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Is a Belgian Malinois Hypoallergenic? Breed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Greg Iacono

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

woman with belgian malinois at the park

Is a Belgian Malinois Hypoallergenic? Breed Facts & FAQ

Since they’re known as some of the best guards and herding dogs in the world, the Belgian Malinois is a superb example of a dog bred for a specific job or purpose. Many believe the Belgian Malinois looks like a German Shepherd, with similar ears, muzzle shaping, colors, and markings. Another similarity both breeds share is that they both shed, sometimes heavily. For that reason, the Belgian Malinois isn’t hypoallergenic. We’ll discuss why the Belgian Malinois isn’t suitable for allergy sufferers and helpful advice to make you a better pet parent for your incredible pet.

Are Belgian Malinois Good Dogs for People with Allergies?

The Belgian Malinois sheds and occasionally sheds heavily. Usually, that’s in the spring and summer when they either shed their old coat or shed more hair to grow a new coat. For someone who suffers from allergies to dog hair, and, more specifically, the dander shed with dog hair, a Belgian Malinois would likely be a poor choice of pet.

What Type of Coat Does the Belgian Malinois Have?

One of the reasons the Belgian Malinois is such a great herding dog is that they have a short coat that’s waterproof and easy to care for. Yes, they shed more heavily twice a year, and when they do, you’ll need to brush them at least once a day with a slicker brush to remove it all. However, for about 10 months out of the year, you’ll be able to get by with brushing your dog’s coat once a week.

woman grooming her belgian malinois dog
Image Credit: Sjogger, Shutterstock

What Makes a Belgian Malinois Coat Allergenic?

Dogs that shed their fur also shed a lot more dead skin, called dander. The Belgian Malinois has a dense coat that sheds year-round and releases dander and fur around the environment.

Some breeds are hypoallergenic because most have hair, not fur, and thus shed much less. Because they shed less, they also shed fewer dead skin cells, making it easier for people with allergies to be around dogs with hair, like the Poodle, Maltese, or Portuguese Water Dog. Yes, they still make dander, but much less.

The Root Cause of Allergic Reactions to Dogs

If you truly want to know the root cause of allergic reactions to dog dander, you must look past the fur, hair, and skin and look at the proteins in the skin flakes instead. These proteins, which are different for every dog as far as the levels in their skin, are the true cause of allergies. They are also found in a dog’s saliva.

What’s fascinating about this fact is that you can use it to check and see if you or a family member is allergic to a specific dog. Some recommend hugging a dog and rubbing your face on their skin or fur before adopting them. If nothing happens, that can be considered a good sign that the dog poses less of an allergy risk.

woman hugging her belgian malinois dog
Image Credit: Violator22 Shutterstock

How to Reduce the Chance of Allergic Reactions With a Belgian Malinois

There’s good news if you have allergies but still want to adopt a Belgian Malinois. If you keep up with brushing and grooming them (or have a family member with no allergies to do it for you), the chance your dog will trigger your allergies will drop significantly. Below are a few tips for reducing your exposure to dog allergens.

  • Brush your Belgian Malinois outside at least once a week when they’re not shedding heavily
  • When shedding heavily, brush your Belgian Malinois outside every day
  • Give your Belgian Malinois a weekly bath
  • Use a high-quality dog shampoo to prevent heavy skin shedding and keep your pet’s skin moisturized and healthy

Is Any Dog Breed 100% Hypoallergenic?

With nearly 20% of the United States population having an allergy to dogs, you can bet the search for hypoallergenic breeds is intense. However, there’s no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog. All dogs, even dogs with hair instead of fur and hairless ones, shed.

Finding a dog that’s genuinely 100% hypoallergenic is impossible, but dogs with hair are usually less of a risk.

black belgian malinois shepherd dog
Image Credit: msgrafixx, Shutterstock

Which Breeds Are the Most Hypoallergenic?

Although reducing the chance of an allergic reaction with a Belgian Malinois is possible, if you have truly problematic allergies and want a more hypoallergenic dog, you might need to choose another breed. The dogs below might be a better choice as they shed far less and thus make far less dander.

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Because they have a beautiful coat of fur that sheds regularly, the Belgian Malinois is not considered a hypoallergenic breed. They can cause allergic reactions in people with allergies, although the chance is not 100%. Yes, there are some methods you can use to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction to a Belgian Malinois, but the breed might not be a good choice for those with severe allergies.

Featured Image Credit: Tatiana Maksimova, Shutterstock

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