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, it exudes strength without stockiness.
The Belgian Malinois is a loyal, friendly and affectionate friend. He may have a strong working-dog background, but he craves companionship and family time above everything else. An alert and watchful companion to children, this dog really flourishes when given a steady dose of good-natured play, cuddling and conversation.
It is very protective of their 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, he or she 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.
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.
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, they are celebrated for its herding, obedience, agility, work ethic and companionship.