The Malinois is a medium-sized, short-haired dog that appears square in its outline. Although they are often confused with the German Shepherd Dog by the general public, they are squarer in profile and lighter-boned with a more refined head. The Malinois is fawn, red or grey in colour with black shading on the hair tips. Their tails are usually darker or have a black tip, the face is a black mask and the ears are mostly black. Adult dogs measure between 61-66cm and females between 56-61cm. They weigh between 27.5-28.5kg.
- Category size: Large
- Grooming requirements: Once a week
- Shedding: Little
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Not too noisy
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Pastoral
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Medium
- Stability as a guard: High
The Malinois dog breed, or Belgian Shepherd Dog, comes in four varieties: the Laekenois, Tervueren, Groenendael and Malinois, named after the areas in Belgium from which they came. Hard working sheepdogs from Belgium have been recognised since the Middle Ages. In the 1890s a professor of the Belgian School of Veterinary Sciences recorded standards for the various types of Belgian sheepdogs. It was noted that they were all similar in type with the main difference being the coat. The Professor then divided them into varieties and advised breeding them as separate breeds. The Malinois dog was the first of the Belgian sheepdogs to develop a type and to breed true to this. It was also the first to become popular.
The Malinois dog is not a breed for those wanting 'just a dog' – this is an affectionate, devoted companion, who will protect his home and family. As with all breeds with a guarding tendency, it is not advisable to encourage the guarding instincts when young, as they can get confused and start guarding you in inappropriate situations. Their natural guarding instincts will kick in, if and when necessary.
As with many breeds, all varieties of the Malinois can suffer from hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
The Malinois dog needs two hours-plus of daily exercise and mental stimulation. Highly trainable, he can excel at agility, obedience and other canine 'sports'. They are very active dogs and should not be considered as pets if they are to be left alone all day.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs.
The Malinois is a short-haired dog with a woolly undercoat. The hair is thicker on the tail and around the neck; the hindquarters have longer hair and the tail is bushy. With a low-maintenance coat, the Malinois just needs grooming once a week.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information