The Belgian Malinois has become a staple of military service, police work, search and rescue, and even canine sports. This breed has distinguished itself as a protector and all-around working dog. Their no-frills appearance just serves to highlight the utilitarian nature of the breed.
These extremely powerful, intelligent, and driven animals were born to work. If there could be one word to describe the Belgian Malinois, it would be “intense”. The Belgian Malinois will constantly push themselves to new heights, and are looking for owners who can do the same.
TemperamentConfidence and composure are the hallmarks of a Belgian Malinois The Belgian Malinois views the world with a steely-eyed gaze, until it’s time to spring into action. They can be reserved with strangers, but are affectionate to their family and owner. While they are excellent watchdogs and protectors, they’ll fend off any threat with measured force, and are always in control of the situation. A Belgian Malinois is very pragmatic and efficient in terms of its actions, and is neither shy nor aggressive. They’re no-nonsense dogs that are well-suited to owners who need reliability and aptitude in their dogs. With their history as a herding dog, they have a natural tendency to nip and bite at whatever it is they’re herding, so early socialization is necessary if a Belgian Malinois will be living with small children or other animals. They also have a high prey drive and may run off after squirrels, mice, or other smaller prey, making it necessary for them to be on-leash most of the time. Despite their serious nature at work, they’re loving and gentle with their chosen humans, even if they’re not excessively playful. A Belgian Malinois at rest will want to lie down and snuggle with their owner, simply enjoying each other’s presence.
The Ultimate Guide to Belgian Malinois
The origin of the Belgian Malinois can be traced back to the late 19th century, in the Belgian city of Malines. They were originally developed as shepherds, and are related to a number of other Belgian herding dogs. The Belgian Shepherd Dog Club created breed standards for the distinctive shepherding dogs of Belgium, and by the early 20th century, these dogs were combined under the breed name of Belgian Shepherd Dog. Breeders in the city of Malines, however, had their own ideas. They wanted to promote the fawn short haired Belgian Shepherd dogs that they were breeding, and these dogs became known as “Malinois”. Since there was a dwindling number of sheep for the dogs to herd, breeders started holding field trials to showcase their dogs’ agility, obedience, intelligence, and work ethic. A Belgian Malinois named Cora van't Optewel won the very first of these trials. The Malinois was used as a military dog throughout both World War I and II, and American servicemen brought home some dogs after the wars. The popularity of the breed has slowly but steadily grown, and today the Belgian Malinois is one of the top working breeds in the world, known for their incredible loyalty and focus.
Key Characteristics of Belgian Malinois
Confidence and composure are the hallmarks of a Belgian Malinois The Belgian Malinois views the world with a steely-eyed gaze, until it’s time to spring into action. They can be reserved with strangers, but are affectionate to their family and owner.
While they are excellent watchdogs and protectors, they’ll fend off any threat with measured force, and are always in control of the situation. A Belgian Malinois is very pragmatic and efficient in terms of its actions, and is neither shy nor aggressive. They’re no-nonsense dogs that are well-suited to owners who need reliability and aptitude in their dogs.
With their history as a herding dog, they have a natural tendency to nip and bite at whatever it is they’re herding, so early socialization is necessary if a Belgian Malinois will be living with small children or other animals. They also have a high prey drive and may run off after squirrels, mice, or other smaller prey, making it necessary for them to be on-leash most of the time.
Despite their serious nature at work, they’re loving and gentle with their chosen humans, even if they’re not excessively playful. A Belgian Malinois at rest will want to lie down and snuggle with their owner, simply enjoying each other’s presence.
Because they were originally bred to herd livestock for miles on end, the Belgian Malinois needs similar levels of exercise to be healthy. Whether going for a day-long hike or morning runs around the neighborhood, the Belgian Malinois will happily join their owner on whatever adventure is in store.
The Belgian Malinois has a high top speed, and needs to do some sprinting each day to actually work up a sweat. They need a secure, fenced outdoor area for off-leash exercise.
The exercise needs to be both vigorous enough to actually work your Belgian Malinois, and long enough that they get tired. A couple of 30 to 45-minute sessions each day is enough for most Belgian Malinois, working out to an hour to an hour and a half of strenuous exercise per day.
