We have many herding dogs and this medium size dog was originally bred for herding.
Even so, nowadays Belgian Malinois work as police dogs, guard dogs, military dogs, and family companions. Known to be high-energy dogs and need enough exercises to prevent any unwanted behaviors.
Not only, are they loyal but also intelligent and affectionate. Belgian Malinois facial appearances may be mistaken for German shepherds although they are shorthaired, fawn-colored with a black mask.
Characteristics of a Belgian Malinois
- Intelligent and active dogs love working and are great at agility sports
- Can be used in many home chores from herding, guarding, doing police and military jobs, searching dogs
- Can be mistaken with the German shepherd although they are small dogs than their counterparts
- Smart, strong, brave and adventurous, active and helpful in-home chores
- Due to their herding instinct, they love chasing other animals and children hence need proper training
- Athletic built and agile
- Weight 50-80 pounds
- Height 22-26 inches
- Lifespan 14-16years
The name tells it all, initially developed in Belgium, Malines. It is among the four varieties of Belgian shepherd dogs.
In the late 1800s, the Belgian shepherds which consisted of Laekenois, Tervuren, and the Groenendael were developed. Alongside this, the Malinois was developed by working competitors and trainers.
The breed gained popularity in 1911 when it arrived in the US as some were used by the military during World War 1.
During the great depression, the breed became less popular but picked up in the late 1950s to early 1960s. Particularly, the America kennel club which recognized the breed in 1959.
Belgian Malinois can be Used as:
In addition, it was for herding purposes but over the years Belgian Malinois are used as guard dogs, military dogs, for protection, family companionship also and search activities like in the search for Osama Bin Laden in 2011. Very intelligent and focused dog, can use night vision goggles in their military activities and wear protective armor when on duty.
Moreover, they are active dogs and come in different color coats. For instance, fawn, red, brown, and the hair can be black.
This is an assertive and brave dog commonly used by the Israel defense forces, Navy seals, military, US Secret Service, and may be hard to handle for a first-time dog owner.
Although mistaken for German shepherds, Belgian Malinois have a structured body and light bones.
Also, they have a more defined chisel head, long sloppy back, and square body.
Notably, they have small triangular ears, shorthair coat that is easy to groom.
It is good to take the lead but use positive reinforcement during training instead of a harsh tone.
Particularly, these dogs are sensitive, ensure to make the training fun, consistent, and positive.
Their high sensitivity level may not make them a good pick for first-time dog owners. If you are a good trainer and provide leadership this is a great dog for repeat pet owners. We have much training that your puppy can benefit from.
To start with obedience classes, kindergarten puppy classes.
Belgian Malinois are high-energy dogs and need exercise daily. In addition, they also need mental stimulation and avoid boredom.
You can go hiking, jogging together, also a game of fetch at the park is great too or a walk in the neighborhood if it is a puppy.
Always have them on a leash when out and about to avoid injury or dashing off. Give 30-60 minutes of time for exercise to reduce the excess energy.
If the dog is bored or not engaged it can lead to unwanted behaviors like tearing curtains, scratching carpet and seats, barking, and being a nuisance.
Children and other Pets
Malinois are assertive as well as affectionate but aloof to strangers. That is why we recommend early socialization and basic training so that they are able to fit well once brought home.
Check also on their temperament, as shy and fearful once can become aggressive when not well socialized.
Supervise interactions with children as they can herd children if not well socialized.
Caring for a Belgian Malinois
They love companionship and will not do well in a home where they are left alone for many hours.
Without a doubt, they are dogs with high energy levels and sensitivity and if left alone can become destructive.
If the dog cannot accompany you while traveling abroad or away for several days get a dog sitter or leave it at a kennel boarding facility.
Proper diet and enough exercise for this active breed will make her happier and live longer.
When not sure what to give consult your vet. In case of a change of diet do it gradually and as advised by the vet.
Some foods can lead to bloating or a system shutdown when trying to reduce food portions due to obesity.
Avoid giving treats in between feeds to prevent overfeeding, have a feeding schedule and follow it. When away from home you can serve the food with an automatic feeder.
Give enough water to keep the dog hydrated as Belgian Malinois is an active breed and will also be doing some work or running around helping in activities.
Moreover, give high-quality food and according to the size, age, weight, and activity levels so as not to overfeed or underfeed. Can be between 1-1.5 cups of dry food.
For the right portions, you can consult your vet, but a puppy cannot be served the same portions as an adult dog.
Puppies will need food high in calories for gaining energy. Meals may be divided 4 times into small portions while for an adult dog may have 2 times daily.
Despite having shorthair they shed constantly and need to be brushed regularly to remove loose fur.
Furthermore, they shed twice per year. On these days you may need to vacuum the home and remove loose fur from seats and carpet.
Brush her teeth often, 2-3 times a week, and trim her nails once a month to avoid ingrown claws.
Subsequently, brush her coat twice a week to remove any loose fur and dirt. Unless dirty, dogs do not need to bathe daily, but constantly check on any lumps, ticks, or parasites on her/his coat.
Clean the ears and eyes, you can use a wet clean damp cloth or cotton wool to remove excess debris and dirt.
Just like any other dog breed, Belgian Malinois can suffer from fleas, ticks, and mites, roundworms, tapeworms, and other parasites.
Clearly, it is recommended you treat when you see any signs of infection. For instance, vomiting, weight loss, lack of appetite, tiredness, dry coat, red rashes on the coat, bite marks.
Sanitize and clean the area when the dog has a parasite infection. Give clean water, clear bushes around the home, and spray contaminated areas/waste to kill the parasite’s eggs.
Bathe the dog with dog formulated shampoo together with the recommended treatment when having external parasites.
We encourage buying from reputable breeders to avoid many genetic health issues which are inherited from the parents.
Not necessary that your dog will have any but some of them are common in Belgian Malinois.
To be prepared for any future emergency cost it is good to have pet insurance for your dog or pets.
The most common health issues range from infections, dental problems, obesity, bloat, epilepsy, elbow and hip dysplasia, eye problems, thyroid disorders.
The most common thyroid disease is hypothyroidism and signs include dry skin, hair loss, fearful, aggression.
This disease can be detected through screening and is treated with oral pills for hormone replacement.
The common eye diseases in Malinois are cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy which can be corrected with surgery and pannus which can be corrected with sunglasses.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Also, both hip and elbow dysplasia can lead to stiffness of muscles and arthritis.
We have beds that put pressure off your dog joint during the resting time which can be a solution.
Arthritis is treatable when detected early and most dogs will exhibit signs of limping, difficulty getting up when laying down.
Overweight dogs can suffer from arthritis, stick to a proper diet and feeding schedule, enough exercises to minimize this.
Never buy from a puppy mill, online shop but from a reputable breeder to avoid buying a dog with unwanted behavior and genetic diseases.
A reputable breeder will ensure that the parents are tested for any genetic disease and have medical history records to show the state of the puppy.
The price of a puppy from a proper breeder can range from £ 1000- £ 3500 but maybe cheaper when adopting from £400- £700. Despite this, a fully trained Malinois may go up to £30,000 and one needs to be financially prepared.
Additionally due to temperament issues and lack of socialization if one buys from a puppy mill or unscrupulous breeder chances are high of buying a dog with negative issues.