Belgian Malinois

June 4, 2020 // 7 minute read

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The Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized dog breed that almost resembles a German Shepherd dog. They are known to have a short-haired coat with colors that range from rich fawn to mahogany. They are squarely built and stand tall with elegance and questioning eyes.

This dog breed is highly intelligent and very active. They used to work as herding dogs, but they can be very useful in police and military work. They also excel in canine sports that show off their agility skills.

Belgian Malinois Dog Breed

Belgian Malinois Statistics

Dog Breed GroupHerding
Breed SizeMedium
Height24-26 inches (male); 22-24 inches (female)
Weight60-80 pounds (male); 40-60 pounds (female)
Lifespan14-16 years

Belgian Malinois Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Belgian Malinois History

Belgian Malinois’ history goes way back to the 1880s. It’s one of the varieties of Belgian Shepherds named after their Belgian villages – Malinois dogs were named after the town of Malines in Belgium.

For centuries, the Belgian Shepherd dogs were known as one breed. They are working dogs meant to help Shepherds take care of their flocks. Well, that was until 1891, when the dogs were divided into different types and names.

By 1911, the Belgian Malinois made its way to the US. It was the first of the Belgian Shepherd types to reach the American lands along with the Groenendael. Until this time, there were still debates among breeders about the types and colors of the Belgian Sheepdogs. But in 1959, the American Kennel Club finally decided to classify the dogs as separate breeds.

After the breed was finally introduced, they immediately gained a lot of popularity. However, when World War II came, their number started decreasing, and breeding ceased. After the war, the effort to re-introduce the breed increased, and they regained their popularity by the 1960s.

They were popular herding dogs, but now, they are recognized as one of the most versatile dog breeds. They even assist in police and military works now.

Belgian Malinois


Their personality can vary a lot, depending on how early you socialize or train him. He can either be reserved or outgoing.

Generally, this dog breed is a confident, smart, and hardworking dog. He is a natural working dog, but he can be playful at the same time.

This dog breed is an excellent companion for active people or family. He requires a lot of exercise – running, jogging, or biking – and he doesn’t get tired quickly. He also needs exercises that will help stimulate his mind too.

Other than being an active dog, the Belgian Malinois is also a very affectionate family companion. He is good with children, especially if he grew up with them. Just make sure, though, that you always supervise when he’s playing with the kids.

He tends to herd smaller ones than him, which may include your kids or smaller pets. For this same reason, a Belgian Malinois may also not get along well with cats, especially if he did not grow up with them.

When it comes to strangers, they will stand alert, but they are not aggressive. This makes them excellent watchdogs. But with other dogs, he might show signs of aggressiveness, especially to those that he doesn’t know.

Just like with any dog breeds, early socialization is crucial to control his good temperaments. This will make him accustomed to strangers and other animals, so he doesn’t get surprised as much.

Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Belgian Malinois requires a lot of protein in their diet. This will support muscle growth that is essential for their activities. Even if your Belgian Malinois is not working as much, he would still require protein. Other than that, his diet should also contain fats that would supply his needed energy. You should also include some fruits and vegetables that would help provide fiber and other essential vitamins. You can get protein from high-quality meat such as chicken, beef, or lamb, while fats you can get from fish oils. You can also include rice on their diet for some additional carbohydrates. Stay away from products that contain fillers, meat-by-products, and other chemicals that can be bad for your Belgian Malinois’ stomach. These ingredients don’t also contain a lot of nutrition.
  • Grooming: Belgian Malinois have short-haired coats that shed seasonally. Occasional brushing is all that is needed to keep the coat healthy. But when the shedding season comes, you should brush his coat as often as possible (daily) to remove dead hair. They also don’t need to be given frequent baths, except if they get too dirty with his daily activities. Make sure that you also check and trim his nails, so he’s always comfortable doing his activities.
  • Exercise: Belgian Malinois is a highly active dog. They need a lot of activities, which is why they’re an excellent fit for an athletic person. With his high intelligence and energy, he needs to be continuously engaged mentally and physically. He is not the type of dog who will be pleased about staying indoors. Putting them off-lease to run off your backyard or daily walks wouldn’t suffice either.They need plenty of exercise which would sometimes need to include you. So form some activities that you can do together, such as biking, running, jogging, hiking, fetch, and a lot more. You can also have him participate in canine sports events to showcase his agility, tracking, herding, and obedience skills. This way, training can also be part of your daily activity.
  • Health: Belgian Malinois is a generally healthy dog breed. However, there are some diseases they are prone to that you need to watch out. Some of the most common diseases are dental diseases, infections, obesity, and parasites. These are all common with other dogs, which is why it’s essential to pay attention to his feeding. Other health diseases you need to watch out for are genetically transferred. These are epilepsy, hip, and elbow dysplasia, bloating, eye problems, and thyroid problems. With these diseases, you can check with the dog’s parents to see what genetic health issues you need to watch out for. Your dog can also take some screening tests so you can early detect any existing health problems.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Belgian Malinois is 14-16 years.

Belgian Malinois Facts

Famous Belgian Malinois

  • Conan: The Belgian Malinois hailed as an American hero after helping a stealth operation in Syria
  • Diesel: The Belgian Malinois police dog killed in the terrorist attack in Paris
  • Seal: A Belgian Malinois who helped SEAL Team 6 takedown Osama bin Laden in 2011
  • Hugo: Belgian Malinois of actress Eva Mendes

Fun Facts About Belgian Malinois

  • Belgian Malinois was named after a Belgian city where they originated, Malines.
  • They were originally bred as herding dogs.
  • They have been working with police officers since 1908.
  • They also served during World War I as messengers and assistants to the Red Cross.
  • They are excellent skydivers.
  • Belgian Malinois is a rare dog breed. He is one of the smallest in number of all the registered dog breeds.

check Out Other Herding Dog Breeds:
Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Bearded Collies, Beaucerons, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Bergamasco Sheepdog, Berger Picards, Border Collie, Bouviers des Flandres, Briards, Canaan Dog, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Collie, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Finnish Lapphund, German Shepard, Miniature American Shepherd, Norwegian Buhunds, Old English Sheepdog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Puli, Pumi, Pyrenean Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, Spanish Water Dog, Swedish Vallhunds

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