Belgian Malinois

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Species group:

Other name(s): Mechelaar; Mechelse Herder; Mechelse Scheper; Pastor Belga Malinois

The basics:
The Belgian Malinois has been recognized across the world for its potential as an elite police and military dog. This hard-working, highly intelligent breed has a strong need to work. If you're looking for an athletic companion who wants to work hard and play hard, and you have superb dog handling skills, then the Malinois might be the dog for you. However, if you'd like a more relaxed pet, you'll want to look elsewhere. A bored Malinois who doesn't have enough to do can find a way to cause a lot of trouble.

There's some debate around the world about how to classify these dogs. The American Kennel Club recognizes them as a separate breed. However, many countries around the world consider them one of four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd. Each variety differs in coat type and color. The others are: the Belgian Laekenois, which has a fawn, rough coat; the Belgian Tervuren, which has a long, fawn-mahogany coat with a black mask; and the Groenendael, which has a long, black coat.

Appearance / health:
The Belgian Malinois is a well-proportioned, square dog with plenty of muscle, displaying an expression full of elegance, intelligence, and alertness. Standing on all fours, this dog appears strong without appearing bulky. The head is not heavy. The almond-shaped eyes are brown to dark brown. Their stiff ears form triangles of equal sides, and are always erect. The muzzle is pointed though not much. The neck tapers from the body to the head.

They are light shedders. Bathing is done sparingly and only when required. Brushing daily with a firm bristle brush may be necessary, especially in some seasons when they shed more.

They need good amounts of exercise. A long walk or a jog is necessary for them to stay active and healthy. A tired dog is also less likely to be destructive. A midsized yard may help them stay active.

The Belgian Malinois is a healthy breed but some dogs may be prone to hereditary conditions. They may be prone to elbow and hip dysplasia. Dysplasia refers to improper formation of organs or cells, which may cause lameness in some dogs. In addition, epilepsy, eye problems, and allergies may occur in a few dogs.

Behavior / temperament:
Belgian Malinois dogs are full of energy. When left alone for too long, they find things to do on their own, some of which could be destructive. They love to travel with their owners. Fearless and athletic, these dogs are unafraid of strangers or any situation. They are extremely protective of their owners though they are not aggressive. They are excellent for guard work, police work, show, or any competitions. Their herding instincts are still present, which can be seen by their constant chasing, nipping at people's heels, and circling.

They have a high learning rate and can be trained to do many things. They may become uncooperative if harsh methods are used. Early socialization and obedience is extremely important for this breed. They must be exposed to different situations and conditions.

They do bark but usually not too much. Some dogs may be noisy if not properly trained.

Is a Belgian Malinois right for you?

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What owners are saying about Belgian Malinois health

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What owners are saying about Belgian Malinois behavior and training

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Reagan- The Family Guard Dog

We were not expecting this dog to come into our lives, but we are really glad she did. Reagan has been an incredible dog. She is the smartest, most loyal pet we have ever owned. We learned that Belgian Malinois are the type of dogs they send in with the navy seals, and we can ...

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