Facts and Information on the Belgian Malinois Dog Breed

The Belgian Malinois is an elegant breed that looks powerful even without being bulky. Their roots are of herding dogs, but they were later used as military and police dogs too. These dogs might look similar to German Shepherds, but they are purebreds. Keep reading to know more about the Belgian Malinois Dog breed. 

Breed NameBelgian Malinois
Other NameThe Mal
Dog Breed TypeHerding dogs
Parent BreedsNone 
Height22-26 inches
Weight40-80 pounds
Life Expectancy12-14 years
Coat TypeStraight, Short
Common ColorsMahogany, Rich fawn, Red
Grooming NeedsLow-maintenance 
TemperamentObedient, Smart, Protective 
Apartment LivingSuitable for apartment living
Health ConcernsViral and bacterial infections, cataracts, hemangiosarcoma
Overall HealthHealthy 
Intelligence LevelHigh 
Energy LevelVery high
Litter Size4-6 puppies

Breed Characteristics

Adaptability 3 stars

Adaptive to apartment living 1 star

Suitable for novice owners 3 stars

Sensitivity scale 5 stars

Comfortable being alone 3 stars

Comfortable with cold weather 4 stars

Comfortable with hot weather 4 stars

All about friendliness 4 stars

Lovable around family 5 stars

Kid-friendly 4 stars

Dog-friendly 2 stars

Frank with strangers 3 stars

Grooming and health requirements 3 stars

Shedding quantity 2 stars

Drooling capacity 1 star

Effortless to groom 5 stars

Overall health 4 stars

Capable of weight gain 2 stars

Size 4 stars

Trainability 4 stars

Effortless to train 5 stars

Smartness 5 stars

Capable of biting 3 stars

Tendency to attack prey 4 stars

Urge to howl or bark 2 stars

Wanderlust nature 3 stars

Physical Requirements 5 stars

Energy level 5 stars

Intensity 4 stars

Exercise requirements 5 stars

Playful personality 5 stars

Vital Statistics






The Belgian Malinois name might look tricky to pronounce, so here’s a way to pronounce it “Mal-in-wah.” At first, you might think of this dog as a German Shepherd because they look very similar to each other. The Malinois dogs are fawn-colored and short-haired with a black mask. There are four types of Belgian herding dogs, and they are one of them. Their roots are in Malines, Belgium. 

These dogs are filled with stamina and love working. They are highly active and intelligent creatures that have the skill to do many tasks. Apart from herding, these dogs are also used in rescue, search, police work, and sometimes in dog events too. People who haven’t heard about this breed will probably consider them German Shepherds, but there are some important differences between these two breeds. 

The Belgian Malinois dogs have lighter bones and are smaller in size. They have a square body look, while the German Shepherd has a long back. The Malinois is generally found in red, fawn, or brown colors, whereas the German Shepherd has a tan color. 


There are four types of Belgian Sheepdogs or Belgian Shepherds, and the Belgian Malinois is one of those. The four types are the Laekenois (coarse coat, fawn-colored), the Malinois (short coat, mahogany-fawn), the Groenendael (long coat, black-colored), and the Tervuren (long coat, mahogany-fawn). Since 1959, the Belgian Malinois has been considered a separate breed. All these four breeds are collectively known as Chiens de Berger Belge. 

Of all the four breeds, the Belgian Sheepdogs are the most popular in Belgium. They became popular in America between 1911 and WW II, but their supply became less after the war. They grew in numbers again. They are loved by people today primarily because of their reputation as excellent police dogs. You might not see them in every house, but they are known as peacekeepers.


The Belgian Malinois are medium-sized dogs that grow between 22 to 26 inches and weigh between 40-80 pounds. They are smaller in size as compared to the German Shepherds. 


The Belgian Malinois are excellent working dogs that act protective and confident in any type of situation. They love their family but act alert around strangers until they are sure of them as friendly. Their watchdog instincts are commendable. They know how much force is needed to take care of their property and people. Aggression or shyness are not commonly found in this breed. 

They are attentive to what their owners say and always ready to please them. That said, it becomes an easy job to train them. Don’t try to use harsh or abusive techniques with them while doing any activity or training, as they don’t like to be ordered around. Be their leader and give positive feedback. Like all dogs, the Belgian Malinois needs socialization too from a young age to be on its best behavior around new people or in new places. They are intense and want to be involved in every activity happening around them. 


Generally, the Belgian Malinois is a healthy breed, but there are some health concerns you need to be aware of. Regular vet visits can help to avoid such issues. 

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Anesthesia Sensitivity
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia


If you give enough and proper exercise to your Belgian Malinois, they can even become suitable for small quarters. They like to be in cold weather but can adapt well to hot weather as well. You should consider them as your family member and let them live indoors. Off-leash activities should also be done in your backyard, apart from jogging and taking them on long walks. They love working and being in action. They can become your hike or jog partner. 

 Brush their teeth daily at home, and professional teeth cleaning should also be done to keep their dental health good. Keep cleaning and checking their ears to remove any infection or bacteria. 

Feeding and Diet

Give dry and high-quality dog food in quantities of 2-3 cups a day. You can divide these into two meals a day. There are different types of dog food depending on their age, size, and other factors, and the quantity might vary too. Before planning a diet plan for your Belgian Malinois, ask your vet about your dog’s particular needs and then form a plan. This will help to give your dog a happy and healthy lifestyle. Generally, this is a very active breed, and their dietary needs will change as they become old. 

Coat color and grooming

The Belgian Malinois has two layers of coat- a straight and short overcoat and a dense undercoat. The coat texture is hard, which makes it weather resistant. The common coat colors of this breed are mahogany and fawn with a black mask and ears. The fur might have black tips that will give the impression of an overlay. The underside of their tails, body, and breaches can have lighter fawn shades. Their waterproof coats are easy to maintain. Brushing once a week will be enough to get rid of dead hair. During the shedding season, shift their brushing schedule to daily. Clip their nails to avoid painful overgrowths and unnecessary scratching. Make your dog used to such grooming sessions from a young age. Grooming should be a relaxing session for them, not full of irritation or barking. Take the help of a professional groomer if you can’t do it yourself. 

Children and other pets

If you raise a Belgian Malinois with a household full of children and pets, they are going to bond with them well. However, if they are the only kid in the house, they will grow protective of their family. So early socialization will help them in both cases-grown, with or without kids. As the history of being herders, they might nip at kids or pets smaller than them and try to herd them. Try to supervise every play session and control this herding behavior. 


The Belgian Malinois shed year-round, and the shedding quantity might increase during the fall and spring seasons. During this time of the year, daily brushing should be done to maintain their coat’s health. 

Male vs. Female Attitude

The attitude of a Belgian Malinois can differ depending on the environment, size, and age, regardless of their gender. Generally, both male and female dogs of this breed will have a protective nature and be lovable around their families. 


The Belgian Malinois dogs have high energy and sensitivity levels which makes it a must to get them to exercise daily. Leisure long walks won’t satisfy them, so get ready to exercise with them for hours. They will love to jog with you, go on hikes, or do any activity that requires stamina and agility. New owners won’t get the hang of exercising them, so a dog trainer would be a good idea here. 

Little-known facts

The Belgian Malinois were originally bred as herding dogs but became popular for their work as police dogs. They also made a huge contribution during world war I. 

FAQ on breeds

  1. Where do the Belgian Malinois dog breeds come from?


  1. What is the best diet routine for a Belgian Malinois dog?

2-3 cups of dry dog food a day. 

  1. How much exercise is required for a Belgian Malinois?

Hour-long exercises

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