Belgian Malinois Dogs

The Belgian Malinois is a loyal, friendly and affectionate friend. It may have a strong working-dog background, but it craves companionship and family time above everything else. An alert and watchful companion to children, the Belgian Malinois really flourishes when given a steady dose of good-natured play, cuddling and conversation.

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois Pictures

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Quick Facts

  • 55 - 65 pounds
  • 22 - 26 inches

Ideal Human Companions

    • Active, sporty types
    • Farmers and ranchers
    • Families
    • Experienced dog handlers

Belgian Malinois on Dogster

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Trademark Traits

    • Protective
    • Sensitive
    • Obedient
    • Loving
    • Hard-working
    • Reserved

What They Are Like to Live With

The Belgian Malinois is very protective of its family, property and territory, making it a passionate but restrained watchdog. It can be slightly reserved with new people, but tends to relax when it realizes there is no threat to the household. Like other herding breeds, the Belgian Malinois may “herd” family members and household guests occasionally.

This dog has a great work ethic. It responds well to commands, learns new tasks quickly and likes to get the job done. It’s no wonder that the Belgian Malinois is gainfully employed around the world as a police dog.

Things You Should Know

The Belgian Malinois was built to be busy. If you can’t provide a field of sheep for it to herd, you should provide consistent, positive training. From an early age, keep your Belgian Malinois busy, active and socially challenged. It truly thrives on love, attention, affection and tasks.

A healthy Belgian Malinois can live as long as 14 years. A relatively healthy breed, some Belgian Malinois can develop skin allergies, eye problems and hip dysplasia. It is also fairly easy to groom, needing only the occasional brushing. Be sure not to bathe it too often: Soap can remove its natural waterproofing.

Belgian Malinois History

Named for the Belgian city of Malines, the Belgian Malinois is one of the country’s four standard sheepdogs. A favorite among Belgian sheepherders, the Malinois was carefully bred to be resilient and dependable farm and field workers. Introduced to the United States in the early 1900s, they did not truly catch on until the1960s. Today, the Belgian Malinois is celebrated for its herding, obedience, agility, work ethic and companionship.

The Look of a Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is a light, graceful, square-built dog covered in a short, straight, weather-resistant coat that can come in fawn, red and mahogany—with or without black tips. It has a powerful, flat-topped head with a sharp muzzle, black nose and triangle-shaped ears that point straight up. Its dark brown eyes have an alert and intelligent expression. It has a thick neck, level back and a low-hanging tail. Overall, the Belgian Malinois exudes strength without stockiness.

Talk About Belgian Malinois 

Train, socialize and exercise this breed

The Belgian Malinois is like a German Shepherd on steroids! They have an edge to them that's quite unlike any other dog. Even being in K-9 law enforcement, it is a challenge to live with them: every day they will push you to your limits so that you can push them further.

Training, socialization and exercise are the ingredients that will allow you to be successful with this breed. I would discourage, however, a family with children from making this the family dog.

~Alan K., owner of a Belgian Malinois

High-energy dogs that want to be busy

My favorite breed is the Belgian Malinois, because they are intelligent, loyal companions as well as working dogs for police or search and rescue. My first Mal knew I was having seizures before my doctors did and I took her with me everywhere, from church to a photographer's convention in Washington, DC. I would suggest anyone learn about the breed before adopting one, because they are high energy dogs that want to be busy and bond with their owners. I just adopted my second Mal and look forward to years of companionship with her, too.

~Marian A., owner of a Belgian Malinois

A lot of dog!

I originally purchased my Belgian Malinois under the impression he was a Norwegian Elkhound, only to be corrected by my vet as to his true breed. I love my dog, Luigi, because he is incredibly loyal and quite affectionate. When they say this dog has tremendous amounts of energy, that's almost an understatement!

If you are considering getting a Belgian Malinois, be sure that you have enough time in your day to devote to it and socialize your dog as early and as much as possible! I made the mistake of not socializing him enough with other dogs and now he feels very threatened by them and barks and goes crazy at the mere sight of another dog.

~Lauren D., owner of a Belgian Malinois

Sweet and loyal and fearless

Very intelligent, playful, loyal, and absolutely NO fear! I adopted my female Malie from a mal rescue and lucked out. She is training in agility, obedience and is eager to learn.

This breed takes a lot of time and energy and constantly wants a job. They need a lot of socializing. Please don't get one if you're working or busy with kids, etc., because they really need training and time.

They can get aggressive if they aren't worked or trained daily, or crated a lot. It's due to their pent-up energy.

~Debra B, owner of a Belgian Malinois

High energy is an understatement!!

My Malinois, Roscoe, is now 6 months and 60 pounds. He is adorable and very handsome, but man, does he like to get in trouble! We go out and play fetch and run and play for hours, and it doesn't even affect him. He gets a drink of water and he's right back where we started.

He is very needy -- he loves attention, and is also very jealous of me petting any other dog. He jumps on my lap when I give attention to any other dog. He is extremely intelligent and picks up on new tricks very fast. He has a very high prey drive.

If you plan on getting a Malinois, make sure you know what you are getting into. He will try to get away with things. You cannot let him get his way, or you will be in for a very rude awaking when he gets older. They are very smart and don't mind being corrected when they do something wrong. Mine has eaten my computer charger's cable and a couple of phone chargers because I took my eyes off him for a minute. You gotta keep an eye on them.

I wanted a very high-energy dog, and that is exactly what I got. I love him!

~Jorge P., owner of a Belgian Malinois

Watch out or he'll get away with everything

I have a 5-month-old puppy who is all gold with a black tail and a bit of black on his muzzle. My new vet says he looks like a Malinois. I had never heard of this breed. But after looking at pictures and doing some reading, he is definitely a Malinois!

Reading all of the comments, I completely agree. Mac has lots of energy. He's way smarter than me, very needy (he's whining beside me as I write this), and he loves to work. He also listens to commands very well. For instance, my laptop cord runs through this bed sometimes. The first time he went to nip at it I yelled "NO" -- and although he has chewed lots of hats and millions of socks he has never once bitten my computer cord.

We have also had some dominance issues, but we're working on that, and it's probably not a breed-related problem.

My advice to anyone who is considering this breed? Make sure you have lots of time and love for the little guy. You also have to be very strict and consistent -- and PATIENT! He tries to get away with EVERYTHING!!! If you can give this dog these things, you will a best friend for life.

Mac is the smartest, kindest, funniest little ball of fur, and I'm so happy to say he's a Malinois.

~Alex W., owner of a Belgian Malinois/Collie