High-intelligence dogs such as the Belgian Malinois also need mental stimulation so they don’t get bored. Puzzle feeders and challenging dog toys can help keep their brains engaged, even if they aren’t out and running around.
|Belgian Malinois Grooming||
This is one area where the Belgian Malinois makes it easy for the owners. They’re low-maintenance dogs and don’t require much in the way of grooming. The Belgian Malinois has a short double coat, with a coarse top coat and a dense undercoat.
Weekly brushing is usually sufficient for a Belgian Malinois, and baths can be done every couple of months. It’s also rare for a Belgian Malinois to need a trip to the groomer, since their coat does not naturally grow very long.
Their coat does shed, but minimally. As a double-coated breed, they do have periods each year where they will shed more than usual, but since their coat is so short it isn’t quite as intense as other double-coated breeds.
Daily toothbrushing is advisable to prevent plaque buildup and gum problems, while nail trimming can be done every 3 to 4 weeks.
|Belgian Malinois Training||
The Belgian Malinois excels in almost any form of training or work that their owner or handler chooses to put them through. While they take well to training, they appreciate firm rules and an owner with a steady, consistent training style. Their high intelligence and natural inclination to take control may be challenging for novice owners.
While they will tend to test the boundaries of the training and the rules that their owner enforces, they are also sensitive to reprimands and punishments. A training program based around positive reinforcement instead of punishment will work best with this breed.
Signing your dog up for obedience classes and training may help to give their training more structure. The Belgian Malinois also does well in agility, obedience, and other canine sports, so those may be of interest to owners who want an additional challenge for their dogs.
|Belgian Malinois Lifespan And Health Issues||
Belgian Malinois are generally healthy and have a long lifespan for dogs of their size, living for 14 to 16 years. The Belgian Malinois may be prone to:
|Belgian Malinois Size And Space Requirements||
The Belgian Malinois is a strong, muscular dog, built squarely and solidly, perfectly in keeping with their no-nonsense personality. Male Belgian Malinois stand between 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder, while females stand between 22 to 24 inches high. They can weigh between 60 to 80 pounds for males, while females will weigh between 40 to 60 pounds.
A Belgian Malinois needs a significant amount of space, especially outdoors, so that they can be comfortable and healthy. A secure, fenced yard or access to an outdoor space to run around in will be crucial to the mental and physical health of your Belgian Malinois.
This breed also does not do well being left alone for most of the day, and will prefer to stay by their owner’s side as much as possible. They develop deep, lifelong bonds with their chosen humans, and part of their work is to protect and watch over everyone under their care.
While they are hardy enough to sleep outdoors in most conditions with the proper shelter, they would much rather sleep indoors with their family. They view themselves as part of the family and want to be involved in all activities.
- While the Belgian Malinois is generally gentle around children and not aggressive toward them in any way, they may view kids as part of a herd that they have to manage. This can result in nipping if the children are too rowdy or noisy.
- The Belgian Malinois is one of four varieties of Belgian sheepdog.
- Belgian Malinois are sensitive to anesthesia, and any veterinarian treating them must this fact before any kind of medical procedure is attempted on the dog.
How can I take good care of my Belgian Malinois or Puppy?
Like most large breed dogs, the Belgian Malinois may be able to inadvertently cause harm due to their size and strength. Socializing your Belgian Malinois puppy is crucial during the 8 to 12 week period. This is the period where lifelong behaviors start to be formed, and your dog will be most receptive to new experiences.
As with any high-energy working breed, it’s important to feed your Belgian Malinois puppy only premium, high-quality dog food. This will help ensure that they grow properly and do not develop any health issues. Of course, dietary recommendations may vary according to your dog’s needs, and your veterinarian may have more specific advice for you.
The first couple of months of a Belgian Malinois puppy’s life will have frequent vet visits for vaccinations, depending on your veterinarian’s recommended schedule. Follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding the proper vaccination schedule to the best of your ability.
Most Asked Belgian Malinois Questions
+How Much do Belgian Malinois Puppies Cost
Most Belgian Malinois puppies for sale from reputable breeders will cost between $750 and $2000. Part of the reason why the breed is so healthy today is because breeders have generally been very stringent in screening for health problems and genetic issues. Getting your Belgian Malinois puppy from ethical breeders will help give your pup the best start in life and prevent future behavioral or health issues.