Type: Shepherd dog
Weight: Male – 25 -30kg
Female – 20-25kg
Height: Male – 24-26in / 61-66cm
Female – 22-24in / 56-61cm
Appearance: This Belgian Malinois is a middle-sized, short-haired breed of dog. Its typical appearance consists of mahogany coating with areas of black. It has upright ears, and a black muzzle. Different varieties of Belgian Malinoises are distinguished by their coats and colouration – some have a longer coat, or they lack the black muzzle, there is also a solid black type.
Temperament: The Belgian Milinois has some of the highest energy levels of any breed but their intelligence makes this controllable with the proper training.. They are friendly, protective, and hard-working, but their high need for exercise and play is something owners should be aware of – not having enough of either can lead to neurotic behaviour and destructive activities. They are however bright dogs who relish reward and approval which makes them easier to train than many breeds.
Skills: This is a working dog which is bred for a number of purposes worldwide. As well as personal protection, they’re used for police work, detection, search and rescue. Belgian Milinois are also bred for military purposes in many countries and they’re considered invaluable for detection of explosives, narcotics, human tracking, and other working roles.
Behaviour Towards Other Animals and Children: The Belgian Milinois is fairly easy to live with, so long as their exercise and activity needs are met. They can be kept in-house if they have a good energy outlet. Their behaviour towards children is generally good but like many breeds they may be intolerant towards a screaming and squeezing child. It’s important to remember that they’re excitable and physical dogs and this can cause problems if play with young children is unsupervised. .
Common Health Problems: The Belgian Shepherd is generally a healthy dog breed and it’s rather easy to find a sound dog so long as you select one whose parents have no history of hip/elbow dysplasia. Other known issues are skeletal defects and eye problems.
Lifespan: Average 12 to 14 years.
Housebreaking and training have to start immediately after the puppy is brought home. While results are quickly achieved with puppies, more effort may be required in cases where dogs are older and untrained. Malinois are intelligent and eager to please and, through positive reinforcement and proper communication, the owner’s efforts are bound to pay off.
The Belgian Malinois is a loyal companion that interacts with children well if adequately socialized as a puppy. The animal may display dominance towards other dogs and caution is advised when a Malinois is introduced to other, non-canine pets. Good socialization is key in teaching the dog how to get along with other animals.
Obedience training is always easier when a breed possesses high intelligence. If the owner wishes to facilitate the obedience and command training process, that person should consider using clickers. Clicker training, combined with giving the dog food treats will further increase the dog’s perception. As a result, the Malinois will do exactly what it has been told to and will better remember those verbal commands, which it is expected to perform.
While these dogs are not generally aggressive, they can become overprotective of their owners. This can be seen as a positive quality, however the owner would want to avoid such behaviour. One way of achieving that is through properly socializing the dog towards strangers. As a result, the pet will not act aggressively when placed among strangers – something, which the animal is naturally inclined to do.
Obedience is key in keeping a Belgian Malinois under control.
- The owner should repeat a single order for a maximum of 2 or 3 times in a row before drawing the puppy’s attention.
- The owner should not allow the animal to violently interact with that person’s fingers or heels. A hoarse warning or a gentle shake of the head will notify the pet of its wrongdoing.
- The owner should be prepared to start from the beginning at any point during training.
- A recommended training approach is one through negative behaviour and treatment.
- Positive behaviour should always be encouraged, while negative is best left ignored.
The owner should be consistent, keeping the puppy on a schedule and providing it with a crate. Not only will crate training benefit the housebreaking process, but it will also prevent the puppy from chewing items and provide a safe and quiet environment for the dog to rest. Even if the animal understands where it needs to eliminate, one should constantly be aware that the dog will not develop full bladder control until the animal is 4 months or older. If the owner is planning to be absent for longer periods of time, it is important to have someone who will watch over the puppy and who will let it outside to relieve.
The owner should never inflict physical punishment or yell at the Malinois. This can have an adverse effect on training altogether, making the dog fearful and discouraging the animal from learning.
The Malinois is a short-haired version of the Belgian Shepherd dog breed. Its name is derived from the French word “Mechlinian” (one that is from Mechelen). The breed was used as a working dog for scent work, detection of explosives and narcotics, tracking of humans for arresting and for rescue missions. The U.S. Secret Service of today uses the Malinois Dogs to guard the White House.
