Type: Herding Dog
Height: Males: 24 - 26 inches; Females: 22 - 24 inches
Weight: 60.5 lbs. - 63 lbs.
Life Span: 10 - 14 years
Litter Size: 6 - 10
Country of Origin: Belgium
Activity: High. Malinois need lots of exercise for continual physical and mental development.
Watch-dog: Very High. Sheepdogs are very alert and aware of their surroundings.
Guard-dog: Very High, will protect their family and property, but will not attack unwarranted.
Description: The Belgian Malinois a very intelligent, lively breed who excels in an active family environment. They are identical to the Belgian Sheepdog (Groenendael), Belgian Tervuren, as well as the Laekenois, except their coat is short and mahogany in coloring. All four dogs are spawned from the same breed, and closely resemble each other save for their coats. Belgian Malinois are also the only Belgian shepherd to have smooth coats, not wiry or fluffy. Closely resembling the German Shepherd, these dogs are the second least popular breed among the Belgian shepherds which makes them somewhat rare. Belgian Malinois are a medium-large sized dog, who can come in all shades of red, fawn, and gray, and always with the black face. The Malinois was the first of the Belgian shepherds to establish its type, therefore making this breed the gauge by which other Belgians are judged. Belgian Malinois are graceful, swift, and agile on their feet. Malinois do not tend to be friendly to anyone that walks by, as they have been used over the centuries as guard dogs and herders and tend to remain very reserved. The Belgian Malinois is a no-nonsense dog who must be taken seriously by their owner. It is recommended an owner be an experience dog person.
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Other Names: Malinois, Chien de Berger Belge, Malinois Shepherd Dog
Colors: All shades of red, fawn, gray, with black overlap. Faces and ears are black.
Coat: Very short on head, exterior of ears and lower parts of legs, short on rest of body. Coat is smooth all over, the only one to have this of all the Belgian sheepdogs. Sometimes the short fawn-colored hairs are tipped with black, or frosted.
Temperament: Belgian Malinois are obedient, hard working, loyal, reserved, protective, intelligent, attentive, and very active. If not occupied for a long time, they may turn to mischief for entertainment. Although they are generally very alert, this breed is probably less snappy than it's relative counterparts. They tend to be one-person dogs.
With Children: Yes, Malinois are good with their family, but should not rough-house or play chasing games. May not tolerate other children.
With Pets: Needs to be socialized to other pets. Take extra care when socializing with a new pet. Malinois have natural instincts to guard, and therefore should be trained very carefully when dealing with new pets.
Care and Training: Brush their coat regularly with a firm bristle brush and bathe only when necessary as bathing removes the waterproofing of their coat. Shedding is bi-annual. Belgian Malinois is a working dog and needs a lot of exercise, preferably off the leash as much as possible. Early training will prevent puppies from developing a sharp temper and discourage aggressive tendencies.
Learning Rate: Very High. Malinois are very intelligent and should have mental exercises to utilize their learning skills. Obedience - Very High. The Belgian Malinois is designed to serve. Problem Solving - High. Overbearing training techniques may encourage fear-biting, careful choosing of training methods must be taken into consideration. The Belgian breeds are known for having a negative reaction to deterrence or punishment training, and should therefore be trained with a reward-based routine. Reward-based training is best, but the owner should not be overly permissive either, as the Belgian Sheepdog is very intelligent and can take advantage of such opportunities. Professional training courses or training by someone who knows how to do so is suggested.
Special Needs: Malinois need attention, a job or activity, positive training and early socialization.
Living Environment: Belgian Malinois adapts well to both an urban or country environment as long as they have space to roam. A home with a fenced yard is essential. The most desirable environment for the Belgian Malinois would be a yard with a job to do and an experienced owner who can be with them most of the time.
Health Issues: The Belgian Sheepdogs are free from hereditary diseases a majority of the time, although problems such as epilepsy, hip and elbow dysplasia should be checked out. Possible health issues also include anesthesia sensitivity, cancer, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), thyroid problems, eye problems.
History: The Belgian Malinois was developed in Belgium for the guarding and herding of sheep in the area of Malines, thus earning its name, the Malinois. Present in the gene pool of this breed are alleles producing long coats, short coats, rough or wired coats and a variance of colors, making the Belgian Shepherd Dog with four varieties. The Groenendael (known simple as the Belgian Sheepdog), with a long, solid black coat, the Laekenois, a rough or wire-coat in fawn, red or brown, the Malinois, a short coated in fawn, red or brown and the Tervueren, a long coated fawn or dark red dog. All of these dogs originated from the variance of sheepdogs that existed in Belgium towards the end of the 19th century. In the year of 1890, a man named Monsieur Nicholas Rose of the Cafe du Groenendael found a completely black, long-haired Belgian sheepdog in a litter. After buying a dog similar to this one, Monsieur Rose used selective breeding to create the Belgian Sheepdog, or Groenendael. In 1891 the breed was decided upon to develop and separate three more versions of this dog at the Brussels Veterinary University. The American Kennel Club has recognized three of these four varieties. The British Kennel Club regards them as a single breed and the Federation Cynologique states one breed with four varieties. The United States and Belgium are the only countries to accept at least three of the four of them as distinguished from each other as four separate breeds. Because of this, the dogs are always registered on their coat type and color, not of their parents. The Belgian breeds were used as sentry dogs, messengers and even draft dogs in World War I, and continued to serve in World War II. Today they are widely recognized as police dogs.
First Registered by the AKC: 1912 (was registered as the Belgian Sheepdog until 1959)
AKC Group: Herding
Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 1), KC (GB), UKC