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14 Amazing Belgian Malinois Facts (With Pictures)

Written by: Greg Iacono

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

three belgian malinois dogs standing

14 Amazing Belgian Malinois Facts (With Pictures)

The Belgian Malinois is an amazing dog with more than a few astounding qualities. The incredibly intelligent Belgian Malinois is also fearless, fast, and often chosen for police work due to its many fantastic qualities and traits.

If you’re curious to learn more about this unique dog, we have a list of 14 amazing facts about the Belgian Malinois. Whether from Flanders or Wallonia, these Belgian-made dogs are well-worth a closer look!

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The 14 Belgian Malinois Facts

1. Belgian Malinois Dogs Have a Propensity for Skydiving

Although German shepherds are excellent for military service, the Belgian Malinois Is significantly smaller and lighter, making it a better choice for tandem parachute jumps. What’s truly amazing is that several Belgian Malinois have been trained to parachute independently, without a handler! They’re trained to jump alone because, if they were to land in a body of water, the dogs would have a better chance of survival than if they were strapped to a fellow human skydiver.

belgian malinois with parachute
Image Credit: GoDog Photo, Shutterstock

2. Belgian Malinois started Working for New York City’s Police Department in 1908

In early 1908, five Belgian Malinois puppies were delivered to the police force in New York City, New York. The breed was extremely new to the country at the time and barely known, even by dog breeders. The five pups were then highly trained and, in the latter part of 1908, became part of the city’s police force. Today the Belgian Malinois is one of the top canine representatives in police forces around the country.

3. A Belgian Malinois Named Cairo Was Part of the Raid That Took Down Osama bin Laden

On the 2nd of May 2011, the founder of the militant group Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, was shot and killed at his compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. The brave men who took him out were part of the United States Navy Seals, specifically Seal Team 6. When they went in for the kill, a Belgian Malinois named Cairo was with them. The dog even had night vision goggles and body armor for protection!

female belgian malinoisfemale belgian malinois
Image Credit: Piqsels

4. Belgian Malinois are Part of the Canine Team Protecting the White House

Anyone trying to break into the White House in Washington, DC, will have a very difficult time. That is even more difficult because several Belgian Malinois are on guard duty protecting the White House seven days a week, 365 days a year.

5. Owners Lose their Belgian Malinois 1.2 times a Month on Average

When you take an incredibly smart dog with more energy than five toddlers combined and can’t sit still even for a moment, you get a combination that’s difficult for even the most patient of pet parents. It’s estimated that the average Belgian Malinois escapes its home 1.2 times a month, usually due to insufficient engagement and activity at home. The moral of this story is to keep your Belgian Malinois active, or it will seek activity elsewhere.

belgian malinois in the grass
Image Credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock

6. The Belgian Malinois Is Re-homed More Often than Most Breeds

If you’ve never heard of the term “re-homed,” it means to take a pet from one home and place it in another. Re-homing is usually necessary due to unwanted, dangerous, or incompatible situations between a dog and its owners.

In the case of the Belgian Malinois, it usually boils down to the owner being completely unaware of just how much time and energy the dogs need to stay happy, healthy, and satisfied. Belgian Malinois are insatiable when it comes to mental and physical activity.  When someone adopts a Belgian Malinois and doesn’t know these facts beforehand, re-homing is often the result. Adopting another breed is a better idea if you can’t keep up with them.

7. Actor Halle Berry Trained the Two Belgian Malinois Featured in John Wick 3

The John Wick series starring Keanu Reeves has been a huge hit with worldwide audiences over the last decade. In John Wick 3, Halle Berry plays a character who owns two Belgian Malinois. What’s more impressive than that is that Ms. Berry trained the two dogs herself, which takes an incredible amount of time, energy, diligence, and patience. The actor spent 2 to 3 hours each day training the dogs, a necessity for the highly active breed.

belgian malinois dog training
Image Credit: OlgaOvcharenko, Shutterstock

8. Belgian Malinois Served in World Wars Ⅰ and Ⅱ

During World War I, getting messages from one part of the front to another was critical. The battlefield was usually incredibly dangerous, and many human messengers never reached their destinations. The Belgian Malinois became battlefield messengers and saved many lives during the war.

In World War II, the breed changed jobs and became a guard dog that patrolled camps at night. They still serve as guard dogs in the military and are the #1 choice for the SEALs of the US Navy.

9. In India, Belgian Malinois Are Used to Track Tiger Poachers

Because of their high level of intelligence and ability to learn new skills quickly and confidently, the Belgian Malinois makes a perfect drug and contraband tracking dog. One of the worst types of contraband, poached tiger body parts, are being tracked in India by Belgian Malinois dogs trained to sniff out the big cat’s parts and pelts. They’re also excellent for sniffing out poachers and preventing them from killing tigers, making them indispensable to India’s conservation efforts.

belgian malinios walking with owner
Image By: Y.Gq_photo, Shutterstock

10. The Breed Is named after a City in Belgium

The Belgian Malinois, not surprisingly, was first bred in Belgium. The town, Mechelen, is also known as Malines in French. Although Mechelen is in the Flemish part of Belgium, the Walloon (i.e., French) name for the town was used to name the special dog they created, and the Belgian Malinois was born.

11. Tracking Data Proves the Belgian Malinois Is the Most Active Dog Breed

The Belgian Malinois Is easily one of the most active dogs in the entire canine community. If you own one, you already know this to be true and that your dog needs a ridiculously high amount of daily physical and mental engagement. One company, Whistle, analyzed data from over 150,000 smart collars attached to various dog breeds and outfitted with GPS-tracking devices.

Their results show that the Belgian Malinois averaged 103 minutes of activity per day, more than every other breed that was measured! Amazingly, some Belgian Malinois in the analysis were active for far longer than that.

Belgian Malinois
Image By: 825545, Pixabay

12. Belgian Malinois Can Be Excellent Guard Dogs With No Training

Because of their innate protective nature and instinct, the average Belgian Malinois Would make a great guard dog, even if it never received training. As long as its owner treats it like part of the family, socializes it well, and provides plenty of attention, a Belgian Malinois will protect its pet parents with its life. They’re truly natural-born guard dogs.

13. The Breed Is Longer Lived Than Most Large Dogs

The typical Belgian Malinois weigh between 40 and 80 pounds as adults, making them a large dog breed. However, what sets them apart from other larger breeds is a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years rather than the usual 8 to 12 years (or less) most large dogs live. In other words, barring any unforeseen circumstances, you will be with your Belgian Malinois for many years.

belgian malinois standing outdoor
Image By: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

14. Most Belgian Malinois Stay Puppy-like Until 3 Years of Age or Longer

With most breeds, you can expect your puppy to start acting like a mature adult between 18 months and 2 years, sometimes much earlier. The Belgian Malinois, however, stays as active and rambunctious as a puppy for at least another year and sometimes longer. Even when they reach emotional maturity, many Belgian Malinois stay energetic and puppy-like for several years.


The Belgian Malinois Is a remarkable canine with many extraordinary traits coveted by police departments and military teams. The average Belgian Malinois demands a huge investment of time and energy from its owner and is a handful for all but the most dedicated and determined pet parents.

Veterinarians recommend that adopting another dog breed might be your best choice if you don’t have at least 3 to 4 hours a day to be with, train, and otherwise engage with your Belgian Malinois. However, the Belgian Malinois might be perfect for you if you want a devoted companion that will become an integral part of your life and challenge you to be a great pet parent.

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Featured Image Credit: OlgaOvcharenko, Shutterstock

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