The Belgian Malinois is one among the four varieties of Belgian Sheepdogs, developed in Belgium in the year of 1800. The varieties are as follows: Malinois (fawn-mahogany, short coat with a black mask), Tervuren (fawn-mahogany, long coat with a black mask), Laekenois (fawn, rough coat) and Groenendael (black, long coat). The American Kennel Club recognizes all but the Laekenois as separate breeds in the U.S.
In 1892, Professor Reul issued the first Belgian Shepherd Dog standard, which made a distinction between three different varieties: dogs with long, short and rough coats. The Club du Chien (Belgium’s equivalent of the AKC) asked for breed recognition which, however, was not granted. By 1901, the Belgian Shepherd Dog was finally recognized as a breed.
Present-day Malinois can be traced back to a breeding pair owned by Adrien Janssens. In 1885, the man purchased a rough-haired dog from a cattle dealer in northern Belgium. Janssens then used the puppy to herd his flock and later bred it with a short-haired, brindle-brown dog. Breeders decided to assign to each of the distinct varieties of Belgian Shepherd Dogs their own names. In 1898, the city of Malines formed a club for the promotion of short-haired Belgian Shepherd dogs.
In 1911, two Groenendaels and two Malinois were registered by the AKC as “German Sheepdogs”. In 1913, the AKC changed the name to “Belgian Sheepdogs”. In 1949, the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America was established in Indiana. In March 1992, the American Belgian Malinois Club received AKC parent club status.
Belgian Malinois can accustom to small quarters, provided they receive enough exercise. They prefer cool climates, however they are also able to adapt well to warmer environments. The Malinois are first and foremost working dogs, which does not necessarily mean that they are not lively or entertaining. If paired with an active family, these dogs will become a happy, affectionate and humorous companions.
- The Malinois should be provided with some off-leash exercise in a fenced area in addition to long walks or jogging.
- Malinois need about 20 minutes of workout three to four times a day, thus they will not benefit from a leisurely walk.
- If the owner is fond of hiking or jogging activities, the Belgian Malinois would prove to be a worthy companion.
- The owner should consider training the dog to compete in obedience or agility. The activities themselves are not as important as keeping the animal active.
- The owner should not be surprised if the dog starts running in large circles around the yard, for this is a remnant of the latter’s herding heritage.
Puppies require different exercises. Puppy kindergarten once or twice a week will allow Malinois to exercise, train and socialize with others. This should be done while the animals are between 9 weeks to 4 months old. They should also spend 15 to 20 minutes of their playtime in the yard every morning and evening. When they turn one, the Malinois can begin jogging alongside their owners. During this activity, a distance of at least one mile should be kept and the dog should be allowed to have frequent breaks along the way.
The Belgian Malinois has a short, flat and smooth double coat that is easy to groom.
The coat is most prominent around the neck, at the tail and near the back of the thighs. It should be brushed on a weekly basis to remove dead hair and to evenly distribute skin oils. Frequent brushing will keep loose hair from landing on the floor, furniture and clothing.
Common Problems: Hot spots are a common problem for this breed, especially during the summer season. To prevent this inconvenience, the owner must remove the dead undercoat so that air may come in contact with the skin. If not done in time, moisture may cause irritation and cause hot spots.
- Malinois’ teeth should be brushed at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and bacteria.
- Nails should be trimmed on a regular basis, unless the dog is able to wear them down naturally.
- Bathing is applied only when necessary. Malinois shed year-round, more heavily during the spring and autumn seasons.
- The dog’s ears should be checked often to prevent any infections from developing.
- The dog should be praised while brushed. The owner should reward calm and quiet behaviour to encourage it further.
- The Malinois has dewclaws on both the front and back legs. Back ones should be removed while the dog is still a puppy.
Malinois dogs require low-fibre, high-protein diets. Among the more nutritious foods for this breed are poultry, ocean fish and wheat. The recommended daily amount is 2 to 3 cups of high quality dry food a day that should be divided into two meals. The amount of food that an adult dog may eat depends on its size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Each individual dog comes with individual needs, thus not all require the same amounts of food to satisfy their hunger.
Annual check-ups will ensure the healthy state of a Belgian Malinois and prevent the development of various diseases. Potential health problems include cataracts, hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy and thyroid disease.