|
|Size||22 to 24 inches (female) and 24 to 26 inches (male)|
|Weight||40 to 60lb (female) and 60 to 80lb (male)|
|Lifespan||14 – 16 years|
|Breed Type||Herding Group|
|Purpose||Herding, Protection, Companion|
|Suitable For||Experienced Owners and Active Families,|
|Color||Fawn with a black mask|
|Temperament||Affectionate, Active, Protective, Hardworking and Loyal|
|Other Names||Mal, Malinois|
Belgian Malinois Puppy
These puppies are completely adorable; their ears are floppy at birth and can remain so for most of puppyhood.
However, as they grow the ears will begin to stand up and become fully erect by the time adulthood is reached.
Litter sizes range between 6-10 pooches, and the Belgian Malinois price tag can vary between $1,000-$2,500 USD depending on their bloodline and pedigree.
When you bring home your Mal (at about 8 weeks old), he will already be between 10-15 pounds. However, he won’t reach his full adult size until around 16 to 18 months old:
|Age (months)||Male Weight (pounds)||Female Weight (pounds)|
|3||20 to 28||17 to 25|
|6||45 to 50||30 to 45|
|9||55 to 65||40 to 55|
|12||60 to 75||45 to 60|
Belgian Malinois Temperament
This working dog can have a very demanding personality which requires a lifestyle that many people just can’t keep up with.
If you aren’t ready for a dog that is constantly seeking out attention, then you might want to reconsider purchasing this breed.
The Belgian Shepherd Malinois is not a quiet pet.
They have a very loud bark which is used to frighten off invaders and to alert you of any suspicious activity.
An improperly trained canine may bark at inappropriate times and cause a great disturbance to you and your neighbors.
However, the Malinois is a highly trainable breed, so with a bit of patience and dedication, they can very accurately learn the difference between a dangerous and non-dangerous situation.
This dog also has a very high prey drive, which is why they make such a good working dog.
The Belgian Malinois dog is hardwired to go after anything that moves and could be prey.
Whilst training can reduce this instinct, it is important to keep your backyard secure with a tall, sturdy fence to ensure your dog doesn’t run off chasing something.
The Belgian Malinois is an incredibly loyal breed that depends on its connection to its owner for happiness and fulfillment.
They are extremely affectionate towards their person and will do whatever it takes to protect them and any other members of their family.
Whilst their appearance can be intimidating, Malinois dogs are actually very playful:
- They love a good game of fetch or frisbee and can be very goofy when playing with their family
- Playtime can also be a great opportunity for training, so try to practice basic obedience commands: stay, come, and leave
As a herding breed, Mals can feel the need to herd other animals (and even small children). This behavior is more prevalent in canines which haven’t been exercised or stimulated.
Compatibility with Families
Overall, the Belgian Malinois is a great companion for an experienced owner that knows how to handle a high energy breed.
As far as being kid friendly goes, Mals can be great family pets (if raised around children).
They love playing with their family members and will protect them as well as you.
However, you should keep in mind their herding instincts as they might get the urge to chase and herd small children.
Belgian Malinois dogs can be very territorial.
Beginning to socialize your puppy from a very young age can go a long way in reducing these tendencies, however, they will always be suspicious of new animals.
Most people tend to keep this dog as a single family pet as they are enough work on their own. Plus, their strong prey drive means that they might go after any cats or small pets in the house.
Belgian Malinois Appearance
This dog has a very impressive athletic build not unlike other Shepherds.
They are square in shape and are muscular without being bulky.
Belgian Malinois vs. German Shepherds
Some people have trouble identifying this breed and often confuse them for German Shepherds.
Though they are very similar in size and shape, there are several differences that make this breed unique in appearance:
- They have a more angular pointed head when compared to a Shepherd
- They have a black mask and black ears (without the Shepherd’s black saddle)
- They have a shorter coat than the German Shepherd
Adult males weigh between 60-80 pounds and females weigh between 40-60 pounds.
Males can reach up to 26 inches at their withers and females are slightly smaller at 24 inches.
The typical color of this breed is fawn with a black mask and black ears.
Their fur may also be black-tipped in places, which is why some people call them a black Belgian Malinois, giving them a dusty effect.
Their fur is short to medium in length, and is double coated with a soft undercoat; this allows them to stay warm in cold weather, and protects them from sunburn in warmer weather.
This breed is a constant shedder, with two heavy seasons during the year, so you should expect to find dog hair on everything in the house.
If you suffer from any sort of dog allergies, this is not the canine for you.
Grooming your dog is straightforward:
- Weekly brushing will remove any loose hair and dirt your dog might pick up (whilst keeping their coats shiny and tangle-free)
- Frequent nail trims are important to make sure your dog’s nails are smooth
- Brushing their teeth a minimum of three times a week will go a long way in preventing tooth decay and expensive dental bills
Baths are only really necessary when they get dirty (and no more than once a month), too frequent bathing can strip fur of natural oils which results in dry itchy skin.
As for haircuts, you should never cut a dog with a double coat, their hair will naturally shed as it reaches its maximum length.
Belgian Malinois Care Guide
This is a breed that has limitless amounts of energy, and requires daily training and stimulation in order to thrive.
They need a strong leader who has the knowledge of how to correctly guide them and can match their high activity levels.
Food and Dietary Requirements
|Daily Food Consumption|
|Cups of Kibble|
The Belgian Malinois requires a high-quality diet that is high in both protein and fat to support their active lifestyle.
While the amount of food required will vary greatly, based on age and whether they are a working dog, typically you should be feeding your adult Mal between three to four cups of kibble daily (this can be divided into two feedings).
Always consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about diet and nutrition as they can help you formulate a diet that is right for your canine.
|Daily Exercise Requirements|
The Belgian Malinois has a lot of energy, they need a minimum 90 minutes of exercise each day; but a simple walk around the block isn’t going to cut it for this breed.
Mals make excellent running and hiking partners, but they will need several sessions of exercise a day.
To tire them out completely, you’ll need to incorporate both physical and mental activity into playtime.
They love pretty much any type of activity whether it be running, swimming, or agility.
The Malinois excels at protection training, so working on those skills together is a great way to bond with your dog whilst giving them a sense of purpose.
Positive reinforcement with food and treats will encourage the behaviors that you want from your pooch, whilst teaching them bad behaviors get ignored.
You will need to have a lot of time and patience when it comes to training this dog, but if you are successful, they are incredibly obedient and can execute a wide range of commands.
The mental health of your Belgian Malinois is just as important as their physical health.
A bored dog is a destructive dog, so if you’re going to be out of the house, be sure to leave plenty of toys and things to do.
They are a super intelligent breed, so puzzle toys and games can be a great way to occupy them for a while.
Unfortunately, just about all purebred dogs are predisposed to some illness or disease which is handed down genetically.
Any reputable breeder should give you a full health history of their dogs and offer genetic testing to confirm your puppy is disease free.
Throughout your dog’s life you should watch for symptoms of:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
You can expect your Belgian Malinois to live about 14-16 years, so it is important to do your research and invest in a healthy puppy.
The Belgian Malinois is an amazingly dedicated breed that has the drive and endurance to succeed at any job you give them.
They require a lot of patience and time to properly train and channel their energy productively, so they are definitely not for new or inexperienced dog owners.
Though able to let loose with the whole family, they bond with their leader and depend on them for stimulation and affection.
They have a seemingly unlimited amount of energy, thus a prospective family should be extremely active as well.
So, before you decide to bring a Belgian Malinois home, make sure you have fully done your research and can be confident that you have what it takes to care for this special breed.