|Group classification: Herding||Country of origin: Belgium||Date of origin: 19th century|
|Weight (M): 65 - 68 lb||Height (M): 24 - 26"||Life expectancy: 10 - 12 years|
|Weight (F): 60 - 65 lb||Height (F): 22 - 24"|
General Description of the Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is a dog of medium size that is fawn to mahogany in color with a black mask and black tipped fur. The Malinois is a short-haired dog and looks similar to the German Shepherd, but there are several differences between the two breeds. They are smaller and lighter than the German Shepherd and do not feature the black saddle that is associated with the German Shepherd. Also, the Belgian Malinois is in general a more energetic and agile breed than the German Shepherd. These beautiful, well-proportioned dogs sport a chiseled and refined head with triangular shaped ears. Eyes are almond in shape, black-rimmed and usually dark brown in color.
Belgian Malinois Temperament
The Belgian Malinois is highly energetic and born to work. Their personalities can range from friendly to reserved with people and animals they don't know. These dogs are very protective of their property and owners, but usually not unnecessarily aggressive. The Belgian Malinois thrives in an environment where tasks must be performed, and without anything to do the dog can become bored or even depressed. This dog requires lots of exercise and activity, and responds best to owners who are able to provide firm structure, discipline and positive reinforcement. The Malinois can be great with children, provided it is introduced to them as puppies. Both dog and child should be taught how to safely interact with one another.
Caring for a Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is a low-maintenance breed as far as grooming is concerned. They should be brushed every few days to keep the coat healthy, and more frequently during heavy shedding periods. Excessive bathing should be avoided, because it can remove the waterproofing capacity of the coat. The most important aspect in caring for a Belgian Malinois is providing the dog with plenty of exercise and activities. These dogs are happiest when they have something to do, and are filled with energy and enthusiasm. The Belgian Malinois is capable of living outdoors in temperate climates, but it is much happier when it can live inside with access to a yard. Though generaly very healthy, this breed is occasionally known to be afflicted with canine hip and elbow dysplasia.
The Belgian Malinois is a very-fast-learning, highly-trainable, high-energy, versatile working dog. They can make great pets for highly-active, high-energy families. But a Belgian Malinois will not be happy unless he gets lots of daily exercise and has a job to do. Because of this breed's trainability and intelligence, Belgian Malinois are often used today as police dogs, military dogs, and homeland security dogs. Domestic Belgian Malinois excel at obedience, schutzhund, agility, flyball, Frisbee, herding, sledding, and tracking. It doesn't matter so much what their job is, as long as they have one. These are busy "perpetual motion" dogs who need more than just a daily walk. They enjoy hiking, running, and biking, and make good jogging partners. They do best with a fenced-in area to thrash around in. (The alternative is the Malinois zipping around your house, leaping over furniture and smashing into things.) The Malinois is very loving toward his family and reserved toward strangers. They are naturally protective of their owners without being aggressive. They make good watchdogs as they are incredibly alert and will notice sights, sounds, and smells that you don't. They have a high prey drive and will chase small animals. Many Malinois will chase vehicles. When raised around children, Malinois are good with them. However, young children need to be taught not to run past the Malinois waving their arms and shrieking, as this may trigger the Malinois' prey drive. Also, keep in mind that Malinois are tremendously physical animals and might run into a child accidentally... over and over again. He might also try to herd children. (He might also try to herd you and other animals in the house, sometimes all at the same time.) The Malinois is extremely sensitive and social and will want to be part of your family. If he feels neglected, he will entertain himself. By digging holes in your mattress, for example.