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Brindle Belgian Malinois: History & Facts (With Pictures)

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

Brindle Belgian Malinois: History & Facts (With Pictures)

The Belgian Malinois is a high-energy dog breed that has gained popularity in recent years, primarily thanks to social media and entertainment. This breed is athletic and beautiful, and one of the coat patterns that it can have is brindle. The brindle coat gives them a wild and unique look that will definitely turn heads.

Breed Overview


22–26 inches


40–80 pounds


14–16 years


Fawn, fawn sable, mahogany, red, red sable, black, brindle, cream, cream sable, gray, gray sable, liver

Suitable for:

Active families having jobs or doing large amounts of daily exercise, experienced dog owners


Confident, eager, obedient, people-oriented

Although it’s not wholly uncommon to spot the Malinois in brindle, it is considered an off-standard coat pattern. A brindle coat is a distinctive coat pattern that results in stripes across the dog’s body. These stripes have caused brindle to earn the moniker “tiger-striped,” although the stripes are far less defined than those of a tiger.

Brindle Belgian Malinois Breed Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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The Earliest Records of Brindle Belgian Malinois in History

The Belgian Malinois is a relatively young dog breed, only having been developed in the 19th century. As the name implies, they are native to Belgium—specifically the city of Maline, which is where “Malinois” comes from. They were developed by farmers who needed herding dogs with lots of stamina and athleticism, and they are related to the Belgian Tervuren and Belgian Shepherd.

It wasn’t until 1911 that the Belgian Malinois made its first appearance in the US, but just as the breed began gaining popularity, events like both world wars and The Great Depression caused numbers to quickly decline again. In post-war America, the Belgian Malinois began growing again in popularity, although they have only become significantly more popular in the last decade or so. It’s unclear when the brindle coat type was developed within the Belgian Malinois breed.

brindle belgian malinois in the water
Image by: Sorrel Ireland, Shutterstock

How Brindle Belgian Malinois Gained Popularity

Thanks to its strong herding instincts and athleticism, the Belgian Malinois quickly became a favorite breed among farmers and ranchers. As time has gone on and fewer and fewer people are keeping livestock, the job of the Belgian Malinois has begun to shift. They are commonly used as police and military dogs, as well as bite work, search and rescue, and drug and bomb detection.

Although they make excellent working dogs, some people choose to keep Belgian Malinois as pets. This can be a challenge with this breed, though. They are high in energy and require a significant amount of attention and exercise daily. They are generally not considered to be a good option for first-time dog owners.

Formal Recognition of Brindle Belgian Malinois

Although the popularity of the Belgian Malinois did begin to rise after the end of World War 2, it wasn’t until 1959 that the breed was accepted by the AKC. Thanks to this, the breed was saved from the risk of extinction, even with herding jobs decreasing. Even today, the brindle coat is not accepted as a standard coat color pattern in the Belgian Malinois breed.

Top 4 Unique Facts About Brindle Belgian Malinois

1. They Get Confused for Other Breeds

Thanks to sharing a similar name to multiple other breeds, as well as a similar appearance, it is not uncommon for the Belgian Malinois to get confused for other dog breeds. The Belgian Shepherd’s name is often used interchangeably with the Belgian Malinois, although these are two separate breeds of dogs. Other similar breeds include the Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Sheepdog (Groenendael), and Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois).

2. Belgian Malinois Are Used as Anti-Poaching Dogs

Because of their stamina, athleticism, intelligence, and trainability, the Belgian Malinois has been used as a tool to help find poachers on tiger reserves. The Pench and Kahra tiger reserves have both used Belgian Malinois in the past to hunt down poachers, including the poachers who killed 20 tigers in 2016 alone.

3. A Belgian Malinois Helped Assassinate Osama Bin Laden

A highly trained team of Navy SEALs was sent to assassinate Osama Bin Laden in 2011, and one of those team members was a Belgian Malinois by the name of Cairo.

4. They’re Related to Another Similar Breed

The four previously mentioned breeds aren’t the only breeds that are similar to the Belgian Malinois. The Belgian Malinois is actually descended from its larger cousin, the German Shepherd, as well as the Dutch Shepherd and Bouvier des Ardennes.

belgian malinois shepherd in the grass
Image By: Ricantimages, Shutterstocks

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Does the Brindle Belgian Malinois Make a Good Pet?

While the Belgian Malinois makes an exceptional pet, thanks to its loyalty, intelligence, and love of its people, this isn’t the breed for everyone. They have extremely high exercise needs, and without enough exercise and mental stimulation, the Belgian Malinois can become destructive, anxious, noisy, and even aggressive.

Socialization and training are essential with this breed, and these things should be started when the dog is young. Due to the challenges associated with this breed, it’s not recommended for inexperienced dog owners or people who are not comfortable with training their dogs.

In Conclusion

The brindle Belgian Malinois is a beautiful coat color pattern variation of the Belgian Malinois. It’s possible that the coat will one day be accepted as part of the breed standard, but it currently isn’t accepted. That doesn’t change the fact that brindle Belgian Malinois are exceptional dogs that are loyal, smart, and loving.

Featured Image Credit: NSC-Photography-Shutterstock

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