Belgian Malinois

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Belgian Malinois

HomeDog Breeds > Belgian Malinois

livestock, herding

Area of Origin: 


Other Name: 

Malinois, chien de berger Belge

Today's Function: 

security, police, contraband detection, assistance, herding trials, shutzhund

Date of Origin: 


Original Function: 

stock herding


The early history of Belgian sheep-herding dogs, (also known as chiens de berger Belge) is similar to that of other shepherds, including those used for guarding and more general purposes.

Belgian Malinois Breed Health

Major concerns: 


Life span: 

10 - 12 years

Minor concerns: 

CHD, epilepsy, skin allergies

Average Size of Female: 

Height: 22 - 24 inches, Weight: 60 - 65 pounds

Average Size of Male: 

Height: 24 - 26 inches, Weight: 60 - 65 pounds

Occasionally seen: 


Suggested tests: 


Belgian Malinois Breed History

These breeds were mainly bred to excel in ability, and as such, very few accurate records were kept. However, in 1891, a professor named Adolphe Reul took on the study of the Belgian breeds, and he discovered that there were several dogs of the same manner, but with differing coat color and type. He grouped them together as Belgian shepherds. The one with a short coat became known as the Belgian Malinois, because it was believed to have been developed in and around the region known as Malines. Reul was one of a group of dedicated breeders credited with the formation of the Malinois. It is said that he owned many of this breed of dog, including "Mastock," a well-known specimen in breeding circles. History suggests that one of the first registered Belgian Malinois was named "Charlot." This individual is thought to have been born in 1891, and it is said that Charlot was a model used by A. Clarys, a Belgian artist. While the Malinois has not enjoyed a great amount of popularity in the United States since World War II, this breed is still one of the most popular shepherd breeds in Belgium. In America, the number of registered Malinois tumbled after the war, and it was quite uncommon to see a Malinois entered into competition. The Belgian shepherd breeds were officially separated in 1959, and the registrations of Belgian Malinois began to increase, but it was still less popular than other Belgian breeds. Recently, this breed has gained popularity for its reputation as a excellent police dog.

Belgian Malinois Breed Appearance

A sturdy, square-proportioned dog, the Belgian Malinois features strong, straight front legs and muscular forequarters. The bone of the front leg is oval in shape, and the round feet are well-padded with curved toes and strong black nails. The back legs, also with oval bones, feature muscular thighs. The back feet are well-padded and sometimes slightly elongated with curved toes and strong, black nails. The clean-cut head features brown, almond-shaped eyes that offer an alert, intelligent expression. The triangular ears are proportionately sized with the head, and they are held erect. The moderately pointed muzzle has a black nose and strong, powerful jaws. The teeth meet in a level or scissors bite. The rounded neck allows the Malinois to carry its head proudly, and it tapers nicely into the body. The tail of this breed is strong at the base, and it is often carried upright with a curve when the dog is in motion. The gait of the Malinois is best described as easy, free, and smooth. The short coat features a hard, straight outer coat that has natural weather resistance and a dense undercoat. While hair on the head, ears, and lower legs is quite short, longer hair can be found around the neck, on the tail, and at the back of the thighs. The color of this breed runs from mahogany to fawn, and the hair ends are often tipped in black. Normally the mask and the ears of this breed are black.

Belgian Malinois Breed Temperament

Most experts agree that the best way to describe the Belgian Malinois is intense. This dog makes an excellent watch dog and guard dog because of its serious, intelligent, and alert demeanor. This breed is usually quite reserved with strangers, and it can tend to be aggressive towards other dogs and animals. The Malinois is very protective of its family, so it is important to socialize this dog from the start. The Malinois can be good with children if socialized with them from an early age. This breed enjoys human companionship and should be treated as part of the family, not locked in a kennel. As with all Belgian shepherd breeds, the Malinois may have a tendency towards herding behavior, which includes chasing or circling, moving about for hours on end, and nipping at people's heels.

Belgian Malinois Breed Maintenance

Because of its short length and smooth texture, the coat of the Malinois is not difficult to groom. Weekly brushing with a firm bristle brush is recommended, and more frequent grooming is necessary during heavy shedding times. This breed should only be bathed when it is absolutely necessary. Bathing the dog too often will remove the natural waterproofing found in the coat. This breed is considered to be a light constant shedder, and it will shed more heavily about twice a year. Because of its high energy level, the Malinois must be provided with a lot of daily physical exercise - and more than just a walk on leash. Jogging and energetic play times are recommended. This dog will be happiest if it can spend its time both inside with the family and outside in the yard. It will do okay in an apartment dwelling as long as sufficient exercise is provided, but a good size fenced-in yard is suggested.

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