Belgian Malinois Breed History
Although the full story of the origin of the Belgian Malinois is not known, in the 1890’s a professor named Adolphe Reul noticed the similarities between many emerging dog breeds in Belgium. He grouped these similar dogs into a classification he called Belgian shepherds. One such variation of the Belgian shepherd, which was believed to have originated in the Malinois area, came to be called the Belgian Malinois. It is said that Reul 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, which was born in 1891. While a breed with a similar appearance, the German Shepherd, has enjoyed a great deal of popularity in the United States, the Belgian Malinois has remained common only in its native country of Belgium. The Belgian Malinois is not nearly as popular as other Belgian breeds as a competitive show dog, but this breed has become more and more utilized in law enforcement.
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
The Belgian Malinois is often described as being square because the height and length of the dog are approximately equal. This breed has straight athletic legs and muscular forequarters and hindquarters. The head is held upright with triangular ears held erect, giving this dog a confident, intelligent look. Its jaws are powerful, and the teeth meet in a level or scissors bite. The long tail is usually carried horizontal or down and has an upward curl to it. The coat of the Belgian Malinois, which is usually longer around the neck and rear, is normally a deep mahogany brown or a lighter tan, often called fawn, with black tips. Normally the mask and the ears of this breed are black.
Belgian Malinois Breed Temperament
The Belgian Malinois maintains strong evidence of its origins as a hard working sheepdog. It is intelligent, hyper-alert, and intense, and will, at times, even attempt to herd other animals and humans. Although this dog makes an excellent watchdog, it does enjoy the companionship of being a part of a family, and, if exposed to them when the dog is young, can do quite well with children. The Belgian Malinois barks at strangers or avoids them, and will often show aggression toward other unknown dogs.
Belgian Malinois Breed Maintenance
The coat, while not difficult to groom, should be brushed regularly as this breed does shed lightly throughout the year with at least two periods of more heavy shedding. Like other breeds with waterproof coats, Belgian Malinois should only be bathed when it is absolutely necessary.
These dogs love to work hard and to be challenged. They are high energy, require a great deal of exercise and stimulation, and do best in a home environment where they can spend time in the house with the family, but only if this time is balanced with outdoor fun in a large fenced yard.