B. Mal. / GSD Differences?

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Chloe the- Chaotic

Chaotic to the- bone.
Barked: Sun Dec 7, '08 9:50am PST 
My question is to those that have converted from GSD's to B. Mal.'s or those who currently have both breeds in their packs.

My next dog (years down the road) I would like a B. Mal. Since chlidhood, I have had Collies, Shleties, & GSD's. I now have a GSD/B. Mal mix & a Sibe. I fell in love in dog shows w/ B. Tav.'s when i was a kid. I'm all grown up now...and realize that a B. Mal. is probably more my cup of tea...just based on the coat and grooming. Problem is, I've never really been around a pure Mal. Sure I have a mix, but that's not really a proper guage of what to expect from the breed. I have done oodles of research; books, documentaries, on-line, talking to folks at dog shows, etc...over the past 2-1/2 decades. But that doesn't really tell me what to expect as far as temperment, learning, personality, tendacy differences between the two breeds. When I speak to people in dog shows, I either get 'they're wonderful dogs, I would never have anything else' or warning me of their high-energy level. Everyone thinks *their* breed of the dog is the best...so that really doesn't tell me anything. I want the real skinny...the good the bad...and the different.

A little background on me:
I am not a novice dog owner, I have had dogs for 40 years. Of the herders/workers I have had, the ones I have been in sync the most with were my GSD's & my current GSD/Mal. mix. I am not interested in a protection dog (therefore finding a a good breeder I understand will be dificult). I socialize and to obedience training with all of my dogs. I have competed in Dog Frisbee competitions, have trained and had a Therapy Dog, and my current two are retired Doggy Ambassadors...like I said, I'm not a novice (although far from an expert either), I list these things to show...I'm not fooling, I work with and train my dogs. I am and will be prepared for the high energy level...and welcome that. I like to spend hours hiking, tossing toys, training, walking, swimming at the lake, and going to dog parks. When my dogs were younger in the peak of their energy levels as dogs, they were excersised / trained on average of 2 - 6 hours a day in addition to running in the fenced backyard, and playing in the house. My dogs are technically indoor dogs, in that they do not sleep outside at night, and are confined to the house when I am away. My retired Dad comes over 1-2 times a day while I am at work and lets my dogs out to relieve themselves and have a play daily standing play date with his dog.

What I am looking for: Intelligent, high-energy, social, ready to jump in the car to go onto our next adventure. I am looking for a pet, not a dog from working lines that may be more aggressive. I do not know what my plans may be for my future dog, it will depend on the dog. If the dog shows an eagerness and tallent for Agility - we'll give it a go, obedience - sure let's try that and compete, Frisbee? - yup I can do that again if ya wanna, or if it just wants to be a pet...so be it. I let my dogs tell me what they are best at and what makes them happy...within reason. I spay all of my pets, so comformation and breeding are not an option for me.

What I'd like to know...is how is a GSD (what I am exposed and used to) different from a Mal. (no one I know owns one or has ever owned one...so I have nothing to compare)? What should I expect different in Training, Excersize, Socialization (with people, other dogs, cats?), Temperment, Energy, Prey Drive, Health Issues, overall Drive??? What do they work for? Food? Balls/toys? Attention/praise?

Thank you for your time in reading what I am sure is now a very long post.

Have a Nice Day!
Barked: Sun Dec 28, '08 9:13am PST 
Hi there,

I too have a mix but have been around high drive pure bred Mals and love them. They're my breed of choice, definitely.

I grew up with a working-line GSD, but she was basically a pet.

I think it's possible. If you contact the breeder and tell them you're looking for a pet, and not a working dog, but that you will be spending much time training and exercising them, I'm sure they will be able to help you out.

There is also the American Belgian Malinois society and they do breed rescue, they're mostly non-working dogs listed there.

My future Mal will be trained in schutzhund, I've already decided, but I also think if you're not goign to be working in that area, Mals also excel in agility and even just formal obedience. My Mallie mix girl and I do obedience work, and she really enjoys it. She's pretty mellow for a Mallie but even then we do have to be active at least 3 hrs a day, otherwise she's pestering me for play and attention... laugh out loud

Wired for- sound....
Barked: Sat Jan 17, '09 4:04pm PST 
I know this thread is a few months old.....but hey, maybe you'll still check in. I have had dogs all my life, got into purebreds and AKC obed, wanted more, got into Schutzhund. I worked, trained and imported shepherds for many years and got my first mal in 1991. Wow.....is there ever a difference!!! For me....no, I prefer the Mals. They match my personality. But i was in heavy competition, training 5 hours a day, 6 days a week, road work, travel, represented the USA in europe 4 times with my Mals (once with my Shep).

So here is my input. I'm older now, after doing schutzhund for 20+ years. I have a Mal female, who will bite, we did some training in French Ring, but loves people. Mals are very high energy. Compared to sheps, the nerves are much closer to the surface, so expect a dog who barks at EVERYTHING they hear.

Very intelligent, easily trained, if you have patience. Understand that Mals are very sensitive dogs, so hard training is NOT needed. They will stand on their head to please you. But punish them unfairly., you will either break them or they will bite you. No inbetween.

Mals are much healithier than Shepherds, fewer health problems. Smaller, less hairy. I consider them a shepherd X2.

Hope this helps.....


Barked: Wed Jan 28, '09 11:01am PST 
"stand on their head to please you"
Found this on Youtube. Very cool!

-Mal Handstand-

If you can't meet any Mals in person then the next best thing is to watch a lot of videos. You can see how they work for yourself. Gotta love that drive and energy! I want one SOO bad!!

Here are a few examples to get you started:
Sch Obed
Very Keen Obed
Dog Dance
http://w ww.youtube.com/watch?v=riCbMlTaNog

Here's a GSD. Also a lovely working dog.:

Here are a couple of comments I pulled out of a conversation about gsd vs mals as working dogs. Sorry I can't give credit on these quotes but just know that they aren't mine...

"The malinois has more of most things than the GSD. Of those are the Drive. The drives of a Mal is superior to that of a GSD. A GSD will begin to give up after a while of not finding narcotics (let's just say) and the Mal by nature will be ALOT more involved and will be less likey to become "slacky" and "saddedned" that it didn't find something. So you have to more often set up situations where the dog wins alot of the time. "

"The Mal is faster, has a harder bite, more intense, higher drive, etc. One K9 Sheriff told me that a Mal from what he has seen makes a GSD look like its on downers."

"The most extreme drive specimens might look impressive but they can be to wacky in the head, not being able to have self-control and focus. GSD's can tend to have less drive in comparison but better focus."

"You just have to start training early with your training and the next thing is to know what your doing. The Mals can be either the best dog you ever had or the biggest terror you ever possessed."

"Shepherd can be more handler sensitive than a GSD, with the GSD being much more tolerant of mistakes. Beginners are often unfair in their dog handling, with inconsistent rewards and overzealous punishment. While there are individuals of every breed that will prove or disprove this, I find that the Mal and Dutch are less likely to continue to tolerate unjust treatment. They are also very, VERY fast and can be more reactive to stimulus than a GSD. "

"Some folks liken a Mal to a GSD on methamphetamine."

So I hope some of that can give you some ideas. The internet is a great research tool. Talk to lots of people that have Mals. Good places are a mailing list(Yahoo Groups), also there are discussion forums on SitStay.com and they have a great group of Belgian owners.

Good luck with your search. I hope you find a great match!