Belgian Malinois Guide

Herding Dog Breeds

The Belgian Malinois is a sturdy dog of square proportion with moderately heavy, but oval, bone. It is elegant, with very proud head carriage. The overall impression is of power without bulkiness. The gait is smooth and easy, seemingly effortless rather than hard driving. Such a gait gives the impression of tirelessness. The Malinois has a tendency to run in a wide circle rather than a straight line. Its coat is fairly short, straight, and hard, with a dense undercoat. Its expression is intelligent and questioning.

Intense best describes the Belgian Malinois. This is a high-energy breed with a need for regular mental and physical stimulation. It is alert, smart and serious, an ideal watchdog and guard dog. It is aloof with strangers and can be aggressive toward other dogs and animals. Some can be domineering. When confined, it often runs in sweeping circles in an effort to stay on the move. It is protective of its home and family.

AKC RANKING 96

FAMILY livestock, herding

AREA OF ORIGIN Belgium

DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION stock herding

TODAY'S FUNCTION security, police, contraband detection, assistance, herding trials, shutzhund

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 24-26 Weight: 60-65

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 22-24 Weight: 60-65

OTHER NAME Malinois, chien de berger Belge

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Energy level High energy

Exercise needs High

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Somewhat affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Hard to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

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The Malinois is a high-energy dog that needs a lot of exercise. Its needs cannot be met with a leisurely walk on leash. It instead needs a good jog or a vigorous play session. It especially enjoys herding. This breed can live outside in temperate to cool weather, but it would prefer to divide its time between house and yard. Its coat needs weekly brushing, more when shedding.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: CHD, epilepsy, skin allergies
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: hip
• Life span: 10 – 12 years
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The Belgian sheep-herding breeds, collectively known as chiens de berger Belge, shared their early history as general-purpose shepherds and guard dogs of Belgium. As working dogs, they were bred for ability rather than esthetics, and no careful records were kept. Thus, when dog shows became popular in the late 1800s, it was not clear if Belgium had any recognizable breeds with which they could tout their national pride. In 1891, professor Adolphe Reul was asked to study the native dogs to see if they could be sorted into distinct breeds. He found a group of similar dogs that differed only in coat type and color, all of which were grouped as Belgian shepherds. The shorthaired variety was developed in the area around Malines, and so became known as the Belgian Malinois. It remains the most popular of the Belgian shepherd breeds in its native land, but has had a rockier road in America. Between 1911 and World War II, the Malinois enjoyed a good deal of popularity in America. After the war, registrations plummeted, and it was rare to find a Malinois entered in competition. When the breeds were separated in 1959, Malinois registrations began to grow once again, but they still fell far behind the other Belgian breeds. More recently, the Malinois is becoming popular because of its reputation as one of the pre-eminent police dogs in the world, surpassing even the German shepherd in demand. Thus, even though it may not be seen in many homes or show rings, it is making its presence known as a keeper of the peace throughout the world.
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