All You Need To Know About The Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois

Last Updated on August 25, 2023 by Fumipets

The Belgian Malinois: An Exceptional Breed


The Belgian Malinois is a remarkable and versatile breed known for its intelligence, agility, and unwavering loyalty. Originating from Belgium, these dogs have earned a reputation as exceptional working and companion animals. Let’s delve into the world of Belgian Malinois and uncover their intriguing characteristics in this summary.

Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois, sometimes known as the Mal, is one of four herding breeds indigenous to Belgium. It is a medium-to-large dog with a powerful, graceful build. This high-energy breed is low-maintenance overall but requires a lot of daily vigorous exercise and mental stimulation. The Belgian Malinois is a favored choice for police and military K-9 teams because of its renown for intelligence and strong work ethic. Despite spending more time at work than in parks, Mal may be a wonderful family pet because of his kind, lively nature and devotion. 


The Belgian Malinois is a large herding dog (pronounced MAL-in-wah). Mals are bred to labor, therefore while having robust muscles, their bodies seem lovely. They have perked-up ears, friendly, dark chocolate eyes, and a somewhat bushy tail. They are tall—up to 2 feet at the shoulders!—and always attentive. The Mal has a short, thick coat that ranges in color from fawn to mahogany, and its ears and mask are often black. The Mal often looks like a German shepherd at first sight. These canines are unrelated, distinct breeds despite the fact that they seem similar and are both favorites of police and soldiers all around the globe.

Male Belgian Malinois are often larger than medium-sized female Malinois, which weigh between 40 and 80 pounds.

The waterproof coat of the Malinois is simple to maintain. Weekly brushing will disperse healthy oils and remove dead hair from his coat, keeping your Mal looking lustrous. This breed does shed twice a year, and during these times you should continue to brush your dog at least once a day to avoid an infestation of dog hair in your house. The Belgian Malinois can go a long without showers because of their sleek coats, and unless they roll in anything nasty, they won’t need to be properly washed more than a few times each year.


The Belgian Malinois breed is popular among working dogs for a reason. There isn’t much this dog can’t achieve with his lean, muscular frame and self-assured attitude. The Mal is a loyal friend, whether he’s working with Navy SEALS or keeping a close check on his family at home. Belgian Malinois are very devoted and enthusiastic learners who respond well to positive reinforcement training. Like other dogs, your Mal has to be trained. He is an intense dog, while being lovely, sensitive, and utterly loyal, and would function best in a home with a seasoned dog owner. 

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“You see a lot of Malinois now used for police work or the army,” claims Brian Kilcommons, the creator of The Great Pets Resort, a training center in Connecticut. Those are particularly bred working dogs; they are certainly not suitable for inexperienced owners.

Due to their high level of energy and intelligence, mals need a lot of daily mental and physical stimulation. If not appropriately handled, their desire and limitless energy might become a problem. Due to their ferocity and incessant need to work, Mals are often used as workers rather than maintained as pets by families. For many years, Malinois have been a great option for bomb and narcotics detection, tracking, and search and rescue dogs.

The Belgian Malinois is devoted and watchful, particularly when it comes to the people they care about. A well-rounded Mal requires early human and animal interaction, exposure to new sights and sounds, and positive reinforcement training. 

Mals, who were created to herd, maybe too much for little children and other pets. A puppy would be a preferable option if you want to integrate a Mal into a home that already has children or other animals, since Mals that are introduced early on usually perform better. It’s crucial to educate kids on how to behave around dogs and to constantly watch them while they’re playing with any animal. Malamutes are among the most devoted and devoted dogs you can find, so if you’re prepared to put in the effort, you’ll reap great benefits.

Living Needs

In the past, Belgian Malinois were raised to spend hours herding sheep. Today, herding dogs are seldom ever used, although they still have endurance. Mals need a lot of daily physical activity outside and mental stimulation. A Mal will be happiest in a house with a large, securely enclosed yard to run about in, despite the fact that they can adapt to a variety of living settings, including apartments if well exercised. Malinois like to go outdoors, but what they really want is your continuous company.

They develop close relationships with their owners and are happiest when they are with them in all of their endeavors. since of their devoted devotion, Belgian Malinois should not be left alone for extended periods of time since they are prone to separation anxiety. If they aren’t adequately cared for or exercised, they could get dissatisfied and start acting out.

They are a fantastic choice for an energetic, committed owner wishing to spend quality time with their dog because of their acute intellect and strong levels of activity. If you’re seeking a daring buddy to join you on extended adventures—biking, hiking, and jogging are great!—the Mal could be a fantastic option for you. According to the American Belgian Malinois Club, adopting a Mal is probably not a smart decision if you’re seeking a gorgeous dog to just sit at home with you. Before committing to any dog, it’s crucial to take your lifestyle into account. Before bringing home a Belgian Malinois puppy, discuss expectations with a breeder or rescue organization so you can determine whether this breed is a suitable match for you. 

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The Belgian Malinois is relatively low-maintenance in terms of grooming, simply needing a brief weekly brushing to reduce shedding and maintain a healthy coat despite having high activity requirements. The Mals do shed sometimes, thus when their shedding increases, you should boost your brushing frequency to once per day. Fewer complete baths are necessary because of their thick, waterproof coat, which keeps most problems away. You may skip washing your Mal for weeks or even months if he doesn’t appreciate rolling in stinky things.

Regular brushing is an excellent opportunity to check for things like nail length, ear and dental health, coat shine (dull hair may indicate a vitamin deficiency in his diet), and coat sheen. If you hear your nails tapping on the floor, they need to be cut. Ear canals should have very little, odorless wax and be light pink in color. Particularly if you and your dog spend a lot of time outside or have just been in tall grasses, make sure to keep an eye out for any indications of movement (mites!) and strange items in the canal. 

Both the mental and emotional requirements of your dog must be met. For mals to be content and avoid boredom, they need a lot of mental and social engagement with their owners. Training regularly is a wonderful way to strengthen your relationship with your dog and is crucial for developing a Mal with a well-balanced temperament. 

According to Kilcommons, “Some dogs, like the Belgian Malinois, were bred to work.” “People often see training as something you do to the dog rather than with the dog, making it dog-centric. There is a significant difference. I practice relationship skills and behavioral skills. Since the link is necessary for the behavior to persist. Give your dog plenty of praise and take pleasure in training them. Relationships must be based on mutual trust, satisfying interactions, and the establishment of clear boundaries. Spending time performing enjoyable activities and understanding how the dog communicates helps to build relationships.


The longevity of the Belgian Malinois is 14–16 years, and it is regarded as a generally healthy breed. But the Mal is susceptible to certain health issues, just as other breeds. The official breed club, the American Belgian Malinois Club, mandates that all registered breeders run hip and elbow dysplasia tests as well as conduct comprehensive eye examinations. The group also suggests being checked for hemangiosarcoma and epilepsy. 

Although not all Mals may have major health problems, you should be aware of these frequent worries when thinking about this breed. Additionally, it’s crucial to buy all dogs from trustworthy breeders who will subject the animals to all health examinations advised by the OFA and present you to the animal’s parents and siblings. When adopting a Belgian Malinois, get the rescue’s complete medical history.

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Although the Belgian Malinois and German shepherd may seem to be linked at first glance, the breeds are separate and historically unconnected. The Mals are a robust, clever breed that were originally raised in northwest Belgium, near the city of Malines, where they were valued for their tenacity and used to herd sheep and cattle. The Malinois, Tervuren, Laekenois, and Groenendael breeds of Belgian shepherds were historically combined into a single breed. 

According to the ABMC, Malinois were among the first Belgian shepherd dogs imported into the United States (they arrived in 1911). They had a sustained period of popularity up to the start of World War II, which halted the shipments from Europe. In 1959, when the AKC recognized the Belgian shepherd dogs as a distinct breed, interest in the Mal increased, albeit it lagged behind the three other Belgian shepherds in terms of popularity.

According to the ABMC, Belgian Malinois have a long history in the military and have served as machine gun pullers, ambulance dogs, and message bearers during World War I. In Fayetteville, North Carolina, a tribute honoring military dogs includes a life-size statue of a Mal. This is a testament to how highly the breed is regarded for its service. 

Most notably and most recently, a Mal by the name of Cairo supported Seal Team Six during the 2011 mission that resulted in the death of terrorist Osama Bin Laden. The breed is now in high demand as a working dog for a variety of jobs, including guarding and herding livestock and working with law enforcement. Modern Mals also make wonderful family pets because of their kind, lively nature, and strong loyal inclinations. The Belgian Malinois is the 41st most common breed according to the AKC as of 2020.

Questions & Answers 


1. What is a Belgian Malinois?

The Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized breed belonging to the herding group. They are known for their strong work ethic, keen intelligence, and striking appearance.

2. What are the distinctive traits of Belgian Malinois?

Belgian Malinois have a short, weather-resistant coat with a variety of color patterns. They are known for their high energy levels, endurance, and remarkable agility.

3. How are Belgian Malinois utilized in various roles?

Belgian Malinois excel in various roles, including police and military work, search and rescue, and competitive dog sports. Their intelligence and trainability make them well-suited for demanding tasks.

4. What kind of training and exercise do Belgian Malinois require?

Belgian Malinois thrive on mental and physical stimulation. They require regular exercise, training, and structured activities to channel their energy and prevent behavioral issues.

5. How do Belgian Malinois interact with families and other pets?

Belgian Malinois are loyal and protective of their families. Proper socialization from a young age is essential to ensure they get along well with other pets and children.

Belgian Malinois: A Force of Nature and Devotion

The Belgian Malinois stands as a testament to the bond between humans and dogs, showcasing remarkable abilities in various roles. Their versatility, intelligence, and dedication make them a preferred choice for individuals and organizations seeking a loyal and capable companion. From their striking appearance to their unwavering loyalty, Belgian Malinois continue to leave an indelible mark on the lives they touch.



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